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Basics and Advances in Battery Systems

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  • Last Updated August 4, 2021

Basics and Advances in Battery Systems

Battery systems on the station are one of the most common components in both the utility and industrial/commercial power system. In many cases, the original design is marginal or inadequate; the maintenance and testing is practically nonexistent; but the system is called upon during emergency conditions and is expected to perform flawlessly.

This paper will begin with the basic battery theory starting with the electrochemical cell. A working knowledge of the battery cell is important to understand typical problems such as hydrogen production, sulfating, and battery charging. The paper will then lead into a discussion of some of the common batteries and battery chargers. While this paper will concentrate primarily on the lead acid type of battery, the theory can be utilized on other types such as the Nickel-Cadmium.

A reference will be made to industry standards and codes which are used for the design, installation, and maintenance of battery systems. Along with these standards will be a discussion of the design considerations, maintenance and testing, and, finally, some advanced battery system topics such as individual battery cell voltage equalizers and battery pulsing units.

The goal of this paper is to provide the reader with a basic working understanding of battery systems. Only with that knowledge can a person be expected to design and/or properly maintain a battery system which may be called upon during an emergency to minimize the effects of a normal power outage, to minimize personnel hazards and to reduce property damage.

In basic chemistry, it was determined that when a chemical reaction occurs, there is a net change in potential energy. That change normally appears a:s heat being evolved or absorbed from the surroundings. However, the potential energy change in some chemical reactions appears as electric energy. One such type of chemical reaction involving electricity is that of electrolysis. A typical electrolysis circuit is composed of the following:
• dc source such as a battery,
• cathode attached to the negative terminal,
• anode attached to the positive terminal, and
• electrolytic solution such as sodium chloride

Electrons from the dc source enter the cathode and are collected by the positive ion, in this case, sodium. The sodium ion is neutralized by the electron. On the right plate, the anode, electrons are released from the negative ion, in this case, chlorine. The electrons follow the circuit and continue
the chemical reaction.

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