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UPTEC ES09013

Examensarbete 20 p
September 2009
Pre study of lead acid battery
charging for wind power
Magnus Vidmo




Teknisk- naturvetenskaplig fakultet
UTH-enheten

Besöksadress:
Ångströmlaboratoriet
Lägerhyddsvägen 1
Hus 4, Plan 0

Postadress:
Box 536
751 21 Uppsala

Telefon:
018 – 471 30 03

Telefax:
018 – 471 30 00

Hemsida:
http://www.teknat.uu.se/student
Abstract
Pre study of lead acid battery charging for wind power
Magnus Vidmo
This thesis is a pre-study of lead acid battery charging for variable speed generators
connected to vertical axis wind turbines. A system that controls the turbine to
optimize the energy absorption while the batteries are charged at a healthy and
efficient way is proposed.
The system is made for applications that are sited far away from the main grid, such as
vacation cottages, boats, caravans and radio base stations. The system should be able
to work without maintenance for periods up to a year.
The thesis includes theory of aerodynamics, lead acid batteries and battery charging.
The main subjects are the optimization of the energy absorption from the wind, how
to obtain a long battery life and the integration of a battery bank in the system
without interfering with the consuming load. The system is going to be built and
tested with a vertical axis wind turbine in Marsta north of Uppsala.
ISSN: 1650-8300, UPTEC ES09013
Examinator: Ulla Tengblad
Ämnesgranskare: Hans Bernhoff
Handledare: Mikael Bergkvist
Acknowledgements

Thanks to

Lars Högberg for his enormous patience
Hans Bernhoff, Mikael Bergkvist and Mats Lejion for giving me the opportunity to
work with this master thesis
Kristina Edström for all the contributed battery knowledge
Erik Dore’ for good company during late evenings
Mikael Bergkvist and Olle Svensson for good advices
Oscar Bernberg for the programming help



Sammanfattning


Förnyelsebar energi är ett viktigt ämne i den politiska debatten i dagsläget. Den
svenska regeringen har satt ett mål att bygga ut vindkraften till en produktion på 30
TWh/år innan 2020. På Ångströmslaboratoriet i Uppsala utvecklas en ny sorts
vertikalaxlade vindkraftverk.

Den största skillnaden mellan vertikalaxlade och horisontalaxlade vindkraftverk är att
vertikalaxlade inte behöver vridas efter vinden, de är tystare och den tunga generatorn
kan sättas på marken istället för längst upp vid turbinen. En del av forskningen för de
vertikalaxlade vindkraftverken görs för kraftverk som inte ska vara nätanslutna.
Energin måste då lagras på något sätt. Detta examensarbete är en del av den
forskningen.

Energilagring i batterier är väl beprövat, speciellt blybatterier tack vare den stora
bilindustrin. Det finns en mängd olika typer av blybatterier gjorda för olika ändamål.
Dessutom finns det många olika sätt att ladda ett batteri på.

Syftet med examensarbetet är att utveckla ett system som klarar av att kontrollera ett
vindkraftverk samtidigt som en batteribank laddas på ett optimalt sätt. Vindkraftverket
ska kontrolleras genom att batteriet laddas mer eller mindre. På detta sätt kan man
hålla en förutbestämd rotationshastighet på turbinen optimerat för att utvinna så
mycket energi ur vinden som möjligt. Förutom detta har en för ändamålet passande
batterityp valts ut.

Hur mycket energi som kan absorberas beror på hur snabbt turbinen snurrar relativt
vindhastigheten. För att styra turbinen så att den ligger på en hastighet som alltid
motsvarar optimal energiabsorption tar man ut mer eller mindre effekt ur generatorn.
Turbinens hastighet beror av dess rotationsenergi, om det dras mer effekt ur
generatorn så kommer turbinen att snurra långsammare och vice versa.

Själva styrningen av vindkraftverket sker i en så kallad mikrocontroller, vilken kan
liknas vid en primitiv dator. Mikrocontrollern är programmerad med en önskad
laddningsalgoritm som talar om hur batterierna ska laddas beroende på hur
uppladdade de är för tillfället. En laddningsalgoritm är en slags karta vilken batteriet
ska laddas efter under hela uppladdningsförloppet. För att laddningen ska kunna styra
hastigheten på turbinen visar laddningsalgoritmen endast en maximal ström eller
spänning som batterierna kan laddas med för tillfället. Det kan alltså, och kommer
oftast att laddas med en styrka som ligger under den maximalt tillåtna. Det betyder att
batterierna kommer att laddas under längre tid än vad de skulle ha gjort ifrån en
kontinuerlig energikälla.

För att ett batteri ska laddas optimalt och få lång livslängd och hög kapacitet ska det
inte laddas med för höga strömmar. Det blir därför viktigt att dimensionera
batteribanken efter kapaciteten på vindkraftverket och de aktuella vindförhållandena.

En annan viktig del i systemet är en DC/DC omvandlare som sänker spänningen till
den önskvärda för batteriladdning. Det är DC/DC omvandlaren som styrs av
mikrocontrollern. Det är alltså där som själva effektstyrningen sker vilket leder till att
turbinen hålls vid en önskad hastighet.

För att förtydliga laddningssättet så kan det sägas att batterierna laddas med den effekt
som finns tillgänglig för tillfället beroende av den rådande vindhastigheten men de
laddas aldrig över ett visst tak som är satt av laddningsalgoritmen.

Om mer energi måste dras ur generatorn för att hålla turbinen i rätt hastighet än vad
laddningsalgoritmen är satt till vid ett visst tillfälle så måste energin dumpas.
Dumpningen av energi kan t.ex. göras med värmeelement eller kylfläktar.

I kontrollsystemet som innefattar elektronik samt batteribanken är batteribanken en
stor kostnad. Eftersom investeringskostnaden för batterierna blir en mycket stor del av
den totala kostnaden så är det viktigt att batterierna drivs på ett sätt som ger en lång
livslängd. Parametrar som påverkar ett batteris livslängd är temperatur,
laddningshastighet, urladdningshastighet, antal genomgångna cykler samt hur djupa
cyklerna är. En cykel är ett laddnings och urladdningsförlopp. Djupet på en cykel
beskriver hur mycket energi som tagits ur batteriet i förhållande till den maximala
batterikapaciteten. Det är alltså många parametrar som påverkar ett batteris livslängd,
dessutom påverkar de flesta parametrarna varandra. Allt detta måste tas hänsyn till när
laddningsalgoritmen skapas.

Det finns många olika batterityper. I detta arbete är endast blybatteriet omnämnt.
Blybatteriet är ett mycket robust och prispressat batteri med en lång historia bakom
sig. Den långa bakgrunden och det förhållandevis låga priset gör blybatteriet till ett
självklart val i ett samanhang som detta. Det forskas mycket på andra batterityper som
har bättre egenskaper för t.ex. livslängden, men än så länge är dessa alldeles för dyra.

För många användningsområden är det viktigt att det krävs så lite underhåll som
möjligt. Batterier som inte kräver mer underhåll än cirka en tillsyn per år är önskvärt.
En batterityp har tagits fram under de senaste åren som gör att kontinuerlig
vattenpåfyllning inte längre behövs. Dessa blybatterier kallas för VRLA batterier
(ventilreglerade blysyra batterier). De är slutna batterier med en innesluten process
som gör att det vatten som förgasas återförvandlas till vatten igen och därför behålls i
batteriet. Dessa batterityper blir därför ett lämpligt val för applikationer som ska klara
så lite underhåll som möjligt.

Det ställs även vissa krav på batteriernas egenskaper när det gäller cykling och att tåla
djupa urladdningar. För dessa ändamål är truckbatterier väl anpassade. Denna typ av
blybatterier klarar både djupa och många cykler innan de måste bytas ut. De är
byggda för att cyklas en gång om dagen och för att kunna laddas snabbt till
nästkommande dag. De är ofta ihopsatta med separata tvåvoltsceller. Detta gör att det
blir billigare att göra ett byte ifall att en cell skulle gå förlorad.



Abbreviations

VAWT Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
HAWT Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine
AC Alternating Current
DC Direct Current
OCV Open Circuit Voltage
TSR Tip Speed Ratio
IGBT Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor
MOSFET Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor
PWM Pulse Width Modulation
SOC State Of Charge
SLI Start, Lighting, Ignition
VRLA Valve regulated lead acid
AGM Absorbent Glass Matt
GEL Gelified Electrolyte

Table of contents

1. Background ....................................................................................... 6
1.1. Research projects for Wind turbines at Uppsala University that
will be involved in this thesis........................................................... 7
1.2. Earlier thesis for the project ............................................................ 8
1.3. Purpose ............................................................................................ 10
1.4. Method ............................................................................................. 10
1.5. Problem formulation ....................................................................... 10
1.6. The thesis structure ....................................................................... 10
2. Theory .............................................................................................. 12
2.1. Aerodynamic theory for wind power ............................................ 12
2.2. Load control of a VAWT ................................................................ 15
2.3. Consequences of variable speed VAWTs for stand alone
consumers ....................................................................................... 17
2.4. Battery theory .................................................................................. 18
2.4.1. The chemical reaction in the lead acid cell ................................ 18
2.4.2. The construction of the lead acid battery ................................... 19
2.4.3. Important parameters for the battery operation ......................... 21
2.4.4. Charging and discharging for lead acid batteries ...................... 30
2.4.5. Cycling and lifespan of the battery .............................................. 38
2.4.6. Different available battery types ................................................... 39
2.4.7. Connections of batteries for a battery bank ............................... 41
3. Result ............................................................................................... 42
3.1. Summary of the battery theory ..................................................... 42
3.2. The system configuration .............................................................. 43
3.3. Choice of charging algorithm for the final solution .................... 46
3.4. Choice of battery type .................................................................... 49
3.5. Battery bank dimensioning ........................................................... 50
4. Discussion ....................................................................................... 52
4.1. Future work ..................................................................................... 52
5. Conclusion ....................................................................................... 53
References ................................................................................................................. 55
Appendix 2 .................................................................................................................. 59
Appendix 3 .................................................................................................................. 60
Appendix 4 .................................................................................................................. 62


6
1. Background

Nowadays renewable energy is growing strongly on the energy market. In Sweden the
government has a development goal to install wind power that gives 30TWh/year
before 2020. [1] At the Ångström laboratory, Uppsala University, new strategies for
wind power are being developed. The red thread in the research is to use simple and
robust constructions to optimize the total performance of the entire system. That
means usages of minimal amount of different parts and minimal amount of
mechanical parts to reduce maintenance. The main ideas to achieve simple and
reliable generators are to use directly driven permanent magnet generators with
variable speed, that’s a slow rotating generator with many poles. This technique
doesn’t include a gearbox. At Uppsala University the main line for wind energy
converters are vertical axis wind turbines VAWT, see Figure 1. The big difference
between a VAWT and a Horizontal axis wind turbine HAWT is that the VAWT
doesn’t need to be adjusted after the direction of the wind and the heavy generator can
be put on the ground. Besides this the VAWT has a lower noise level than the more
conventional HAWT.



Figure 1. Vertical axis wind turbine [22]

This thesis is a part of a project for wind power where grid connection isn’t possible.
Instead of using a diesel aggregate for power source, the VAWT will be used together
with a large battery bank where the received energy will be stored.

