Silicon Dioxide Battery Excellent Performance in Extreme Cold Conditions!

Many places in North America are experiencing cold snaps this time of year. Extreme temperatures can decrease performance or cause damage and failure to most batteries.

If you are using batteries for off-grid, RV or backup power, or are planning to start, it is important to know what batteries can withstand extreme temperatures. Azimuth Solar’s Ultra Long-Life Silicon Dioxide (Lead Crystal) batteries provide outstanding performance in extreme hot and cold weather conditions, faster charging and over 10 year lifespans, at lower lifetime costs.

Silicon Dioxide batteries (aka SiO2, Lead Crystal, or just Crystal batteries) are built to last in rough conditions. These batteries can be discharged deeper, cycled more often (even in extreme temperatures), charge faster and have longer lifespans. They recover to full-rated capacity. They do not require maintenance, special ventilation or cooling, and can be stored up to 2 years without recharge.

Extreme Cold Performance

Lead Acid batteries will freeze at -25C/-13F at 50% charge. The more you power you take from the battery, the easier it is to freeze and damage. Once a battery has frozen, you cannot use it until it is slowly defrosted and checked. This usually kills the battery. Lead Acid batteries can have lower freezing temperature ratings, but that is only helpful if you don’t plan on using them. The freezing point of Lead Acid batteries rises as their charge level drops. If you need a battery during an ice storm or winter blackout, you may not be able to use your Lead Acid batteries when you need them the most.

SiO2 batteries do not suffer from freezing damage and retain more available power at lower temperatures.

A Lead Acid battery at -30C/-22F has only 50% available capacity and you can access only 40% of that before it freezes. For example, a 100Ah battery becomes a 50Ah battery at -30C/-22F. You can only use 40% (20Ah) of that capacity before it freezes. At this temperature your available power is 20Ah if the battery is fully charged to begin with.

Lead Crystal Capacity and Temperature Charge

SiO2 batteries will have reduced capacity at low temperatures, but not the freezing limitations. You can use up to 100% of the available capacity of a SiO2 Battery. For example, at -30C/-22F, a 100Ah SiO2 battery retains 60% capacity, so will have 60Ah of available power (3x power vs. Lead Acid).

SiO2 batteries also outperform most batteries at high temperatures. They are rated to +65C/149F vs, 45-50C/113-122F for Lead Acid. Lead Acid batteries off-gas Hydrogen and Oxygen at high temperatures, an explosive mix that needs to be vented. Flooded batteries require fluid replacement.

Unique Chemistry

The SiO2 technology is unique. Standard Lead Acid batteries suffer from freezing, poor low & high temperature performance, sulfation/corrosion, water loss, off-gassing, transport safety issues and short life cycles. The non-corrosive electrolyte in SiO2 batteries forms crystalline salts when charged/discharged. SiO2 batteries use 95% less sulphuric acid than Lead Acid batteries. They are essentially a “dry-cell” battery with no liquid to freeze, spill or off-gas. Eliminating most of the acid, means that the lead plates last longer and weigh less. Sulphation does not build-up and reduce capacity over time. With the crystalline structure, they can also be used in any orientation.

Longer Lasting

SiO2 Batteries last 2-5X as long as Lead Acid batteries. Deep-cycle Lead Acid batteries are rated from 500 charge/discharge cycles (discount batteries) to 1200 cycles for premium batteries, at 50% depth of discharge levels (DoD). The SiO2 batteries offer a much higher cycle life of 2800 cycles at 50% DoD. Their lifetime cost per cycle averages 1/2 to 1/3 of most deep-cycle batteries.

High Current Discharge Ability

SiO2 batteries have excellent high-current discharge ability and will not suffer any capacity loss when discharged to 100%. The Ultra Long-Life batteries have a rapid charging time in comparison to conventional alternatives. At 25C a 100Ah battery can be charged at 25A per hour resulting in a 4 hour charge time (20-40% faster than AGM and Lead Acid batteries, which typically charge at 15-20C which is 5-7 hours for a 100Ah battery). In practical terms, if you are using a fuel generator to recharge your batteries, you will need to run it 20-40% less with SiO2 batteries, than with Lead Acid batteries.

Environmentally Friendly

Because the SiO2 batteries have less Acid, no cadmium, no antimony, the batteries are up to 99% recyclable and are classified as non-hazardous goods for transport. These batteries are a sustainable, environmentally-friendly, less-toxic option using about ¼ of the resources of regular Lead Acid batteries.

Wide Range of Uses

ULL Batteries come in a variety of sizes for many applications!

