Industrial Batteries
Brief note on VRLA technology.
Why freshening charge is required for VRLA batteries?
External factors effect on Life of VRLA Battery.
Difference between Conventional type Vs VRLA Technology.
Difference between SMF- Automotive Vs SMF- VRLA.
Difference between Ni-Cd Vs VRLA.
How to calculate the Heat dissipation from a given battery bank?
Calculation for Hydrogen gas liberation from a given battery bank.
What is the Cycle life in VRLA Batteries & its effect on life of the battery?
AGM advantages over both gelled and flooded, at about the same cost as gelled.
Why aging factor required for battery sizing calculation?
What is the minimal maintenance that need to carry on VRLA to get optimum life?
How the AC ripple voltage and current effects on battery performance?
Explain the Capacity test Procedure for ARBL Make -VRLA batteries.

Brief note on VRLA technology
The electrode reactions in all lead acid batteries including VRLA batteries are basically identical. As the battery is discharged the lead dioxide positive active material and the spongy lead negative active material both reacts with the sulphuric acid electrolyte to form lead sulphate and water. During charge, this process is reversed. The coulomb efficiency of the charging process is less than 100% on reaching final stage of charging or under over charge conditions, the charging energy is consumed for electrolytic decomposition of water and the positive plates generate oxygen gas and the negative plates generate hydrogen gas.

Under typical charging conditions, oxygen at the positive plate occurs before hydrogen evolution at the negative. This feature is utilized in the design of VRLA Batteries. In flooded cells, the oxygen gas evolved at the positive plate bubbles upwards through the electrolyte and is released through the vents. In VRLA batteries the oxygen gas evolved at the positive instead of bubbling upwards is transported in the gas phase through the separator medium to the negative plate. The separator is a highly absorbent glass mat type with very high porosity designed to have pore volume in excess of the electrolyte volume (starved electrolyte design), due to which the oxygen gas finds an unimpeded path to the negative plate. Reaction with the spongy reduces the oxygen gas Lead at the negative plate turning a part of it into a partially discharged condition, there by effectively suppressing the hydrogen gas evolution at the negative plate. This is what is known as the oxygen recombination principle.

The part of negative plate that was partially discharged is then reverted to original spongy lead by subsequent charging. Thus a negative plate keeps equilibrium between the amount which turns into spongy lead by charging and the amount of spongy lead which turns into lead sulphate by absorbing the oxygen gas generated at the positive plate. The oxygen recombination principle can be shown by the following reaction mechanism.
Mono Block Battery
from the above equation it can be seen that the reaction is reversible and based on which the lead acid battery is classified as secondary battery which can give no. of discharge and charge cycle. During discharge the lead dioxide in positive plate and spongy lead in negative plate react with sulphuric acid in the electrolyte to from lead sulphate both in positive and negative plates and water in the electrolyte. The chemical reactions for the same are shown below.
VRLA Batteries

What is Shelf life of VRLA battery Consequences of prolonged storage of battery with out freshening charge. Why freshening charge is required for VRLA battery?
A VRLA battery comes in fully charged condition. For any battery Shelf discharge is common observed phenomenon. During self-discharge the active material on the plates gets a converted into sulphate that is discharge compound. This is called “sulphation” which means the formation of lead sulphate on the surface and in the pores of the active material of the plates. The reason for this is as follows.

Lead sulphation is formed as a result of local action or self-discharge of the plates. This happens by the action of the acid solution on the active material of the plates. Sulphation is a necessary part of the operation of battery and is not a source of trouble. The rate of sulphation depends on the concentration of the electrolyte and the ambient temperature.

This sulphation of plates will reduce performance of the battery drastically during service if it is not treated properly. This can easily be reduced/removed by charging the batteries at a low rate of current (say 2% of Ah capacity) for a prolonged duration of 60 hrs. If the batteries are stored for more than the specified period, it is strongly recommended that they should be charged as per the above before putting in to service.

Henceforth it is recommended that once in six months the battery shall be given freshening charge if they are connected to Load.

For freshening charge details pls. Refer O & I manual.