There is a large difference in the shape of the entire system if the system is grid
connected or not. The biggest difference is that the energy must be stored somehow.
The storages are also a very expensive part of the system and it is therefore very
important to maximize the batteries capacity.

Some users for these products could be isolated cottages in offside areas, radio base
stations, smaller applications for boats and caravans and many more areas.


7
1.1. Research projects for Wind turbines at Uppsala
University that will be involved in this thesis


In 2006 a VAWT was built in Marsta north of Uppsala. Marsta has been a place for
meteorological studies for many years, and now it also serves as a research place for
VAWTs.

The first VAWT that was built at Uppsala University is called Lucia, see Figure 2.
Lucia is six meter high with three 5 meter long fixed blades. It generates 12 kW at a
wind speed of 12 m/s. The generator is a permanent magnet generator placed on the
ground with the axis connected to the turbine. The prototype is available for different
tests and research projects in the search for the best working technique for an entire
wind power station. [2]



Figure 2. The Lucia turbine in Marsta. [2]


In 2008 another research turbine was built in Marsta named Birgit see Figure 3. It’s a
10 kW VAWT with a four-bladed H-rotor, made for Ericsson’s new radio
communication tower, “the tower tube”. The generator is a permanent magnet
generator placed as a ring on the tower with the blades directly mounted to the rotor.
Ericsson wants to use renewable energy sources, e.g. wind power, instead of diesel for
radio base stations where grid connection isn’t possible. [3]

8

Figure 3. The Tower tube turbine in Marsta.
1




1.2. Earlier thesis for the project

In an earlier thesis for the same project a control system circuit was made by Lars
Högberg. This thesis is among others based on the former work done in [4]. The
earlier circuit below (Figure 4) has been reformed to operate in desired way for the
battery charging system.












1
The picture is taken from www.verticalwind.se

9


Figure 4. Schematic overview of the control system [4]


10

1.3. Purpose

The purpose of this master thesis is to develop a cost-effective method to run a battery
bank in the best possible way for off grid consumers.

1.4. Method

To meet the purpose, a study of the earlier built system and reconfiguration of it have
been done. To know how the new system should be built in the best way to keep the
cost down and to maintain a long life for the batteries, theories for the following
subjects have been investigated:

-load control for the VAWT
-DC/DC step down converters
-Parts and their functions of the lead acid battery
-Different available lead acid batteries on the market today and which one that will
suit this project best
-Different charging methods available for lead acid batteries
-Conditions affecting battery life time

Search to find and buy a suitable DC/DC converter and other needed parts for the
configuration have been made. This thesis will later result in a built and tested system
for the Tower tube wind mill in Marsta north of Uppsala.

Apart of this, a program have been made in Matlab that calculate the storages capacity
needed for a special area only using wind data of the specific area. For different sizes
of the battery bank the amount of diesel to maintain the energy needed can also be
calculated in the program. Results of the program can be seen in appendix 4.

1.5. Problem formulation

The major issues to solve for the project are:

-How is it possible to control the load for the turbine while it’s connected to a battery
bank?
-How will the batteries be affected of the new load control system?

1.6. The thesis structure

To make a good conclusion in the result there is a lot of theory to be aware of. The
theory section starts with the aerodynamic theory of the turbine. This theory is
important considering the efficiency of the load control. After that section the load
control is explained. The PWM of the load control is described in the appendix in the
back. Then the battery theory is described. All the different battery parts and
11
parameters that are important for the battery charging, discharging and the effects of
the load control are mentioned. Different types of batteries that are of interest for the
purpose are mentioned and also different ways of charging and discharging.

In the result all the theory is used to make a good solution for an appropriate scheme
of the entire load control system. The finally charge algorithm and the battery
charging microcontroller is described. A choice of a specific battery type is made.
Finally the dimensioning of the battery bank is done. The dimensioning includes a
program made in Matlab that gives the battery dimension for a specific wind site. The
program is further described in chapter 3.5 and in appendix 4.

12
2. Theory

2.1. Aerodynamic theory for wind power


To extract the most possible power from the wind the airfoils should have a special
design. The design is important but the winds angle of attack at the blades is also very
important. The angle of attack is the angle between the chord line and the relative
wind, see Figure 5. When the blade is moving it will feel a wind that is caused by its
own movement. The relative wind is the resultant of the actual wind speed and the
wind speed caused by the blades movement. The relative wind will then change when
the speed of the blade is changing.

To optimize the extraction of the wind a desired angle of attack should be kept at all
time. The wind results in a resultant force on the blades. The resultant force can be
divided in a lift force and a drag force, see Figure 5. The tangential force that is in the
direction of the blades movement is the force that is contributing to the energy
conversion. The angle of attack that gives the highest tangential force is the desired
angle to keep all along.


Figure 5. Angle of attack, Lift force and Drag force for an airfoil.

For a wind turbine there are several different ways to maintain the desired angle of
attack. One common way is to have an inbuilt system in the blades that angle the
blades in the desired position. This is called pitching. Another way is to keep the
turbine at a desired speed which keeps the angle to the relative wind constant. This
means that for a specific wind speed there is a specific turbine speed causing the
desired angle of attack. In fact there is a typical number relation between the
undisturbed wind and the speed of the tips of the blades called λ, the tip speed ratio.

13
C
p
is a value of the efficiency of the rotor which depends directly on the angle of
attack of the airfoil. To achieve the highest efficiency for the turbine C
p
should be as
high as possible. C
p
is the ratio between turbine power and the existing power in the
wind.

wind the in Power
power Rotor
C
p
= (1)

It is impossible for the turbine to extract all power in the wind. A part of the incoming
wind will not be absorbed. If all the power in the wind would be extracted by the
turbine, all of the incoming air would be accumulated behind the turbine which of
course would be impossible (see [5] for a deeper understanding). Because of this there
is a maximum value of C
p
= 16/27 for a HAWT. This Value is called the Betz limit.

For a turbine that has fixed blades (without a pitching system) the tip speed ratio λ is
an important parameter to achieve high efficiency. λ is a number of how much faster
the tip of the blade is moving than the undisturbed wind.

speed wind d Undisturbe
blade the of speed Tip
= ì (2)

Note that for a VAWT the speed is the same for the whole blade.

A specific λ will give a specific C
p
for a specific turbine. The optimum value of λ can
be measured and calculated for a specific turbine, see Figure 6.


Figure 6. Measured Cp points for different λ for the Lucia turbine. [21]

14
This means that when the undisturbed wind speed increases, the tip speed of the blade
must increase to keep an optimum λ ensuring an optimum C
p
.

For the Lucia turbine λ=4 is the optimum tip speed ratio to achieve highest C
p
. That
means that the tip speeds of the blades should always be four times faster than the
actual wind, but above a given wind speed this is not possible (see Figure 7).

Change of the rotors tip speed
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
0 5 10 15 20 25
The undisturbed wind [m/s]
T
h
e

r
o
t
o
r

t
i
p

s
p
e
e
d

[
m
/
s
]

Figure 7. The rotors tip speed changing with the wind speed.

A wind energy converter has limits depending on the construction. The maximum
tolerance will be reached at a given wind speed, e.g. the bearings have a maximum
tolerance speed. After the point where the maximum tolerance wind speed is achieved
the turbine is set to continue to rotate at the same speed. After this point λ will
decrease and C
p
will follow causing a lower efficiency. In Figure 6 the C
p
value will
slide down to the left of the top.

The power in the wind that the turbine can absorb is

3
2
1
v AC P
p
o = (3)

where δ is the density of the air, A is the swept turbine area and v is the wind velocity.
[5]

Figure 8 shows the achieved power for a certain wind speed for Lucia. This graph
shows what would happen with the power outtake if there were no construction limits
15
of the wind power station. The diagram also shows when the Lucia turbine will start
to extract power. This will be done when the wind reaches 4 m/s. [6]


Figure 8. The theoretical power outtake of the Lucia turbine in kW. The red dotted line shows
the power absorbed if there were no construction limits of the wind power station. Between 4-10
m/s the tip speed ratio (TSR) is 4. After 10 m/s the turbine speed is fixed. [6]

2.2. Load control of a VAWT

As said above the turbine should be kept at a specific speed specified for a certain
wind speed to achieve a high C
p
and also not to destroy the turbine. The system that
controls this is called the load control.

The tip speed of the blade is measured adjuvant with the voltage from the generator.
The voltage is proportional to the rotor speed,

dt
d
N U
u
= (4)

16
where U is the generated voltage, N is the number of turns of the windings, and
dt
du

is the time derivate of the alternating flux.

The power for a rotating body is dependent of the torque and the angular velocity

P=M*ω (5)

where P is the power, M the torque and ω the angular velocity. The power outtake is
the voltage multiplied with the current

P=U*I (6)

where I is the current. Equation 4 and equation 5 gives that as said before U is
proportional to ω and I is proportional to M.

The control system is made to take out more or less power from the turbine to control
the turbine speed. If the turbine is rotating too fast, above the desired speed, a higher
power outtake must be made to slow down the turbine. When the turbine is rotating to
slow less power is taken out, and the absorbed wind power will be stored in the
rotating turbine causing it to speed up.

The control is made to keep the turbine at fixed rotation speed during short time
periods. During longer periods of several minutes the controlling mechanism is set to
keep the turbine at a mean value of λ.

To understand the controlling mechanism better the function “pulse width
modulation” (PWM) must be understood.

PWM is a tool that gives the opportunity to control a parameter to approach a desired
value. For example a DC/DC converter gets an in value of U
in
=100 Volts and the
output U
out
should be 48 Volts. The desired value is then 48 V. A control value the
duty cycle D is then multiplied with U
in
to get U
out
, as in equation 6. The duty cycle
yields a signal to a switching device. D is a value of how much of the time the switch
should be open or closed.

U
out
=D*U
in
(7)

D is set with a control signal set by typically a triangle wave. U
in
will pass the triangle
wave in some height. Depending on where U
in
passes the triangle wave D will get a
different value. A deeper explanation can bee seen in Appendix 1. PWM can be
managed in many ways and the one that is mention is just one of many different types.
[4] [7]




17
2.3. Consequences of variable speed VAWTs for
stand alone consumers

Intermediate energy sources like wind power have one major issue. They produce a
fluctuating power. At the main grid this is solved by regulating power as e.g. hydro
power. However, this will be a problem for island-operated systems. The load demand
will not be the same as the power from the VAWT.

To solve this problem the excess energy has to be stored one way or another, or be
dumped as heat. When the power is too low, some other energy source has to support
the load. The support and storage device could e.g. be a battery.

A load has regulation for its input voltage. A variable speed machine gives different
voltages depending on the present wind speed. These types of machines are supported
by power electronics to give a desired voltage and frequency when connected to the
main grid. This is also the case when the machines work for stand alone consumers,
see Figure 9.

The fluctuating voltage from the VAWT is controlled by a DC/DC converter that
supplies the load with the desired voltage. If the power from the VAWT is too low,
the external source must be able to supply the desired power for the load. A battery
gives a higher voltage when fully charged compared to when partly discharged. The
battery voltage range must be in the desired range of the load.


