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Why you should consider lithium battery for solar (Bakit importante ang

lithium battery para sa solar) and why we should thank Tesla (at bakit dapat
tayong magpasalamat sa Tesla)
Electric vehicles have come a long way since General Motors (GM) first introduced the EV1, its first
attempt at a mass produced electric vehicles in 1996. When GM introduced the EV1, its lead acid
battery packs weighed 1,175 lb (533 kg). And now Tesla Motors Inc., started in 2003, has arguably
become the most popular electric vehicle manufacturer in the world. One of its flagship models, the
‘Model S’, has a battery that carries a weight of 1200 lb (540kg). If both batteries weigh almost the
same, what makes the TESLA batteries any better that it is now more popular? Because of battery
problems and not enough demand, GM eventually had to kill its electric vehicle program and more
than 1000 EV1s were recalled and crushed in a dumpyard.

Malayo na rin ang narating ng mga e-vehicles mula noong naglabas ang General Motors (GM) ng EV1
noong taong 1996. Noong nilabas ng GM ang EV1, pinatakbo ito ng isang lead acid battery bank na
may timbang na 1,175 lb (533 kg). Ngayon may isa pang kumpanya sa US, Tesla Motors Inc, na sinimulan
noong 2003 na gumagawa ng mga electric vehicle. Isa sa mga modelo nila, ang ‘Model S’, ay mayroong
baterya ng tumitimbang ng 1200 lb (540kg). Gayong halos magkasimbigat ang kanilang baterya, anong
meron ang Tesla at ito’y mas kilala na ngayon sa US at ibang bansa? Dahil sa problema sa baterya,
napilitang isara ng GM and division nila para sa electric vehicles. Higit sa 1000 na EV1 ay pinabalik nila at
pinadurog sa isang junkshop.

The answer lies in their capacity to store and provide energy and this is measured in kilowatt-hours
(kwh). The GM EV1 only had 16.7-18.5kwh of energy content at its disposal for that kind of weight.
The Tesla Model S, on the other hand, has a whopping 85kwh of energy for 540kg of storage. This
gave the first EV1 a range of only 70-100 miles (112-170km). The Tesla Model S meanwhile has an
advertised range of 335miles (540km) before charging. It also has an acceleration of 0-60mph (0-
100kph) of 2.5seconds. All this performance features were made possible because of advances made
from lithium ion battery technology. Lithium ion batteries have a better power to weight ratio and
much better charging and discharging characteristics compared to lead acid.

Ang sagot kung bakit naging mas sikat ang Tesla ay nasa kapasidad ng baterya nito na magbigay ng
kuryente at enerhiya. Ang enerhiya (o energy) ay sinusukat sa kilowatt-hours (kwh). Yung GM EV1 ay
mayroong 16.7-18.5kwh na enerhiya para sa kanyang timbang. Ang Tesla Model S, samantala, ay
mayroong 85kwh para sa kanyang 540kg na timbang. Dahil dito kaya lang patakbuhin ang EV1 ng
hanggang 70-100 miles (112-170km). Samantala kakayanin ng Tesla S tumakbo hanggang 335miles
(540km) bago siya magpakarga ng baterya. Kaya din maabot ang bilis na 60mph (o 100kph) ang Tesla
sa loob lamang ng 2.5seconds (dalawa at kalahating Segundo!).

Because of the relative success of lithium batteries for the TESLA electric vehicles, TESLA released the
Powerwall in 2015 as a stationary energy storage device for residences and commercial
establishments. It was the same battery storage principle they used in the Tesla S, except they made
the capacity smaller at 2kiloWatt-hours (kwh). The good thing about these developments is that the
building blocks inside Tesla’s batteries are 18650 battery cells. And we can get these 18650 cells from
almost anywhere now through the internet. We can get it from Alibaba from Chinese suppliers, from
ebay from repackaged or repurposed cells, or focused distributors such as batterybro.com from
Hongkong and batteryspace.com from the US. So knowing how to assemble and put together these

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cells allow you to build your very own powerwall (note the small ‘p’). There are even facebook groups
dedicated to hobbyists and DIYers dedicated to sharing how this is done.

