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Last edited 19 Apr 2022
Types of battery
'Battery' was originally a historic term that referred to a number of large weapons or cannons that could be installed to defend for example a building such as a castle, now more often referred to as an artillery battery. The word is also used to refer to a layout, type of building and practice of farming, normally poultry, where animals are kept in a series of cages or compartments; battery farming.
In the modern context of building design, in perhaps a similar way a battery initially referred to a number of cells that made up an apparatus to produce or store energy. These cells in most cases are electrochemical cells or electric cells (that were at least initially configured in series) to create a battery, an instrument that can store or produce an electrical current by means of a selected electrochemical process.
Internationally the size and capacity of a battery is now standardised and coded accordingly and they have wide range of capabilities and functions. This process is managed in Europe by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
The recycling of batteries at the end of their useful life has become an increasingly important phase mainly because they contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals which can be very harmful to wildlife and the environment. Almost all batteries can be recycled but some more easily than others. The barriers to recycling are mainly poor waste management and education, access to processing facilities, the market and general costs.
A fuel cell is a form of battery that uses electrochemical energy, but using oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity, heat and water. It operates much like a battery, but rather than running down and requiring re-charging or replacement, they can be refuelled. For more information see: Fuel cell.
A thermal battery is used to describe a device or material that can store heat or coolth over a period of time and release it when required. Performance often relates to thermal mass, insulation or phase change capacities.
Other types of battery include:
- Battery storage
- Battery energy storage systems with grid-connected solar photovoltaics BR 514.
- DC isolators for photovoltaic systems (FB 68).
- Domestic micro-generation.
- Energy price crisis: ECA calls for energy levy reform.
- Energy storage - the missing piece?
- Energy storage for buildings.
- Energy storage in buildings - a technology overview BG73 2018.
- The use of batteries to store electricity for buildings.
- Why the UK needs to support emerging tech like energy storage.
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