Figure 9. An example for how a scheme for an island operated VAWT could look like. At a
specific time the VAWT gives 2 kW, the load demand is 1 kW, 0,5 kW can be accepted by the
storages device and 0,5 kW must be dumped as heat. The voltage is predetermined for a specific
wind speed to keep the desired λ and the current will therefore be fluctuating depending of the
power produced. The current is proportional to the torque and the torque will therefore also
fluctuate.

18
The wind is constantly changing. The optimum would be to regulate the turbine speed
according to the exact wind speed at all time. This is not possible in reality. The
control system that regulates the power outtake has to have some kind of time step.

It’s neither possible nor necessary to regulate the turbine after all the rapidly changing
gusts. It’s very difficult to make accurate measurements of the wind speed during
short time steps. The turbine also has a large moment of inertia which reduces the
possibility of fast regulations.

A mean wind over a longer period is used which will keep the frequency of the
control system low. The result of this is that λ will not be at optimum during strong
short gusts and C
p
will be lower, but the turbine will run smother. Frequencies that are
harmful for the load should be avoided or filtered.

2.4. Battery theory

Battery theory in this thesis only concerns the lead acid battery.

2.4.1. The chemical reaction in the lead acid cell

The lead acid battery has lead dioxide (PbO
2
)

and metallic lead (Pb) as active material
on the positive and negative electrode, see Figure10. The electrolyte is a sulfuric acid
(H
2
SO
4
) solution of typically 37 weight percent of acid. During the discharging state
the lead and lead dioxide are consumed with the sulfuric acid solution to produce
water and lead sulphate (PbSO
4
). The lead sulphate will be formed at the electrode
surfaces. When the battery is charged the process reverses, the lead sulphate is broken
down resulting in lead dioxide and lead recovered to the positive electrode respective
to the negative electrode. The chemical reaction for discharging is as follows:

For the negative anode: Pb  Pb
2+
+ 2e

Pb
2+
+ SO
4
2-
 PbSO
4


For the positive cathode: PbO
2
+ 4H
+
+ 2e  Pb
2+
+ 2H
2
O

Pb
2+
+ SO
4
2-
 PbSO
4


Total reaction: Pb + PbO
2
+ 2H
2
SO
4
 2PbSO
4
+ 2H
2
O

19

Figure10. Schematic picture of the lead acid battery being discharged.

2.4.2. The construction of the lead acid battery

The battery’s equivalent model is shown in Figure 11. The inductive reactance of the
battery is neglected for low frequencies, while the capacitive reactance is increasing
with lower frequencies. More about the battery parameters will be explained later. [8]
[9]


Figure 11. Model of a battery according to Randles’ battery model. C
1
is considered to be the
main charge storage, R
3
is the self discharge resistance, R
1
is the resistance of the battery’s
terminals and inter-cell connections and C
2
and R
2
are results of shifting electrolyte
concentrations and plate current densities. [8]

The battery is built up by individual cells that are serial connected, see Figure 12.
Each cell is of two volts. The common 12 volt battery is therefore divided in 6 cells.
Each cell consists of a positive and a negative plate with a separator between them.
The end positive plate is connected to a positive terminal and the negative end plate is
connected to the negative terminal. The plates of same polarity are connected to each
other with straps. See Figure 12 for a cross section overview of a battery.
20

The capacity of the cell is proportional to the surfaces area of the plates that are in
contact with the electrolyte. The plates are often made as a paste with a lot of pores
that increases the active plate area. The active material is fixed by a grid which works
as a mechanical support and current conductor. This construction is called the flat
pasted plate and is very common for the negative plate. The positive plate is
commonly either a flat plate or a tubular plate. The tubular plate has many advantages
for heavy cycled operations. The paste are there held in micro porous tubes that are
connected in series. To increase the capacity even further plates can be parallel
connected to achieve a larger active area.

The grids are made of lead alloys. The lead is not strong enough as a support for the
active material. Metals as antimony, calcium, selenium or tin can be alloyed to
improve the grids. The alloys change the properties of the plates in different ways.

- The antimony alloys can be deep cycled more times than the calcium alloys.
- Tin added to lead-calcium alloys improves the cycling capability.
- The calcium alloys have lower self discharge rate.
- If the cells are long time overcharged the positive calcium alloyed plates will
grow due to oxidation which can cause the cell to be damaged
- Adding Selenium gives plate properties between the antimony and the calcium
alloys.

The most used alloys are antimony and calcium.

The separators main function is to electrically insulate the plates from each other. The
electrolyte which makes the electron transport possible has to be able to pass through
the separator. The separators construction is therefore very important. [10] [11]




Figure 12. Cross section of the lead acid battery.
2



2
The picture is taken from www.reuk.co.uk/Lead-Acid-Batteries.htm
21

2.4.3. Important parameters for the battery operation

Parameters mentioned here are different specified voltages, battery losses, internal
resistance, battery capacity, C-rate, SOC, the electrolyte density and the temperature.

Voltage

The theoretical voltage of a battery is a function of its construction and the
surrounding temperature. The cathode and anode materials and the structure of the
electrolyte are parameters that all matters for the voltage value.

The open circuit voltage OCV is a function of the electrolyte concentration and the
temperature. The OCV is a close approximation of the theoretical voltage which is
2.125 V per cell for a fully charged cell with a 1.28 kg/dm
3
electrolyte concentration.
The OCV is the voltage that is given when the current is zero.

The cut off voltage where the battery is said to be fully discharged is around 1.75
V/cell. The cut off voltage is specified by the manufacturer and is a function of the
discharge rate and the temperature.

During charge the charge voltage is between 2.3 and 2.8 V/cell depending of the
charge algorithm.

The gassing Voltage is the voltage when the temperature is so high so the electrolyte
will start to gas. The cell gassing voltage is specified in Figure 13 for different
temperatures.


Figure 13. Cell gassing voltage at different temperatures. [10]

These values mention above are none specific values of lead acid batteries. Different
types of lead acid batteries have slightly different values. [10] [11]



22
Losses of the battery cell and the internal resistance

Losses from the battery are dependent of the polarization and the internal impedance.
The losses are given as waste heat. A lead acid battery has a typical efficiency of 85%
from charging to discharging.

There are two different polarization phenomena. The activation polarization drives the
electrochemical reactions at the electrode surfaces. The concentration polarization is
due to the concentration difference of the products and reactants at the electrode
surface.

The internal impedance also consumes energy and reforms it to waste heat. The
internal impedance causes a voltage drop which is proportional to the current drawn
from the system. The battery’s total internal resistance which follows ohm’s law is a
sum of the characteristics of the electrolyte, the active mass, the plates, the straps, the
terminals and the contacts between them. The internal resistance is an indication of
how deteriorated a battery is. The resistance will rise when the battery is aging.

The internal impedance rises during discharge and decreases during charge due to the
electrolyte’s changing chemistry.

The losses due to polarization and internal impedance rise with higher currents, which
can be seen in Figure 14. The power losses are dependent of the current in quadrate.

on polarizati
R I P - =
2
(8)

To get most possible theoretic capacity out of the battery a low current should be
drawn from the battery. Although there is a limit for how low the current should be. If
the current is as low as the polarization current then the losses will remarkable big.


Figure 14. Losses with increasing discharge current. [10]
23

A comparison to the conventional car engine can be made. An engine that will be
driven at low speed will consume less gasoline than an engine that will be driven at
high speed, covering the same distance.

Battery capacity, C-rates and state of charge (SOC)

The battery capacity can be described in many different ways. Therefore is it
important to specify exactly what kind of capacity that is being discussed to avoid
misunderstandings. The maximum capacity available in a battery is determined by the
battery’s quantity of active material, the surface area of the plates and the amount of
electrolyte. These factors only depend on how the battery is constructed, but the
battery capacity also depends on how the battery is used.

The battery capacity is often rated after the current rate. The capacity is different
depending of the current rate during discharge and charge, see Figure 15.


Figure 15. The discharge rate effect on the capacity for traction batteries with tubular plates and
flat pasted plates. [10]

The rate is called the C-rate. A battery that is discharged with a rate C
1
is totally
discharged with a constant current during one hour. If it’s a C
5
rate the battery will be
discharged with constant current during 5 hour’s. The C
5
rate has a lower current rate
but the C
5
rate will also deliver more energy than the C
1
rate out of the same battery.
The nomenclature of C
1
is equal to 0.1C or C/1. The charging current rate is
mentioned in the same way. A C
20
battery is charged during 20 hour’s.

An extension of the nomenclature is e.g. 0.1C
5
, which means that a battery that is
rated to e.g. X Ah at the C
5
rate is discharged with a rate of C
10
.

24
It’s important to notice that the capacity is specified for a specific C-rate, while
retailers have different standard rates when they specify the battery capacity. A
Sonnenschein 602 battery can e.g. deliver 12 A during 100 hours (C
100
rate) giving a
totally capacity of 1200 Ah at 20 °C. If the same battery delivers a constant current of
100 A it can only be discharged for 10 hours (C
10
rate) before it reaches the cut of
voltage, the total capacity is then only 1000 Ah. Note that the battery that is rated to
1000 Ah during a constant current can still give more energy if the current will be
lowered, see Figure 17. Even though, it can never give the same amount of energy as
the one which was discharged with a lower C-rate. There will always be larger losses
for the higher C-rates. [10] [11] [12]

When a battery is totally discharged it has reached its cut of voltage. After this point
the voltage will continue to fall but there is not much more energy left to drain and the
battery will only be damaged. The cut of voltage is different dependent off the C-rate
and the type of battery. Higher C-rates has a lower cut off voltage as can be seen in
Figure 16.


Figure 16. The discharge time in relation to the discharge current. The discharge time is
measured until the cut off voltage is reached. The cut off voltage is following the dotted line in the
figure and is dependent of the discharge current. The figure is only an example of a specific
battery and will differ for different batteries.

If the battery is discharged to its cut off voltage at a specific C-rate it can still give
more energy at a lower C-rate as can be seen in Figure 17. When the discharge current
is less the battery voltage will get higher and the battery can be discharged again. If
the battery in a Mp3 player is empty it can e.g. still be used in a remote control to the
TV that uses a lower current.

25

Figure 17. The voltage for a battery discharged at sequentially lower C-rates.

The battery capacity left to use at a given time for a specific C-rate is often stated as
the state of charge SOC. The SOC is a percent value where the Ah discharged and
charged from the battery is divided with the nominal capacity of the battery at a
specific C-rate. If the battery will be discontinued discharged with moments of
charging the SOC formula will be

NomCap
dt I dt I NomCap
SOC
e ch
e ch
e disch
e disch
arg
arg
arg
arg
1 1
q q
- + - ÷
=
} }
(9)

where NomCap is the nominal capacity of the battery at a specific C-rate, I
discharge
is
the discharge current, I
charge
is the charge current, η
discharge
is efficiency of the
discharge and η
charge
is the efficiency of the charge. The overall efficiency of the
battery charged and discharged is a quota between the energy delivered during charge
and the energy received during discharge. It’s difficult to measure η
discharge
and

η
charge

individually.

The usage of SOC can be a bit confusing while the nominal battery capacity is stated
at a specific C-rate. The C-rate that the SOC is stated for is typically the C-rate close
to the optimum C-rate where the battery can deliver a maximum possible amount of
Ah. This means a current rate so low that there will be minimum possible losses.

