What is a Battery?
A Battery is a chemical device that stores electrical energy in the form of chemicals and by means of electrochemical reaction, it converts the stored chemical energy into direct current (DC) electric energy. Alessandro Volta, an Italian Physicist, invented the first battery in 1800.
The electrochemical reaction in a battery involves transfer of electrons from one material to another (called electrodes) through an electric current.
Different Types of Batteries
Basically, all the electrochemical cells and batteries are classified into two types:
“Primary (non-rechargeable) & Secondary (rechargeable)”
Even though there are several other classifications within these two types of batteries, these two are the basic types. Simply speaking, Primary Batteries are non-rechargeable batteries i.e., they cannot be recharged electrically while the Secondary Batteries are rechargeable batteries i.e., they can be recharged electrically.
A Primary Battery is one of the simple and convenient sources of power for several portable electronic and electrical devices like lights, cameras, watches, toys, radios etc. As they cannot be recharged electrically, they are of “use it and when discharged, discard it” type.
Usually, primary batteries are inexpensive, light weight, small and very convenient to use with relatively no or less maintenance. Majority of the primary batteries that are used in domestic applications are single cell type and usually come in cylindrical configuration (although, it is very easy to produce them in different shapes and sizes).
A Secondary Battery is also called as Rechargeable Battery as they can be electrically recharged after discharge. The chemical status of the electrochemical cells can be “recharged” to their original status by passing a current through the cells in the opposite direction of their discharge.
Basically, secondary batteries can be used in two ways:
In the first category of applications, the secondary batteries are essentially used as energy storage devices where they are electrically connected to a main energy source and also charged by it and also supplying energy when required. Examples of such applications are Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS), etc.
The second category of applications of secondary batteries are those applications where the battery is used and discharged as a primary battery. Once it is completely discharged (or almost completely discharged), instead of discarding it, the battery is recharged with an appropriate charging mechanism. Examples of such applications are all the modern portable electronics like mobiles, laptops, electric vehicles, etc.
Energy Density of secondary batterie are relatively lower than that of primary batteries but have other good characteristics like high power density, flat discharge curves, high discharge rate, low temperature performance.
Common Secondary Battery Types
Two of the oldest batteries are in fact secondary batteries called the Lead – Acid Batteries, which were developed in late 1850’s and Nickel – Cadmium Batteries, which were developed in early 1900’s. Until recent times, there are only two types of secondary batteries.
The first and the most commonly used rechargeable batteries are called Lead – Acid Batteries.
The second type of the rechargeable batteries are called Nickel – Cadmium Batteries. They are based on Nickel Oxyhydroxide (Nickel Oxide) as the positive electrode and Cadmium metal based negative electrode.
There are some other types of Secondary Batteries but the four major types are:
- Lead – Acid Batteries
- Nickel – Cadmium Batteries
- Nickel – Metal Hydride Batteries
- Lithium – Ion Batteries
There are several classifications of inverter batteries. Here are few of them:
Lead Acid Batteries
These are the most common types of inverter batteries used. They are one of the oldest types of rechargeable batteries. They are light in weight and most economical. They usually last for 3-4 years. But they require regular maintenance. The electrolyte level check and topping up has to be done regularly. They also release harmful gases during charging and discharging. So, they must be installed at a well-ventilated place in home.
Their main positive features are:
- Produces a large amount of current.
Maintenance Free Batteries(sealed lead acid batteries)
Maintenance free batteries are the sealed lead acid batteries that do not require electrolyte level check and topping up. They are fit and forget type batteries are safer compared to normal lead acid batteries. But they are costly compared to normal lead acid batteries and have a shorter life.
Tubular batteries are the most popular and efficient inverter batteries. They have a complex design, great efficiency, longer operational life (8+ years) and low maintenance. Because of so many advantages they are costly.
You have to be careful about the local batteries that are available in the market. People usually go for branded inverter set and local batteries. But it’s not a good combo. Local batteries should not be used. They have many down sides like poor efficiency, low safety, poor operational life and high maintenance. Do not kill your inverters by using these local and less efficient batteries.