Dahil sa magandang resulta ng TESLA sa kanyang electric vehicles, naglabas sila ng Powerwall noong
2015 para sa mga bahay at negosyo. Parehong prinsipyo ang ginamit nila sa kanilang baterya na
hinango mula sa karanasan nila sa electric vehicles. Maliban sa mas maliit ang kapasidad (2kwh),
pareho lang ang prinsipyo ng Powerwall sa baterya ng Tesla Model S. Sa loob ng powerwall at bawat
baterya ng Tesla ay ang 18650 battery cells. Ang maganda dito ay puede natin mabili ang mga battery
cells na ito mula sa internet. Maari natin itong mabili mula sa mga Chinese suppliers sa alibaba.com,
mula sa ebay.com kung saan maraming nagbebenta ng 2nd hand na gamit, at mula sa mga distributor
kagaya ng batterbro.com sa Hongkong at batteryspace.com sa US.

There are two main reasons why lithium batteries lend themselves well to DO-IT-YOURselfers (DIYers):

1) Cell assembly is scalable and configurable. You can do as little as 4 cells or expand to as much
as 1000 cells depending on your budget.
2) There is a big secondary market for used cells from devices such as used laptops and power
drills. There is also a lot of secondhand batteries being sold online coming from batteries
previously used in electric vehicles such as Tesla, Chevy Bolt or Nissan Leaf.

May dalawang importanteng dahilan kung bakit maganda ang lithium para sa mga nagbabalak na
gumawa ng sariling baterya:

1) Puede ka magsimula sa 4 hanggang sa 1000 cells. Madali siyang palakihin o paliitin depende
sa inyong pangangailangan at budget.
2) Madali siya mabili ng 2nd hand at yung gamit na. Makukuha natin siya sa mga lumang laptop
at gamit na barena. Marami-rami din ang nagbebenta ‘online’ ng 2nd hand an baterya mula sa
‘electric vehicles’ gaya Tesla, Chevy Bolt at Nissan Leaf.

Lithium batteries, when used properly, have a projected life cycle of 3000 to 5000 cycles. There are
several considerations to making sure that lithium batteries reach their targeted lifetime:

1) They should not be overcharged above 4.2V.


2) They should not be allowed to go below 2.5V.
3) They should not be allowed to overheat.

Kapag ginamit ng tama ang lithium batteries, maari siyang tumagal at gamitin ng 3000 hanggang
5000 na gamit. Meron lang mga kailangan ingatan sa kanyang paggamit:

1) Hindi siya dapat ma-overcharge lampas sa 4.2V.


2) Hindi dapat bumaba sa 2.5V kapag na-diskarga siya.
3) Hindi siya dapat uminit.

For items#1 and #2, an electronic module called the battery management system (BMS) should be
able to take care of this. For item#3, there won’t be a problem as long as you don’t charge the battery
cell too fast too soon. Because Tesla’s superchargers put in a lot of power to their batteries, Tesla has
a patented system for #3 as they let a cooling system kick in as soon as the battery temperature starts
to exceed about 45degreesC (45OC).

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Para sa #1 at #2, yung battery management system (BMS) and bahala. Para sa #3, walang magiging
problema kung hindi ganoon kabilis ang pag-charge sa battery cell. Ang Tesla ay may paraan para
maibsan ang pag-init ng baterya bago lumampas ang temperature ng baterya sa 45degreesC (45OC).

Before we go into how a lithium battery can be charged and discharged and how much energy it can
store or deliver, it’s important to understand the different chemistries available today and their
tradeoffs. It is also important to understand that compared to lead acid batteries, lithium batteries
have 3-6x the energy density as evidenced by the GM EV1 and Tesla battery comparison (See Fig. 1 for
reference).

