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Second generation Li-Ion battery launched

?Netherlands based electrical systems supplier Mastervolt has launched the Lithium Ion ‘Ultra’ battery, the next generation of deep-cycle power storage technology.

The traditional use of lead plates to store electrical energy has always had strict limitations, but the introduction of Mastervolt’s first generation of high power Lithium Ion battery was a paradigm change.

Lithium Ion batteries are at least three times more powerful than lead-based equivalents, a minimum of three times lighter, and most significantly, offer at least three times the cycle life. They can repeatedly provide useable power to virtual exhaustion with no ill effects, making them ideal for electric propulsion.

Harnessing the knowledge gained from the first generation of Li-Ion batteries, the Mastervolt team has developed what is claimed to be the only second generation Li-Ion on the market, the Ultra series.

The Li-Ion Ultra battery is a completely new design, with every component upgraded and improved for increased performance across all applications. Safety and ease of installation were top priorities but the Ultra battery also holds more power, is far quicker to recharge, and now has most of the peripheral systems fully integrated. The footprint remains the same, allowing a straight swap for existing first generation Li-Ion battery banks.

Inside the new look casing are eight cells of Lithium Iron Phosphate, a silver-like substance that is a third of the weight of water, yet as safe as lead-acid. The low density of Lithium Iron Phosphate allows the battery to be much smaller and lighter than conventional equivalents. At 55kg, this is a weight saving of some 80% for 5kWh. The other big advantage of Li-Ion is that 80% of the power stored is useable, compared with just 40% for lead-acid. Unlike lead-acid, deep discharging to tap this power can be done with impunity, giving an ultra-long battery life of some 2,000 cycles; six times more than conventional batteries, and with no memory effect.

The real key to Mastervolt’s success with this technology is the active-cell balancing system. This moves energy from the highest charged cells to those lower down, to keep energy levels equal right across the battery. In addition, the Ultra batteries can soak up a fast recharge to full capacity in less than an hour, and a common rail connection allows two Ultra batteries to be wired in series without costly external balancing. The batteries can also be connected to a fully integrated power management system, a speciality of Mastervolt, via a simple MasterBus CANbus cable. This reduces charge time by communicating the battery’s needs to all Mastervolt charging devices on board, and can also work through other protocols such as NMEA2000 and ModBus.

Changing a conventional battery installation to a Lithium Ion system previously used to require additional external components, yet in the second generation these have nearly all been incorporated into the battery, simplifying installation and further reducing costs.
Images for this article – click to enlarge
The Li-Ion Ultra battery is a completely new design, with every component upgraded and improved

Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright © Mercator Media 2013. This does not exclude the owner’s assertion of copyright over the material.


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