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Vancouver Greens Message Board › Alternative Energy storage: Free Off Grid Battery Bank

Alternative Energy storage: Free Off Grid Battery Bank

A former member
Post #: 62
Rob Matthies thinks it is possible to put together a 1KW (one KiloWatt) solar or wind turbine or micro/pico hydro generator and storage systm for under $7,000, suitable for a cottage or small home that is completely "off-the-grid."

In contrast, typical 1KW off-grid power systems cost $20.000-$35,000. The cost of a Battery Bank (energy storage system) using what is thought to be the "standard battery" is already $10,000-$20,000.

Rob Matthies believes that the cost of a large Battery Bank should be near "zero", similar to his much-publicized Revived Battery Electric Pickup Truck, which has been running for 3 years on discarded batteries --- even though some of those batteries were already 5 years old when Matthies got them.

Matthies has another difference of opinion with "standard solar batteries" which are typically wet (flooded) lead acid batteries. These batteries are prone to explosion from hydrogen fumes which has caused at least one member of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association blindness. Matthies' opinion is that it is preferable to use sealed lead acid batteries; however, these batteries cannot be properly charged/discharged with the current crop of solar charge controllers. As such, Matthies' group is designing and building their own "free battery solar charge controller".

There is a major problem with existent solar charge controllers on the market: They all use the "industry standard" battery charging protocol, which means that batteries will need constant maintenance and refilling, so that they will last th 4-8 years promised by vendors. Matthies points out that Jay Leno's antique electric cars have working batteries that are 100 years old. Furthermore, some BC fishermen know how to keep flooded batteries working for 30 years easily by using little-known methods.

After a year of experimentation, Matthies and his gifted students and amateur inventor friends came to an opinion that the electric car industry was using a "standard" battery charger that tended to fry batteries intermittently and prematurely.

Matthies' inventor group made 10 discoveries with their experiments with electric bikes and the award-winning Revived Battery Electric Pickup Truck. These discoveries are now offered for sale to the public at nominal prices. In discovering these little-known methods, Matthies came to an opinion that almost all "industry-standard" hardware and methods were incorrect, or resulted in premature wear.

Matthies electric pickup is a 541 MPG-e (Miles Per Gallon equivalent) that is also the world's cheapest vehicle to operate, because it uses discarded batteries.

Applying this knowledge to the solar off-the-grid systems, Matthies and his inventors group believes that the "standard formula" for solar is unnecessarily costly and wasteful, beginning with the >12V systems. High-voltage DC off-grid systems can cause fatal electrocution. President Carter was nearly electrocuted at the "coming out" solar party in the mid-70's. Matthies advocates a totally different approach, using safer, cheaper, 12VDC. Matthies "parallel" solar configuration is also less-affected by clouds, tree-shadows.

While the "solar industry" vendors advocate high-tech, high-voltage, communication-able solar and wind charge controllers, Matthies offers to install his idiot-proof, voltage-boosting solar charge controller which has his "knowledge base" on how to charge and keep batteries alive for a long time, within his $7,000 1KW system.

Proof of his competence? Rob Matthies owns the world's last working Currie-Montague CX-21 electric mountain bike and the world's only chain-driven Ego-2 (Ego Cycle 2) electric scooter and the Mystery Electric Scooter (climbed up to Hollyburn Country Club on 500 watts) and the Tap Water Scooter. These can all be found on the 'net.

There are two billion people that are still without electricity. The Off-Grid solar home is a great place for renewable energy. Matthies' out-of-the-box thinking will result in an affordable solar energy system at a fraction of the "standard formula" sold by vendors.

A former member
Post #: 2
Very interesting technology.

I have 2 questions:

1- What does prevent such technology from becoming a main stream solution?

2- What about hydrogen cell to replace the battery? In such a solution the electrical charge produced by the solar panels will be used to produce hydrogen from water. This hydrogen will later be used to produce electricity when the sun is away. Such a solution will not have the limitation of a regular battery and will be cleaner by avoiding the led and other chemical present in batteries. It can be used as well to produce clean water by producing hydrogen from dirty water, while the end result after fusion will be clean water.
A former member
Post #: 2
I am no electrician, and so I speak from a position of ignorance... but it's interesting to see an argument for DC power, is that so? Is this a revival of an old Tesla/Edison debate? Is DC power a better fit with more distributed power systems?
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