BATTERY HISTORY and DEVELOPMENT
Ancient electrical cells have been discovered in Sumerian ruins dating from around 250 BC. The first evidence of batteries comes from archaeological digs in Baghdad, Iraq. One of the first uses for batteries was to electroplate objects with a thin layer of metal, much like the process used now to plate inexpensive gold and silver jewelry. The early jar cells were found in Khujut Rabu just outside Baghdad and is composed of a clay jar with a stopper made of asphalt. Sticking through the asphalt is an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. When filled with vinegar - or any other electrolytic solution - the jar produces about 1.1 volts.
Modern battery development dates as far back as the late 18th century. The cause was championed by the work carried out by Luigi Galvani from 1780 to 1786. Through his experiments Galvani observed that, when connected pieces of iron and brass were applied to frog’s legs, they caused them to twitch. However, Galvani thought that the effect originated in the leg tissue. Nevertheless, Galvani had laid the cornerstone for further developments in "voltaic" electricity.
In the years that followed other means of producing electricity were
invented, all of which involved the use of liquid electrodes. Those
developed by Bunsen (1842) and Grove (1839) were amongst the most
successful systems, and, were used for many years.
There are many types of battery but they all store energy as chemical potential - i.e. two chemicals which react in a solution when a circuit is made. There are primary and secondary cells. Primary cells use the chemical components of the battery itself to produce energy (this includes fuel cells). When the components are used the battery is discarded, except in a fuel cell where the fuel spent can be replaced. Secondary cells, or accumulators may be re-charged many times over.
The most common type of secondary cell is the "lead-acid" type used to start motor car engines. Taken to the extreme lead-acid batteries can produce a very high output for a short duration, an example of which is the Hawker SBS range of aircraft starter batteries. These batteries are the least expensive but have a limited life and store less energy per pound than other types.
Until a few years ago "nickel-cadmium" batteries were the most popular rechargeable small cells with a capacity measured in amp-hours, nearing twice that of lead-acid and 1.2 volts per cell. Nickel-cadmium is not so popular now as "nickel-metal-hydride" batteries were developed for automotive use and lately produced in popular AA sizes. NiMh cells are now very popular batteries for cameras, mobile phones, etc, with much better storage and 1.5 volts per cell and at about the same price as NiCads - but still more than lead-acid, until that is, the lifespan is taken into account when NiMh start to look attractive.
Polymer cells such as produced by Worley International offer still higher storage capacity per kilo but are much more expensive again. These cell are used for exotic applications such as solar car racing and land speed record vehicles.
SOLAR NAVIGATOR'S STORAGE BRIEF
Solar Navigator needs sufficient storage capacity to even out the vagaries of natural supply, after the global weather system has had its say. Fortunately, BP has a number of monitoring stations around the world constantly measuring incoming radiation so we have a good idea what to expect. The battery banks of Solarnavigator must cater for the worst scenario and still keep something in reserve for a rainy day.
Imagine: There has been no Sun for several days. To maintain steerage and conserve energy Solar Navigator has been cruising at 1/4 speed waiting for the weather to break. The emergency reserve is coming close and then unfavourable winds threaten to drive you close to an approaching land mass. This is what the reserve was intended for - to keep you out of trouble. Hence never use your emergency reserve, unless for an emergency situation.
The size of the reserve depends on how cautious you want to be. Our backers and insurers will want to know that we are prepared for the worst and then some. Indeed, we will be. However, at the back of our mind is the weight penalty having too much insurance could impose. All design, is of course acompromise .................. NK
British Battery Manufacturers Association (BBMA) Members:
Battery manufacturers, distributors, or large chain stores will often private label their batteries, for example, EverStart for Wal-Mart, DieHard for Sears and DuraLast for Auto Zone. The larger chain stores might have batteries with their private label made by several manufacturers depending on the location to reduce shipping costs or to provide more different types or sized of batteries. Below is a list in alphabetical order of the largest battery manufacturers, joint ventures, distributors, and dealers with some of their brand names, trademarks and private labels, hyperlinks to their Web addresses and telephone numbers. The manufacturers are in bold type. Ownership, supply contracts, branding, Web addresses and telephone numbers are subject to change. For example, EnerSys purchased Hawker and portions of Yuasa; Johnson Controls acquired the automotive battery portions of Hoppecke, Varta, Bosch and Grupo IMSA; and Yuasa and Japan Storage Battery have merged as GS Yuasa.
The manufacturer's code number will be on the battery and is only sure way of identifying the manufacturer. Ask the dealer who made the battery. Material Safety Data Sheets, (MSDS) can provide a useful source of information on the manufacturer of the battery. Manufacturers, joint ventures or distributors will sometimes have lines within a trademark or brand, for example, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, Premium, Heavy Duty, Commercial, Standard, Plus, Turbo, Calcium, Classic, Maintenance Free, etc., for differentiating quality, features or warranty periods. They will also contract with other manufacturers to build special purpose batteries and batteries to complete their product lines that are not economically feasible to build themselves. A good manufacturers cross reference list for Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) batteries can be found on Battery Solutions Web site.
Trademarks, brand names and registrations are owned by their respective companies and are as shown below to locate the most current information. Other good sources of battery manufactures is BaSyTec's Hyperlink list at http://www.basytec.de or the membership list of Associations, Business Directories or Hyperlink Lists found in the Battery References and Information Links List at http://www.batteryfaq.org. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, (FAQs) and additional information on car, motorcycle, truck, marine, and recreational vehicle starting and deep cycle lead-acid batteries can be found at http://www.batteryfaq.org.
The Solar Navigator - SWASSH (Small Waterplane Area Stabilized Single Hull) test model 2012
The latest Solarnavigator is designed to be capable of an autonomous world navigation set for an attempt
in 2015 if all goes according to schedule.
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