If a battery is rated to 200 Ah at a specific C-rate and it’s at 80% SOC then it can still
deliver 160 Ah before it reaches the cut of voltage at that specific rate.

To make it even more confusing the SOC can be stated for the nominal capacity as
said above or it can be stated after the last charge completed. If the SOC value is
stated after the latest charge it will be a higher percentage than for the comparison
with the nominal capacity when the battery was unused. A battery can then have a
SOC that is 100% but it’s only 80% of the nominal capacity when the battery was
new. This is due to the batteries ageing parameters that deteriorate the cells. To avoid
confusion let’s call the SOC stated in comparison to the new battery qualities for only
26
SOC and the aging batteries SOC for SOCage. The different SOCs are good
parameters for different things for e.g. the charge algorithm. [10] [13]

The SOC is either measured with the assistance of the electrolyte density, the OCV or
with the equation 9. Note that the density measurement can not be done with VRLA
batteries. One way to know when the battery will be fully charged is to measure when
the current decreases till its gets constantly small over a longer period.

The electrolyte density and the surrounding temperature influence

It’s important for the life span of the battery to know what effect the reaction between
the different substances in the battery construction will have. The sulfur acid solution
in the electrolyte is aggressive to some separators and some other components in the
battery. Higher concentration of the sulphur makes the electrolyte more aggressive.
Lower concentration makes the solution less conductive. Therefore a density value
that isn’t to aggressive but still gives a good conductivity is preferable.

The solution also makes the lead corrode. The amount of corrosion is due to the
sulphur concentration. In temperate climates the electrolyte solution has a weight
percent of 37 % and a density of about 1.26-1.28 kg/dm
3
. A matter of fact is that an
electrolyte density of 1.28 is least corrosive for the lead. Therefore to enlarge the total
lifespan it is very important to avoid having a battery discharged longer than
necessary.

The electrolyte density is designed after the sector of application. When the battery is
fully charged, the electrolyte density is set after the conductivity needed to get a
desired capacity out of the battery. The heavily cycled batteries have the highest
density and the stationary that are low cycled have less density. For stationary
batteries with small high rate demands and larger proportional electrolyte volumes the
concentration can be held lower and be less aggressive. These batteries can have a
concentration as low as 1.21 kg/dm
3
.

The density is also important considering the freezing point of the battery. The
freezing point will be lower for higher sulphur concentrations up to a density of 1.3
kg/dm
3
where the lowest freezing point at -70 C° is reached. A battery that is fully
charged at a density of 1.28 kg/dm
3
has a freezing point around -65 degrees and when
that type is fully discharged at a density of 1.16 kg/dm
3
the freezing point is around
-17 C°. A battery that is fully charged at a density of 1.21 kg/dm
3
will freeze at around
-27 C° and that type of battery can fully discharged have a freezing point at almost 0
C°. Therefore the electrolyte density is held a little bit higher in colder areas than in
warmer areas. [10]

Higher density also results in a higher boiling point.

Lower temperatures cause a reduction in chemical activity. For a specific density of
the electrolyte the internal resistance increases with lower temperatures. The internal
resistance losses will therefore get higher with lower temperatures. The capacity of
the battery will be lower at lower temperatures. The capacity of the battery changing
with temperature can be seen in fig Figure 18. The battery capacity is usually
27
measured at 20 or 25 ºC. Note that the higher C-rates are more affected by the
temperature.


Figure 18. Available capacity in relation to the surrounding temperature at different C-rates.
The values are measured at a Sonnenschein A600 battery. [14]

Low temperatures are good for batteries that stand unused for long times. The self
discharge will be low when the chemical reduction is held low. A high temperature is
therefore not always a good thing, see Figure 19. Thermodynamically the discharged
state is most stable and the self discharge will be a problem at all time when the
battery is unloaded or not at charge.


Figure 19. Self discharge in order to the surrounding temperature. The values are measured at a
Sonnenschein A600 battery. [14]

28
Although the capacity is increasing with higher temperatures the total age of the
battery will be less with higher temperatures. The battery will hold for fewer cycles
with higher temperatures. Batteries that are constantly used at very high temperatures
should be built with another electrolyte density for longer life. [10] [11]
The density of the electrolyte is also dependent of the surrounding temperature. The
density increases with lower temperatures as the electrolyte contracts by the colder
temperature. The density can be calculated with the equation

) 15 ( 10 ) 15 ( ) (
5
t C t ÷ - + ° =
÷
o o o (10)

where δ is the density, t is the temperature in ºC where the density is calculated at and
α is a temperature coefficient.

The internal resistance of the battery is dependent of the density of the electrolyte.
The internal resistance is both dependent of the temperature directly as said earlier
and also as a function of the density that change with the temperature. The density
fluctuation due to a temperature shift is however relatively small, (see equation 10)
and the internal resistance dependency will therefore be much smaller than the direct
dependency of a temperature shift.

The open circuit voltage is dependent of the electrolyte density and the surrounding
temperature, see Figure 20 for the density dependence at 25ºC. It’s almost a linear
relation between them down to a concentration of about 1.10 kg/dm
3
. For an accurate
measurement the battery should stand alone for 4-8 hours before the measurements
can be done. The approximation equation for the linear relation is

OCV = δ (25°C) + B (11)

where B is a constant. B=0,845V. The temperature dependence is about +0.2 mV/ºC
for most batteries. [10] With the temperature dependence the equation will be

OCV = δ (t°C)*A + B + t*0.0025V/ºC (12)

Where A is a constant. A=1 [Vdm
3
/kg].
29

Figure 20. The cells open circuit voltage as a function of the electrolyte concentration at 25ºC.

The AGM batteries have slightly higher OCV than the curve in Figure 20 shows.
Calcium doped batteries often VRLA batteries have 5-8 % higher OCV. [9] [10]

The density of the electrolyte is an indication of the state of the battery, see Figure 22.
When the battery is discharged the electrolyte density decreases in proportion to the
amount of Ah that is discharged from the battery. The state of charge for different
types of lead acid cells can be seen in Figure 21. While there is a linear relation
between the OCV and the electrolyte density from 1.10 kg/dm
3
the OCV can also be
an indicator of the SOC.


Figure 21. Electrolyte density at different SOC, for different types of lead acid batteries. More
about the different types of batteries can be read about in 2.3.6.

When the battery is being charged there is not a similar linear behavior between the
density and the SOC. The electrolyte is not completely mixed during charge, this
causes a lag between the density and the Ah charged. When the battery has reached its
gas voltage the electrolyte will be mixed again, see Figure 22. [10][15]

30

Figure 22. The electrolyte and SOC dependence during constant current discharge and charge.

From the chapters above a conclusion can be made that all the parameters are
dependent of each other. It’s good to know all this parameters dependency while
measure any of them. See Figure 31 in the result chapter for an overview of all the
parameters impact on each other.

2.4.4. Charging and discharging for lead acid
batteries

Charging

There are some easy but important rules for battery charging.

If the battery has been deeply discharged it should be carefully charged at the
beginning with a proportionally low current.

In the end when the battery is charged until 100% SOCage the battery should also be
charged with a low current, normally below the C
20
rate.

The most important rule when charging is to avoid the gassing voltage. Many
chargers include rectifying equipment that causes an AC ripple with the direct current.
The ripple causes further heating of the battery. It’s important to minimize the ripple
especially in the end of the charge where the margin to the gas voltage is less. A way
to minimize the ripple is to implement a filter of suitable size. The current that
theoretical can be applied to the battery without reaching the gas voltage is an
inversed exponential function

t
ed disch e ch
e Ah I
÷
- =
arg arg
(13)

31
where Ah
discharged
is the ampere hours discharged at any chosen time, t is the time and
e is the exponential function. This means that the charge current can be the same
value as the ampere hours discharged from the battery, e.g. a 100Ah battery that have
been discharged with 80Ah can be charged with 80 A. This is the theoretical values.
In reality there are other factors that decrease the charge current. To high currents will
change the morphology of the electrode and the conducting material will be heated.
Side reactions will occur for batteries that will get to warm particularly above 55 °C
e.g. the corrosion rate will increase. The losses would be really high, see Figure 14. In
reality the charger often have a current limit in the beginning of the chare algorithm.
It’s common that the chargers give a constant current up to 80 % of the SOCage. [10]
[11]

The current that a battery will be charged at is a proportion of the difference of the
battery’s open circuit voltage and the charge voltage, see Figure 23.

ernal
OCV e ch
e ch
R
U U
I
int
arg
arg
÷
= (14)

Where U
charge
is the charge voltage and U
OCV
is the open circuit voltage. The internal
resistance will fall during charge as the open circuit voltage is rising. The charge
voltage is e.g. set by the power given from a generator.



Figure 23. Charging scheme. U
charge
= U
load
= U
battery
= U
OCV
+ I
charge
● R
internal
= I
customer
● R
load
.
(R
polarization
is included in R
internal
).


32
Constant voltage charging
The old fashion conventional method of charging lead acid batteries, often for car
batteries has been to put a constant voltage over the terminals. The voltage is then
safely set a bit under the gassing voltage. The current in the beginning will then be
very high, see equation 13. However there is a current limit set by the electronics in
the charger or by the thermal characteristics of the battery. The charge current will
then fall as the open circuit voltage rises. When the open circuit voltage starts to
approach the charge voltage the charge current will get remarkable low and it will be
very time consuming to charge the remaining capacity to reach 100% SOCage. The
last percentage of the SOC is important for the battery’s service time. These old time
chargers are therefore not suitable for charging a battery bank to achieve high
standard and a good efficiency. Although if the charge voltage is set just under the gas
voltage the battery will reach 100 % SOCage faster. Often the chargers stop at a finish
rate with a current at around C
20
. [15] [16]


Figure 24. Constant voltage charging to the left in the figure. When the charge voltage is kept
constant while the OCV is rising the current will taper. Constant current charging to the right in
the figure. To keep a constant current the charge voltage must rise simounsly with the OCV rise.

Float charging
Float charging is a type of constant voltage charging held at a low potential. The Float
charge state is often done when the batteries are fully charged. The low potential is
held just enough to cover for the self discharge.

Constant current charging
Another type of charging is the constant current method. The current is held at a fix
value until the battery is fully charged. This is not a common method for charging
lead acid batteries. To achieve a fast and effective charge algorithm, adjustments of
the current rate is needed.

Trickle charging
Trickle charging is a type of constant current charging. The trickle charging is used to
maintain a fully charged battery fully charged. It gives a low current around C
100
to
handle the self discharging and small intermittent discharges.

33
Pulse Charging
Pulse charging is a method developed to minimize the charging time. Tests made on
this method also show increased battery life. Basically the method consists of high
current pulses. The current is much higher than allowed for the gassing voltage. The
specialty with the Pulse charging is that the period of the current pulses are
controllable. The time of the pulses are set so the battery won’t be able to heat up.
While the battery is being charged and the SOC is getting higher the pulse time has to
be shorter. This is a result of the gas development time. The hydrogen and oxygen
development has a time constant that is depending of the SOC. If the current pulse is
short enough the time is not enough to produce gas. The current will then only be
consumed in the charge reaction.

In this particularly way the applied currents can be much higher. Integrating the
current over the time pulses shows that the total Ah charged can be applied in much
shorter time than for constant voltage or constant current charging, without harming
the battery.