Bago natin pag-usapan kung paano mag-charge at mag-discharge ng baterya, importante na


intindihin natin ang iba’t-ibang chemistry ng baterya. Importante din na maintindihan natin na higit na
malaki ang energy density ng lithium battery compared sa lead acid na baterya ng 3-6x. Napakita
natin ito nang pinaghambing natin ang GM EV1 na baterya at ang baterya ng Tesla Model S (Fig. 1).

To put this into a local perspective, the Solarmaster SM100 of Motolite weighs 21.4kg. This particular
model has a rating of 100Ah. Using the power and energy equation of Watts = Volts * Amps and
Energy = Watts * hours, we can get Power = 12V*100A and Energy = 1200(VA)h or 1200Watt-hours.
But since we can only get 50% of this capacity without degrading its lifetime capacity severely, we can
only get 600Watt-hours in practice. So the energy density of a Motolite SM100 battery is

Energy density (Wh/kg) = 600Watt-hours / 21.4kg = 28Watt-hour/kg

So if we were to power Tesla’s Model S with lead acid batteries rated at 84kwh, we would need
3000kg of batteries. (A typical car now such as a Toyota Vios weighs in at just a little over 1000kg with

Fig. 1. Energy density of different battery technologies [2]


all its steel, rubber and plastic components.)

Para maintindihan natin ito sa ating lokal na pananaw, ang isang Solarmaster SM100 mula sa Motolite
ay tumitimbang ng 21.4kg. May rating ang SM100 na 100Ah. Mula sa equation ng power at energy

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na Watts = Volts * Amps at Energy = Watt * hours, makukuha natin na Power = 12V*100A at ang
Energy naman ay 1200(VA)h o 1200 Watt-hours. Dahil 50% lang ang makukuha natin dito at kung
hindi masisira kaagad ang baterya, ang talagang mabibigay lang ng baterya at 600Watt-hours.
Kaya’t ang energy density ng Motolite SM100 ay

Energy density (Wh/kg) = 600Watt-hours / 21.4kg = 28Watt-hour/kg

At kung gagamit tayo ng lead acid battery sa 84kwh na baterya sa Tesla Model S, gagamit tayo ng
humigit kumulang na 3000kg na baterya. Sobrang bigat kung lead acid ang gagamitin. (Ang Toyota
Vios ay tumitimbang lamang ng 1000kg).

There are name formats that battery cell manufacturers use for us to identify which type of battery
chemistry they use. Here are some typical battery chemistries and their name formats:

Merong mga ‘format’ na ginagamit ang tagagawa ng battery cell para malaman natin kung anong
klaseng battery chemistry meron sila. Ito yung iba-iba’t ibang chemistry at ang kanilang mga name
format na nakalagay sa kanilang baterya:

Lithium long form chemistry Name Format 1 Name Format 2

Lithium manganese oxide IMR LMO

Lithium manganese nickel INR NMC

Lithium nickel cobalt oxide --- NCO

Lithium cobalt oxide ICR LCO

Lithium Iron Phosphate IFR LFP

Table 1. Chemistries and their naming formats [2]

There are three main chemistries in use right now in the market. Meron tatlong lithium battery
chemistry ngayon na binebenta:

1) Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO).


2) Lithium Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LMC).
3) Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFO).

Because of its high energy density, Li-cobalt is popular for cellphones, laptops and digital cameras.
This type is popular for mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras. Ginagamit ito para sa mga
cellphone, laptop at digital camera. It has an energy density of 150-250Wh/kg but cannot be charged
or discharged above 1C or it will be susceptible to heating. Depending on its load and depth of
discharge (DOD), its cycle life is 500-1000 cycles only.

Most batteries that are used in vapes and flashlights are LIthium manganese batteries (IMR-LMO).
These batteries allow for high drain currents and are generally safer to use. The battery which is

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popular with electric vehicles is the Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC). The addition of
nickel is there to enhance the manganese in IMR-LMO batteries.

The darkhorse among the three, Lithium iron phosphate batteries have a 150-250Wh/kg energy
density. They also can be charged at 1C. It’s main strength however is that you can discharge these
batteries at 25-30C or up to 30x its rated capacity. Depending on DOD, its cycle life can go 1000-2000
runs.