They have almost no off-gassing and are well suited for marine use and in enclosed spaces, such as RVs and campers. They are widely used by Telecoms due to their long life span, and extreme temperature resilience. SiO2 batteries are available in a wide range of sizes and voltages, even up to 270Ah 12V 8D batteries and do not require a Battery Management System.

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11 Comments

  1. What’s the cost per battery ??? I want to purchase batteries for solar uses, but a standard lead acid is prolly 1/3 the cost of your battery.

    • Standard lead acid is definitely cheaper looking up front, but so is the quality. If you want a deep discharge battery that has no maintenance, no sulphation, high life cycles and is 99% recyclable you might want to budget for something a little more robust like the Silicon Dioxides. They’re built for extended life and extreme conditions.
      SiO2 batteries are rated for 2800 cycles at standard 50% Depth of Discharge. Budget deep-cycle batteries are rated for about 500-600 cycles. Premium deep-cycle lead acid batteries average about 1200 cycles. The cost per cycle works out to around $.13/cycle for SiO2 and averages $.32/cycle for lead acid. You can buy cheaper lead acid batteries, but you run more risk of them failing at a critical time and you have to replace them relatively often, so there is no cost savings in the long term.
      Check out our web store for pricing and features: http://azimuthsolar.ca/product-category/batteries/ull/. (And if you’d like us to do a cost and life cycle comparison vs your preferred lead acid, send us your projected system specs and we can detail it out.)

    • Dwayne,

      We have many different sizes of batteries ranging from 5Ah to 270Ah. We also offer volume discounts for 3+ and 12+ batteries. If you email us with your requirements, we can provide a free quote and comparison for you.

      The cost upfront is a bit higher for SiO2 batteries, but the cost per cycle is about a 1/3 of the cost of lead acid. They also perform better.

      SiO2 batteries are rated for 2800 cycles at standard 50% Depth of Discharge. Budget deep-cycle batteries are rated for about 500-600 cycles. Premium deep-cycle lead acid batteries average about 1200 cycles. The cost per cycle works out to around $.13/cycle for SiO2 and averages $.32/cycle for lead acid. You can buy cheaper lead acid batteries, but you run more risk of them failing at a critical time and you have to replace them relatively often, so there is no cost savings in the long term.

      Most deep cycle storage batteries are flooded/wet cells, which need regular electrolyte maintenance and ventilation. The SiO2 batteries are maintenance free and do not require ventilation.

      You can find pricing on our web store: http://azimuthsolar.ca/product-category/batteries/ull/

  2. good idea.. good chemistry.. great application.. but considering i can get better performance on a cheaper price for lithium based batteries.. well.. i dont see why i would pay such high prices for little to no gain.. perhaps when “solar” companies in Canada stop gouging.. and start promoting the healthy benefits instead.. then more people might support the concept..

    • Hello Gary,
      A comparable capacity li-ion battery is normally about triple the cost. Our 100Ah SiO2 batteries are $538.94 CAD. A 100Ah li-ion battery runs around $900-1200 USD ($1200-$1600CAD). You can buy cheaper Li-ion cells, but need a BMS/battery balancing system and need to be wired together. You will not find similar performance in a li-ion battery below -4C if you plan on actually using it in winter conditions.

      Lithium ion does not do well in cold weather. Most lithium ion batteries discharge fine in cold to about -20C, but CANNOT be charged much below freezing (0C/32F) without damage. There are some new chemistry li-ion batteries that have greater temperature resilience, but they are harder to find and either more expensive or only available in larger 5kW + size banks.
      For example the Battleborn Li-ion batteries cannot be charged below -4C/25F – they have an auto shutoff if the temperature dips below freezing.
      Most Li-ion batteries must be kept indoors (which is easier to do since they do not offgas and take up less space) or a heater must be added (like in electric cars).
      As for pricing, there are 2 other manufacturers of silicon dioxide/lead crystal batteries (AE Solar, based in Germany and Betta Batteries, based in Australia). Their pricing is 30-80% higher than ours.
      If you do have some other information showing better numbers, we would be happy to see it, as we do want to provide the best value to our customers.
      Our prices include shipping from overseas, duties where applicable, and customs and brokerage. The pricing is for a complete working and manufacturer warrantied battery. If you are looking at a site like Alibaba, then you need to factor all these things in. Li-ion also needs special handling as it cannot be shipped regular air.

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  3. Hi, what is the charge temperature range….can I leave hooked up to my charge controller is temp outside is -20C..?

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