Figure 25 shows a common charging scheme where constant current charge first is
used where most of the energy is charged to the battery. This is followed by a constant
voltage charge where the rest of the energy is charged.


Figure 25. Conventional charge algorithm with a constant current followed by a constant voltage.
[16]

Comparing the Pulse method with the commonly used method in Figure 25 shows that
the Pulse charge has most benefits during the later part of the charge. The reason for
this is that pulses can be very long in the beginning of the charge when the battery is
more resistant to high currents. The long pulses make no big difference to the constant
current charging. The high current pulses should be used carefully in the early SOC
avoiding damages to the battery.

The pulses length is set by a highest OCV allowed. The OCV can be measured during
the off time of the pulses. If the OCV is too high depending of a reference temperature
the current pulses is held shorter. The OCV increases with the SOC and the current
34
pulses length decreases. When the battery is fully charged the time duration of the
OCV to decay is the same as the charge pulses and the battery is kept fully charged at
all time. This can be compared with the float charging. Some newer charges have a
Pulse charge method in the end of the charge algorithm, to maintain the battery fully
charged. This method has shown good benefits for the capacity and battery life in
made tests, e.g. in [17].

Many of the up to date chargers have charger algorithms made of many different
steps. Keeping the correct pulse periods during the entire charge, a Pulse charge could
be made during the entire charge, keeping the algorithm very simple.

Tests have shown that if the pulses also include a small discharge current after each
charge current the charge time can be even lower and also giving a higher life time of
the battery. The discharge currents equalize the concentration of the active material in
the battery. This reaction improves the charge acceptance of the next current pulse.

In the test made in [16] two VRLA GEL 28 Ah batteries were used. The discharge
current pulse was applied at 8 % of the charge pulse time. The test shows that the
energy being charged to the battery is of the same amount as without the discharge
current. Note that the charge current is applied at 8% less time than before, see Figure
26.


Figure 26. Relative charging rates with and without the discharge pulses. The curve starts
around 50% where the constant current step is finished. This is because the constant current
method and the pulse method is slightly similar in the begging of the charge. [16]

In the figure below from the same test the conventional charge curve is shown as well.
This shows the remarkable reduce of charge time that the pulse test gives.

35

Figure 27. The pulse charging with and without discharging pulses and the conventional
constant current/voltage charging. [16]
Even though this test shows good features fore the pulse charging, other battery types
might show other results. The technique should be used only with certainty that the
gas voltage isn’t exceeded. Modifications of the method can also be required when the
battery is aging. [10] [16] [18]

Equalization charging
The equalization charging is done if the electrolyte needs to be equalized. Cells that
are connected in series will often differ a bit in the electrolyte density, and the density
can also differ within a cell from the bottom and up. Parts that have higher density are
heavier and will sink to the bottom. The equalization is achieved by a constant current
causing a high voltage around 2.65 V/cell. The voltage is then clearly above the
gassing voltage and the electrolyte will start to bubble and it will be mixed around.
This operation is clearly not good for all types of batteries while some water will be
lost in the electrolysis and a small part will also evaporate. For open flooded batteries
that can be refilled with water this is however a good thing to do occasionally.

Mixed charge algorithm
To achieve a healthy charging algorithm for the battery the above mentioned methods
is mixed in a desired way. The best possible algorithm differs some depending on
which type of battery and system it’s done fore. A voltage and current curve for a
special charge algorithm for some of the different charge steps is shown in Figure 28.

The first step in the curve starts with a low current for deeply discharged batteries,
(towards the cut off voltage). This could e.g. be a trickle charge. When the OCV is
high enough the bulk phase can be applied. The Bulk phase is where the main charge
is done. Here the current is held constant only varying depending of the temperature.
To get fastest possible charge during the Bulk the constant current is held as high as
possible without harming the battery life. The Bulk phase is finished when the charge
voltage have get as high as the gassing voltage. Then the charging is held at a constant
voltage just below the gassing voltage, typical at 2.39 V/cell at 25 °C. This charge
section is sometimes called the Absorption phase. The current is then following the
curve set by equation 13. The charge algorithm could end here and the battery would
eventually be fully charged. The following steps in Figure 28 are mentioned above.
[10][11][15]
36

Figure 28. Different charge steps for charge algorithms. The red line is the charge voltage and the
blue line is the charge current. [15]

Overcharge
The battery is often charged to 110-120 % SOCage to compensate for the losses from
the last discharge. It’s important to do this overcharging to remain the capacity of the
battery, but it should be done carefully without gassing. Too much overcharge will
cause the pressure to exceed above the designed venting pressure. The loss of water
and internal heating accelerate the positive grid corrosion. Overcharge have a benefit,
it results in an equalization of the electrolyte. [10][19]

Discharging
The discharge of the battery will take place when the charge voltage is less
than the battery voltage, see Figure 29.

When the cells are being discharged the structure of the active material and electrolyte
will change. Therefore the open circuit voltage will change during the discharge. The
internal impedance rises during discharge due to the electrolyte’s changing chemistry.
These parameters cause the voltage of a cell to fall during discharge. With a constant
discharge current the density of the electrolyte is proportional to the discharged
ampere hours, see Figure 22.

37

Figure 29. A circuit scheme over the battery cell and the connected load during discharge. R
load
is
the resistance of the load. I is the current drawn from the battery. R
internal
is the internal
impedance of the battery. U
ocv
is the open circuit voltage. U
battery
is the battery voltage during
load. U
drop
is the voltage drop over the internal impedance during load. The voltage drop caused
by the polarization is not showing in the figure, its instead included in the internal resistance. The
diode in the figure is preventing back currents.

Figure 29 shows the circuit scheme of the battery cell and the connected load during
discharge. The equation for the battery voltage is
U
battery
= U
OCV
– U
pol
– I
customer
• R
internal
= I
customer
• R
load
(15)

where U
ocv
is the open circuit voltage and U
pol
is the voltage drop for the polarization.

The discharging can be made in many different ways, with constant current, stochastic
fluctuating current or as short current pulses. A battery that is discharged with pauses
will get some time to recover during the pauses. The voltage will then be able to rise
after a heavy discharge, see Figure 30. The pauses will be more important during
heavy discharge.
38

Figure 30. Effects of discharge pauses.

2.4.5. Cycling and lifespan of the battery

After each discharge and charge the battery chemistry will change slightly. The
battery is ageing and the capacity is slowly decreasing. The reaction is not reversible.
There are some parameters that are clearly changing the life of the battery.

- C-rate. High C-rate gives shorter life.
- Temperature. High temperature shortens the battery life.
- Depth of discharge. To deep discharges change the battery chemistry and
shortens the battery life
- Significant overcharge
- Number of cycles
- It’s important to charge the battery all the way up to 100 % SOCage
occasionally

Discharges that are deeper than what the battery is made for cause’s sulphation and
grid corrosion at the plates. Some of the sulphate will crystallize on the electrodes
reducing the active area which reduces the battery capacity. To dissolve the crystals
and to recover some of the battery capacity a high voltage must be applied. More
crystals require higher voltage. One way to recover the battery without causing
gassing is to apply current interrupts as a kind of Pulse charging. A Pulse charge made
in the end of the recharge reduces the sulphation and increase the restored capacity.

Increased depth of discharge will result in less number of cycles possible before the
battery is useless. More cycles per year also decreases the battery life.

39
Significant overcharges also cause grid corrosion and if the pressure gets to high it
will cause losses of the electrolyte. [17] [19]

The battery ageing can be measured with the resistance. When the resistance of the
battery has increased with 25% from the point when the battery was new, the capacity
is reduced from 100% to 80%. The resistance can differ with 8% between VRLA
batteries of the same batch. A battery is almost useless when the SOCage at 100% is
80% of the SOC. [9]

2.4.6. Different available battery types

The Lead-Acid batteries are still by far the cheapest and most robust battery on the
market providing good performance and life characteristics. For this thesis the choice
of battery type is therefore very easy. Comparison and investigation on different
battery products will not be a part of this thesis. The lead-acid battery have a market
of 40-45% of the sales value in the world including for example energy storages,
emergency power, vehicles, telephone systems, power tools, communication devices
and as the power source for mining.

The electrical turnaround efficiency is about 80 % that’s comparing discharge energy
out with charge energy in. A single battery can have a size of thousands Ah. These are
factors together with the relatively low price that makes them suitable for energy
storages use. The lead acid batteries have a typically energy density of 30-40 Wh/kg
which makes them very heavy, although this is not a problem for systems that are
sited on fixed places.

There are several different types of lead-acid batteries constructed for specific
applications. Optimizations for different parameters distinguish the different types of
batteries. Some parameters are e.g. energy density, power density, cycle life, float
service life and cost. [10]

The SLI battery

The most common battery type is the lead acid batteries made for the car industry.
These batteries are often called SLI batteries, which stands for start, lighting and
ignition. The batteries are often open, so gasses can freely vanish. The open batteries
are very robust and reliable batteries. The drawback of the open batteries is that they
need maintenance and have to be refilled with water. They have a vent plug where the
gases that are formed can escape. The start battery made for cars have a high power
density to be able to give the high current needed to start a car. After the start the
battery is float charged when the motor is running. The battery will seldom be deeply
discharged and the cycle life is not an important factor.

The Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries are made to minimize the water
losses. These types of batteries are sealed which makes them maintenance free. The
sealed environment keeps all the gases inside the jar. However if the internal battery
pressure will be too high there is a valve letting the gas out. The reaction that recreates
the water is called recombination. The sealed battery forces the oxygen and hydrogen
to react and to produce water. The recombination reaction has a drawback, at the same
40
time when water is reproduced lead sulphate is produced at the anode. This causes
problem for batteries when they are ageing. A possible way to solve this problem is to
include a pulse current interrupt in the charging algorithm that dissolves the lead
sulphate again.

There are two different types of VRLA batteries GEL and AGM. In a GEL battery
there are some substances added to the sulphur acid solution to make it more solid.
This is made to prevent the solution to spread to the surroundings. These types of
batteries are very robust and can handle deep discharging cycles very good.

In an AGM battery the separator are made of glass fiber. This special separator keeps
the sulphur steady by capillary forces. The AGM can get higher power from a smaller
volume because the separator can be made very thin with a low inner resistance. The
drawback with this type of separator is that the solution has to have higher sulphur
concentration. To handle this, AGM batteries should be charged by a higher voltage.
[10][11][15]

Two other classifications other than the most common SLI batteries are the traction
and the stationary batteries. These batteries can be of open vented or of VRLA type.

The stationary battery

Stationary batteries are typical made for standby or emergency backup power. There
can be long periods where the batteries stand unused. They are often left at float
charge, to be fully charged when needed. The electrolyte is often exceeded to
minimize maintenance and to be more resistant to gassing. This makes the batteries
capacity limited by the positive plates in comparison with the traction batteries that
are limited by the acid in the electrolyte. To make the intervals between watering
greater a nonantimonial grid is used. To be more sustainable against grid corrosion
growth, the positive plate is scaled so it can grove 10 % before the battery will be
unsuitable for use.

The traction battery

The traction battery is used in vehicles that are driven electrically or as hybrids. The
main difference to the SLI battery is that the traction batteries have to give suitable
power through all day while the SLI batteries are built to give a high current for a
short start up time. This means that the traction battery should be able to be deep
cycled many times without being depleted. The SLI batteries can only manage around
10 deep cycles before they are in bad condition.