To summarize the differences between the three major types of batteries:

LCO NMC LFP

Specific energy
150-250 150-250 150-250
capacity (Wh/kg)

Nominal voltage (V) 3.6 3.6 3.2

Charge (C-rate) 0.8C 1C 1C

Maximum charging
4.2 4.2 3.6
voltage (V)

Discharge rate (C-rate) 1C 2C 25-30C

Cycle life 500-1000 1000-2000 1000-2000

Thermal runaway 150OC 210OC 270OC

Very flat voltage


Provides high capacity discharge curve but low
Full charge can cause and high power. capacity. One of the
Comments
thermal runaway Enhancement for Li safest chemistries but
Maganese. has elevated self-
discharge.

Table 2. Comparison of three main lithium chemistries [3]

Here are some pictures of lithium battery cells and their names. Mga litrato ng mga baterya at ang
kani-kanilang pangalan.

Panasonic – NCR18650

LG Chemicals – IMR18650 (lithium manganese)

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To understand how a battery should be charged, we need to understand the term C-rate. Each
battery has a capacity that is specified in terms of Ampere-hours. In the case of 18650 cells, they
are smaller so batteries are specified in terms of milliAmpere-hours (mAh). A battery for example
with 100 Amp-hours capacity can give out 10Amps in 10 hours. An 18650 cell can give out 250mA
in 10 hours.

Upang maintindihan kung papaano mag-charge ng baterya kailangan din natin intindihin ang
kanyang kapasidad na magbigay ng kuryente. Bawat baterya ay may kapasidad na nakasaad sa
Ampere-hours. Sa 18650 cells, ito ay nakasaad sa milliAmpere-hours (mAh). Kaya’t ang isang
baterya na may 100 Amp-hours (Ah) ay may kapasidad na magbigay ng 10Amps na kuryente sa
loob ng 10 oras. Kung titignan din natin Ang 18650 cells naman ay nakasaad sa 2500mAh. Ang
ibig sabihin nito ay kayang magbigay ang isang 18650 cell ng 250mA sa loob ng 10 oras. Kung
tignan natin

10Amps * 10h = 100Ah

250mA * 10h = 2500mAh.

The 100A and 2500mA, respectively, are called C-rates. So if the 100Ah battery is to be charged at
1C, then the charger should be able to put out 100Amps (This is big!). If the 2500mAh 18650 cell is
to be charged at 1C, then its charger should be able to put 2500mA or 2.5A.

Ang 100A at 2500mA ay katumbas ng tinatawag na C-rate. Kaya’t kung meron kang 100
Ah na baterya na kailangan ma-charge ng 1C, kailangan magbigay ang charger nito ng 100Amps
(Malaki ito!).

The maximum charging rates are 1C for most cells and the recommended is C/10 (0.1C) to C/2
(0.5C). Ang maximum charging rate sa karamihan ng lithium battery cell ay 1C at ang ni-re-
recommend nil ay C/10 (0.1C) to C/2 (0.5C)

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Author is Gregory Raymund ‘Gerry’ C. Divino. Gerry is the
Founder/CEO of Amatera Solar Technology Inc. (AST) Before
founding AST, he worked on solar as a hobby in 2006,
experimenting with a 20W panel and a homemade charger to
light up a bahay kubo in their garden. In 2013, a family friend
asked their help in reducing their electricity bill. He formalized
AST into a corporation in 2014 to help others take better
control of their energy requirements through solar. Since
then, as of July 2018, AST has installed over 1558 solar panels
in 64 locations all over Luzon. On a sunny day, those ‘power
plants’ deliver 413.8kilowatts of power at its peak, helping its
customers save ₱6M every year in electricity bills. He can be
reached at gerry.divino@amaterasolar.com.

Notes:
[1] https://www.teslarati.com/watch-tesla-battery-thermal-management-action-supercharging/
[2] batterybro.com
[3] Incell Academy, “Comparison of Lithium Technologies”,

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