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NiFe Batteries

Lead acid batteries are common because they are cheap and do the job. They have a big edge on these criteria. Shortcomings include a rather limited life expectancy (less than ten years) and the sulfation problem.

If you want a battery that can sit around for years but not suffer as the lead acid battery does, take a look at NiFe batteries. See the Nickel Iron Battery Association HomePage.

Nickel Iron batteries have a long history and were used by the telephone and railroad industry up to the 1970’s or so. Their energy density by weight is a bit less than lead acid, efficiencies a bit poorer, and energy density by weight a bit less. Despite this, they were often used because deep cycling didn’t bother them, overcharging didn’t destroy them, and they’d last 5 to 10 times as long as lead acid batteries.

A lead acid battery costs about $60 per kWh. NiFe batteries are listed as costing about a hundred times as much. That seems strange as it is even a higher price differential than Lithium Ion batteries represent. See the page at for a lifespan cost per kWh for common batteries (no NiFe, there though).

Where this came from is the survivalist blogs where folks are trying to prepare for TEOTWAWKI. These guys are always trying to prepare their BOB (bug out bag) to GOOD (get outa’ Dodge) when the SHTF. They want food and supplies that will handle storage for years yet be ready when the time comes. The five or so year life expectancy of the typical lead acid battery with its other life issues doesn’t fit the scenario. A NiFe battery is more likely to be there when you need it even if that means ten or twenty years down the road.

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