The traction batteries have to include many Ah to be able to work properly before
there is time to recharge them, e.g. a truck that is working 8 hours per day. When the
working day is over the battery requires a high charging rate to be able be used next
day again. The cost of a failure for a battery of e.g. 24 V would be fatally high.
Therefore the batteries are built as separate 2 volt cells that are serial connected.

The parameter that makes deep cycling possible is the thickness of the positive and
the negative plates. The formation of the positive plates of the cell is an important
factor for the traction batteries. The cells are built with positive cells that are either
41
flat pasted or tubular plates. The tubular have a numerous advantages during operation
such as less grid corrosion, less self discharge, less polarization losses and longer life,
but they have a higher initial cost. [10] [11]

2.4.7. Connections of batteries for a battery bank

When batteries are connected together forming a battery bank, it’s important that all
the batteries are working equally. Therefore it’s also important that they are of the
exact same brand to achieve the same working conditions. Although the batteries are
of the same batch there will be individual differences. When batteries are serial or
parallel connected, the bank will never work better than the worst battery in the
connection. Connecting batteries together should therefore be avoided, although it’s
often necessary to achieve a high energy bank or to get a desired potential. [20]

Appendix 2 shows how a parallel connection shouldn’t be done and how it should be
done properly.
42

3. Result

3.1. Summary of the battery theory

In Figure 31 all the operation parameters of the battery is connected to each other. The
arrows points at the boxes that are influenced by a parameter. In this way the scheme
also shows secondary dependencies. The battery capacity increases with higher
temperatures as a direct dependency, but it also decreases with higher temperature
while the battery life will be reduced with higher temperatures. The amplitude of the
dependency is not showing, this can be read about in the theory chapters.

Figure 31. An overview of the parameters impact on each other. The parameter that another
parameter is dependent of is always rising in the figure. The + and – symbols indicates if there is
a negative or positive dependency. E.g. the internal resistance is decreasing when the
temperature is increasing. The internal resistance can either increase or decrease dependent of
the electrolyte density. The smallest internal resistance is achieved at densities around 1.28 kg/m
3
.
43
3.2. The system configuration

The system is built to keep the turbine at an optimal speed as much as possible. The
charging of the battery bank should not affect the efficiency of the turbine. The
charging of the batteries will not be optimal in regard to the conventional charging
time. The wind energy is simply not enough at all times, although the charging
algorithm can be the same as for conventional chargers. When the energy from the
generator is less than what the charging algorithm is demanding in regard to the
current or the voltage amplitude the charging will just take longer time. When the
battery is fully or almost fully charged the energy from the generator may be larger
than what the battery and the load can receive. The excess energy is then simply
dumped as heat.

For the vacation cottages etc. the heat can be used to heat the house or the water
supply. For the Tower tube the area inside will be heated which can be good for the
batteries during winter to maintain a high capacity from them. In warmer countries the
energy can be dumped with cooling fans to maintain a longer battery life.

The entire load and charge control system scheme is drawn in Figure 32.

The AC-Voltage from the generator is first rectified to DC-voltage. For the Tower
tube VAWT the AC-Line to line voltage is kept at 200 V at a wind speed of 10 m/s
with λ=4, and at wind speeds above 10 m/s. 200 V is the highest line to line voltage at
a frequency of 75 Hz. At a wind speed of 4 m/s and λ =4 the line to line voltage is 80
V and the frequency is 30 Hz. The DC-voltage lies between 108 V and 270 V
dependent of the wind speed.

The dump load is placed after the AC/DC step. The dump load is a resistive load
which is switched with an IGBT. If there is more power available than the customer
and the battery can absorb, energy will be stored in the turbine causing it to speed up.
When the turbine rotation speed is above a decided value the IGBT will start to switch
and energy will be dumped to keep the turbine at the optimal speed. See appendix 1
for a detail declaration of the PWM for the dump control.

Next in line in the scheme in Figure 32 is the DC/DC converter. The DC/DC
converter is needed to get a desired voltage. The output voltage should have typically
values for charging a lead acid battery and the DC output must therefore be
adjustable. The voltage level is set by the energy available from the generator and the
charge algorithm.

The voltage span from full till no charge current that is applied when charging a
battery is small. The span for a 48 volt battery bank is about 42-57.6 volts depending
of the depth of discharge of the battery and if it’s a VRLA or a flooded battery. This
doesn’t include the equalization charge. The same voltage span will not be of great
effect of the customer current. While the battery current will differ highly dependent
of the charge voltage, the customer current will only differ by the load fluctuations.

44

Figure 32. Overview scheme of the load and charge system. The customer current I
c
is constant
for a specific load and will only differ slightly with the charge voltage. The battery charge
current I
b
will fluctuate and is only dependent of the charge voltage, the internal resistance and
the OCV.
45
When the charge voltage will be lower than the OCV of the battery the battery will be
in the discharge mode. The entire load current will then be taken from the battery.

When searching after appropriate DC/DC converters we found it very hard to find
converters that were adjustable. It was also hard to find converters above 2 kW. The
reason for the low power is that most converters are made for the wall outlets which
have a voltage of 230 volts. The fuse is often at 10 Ampere which gives 2.3kW in
power. This problem can be solved by serial or parallel connecting the converters.

A serial connection is proper if the batteries are charged individually, which would
give good individual charge properties. A parallel connection would be good if a unit
would crash. If a 10 kW system would include five 2 kW units and one would crash
there would still be 8 kW left to use. A system that is properly built for the chosen
wind site would then still run at optimum until very high wind speeds would occur.

For the case that will be built and tested we have obtained six 2 volt cells to build a 12
volt battery bank. The DC/DC converter chosen for that project is a Cosel PBA
1500F-15
3
. The ripple from the converter should be considered if it is at a reasonable
level. If the ripple is too high a filter is required after the converter. The ripple is too
high when it affects the charge voltage with about ±0.005 volts.

To be able to control the DC/DC converter in a way that give desired values for the
battery and the turbine speed at all time, a battery charging microcontroller is
connected to the DC/DC converter. The quota between the wind speed and the
rotation speed indicates how much power that is available for battery charging and the
load. The microcontroller is programmed with a charging algorithm which is steered
by measured inputs such as the customer and battery current, the battery voltage and
the battery temperature. The charge algorithm sets how much of the available power
that is going to be used to charge the battery and how much that will be dumped. The
charging microcontroller gives a signal to the DC/DC converter of 0-5 volts. For a 12
volt battery e.g. 2.5 volts means that the DC/DC converter should give a voltage of 15
V to the battery.

When the battery is discharged and can’t deliver the desired load current a diesel
aggregate will be used. When the diesel aggregate is used the battery bank can be
charged again from the VAWT and the gate to the customer will be open. It will be
charged until a level where it’s able to give a suitable load current again for a longer
time. This will prevent that the diesel aggregate will turn on and off over short time
periods.

The aggregate should also be able to charge the batteries in case of bad wind
conditions during a longer time. The batteries life time is shortened much faster if
they stand completely discharged. The gate from the diesel aggregate should be
controlled by the charging microcontroller. When the battery voltage is constant
below a specified voltage during a specified time dependent of the battery type the
gate will be closed.


3
Data sheet of the Cosel PBA 1500F-15 can be found at
http://www.trcelectronics.com/Cosel/pdf/pba1500f.pdf
46
When maintenance is done of the system, the state of the batteries can be measured
with a rapid battery tester such as the Spectro CA-12.
4


3.3. Choice of charging algorithm for the final
solution

The charge algorithm chosen in this result is made to extract as much as possible of
the wind energy in the turbine optimized for a high C
p
. The wind is a fluctuating
source, it’s important to always take as much as possible out of the wind energy.

Another way to form the charge algorithm would be to make a load control optimized
for the battery charging. The WAVT could then be controlled by an optimum C-rate
for the battery charging, instead of a specified λ for optimum C
p
.

When the specified C-rate for the optimum battery charging is higher than what the
generator can deliver at a specific moment the battery C-rate will simply be lower.
This is exactly the same case as for the charge algorithm made to keep an optimum
C
p
.

When the specified C-rate for batteries is lower than what the generator can give at a
specific moment the extra energy must either be dumped or be saved as rotation
energy in the turbine. If the extra energy is dumped the VAWT can never give a
higher power than the optimum C-rate for the batteries multiplied with the DC voltage
e.g. 48 volts multiplied with 50 amperes gives 2400 W.

Energy saved as rotation energy can only be saved for very short moments depending
of the moment of inertia of the turbine. For both the Lucia and the Tower tube the
turbine would have to be shut off in just a few seconds not to destroy the construction
due to the high speed and the C
p
would decline very fast see Figure 6. This type of
charge algorithm would give much higher loses and the overall efficiency would be
much lower. See appendix 3 for calculations of the saved extra rotation energy.

To extract most energy possible, equation 13 should be used, although when the
batteries capacity is lower than the nominal power output of the WAVT the battery
will be damaged due to high currents. E.g. if the VAWT can give 200 amperes at 48
volts and the battery capacity is only 400 Ah the battery will be damaged very fast.
This shows the importance of big battery banks to be able to take care of all the
incoming wind energy.

Proposal one for a charge algorithm
The first step of the algorithm will be set by a maximum current level. The level is set
by the batteries specifications of highest acceptable current. Normally the rate is about
C
3
. The high current will provide high losses, but it’s important to use all the available
energy in the wind.

When the OCV has become so high so the charge current will be lower than the
highest specified C-rate of the battery, the charge current can follow the exponential

4
More information about rapid battery testers can be read about at www.cadex.com
47
function in equation 13. This is set by a voltage limit, set just below the gassing
voltage to achieve a high charging rate, see the absorption phase in Figure 28. The
charge voltage should be temperature compensated by the values in Figure 13.

When the current is constant low for a longer time the battery is fully or almost fully
charged. The charge current is then set to C
20
to get the last few but important percent
of the charge. During conditions when there will be an excess of energy and the
battery is fully charged the battery should be float charged at a voltage of about
2.25V/cell at 20 °C dependent of the battery type.

In the end of a discharge when the battery is totally discharged the battery voltage will
decline very rapidly and there is almost no energy left to drain. To deep discharges
will harm the battery and shorten the life to a great extent. An emergency tool can be
implemented to the microcontroller to stop the discharge before the critical point. To
see if the battery is fully discharged the derivate of the voltage can be calculated and
when the graph is getting steep the battery is close to the cut off voltage and the
battery should be disconnected, see Figure 16. If the battery is discharged to low, a
trickle charge should be done before the C
3
current can be applied when the battery is
recharged.

During normal conditions the discharging should be disconnected before the rapidly
voltage drop, to save the battery. To measure SOC of the battery equation 9 can be
used. To get an accurate value from this equation the losses should be calculated. This
is not a simple task and the losses are often template calculated. While there are some
difficulties with this method some reference points should be measured while the
battery is new. The reference points should be measured during a total discharge and
charge cycle. Parameters to measure are the OCV, battery voltage and discharge
current when fully charged and discharged. The internal resistance of the battery for
these points can then be calculated. The temperature must be measured as well while
the parameters are temperature dependent.

