Battery Storage and Handling FAQs with Aaron Cunningham from Zeus Battery

The following FAQs were shared with us from Zeus Battery Power Podcast. and were answered by their Application Engineer Aaron Cunningham.

Why is it so important for Engineers / Design team members know about battery storage by each chemistry?
o Different chemistries all have different characteristics including storage requirements. Storage requirements and temperature are some of the most important characteristics of the battery because this will always affect performance. A poorly stored and maintained battery will never perform as well as a properly stored and maintained battery. Anyone who purchases a battery or batteries will always want to get the maximum out of what they pay for, and we work hard to provide that, so properly storing and maintaining batteries helps to ensure that the customer is getting the absolute maximum out of their investment. What would be an example the audience could relate to? – If a lithium polymer battery isn’t stored properly for long enough, you may find it swollen/puffy and likely useless.

• What is the benefit to integrating charge techniques and intervals into the overall scope of use of the product or device?
o Depending on the chemistry, regular charging is very important for the health of batteries. Leaving a battery or batteries on the shelf unmaintained for months or even years at a time ages the battery. This is another way to reduce performance or even ruin your batteries. Which Battery chemistries are the most effective if not done properly and why? – Depending on storage conditions and initial receipt of the packs, lithium ion batteries may be okay with just a bit of capacity loss if not charged/maintained for under a year. It’s recommended to store the batteries at approx. 60% SOC, so storing at above or below that is not ideal.

• What outcomes can result if manufacturers or end users do not properly storage / charge their batteries?
o The main outcome that comes about if batteries are not stored or maintained properly is permanently reduced health and performance. With lithium polymer, if a battery is stored or maintained improperly, this can lead to swelling of the battery to a point where it may not fit in its application.

• How can ZEUS assist customers to become better aware of this knowledge?
o We try to make it clear in all specifications what the recommended storage temperatures are. Our Engineering and Sales teams are dedicated to training our independent sales representatives & electronic distribution partners to communicate this in the beginning discussions of what is required by the customer for their application. We’ve had many customers come back with issues related to improper storage of the batteries and then have to spend time going through the process of troubleshooting what’s wrong with the device or battery, communicating with us here at ZEUS, and overall wasting time that could have been saved by understanding the product.

• What’s the most important part to battery technology? Battery management (i.e. heat management/monitoring) or storage and energy density?
o Not every battery has battery management/monitoring. This is typically only for lithium ion batteries. Energy density is selected based on your needs and application… o Can you please provide an example or two? – We typically provide solutions based on voltage, capacity, and other requirements from customers. So, if the customer’s device requires 12V, 10Ah, and a 5A continuous discharge current we will design the solution around those parameters.

• Is there a storage medium that batteries will always outperform? Fossil fuels? Hydrogen fuel cells?
o Not necessarily. It all depends on the application.

• Is there a limit to energy storage and acquisition in the foreseeable future for batteries?
o As technology advances, there will likely always be improvements to be made for battery technology. At least for the foreseeable future.

• What are the most important recent advancements in battery technology in terms of handling and storage?
• None that I know of.

• Are there any important handling or storage tips that you think are sometimes overlooked?
• Oftentimes, customers receive batteries and then directly store them in their warehouse for months at a time. Particularly with lithium-ion batteries, they are shipped at around 30% State of Charge and must be charged within 45 days to avoid over-discharge. If this isn’t done, it could leave the batteries useless.

How does ambient temperature affect storage recommendations and battery performance?
• Ambient conditions should be held as close to room temperature as possible (~25C and approximately 50% relative humidity). It’s okay to store at lower or higher temperatures (approx. +/-20C) for up to 6 months, but again, anything dramatically higher or lower over a longer period of time will damage the battery and reduce capacity and performance.

• Aaron Cunningham is the Applications Engineer at ZEUS Battery Products. Aaron and the engineering team work closely with customers and strategic partners to identify, develop, and source the proper battery solutions for customers. They work with and are experienced with many different battery chemistries including lithium-ion, lithium iron phosphate, NiMH, NiCD, SLA, and others.

For more information on Zeus Battery products check out our supplier center.

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