Batteries play an important role in this modern world. We usually use them in our appliances and several devices. When you hear the word “batteries,” you will probably think of the Double-A (AA) batteries, triple-A (AAA) ones, or the size D batteries. These are the most common types and battery sizes available in the market.
In reality, there are many different types of batteries and battery technologies that you may encounter in different parts of the world. However, battery improvements do not really progress as much as they should. Advancements in batteries are slower than other microelectronic devices.
The unfortunate thing about the batteries is that engineers and scientists behind these things encounter a lot of complexities, so it would not be really easy to throw some advancements on this technology. Since batteries rely on electrochemical processes, you will definitely encounter some limitations and restrictions. Some of these include high cost per watt, short life, slow charging, and storage.
Every unique battery system has its own series of advantages.
However, almost all of these systems have the same disadvantage: these battery systems do not offer a fully satisfactory solution for these batteries’ limitations and restrictions. Several types of batteries give good services, such as nickel-based batteries. However, the science behind these batteries has been overthrown by the lithium-ion batteries, which offer higher energy capacity, little to no maintenance, and lower self-discharge.
Another type of battery that provides excellent service is the lead-acid, a great deep-cycle and starter battery. Lead-acid batteries have excellent battery systems – they offer bulk power at a reasonable price.
Most failures in the battery systems are usually about weak storage capacities and short life. Yes, there may be several kinds of research about new and promising batteries that have good durability, have longer lives, and are environmentally friendly. However, most of these are not yet available in the market and would probably take more years for their commercial viability. Moreover, even though they have not been commercially available yet, some batteries disappear and discontinue their battery systems.
There are many things you can use to create a battery. A lemon can be used as a battery. In fact, you can light a flashlight bulb using 500 lemons. You may also use copper coins and galvanized nails to make batteries. You only need to poke the coin using the nail into its innards.
Seawater used as an electrolyte can also be used as a battery. You may know that the sea produces an unlimited supply of electricity. The bad thing about it is that you can only use the energy retrieved from seawater to light a flashlight.
These are only some of the weird batteries that you can think of. Others have unusual battery sizes, one-of-a-kind battery systems, and many more. Aside from the given batteries, there are still a lot of weird batteries you might want to know. The list below is some of the weirdest batteries you can find.
Just like nickel-cadmium batteries, nickel-zinc batteries use alkaline electrolytes and nickel electrodes. Their difference is that nickel-zinc batteries have a higher voltage, with 1.6V/cell than nickel-cadmium batteries, which have 1.2V/cell.
They first developed this battery in the 1920s. However, it was only short-lived due to dendrites’ growth and electrical shorting. The issues lessened when they improved its battery system, specifically its electrolyte.
This weird battery is slowly getting back to the market and is very attractive to the mass since it does not cost that much, plus it has a good temperature range and high power output.
A nickel-hydrogen battery is also a weird one. The research involving nickel-metal-hydride batteries started in 1967. However, because of the metal’s instabilities, the research shifted towards creating a nickel-hydrogen battery.
To create a nickel-hydrogen battery or NiH, scientists and engineers use steel canisters to keep the hydrogen gases at a pressure of 8,270kPa. The battery cell consists of solid nickel electrodes, hydrogen electrodes, electrolytes kept inside a pressurized container, and gas screens.
Nickel-hydrogen batteries have 1.25V/cell. Their service life is longer because of low corrosion, lesser self-discharge, and an excellent temperature range from -28 degrees celsius to 54 degrees celsius. The only drawback of this battery is that it has a low specific energy and is very costly.
This battery system is ideal for satellites. Currently, scientists are trying to produce NiH batteries that are ideal for terrestrial use. They are also improving the quality of the NiH batteries so that they can be available for commercial use.
This is a weird battery, but theoretically, cryogenic batteries may have one of the most advanced and modern battery systems available for batteries. Cryogenic batteries use a cryogenic cycle of different refrigeration methods using extremely low temperatures.
Not many scientists try to test this kind of battery, and among them are scientists in England who have a cryogenic energy storage plant in Carrington, England. This plant functions by compressing air and cooling it down in a low-pressure vessel to negative 196 degrees celsius. After the air’s stored and cooled down, they expose it to an ambient temperature, causing extreme reclassification and fold expansion, which drives the turbine, in turn, generating power.
This cryogenic energy plant can keep the compressed air for weeks and even months. This battery system may not be a hundred percent efficient and will surely not be affordable.
Flywheel Energy Storage
This is one of the weird batteries that’s been around for quite a long time now. Flywheel energy storage, a weird but excellent battery, is a mechanical battery that uses a flywheel to preserve the rotational energy in the system. The motor slowly spins up the flywheel when you supply energy to the flywheel energy storage. It only slows down whenever this energy storage supplies power to the electrical grids.
The flywheel spins up really fast, and it can reach 50,000 revolutions per minute inside a vacuum. Some of these flywheels are magnetically levitated, which makes them long-lasting. Because of this, many satellites make use of this type of battery system for storing energy and positioning. Aside from the satellites, the flywheel energy storage is also ideal for off-world environments, especially in places where solar energy is not steady.
Flywheel energy storage is among the most excellent storage systems. However, it can be very expensive and impractical, especially for everyday use.