A special condition will appear when the power from the VAWT is lower than the
load power demand (customer current needed multiplied with the charge voltage).
The load will consume the current needed to operate properly and the charge voltage
will be reduced. If the power from the VAWT is to low, the charge voltage will get
lower than the OCV. The load will then have to take the power from the battery and
the system will be in the discharge mode. This will cause a fluctuation behavior of the
discharge and charge. When the battery is being discharged the turbine will speed up
causing the voltage to rise again and more energy will be stored in the turbine. Some
of the energy will also be stored in the filter capacitors. When the power of the
VAWT is high enough the system will be in charge mode again. If the wind is the
same or decline, the procedure will go around again and the charge voltage will soon
be below the OCV. This causes a pulse behavior of the discharge and charge modes.
The pulses duration depends on how close the charge voltage is to the OCV.

This special behavior when the system is switching between the charge mode and the
discharge mode causes the turbine to run with fluctuating speed. This behavior could
cause higher maintenance of the VAWT.

48
How often this behavior will occur is dependent of how close the load power demand
is to the nominal power of the power plant and what kind of wind site it’s stated on.

To prevent this pulsating behavior of the turbine, a pulse charge should be applied in
the charge algorithm with faster frequency than the naturally pulsating frequency that
appears when the load demand is higher than the turbine power.

The pulse discharge gives the battery time to recuperate, see Figure 30, and the
battery will be able to give more energy than without the pulses.

During the discharge interrupts the battery will be charged but the OCV and the
charge voltage will be so close to each other so the charge current will be of minor
importance, see equation 14.

The pulsating charge and discharge is proved to be very good for battery capacity and
life, see the charge and discharge chapters in the theory.

Proposal two for a charge algorithm
A second approach to solve the charge algorithm problem is to use Pulse charging at
all time through the charge. Pulse charging through the entire charge have been tested
in [16] and shown very good results. If this method is better than the other one
suggested above must be tested in reality on the specific battery bank. The problem
with the Pulse charging is to modify the pulses to the right length, avoiding gassing.
The OCV is measured during the off time of the pulses and is compared with a
reference temperature. To high OCV shortens the pulse length and to low OCV
extend the pulse length.

A pulse charge method that is working properly will charge a battery much faster than
a constant current/voltage charge. The demand for a very large battery bank will then
be of minor importance.

A Pulse charge test was done in [17] to optimize the pulse frequency and duty cycle.
That test made 2003 was made with a reference battery which was charged with
constant current and then constant voltage. The results shows that all the pulse
charged batteries independent of frequencies and duty cycles had an improvement of
capacity and battery life compared with the reference battery. The conclusion is that
pulse charge is always better than conventional constant current/voltage charging if
gassing is avoided. Another conclusion is that the longer the pulses off time are the
larger will the recovery for the battery be.

A battery bank that is serial connected needs an equalization of the electrolyte. It’s
important for the function and life of the bank that all the batteries have the same
electrolyte density. The equalization charge should only be done during observation.
The length of the equalization charge should be specified by the retailer.





49
3.4. Choice of battery type

An open flooded battery should always be chosen if the battery can be continuously
checked. The open battery is more robust and gives longer life than the VRLA
batteries. If maintenance is a problem the VRLA battery should be chosen.
Maintenance is normally a problem for vacation cottages, boats, caravans, radio base
stations and so on.

The ultimate battery for an application that are used from a VAWT should have
parameters as

- High cycle ability
- High capacity
- Be able to be deep cycled, which induces thick plates and tubular plates
- Long life
- Maintenance free which results in a Gel or a AGM battery

For the selection between the SLI, traction and stationary battery, the traction battery
is the best choice.

The choice between a traction battery and a stationary battery is dependent of their
electrolyte density. The main differences between the batteries are that the traction
battery has better cycle ability, higher power density, higher capacity, is less adaptable
to float charge, have higher self discharge, have shorter life and require less space.

A traction battery that has higher electrolyte volume making it more robust against
overcharge and gassing would be the optimal battery where the weight and space
aren’t important factors.

A VAWT that are used for vacation applications could be shut off during the off
season to save maintenance cost of the wind power plant. A deep cycle battery will
have good cycle characters but worse float characters. To avoid the battery to stand
uncharged for longer times after longer self discharge periods the VAWT could
automatically start when the battery is below a specified value.

A GEL Exide battery could e.g. be a good battery choice for vacation application. For
applications where heavier duty is needed a serial connection of two volt cells is the
best choice, achieving the right voltage desired.

For the tower tube project a special battery type was chosen. A traction VRLA battery
with high capacity and tubular plates for deep cycling seems to be a good solution.
The float performance is not a major factor for this wind power application, cause the
batteries should be dimensioned so they will be used and cycled at all time to
minimize the costs.

The Sonnenschein A600 Solar batteries seem to be a good solution. These batteries
are a product from Exide. It’s a VRLA Gel battery with tubular plates. These batteries
are made for large solar powered applications. They have a lifetime of 18 years as
50
single 2 volts cells at 20 °C and with 80% of the nominal capacity left, which is the
value where batteries often should be replaced.

3.5. Battery bank dimensioning

Two important rules for battery banks are; mix batteries as little as possible and the
larger the bank is the longer will the lifetime be per Ah. A large bank can deal with
higher currents without being damaged, see Figure 14. It’s basically a question of
costs.

A study has been made to evaluate if there would be any benefits to split up the bank
in several independent units and also if there would be better to charge and discharge
individual bank units separately. Parameters as e.g. lifetime and losses have been
investigated. However no benefits have been found with separate banks and a single
large bank is the final solution.

A battery bank which is built by separate 2 volt cells is very vulnerable in case if a
cell would be damaged. When a cell has to be replaced the new one will not be better
than the worst cell in the bank. To avoid this waste of money and capacity, one or two
extra cells could be added to the bank from the start. If one cell would deteriorate
faster than the others this cell could simply be removed. This would cause the bank to
have two or four volts higher voltage before a replacement must be done. Fore a 48
volt bank this shouldn’t be a problem if the load isn’t too sensitive.

A Matlab program has been made in this thesis. The program is made to give the right
dimensioning of the battery bank for a specific turbine at a specific wind site with a
specific load. It uses data of the wind speed, the turbine and the load to estimate the
dimension of the bank. It’s easy to change the ingoing parameters and the program
can therefore be used for any desired turbine, load or wind site. The program uses the
charge algorithm in proposal 1 that is created in this thesis.

As said above its good to have a large bank to minimize the losses and to avoid deep
discharges which causes shortens of the total battery lifetime. Batteries are very
expensive and the bank dimensioning is therefore very important. A lead acid battery
shouldn’t be used at higher rates than C
3
. To use most possible power from a power
plant, the battery capacity should be

load
U
P
capacity Battery - > 3 (16)

where P is the power of the power plant and U
load
is the load voltage.

Important parameters for a wind site are the average year wind speed and the length of
the periods with no wind at all. The period when there is no wind at all sets the
capacity wanted from a battery bank.

51
At wind sites where the low wind periods are very long the battery bank will be too
expensive and a diesel aggregate is required to take care of the extra energy needed.
Parameter’s that is calculated in the program is;

- Number of charge cycles
- Number of starts of the diesel aggregate
- The diesel consumption and how much diesel the VAWT saves
- The time period of the diesel usage

Simulations were done for the Tower tube turbine connected to a 2000 Ah bank and a
3000Ah bank. The consuming load is at 1 kW. The results can be seen in Appendix 4.
The simulations with the larger bank at 3000 Ah gives fewer cycles and the system
consumes a little less diesel. The amount diesel saved between the 3000 Ah bank and
the 2000 Ah bank is not enough to propagate for the higher costs of the larger 3000
Ah bank. An iterative process with different sizes off the battery bank will lead to a
suitable bank for a specific wind site.

The charged battery capacity during 1200 days can be seen in Figure 37. Figure 38
shows the wind speed at 29 meters height from the weather station in Marsta during
1200 days. Figure 39 shows how much diesel that is needed during the windless days.
The simulation shows that 66 % of diesel consumption that would be used without the
VAWT is saved.
52
4. Discussion

The purpose of this thesis was to develop a control system for an island operated wind
energy converter by battery charging. Aerodynamic, load, battery and charging theory
has been analyzed to create a satisfying final solution. Two different solutions have
been made. The first one is going to be built and tested at the electrical division at
Uppsala University. More research needs to be done before the second solution can be
built properly. The second solution however seems to have strong benefits for long
battery life and to keep the size of the bank as small as possible. This will lead to a
degradation of the battery costs.
4.1. Future work

Test and optimization of Pulse charging with different frequencies on a battery bank
which is serial connected with 2 volts cells could be an important task to deal with.
This should be done to define that the Pulse charging method is a satisfying method
for this kind of banks as well. A test could e.g. be done similar to that done in [17].

DC/DC converters often have efficiencies between 80-90%. The usage of a variable
transformer could give the system a higher efficiency.

A way to improve the system would be to reduce the vibrations in the VAWT. The
ripple in the rectifying stage causes the power to fluctuate which causes vibrations in
the VAWT. What can be done to reduce this effect? What can be done to avoid the
resonance frequencies?

Wind power is a fluctuating power source. The solution in this thesis is made to
regulate the voltage for an optimum C
p
while the current is fluctuating with the power
source. The current is proportional to the torque which also will fluctuate. What
impact will the torque fluctuations have for the VAWT?



53

5. Conclusion

To achieve a high efficiency and to reduce costs of the whole system, the system
should not be driven to optimize the current rate of the battery charging. The system
should instead be driven to maximize the energy absorption of the wind. For strong
winds the battery bank will receive higher C-rates then what would be the optimum
for the battery. The benefits of always getting most possible energy out of the wind
and to get a much higher overall efficiency is much more important then the battery
performance. Although, the highest C-rate allowed is a third of the battery capacity.
Higher currents would deteriorate the batteries to fast.

To get most possible energy absorption out of the wind the battery bank should be
dimensioned after the nominal capacity of the VAWT. The dimension of the battery
bank is also depending of the wind site, how often and how long periods there are
winds below the cut in wind speed.

The system is made to feed the load at all times. When the system is in charge mode
the load will get the needed power directly from the VAWT. The batteries are then
charged with the excess energy. During discharge the load will only get the needed
power from the batteries. For periods with no or calm winds the load is powered with
a diesel backup system. Figure 39 gives an indication of the amount of diesel that is
saved using wind power instead of a diesel aggregate. In that specific case 66 % of the
diesel consumption is saved.

The charge algorithm chosen is shown in Figure 33. If the batteries have been deeply
discharged they must be softly charged in the beginning. When they have been
charged to a specific value a constant current roof charge is applied. The blue line in
the figure shows the highest allowed current that the batteries can be charged with.
The current will fluctuate with the power in the wind. It’s only when the wind is
strong enough that the maximum value of the current will be sent to the batteries.
When there is more power in the wind than the batteries can accept, some energy
must simply be dumped as e.g. heat.

When the open circuit voltage in the batteries is getting high, towards the gas voltage,
the charge is changed to constant voltage mode. The current will taper to avoid the
gas voltage. When the charge current roof rate is constant low the battery is fully
charged.

A second proposal for the charge algorithm has also been made. A pulse charge would
give better battery performances and the battery bank can be smaller. The difficulties
with the pulse charging are to set the correct pulse time to avoid the gas voltage. Tests
for the specific battery type must be done to evaluate the optimum pulse time.

Two volts traction VRLA batteries have been chosen to be the best option for
applications that are charged from a wind turbine. For smaller systems as for
caravans, boats or vacation cottages there are smaller 12 volts batteries that have good
cycle ability and that are of VRLA type.
54

Figure 33. The chosen charge algorithm for the battery charging.





55
References

[1] Energimyndigheten, (2007). Nytt planeringsmål för vindkraften år 2020,
ER 2007:45 (ISSN 1403-1892)
[2] J. Kjellin, S. Eriksson, P. Deglaire, F. Bülow, H. Bernhoff, Progress of
control system and measurement techniques for a 12 kW vertical axis wind
turbine. Scientific proceedingsof EWEC 2008 – European Wind Energy
Conference & Exhibition: 186-190
[3] Mikael Bergkvist (2009) Institution of electricity Uppsala University (Oral
Communication)
[4] Lars Högberg, (2009) Automated electric control of a vertical axis wind
turbine in island operation, (ISSN: 1650-8300)
[5] J.F.Manwell, J.G.McGowan, A.L.Rogers, (2006) Wind Energy explained
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester England (ISBN 13:978-0-471-49972-5)
[6] A. Solum, P.Deglaire, S. Eriksson, M. Stålberg, M. Leijon, H. Bernhoff,
Design of a 12 kW vertical axis wind turbine equipped with a direct driven
PM synchronous generator EWEC 2006 – European Wind Energy
Conference & Excibition, Athens, Grece
[7] Timothy L.Skvarenina (2002) The power electronics handbook. Industrial
electronics series, CRC Press, (ISBN 0-8493-7336-0)
[8] C.R. Gould, C.M. Bingham, D.A. Stone, P. Bentley, (2008) Novel Battery
Model of an all-electric personal rapid transit vehicle to determine state-of-
health through subspace parameter estimation and a Kalman estimator,
SPEEDAM 2008, International symposium on power electronics, electrical
drives, automation and motion.
[9] Isidor Buchmann, Batteries in a portable World second edition, (ISBN 0-
9682118-2-8)
[10] David Linden, Thomas B.Reddy (2001), Handbook of batteries Third
edition, McGraw-Hill, (ISBN 0-07-135978-8)
[11] U.S. Department of energy Washington, D.C. 20585 (September 1995)
DOE Handbook Primer on lead-acid storage batteries, (DOE-HDBK-1084-
95)
[12] Sonnenschein, Industrial Batteries – Network Power Sonnenschein Solar
Safe storage capacity for renewable energy, Exide technologies,
http://www.pinotech.com.tw/products/Batteries/2V/Sonnenschein%20Solar
%20Spec.pdf (2009-03-09).
[13] Martin Coleman, Chi Kwan Lee, Chunbo Zhu, William Gerad Hurley,
State-of-charge determination from EMF voltage estimation: using
impedance, terminal voltage, and current for lead-acid and lithium-ion
batteries, IEEE Transactions on industrial electronicsVOl. 54,
NO.5,October 2007
[14] Sonnenschein, Industrial Batteries – Sonnenschein A600 Premium quality
for uninterrupted communication. Exide technologies,
http://www.battery.co.za/download/dl/A600_t_e.pdf (2009-03-17)
[15] CTEK Sweden AB, Batterier och laddning,
http://www.xpnd.se/pdf/Batterier_laddning_rev4.pdf (2009-01-19)
56
[16] J J A Wilkinson,1 BE (Hons), MEGA Covic,2 BE (Hons), PhD, MIEEE,
MIPENZ (Grad), A new pulse charging methodology for lead acid batteries,
IPENZ Transactions, Vol. 25, No.1/EMCh, 1998
[17] Daniel Benchetrite, Florence Matter, Marion Perrin, Jean Luc Martin,
Oliver Bach, Murielle Le Gall, P.Malbranche, Optimization of charge
parameters for lead acid batteries used in photovoltaic systems, 3
rd
World
conference on Photovoltaic energy conversion May 11-18, 2003 Osaka
Japan
[18] J. B. Wang C. Y. Chuang, A multiphase battery charger with pulse charging
scheme, Industrial Electronics Society, 2005. IECON 2005. 31st Annual
Conference of IEEE (ISBN: 0-7803-9252-3)
[19] Mr. Vaidevutis Alminauskas, Performance evaluation of lead acid batteries
for use with solar panels, Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, 1993.,
Conference Record of the Twenty Third IEEE
[20] Kristina Edström (2009) Institution of material chemistry Uppsala
University (Oral Communication)
[21] P.Deglaire, S.Eriksson, J.Kjellin, H.Bernhoff, Experimental results from a
12 kW vertical axis wind turbine with a direct driven PM synchronous
generator Presented at EWEC 2007 - European Wind Energy Conference &
Exhibition, Milan, Italy, May. 7-10, 2007
[22] Sandra Eriksson, (2008) Direct driven generators for vertical axis wind
turbines, Acta universitatis Upsaliensis. Digital Comprehensive Summaries
of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 547.
88 pp. Uppsala. ISBN: 978-91-554-7264-1
[23] Bedford and Fowler, (2005) Engineering Mechanics Dynamics fourth
edition, ISBN 0136129161
57
Appendix 1


PWM signal for the dump load

The amount of power that should be received from a power source can be set by a
switch. When the switch is on, all power is received and when the switched is off zero
power is received. The on and off times sets a mean value of the received power. If
the switch is on or off is set by a control signal, e.g. by a limit line as in Figure 34.
E.g. if the rotation speed is above the control signal the switch is on and if it’s below
it’s switched off. A typical switching device is an IGBT or a MOSFET.


Figure 34. Control signal.

Controlling the power this way is very basic. A more sophisticated way of doing this
is to use PWM. The PWM also uses a control signal but instead of having a straight
line it uses different shapes of the control signal. This is done to get a softer control.
In this project a triangle wave is used.

The PWM for the dump load can bee seen in Figure 35. A control signal is sent
dependent of the tip speed ratio. Which value the control signal is given, depends on
the turbines specific construction. The value is set after the C
p
versus λ curve. A λ-
value above the one that gives the highest C
p
should be chosen for the dump load.

The control signal is here set with an offset value and a triangle wave. The offset is a
value of the rotating speed that is desired. The height of the triangle wave sets the
softness of the control and also the accurateness. One wave is a period T. The
frequency of the waves sets how fast the control is. Here the triangle height is very
low corresponding to around 0.1 rpm.

58

Figure 35. How the PWM works for the dump load.


The control signal is set to a desired rotating speed corresponding to a chosen λ-value.
The difference between the measured rotating speed of the turbine and the control
signal gives the on and off times.

How much of the time that the IGBT is open or shut is described with D, the duty
cycle, which is a rate between the on time and the period time

T
t
D
on
= (17)

When the values of the rotating speed is higher than the triangle wave, D is equal to
one and the IGBT will be on all the time. The resistance R of the dump load sets the
maximum power that can be dumped for different voltages (rotational speeds).

If the rotating speed is below the triangle wave, D is zero and the IGBT is off all the
time and nothing will be dumped.

The power that will be dumped is calculated with
R
U
D P
2
- = (18)

where P is the power, U is the voltage and R is the resistance of the load.

This is easily derived from equations 19 and 20

I U P - = (19)

R
U
I = (20)


59
Appendix 2


Figure 36 shows how a parallel connection shouldn’t be done and how it should be
done properly. In the first connection the batteries closest to the costumer will be
discharged the most of the three batteries. It will also be most charged during a
charge. This is due to the resistance in the cables. SmartGuage Electronics made a test
to show the difference in effort of the individual batteries. The test was made with
four similar batteries with a load of 100 Amperes.


Figure 36. Parallel connection in three different ways.

For the first connection in the figure the test showed that the battery closest to the load
had to work twice as much than the battery furthest away from the load.

The same test was made with the connections in the middle of Figure 36. The
difference was then 15% between the load currents.

The third connection in Figure 36 is the best way to make a parallel connection with
equal long cables.
5













5
The picture is taken from www.reuk.co.uk/Lead-Acid-Batteries.htm
60
Appendix 3


The moment of inertia is a measurement of the reaction to accelerate a rigid body
round its axel and it’s specified as

}
= dm r J
2
(21)


where J is the moment of inertia, r is the radius of the rigid body and m is the body
mass. The rotation energy of a rigid body rotating with an angular velocity of ω [r/s]
is

2
2
1
e J E
rotational
=
(22)

where E
rotational
is the rotation energy. The angular velocity is

t
t
e
-
-
=
D
u 2
(23)

where u is the tip speed and D is the diameter of the turbine.

With a wind speed of v = 6 m/s and with a λ = 4 for the Tower tube turbine. The
blades tip speed would then be 24 m/s and ω = 6 r/s. The extra stored energy would
then be

2 2
) (
2 2
e e e J J
E
ex
ex
÷
+
= (24)

where ω
ex
is the extra accumulated angular velocity.

The Tower tube turbine has a moment of inertia of 1760 kgm
2
. At a wind speed of v =
6 m/s, an area of A = 40 m
2
, an air density of δ = 1,2 kg/m
3
and a C
p
= 0,25 the power
that the turbine can absorb is

W P 1296 6 25 . 0 40 2 . 1 5 . 0
3
= - - - - = (25)

derived from equation 3. If during one second all the incoming wind energy would be
stored as rotation energy the energy stored would be E
ex
= 1296 Joule.

The new angular velocity ω
ny
= ω + ω
ex
would then be

J
E
ex
ny
-
+ =
2
2
e e (26)

61
The new angular velocity after one second is then ω
ny
= 6.1215 r/s, which is 24.5 m/s
at the blades tips. The new λ = 4.08 gives a new lower C
p
.

Continuing iterative calculations with a time step of one second gives that the rotor
would reach a tip speed at 36 m/s after only eight seconds, which gives a λ = 5.95
which yields C
p
= 0, hence no more energy can be stored. The Tower tube VAWT is
able to handle tip rotation speeds up to 40 m/s with respect to the bearings. For a wind
speed v = 9 m/s it will only take three seconds before the tip speed is 42 m/s and C
p
=
0.2. [23]



62
Appendix 4

Figure 37. The graph shows the charged Ah for a battery bank of 2000 Ah during 1200 days. The
windata is taken from a weather station in Marsta north of Uppsala. The calculations are based
on the Tower tube wind turbine. The load is at 1 kW.
63


Figure 38. The wind speed at Marsta north of Uppsala. The wind is measured at a height of 29
meters.
64


Figure 39. The accumulated diesel consumption in dm
3
per year during 1200 days. The load is at
1 kW. The blue line shows the diesel consumption without the VAWT connected. The red line
shows the calculations that are based on the Tower tube turbine. The turbine is connected to a
2000 Ah battery bank. The wind data is taken from Figure 38. 3228 liter diesel is consumed
during the 1200 days. Without the VAWT the diesel consumption would be 9548 liter during the
1200 days. 66 % of the diesel consumption is saved thanks to the VAWT.
65

Figure 40. The graph shows the charged Ah for a battery bank of 3000 Ah during 1200 days. The
windata is taken from a weather station in Marsta north of Uppsala. The calculations are based
on the Tower tube wind turbine. The load is at 1 kW.