External factors effect on Life of V R L A battery
The life of the VRLA batteries like any other battery depends on various parameters like depth of discharge, charging voltage, ripple content, voltage regulation, operating temperature, nature of application, monitoring procedure followed etc., The effect of each of the above parameters have been briefly described below.
DOD (depth of discharge): The depth of discharge can be described as “The amount of Ah drawn from the battery as a percentage of the rated capacity”. For e.g. from a fully charged 100Ah Amaron Quanta battery if we draw 80Ah i.e. 10Amps for 8 hrs discharge, it indicates that the DOD is 80%.
Further, depending on the DOD, the required quantity of active material only takes part in the chemical reaction and the remaining material will not participate in the
chemical reaction . Hence lower the DOD higher the life in cycles, and higher the DOD lowers the life in cycles.
Charging voltage: If the charging voltage is more than the specified voltage (Float:2.23 VPC, Boost:2.30 VPC), battery gets overcharged and leads to water loss from the batteries. Further this increases the temperature inside the cell resulting in higher rate of grid corrosion and reduced life of the batteries. If the charging voltage is less, hard sulphation will form on the plates leading to reduction in battery performance and life.
Ripple content: Ripple content is defined as the AC content present in DC. If the ripple content in charging voltage & current is more than the specified level
( voltage : <2%rms ), it results in increase of temperature leading to dry out of the cell . This also causes increased rate of grid corrosion resulting in reduced life.
Voltage regulation: If the voltage variation is not with in the specified limits (± 1%), it will lead to either overcharge when the voltage is higher or undercharge when the voltage is lower. Thus, either case can cause reduced performance & life.
Operating temperature: Normally the battery is designed to give a certain performance at a particular temperature. So, the battery gives its optimum life when operated at that temperature. But when the battery operated at elevated temperatures, like any other lead acid battery, the life will get adversely effected while the discharge performance improves, and vice versa. As a rule of thumb for every 10°C raise in average ambient temperature from the designed temperature the life of the battery gets reduced by half.(the average temperature is calculated at yearly average of the daily average temperatures).
Application : The life of the battery also depends on the nature of application, whether it is float or cyclic. The application may be considered as float, only where the no of power outages are minimal (i.e. around 5 power outages/year). Other wise it should be considered as cyclic.
Monitoring: VRLA batteries are no doubt Maintenance Free types. However they do require certain monitoring to be carried out on the battery set as well as charging equipment apart from periodical boost charging at an interval of once in six months (once in 3 months is preferred) to derive optimum performance/life. The international standards IEEE 1188:1996 (IEEE recommended practice of maintenance, testing and replacement of VRLA batteries for stationary applications) also recommends certain maintenance/monitoring procedures to optimize the life and performance of VRLA batteries. For further details pls. Refer O & I manual.

Conventional Batteries Vs VRLA batteries

Conventional Batteries VRLA BATTERY
Regular maintenance required involving topping up with distilled water.
No periodic topping since this battery works on the oxygen recombination reaction resulting in no water loss. Hence no maintenance problems such as breakage or jamming up of floats.
A lot of excess free acid is available leading to acid stratification. This is more pronounced in larger cells.
No stratification of the electrolyte because of the Wicking action of the absorbent separators. The cells are mounted horizontally, reducing the height of cell, Hence Stratification is therefore eliminated.
There is a possibility of ground currents due to electrolyte spillage. This can result in high rates of self-discharge.
There is no possibility of electrolyte spillage due to the spill proof and leak proof construction. Hence ground currents are eliminated.
Normal vent plugs.
Batteries are fitted with explosion proof safety valves, which can't be opened without a special tool.
Post corrosion is usually observed due to the acid spillage/mist etc.
No post corrosion, since there is no acid spillage/mist.
Cover sealed to hard rubber container with bitumen compound. Cracking and de-bonding of this bitumen compound is a very common problem.
Cell covers and jars are hermetically heat-sealed. Since no third element is used for sealing operational problems are not envisaged.
Bulging of hard rubber container due to hydrostatic thrust is normal.
Individual plastic cells are housed in MS trays. Hence no dimensional change is observed in service.
The average discharge voltage is 1.93VPC.
VRLA batteries have very good discharge regulation. The average discharge voltage at C10 rate is 1.95 VPC. Hence greater power is available from these batteries.
Separate battery room with acid resistant flooring and proper exhausts for ventilation is a must.
VRLA batteries can be located next to the charger or next to the controls. No separate battery room is required. Hence reduction in copper bus/cables from charger to battery and battery to system.
Self discharge rates of up to 4% of capacity per week.
Very low self-discharge of around 1.0% of capacity per week.
Requires good ventilation with exhaust Fans
Normal ventilation is sufficient as per uniform building code.
Equalizing charge is required.
No equalizing charge is required.
Transit damages are high because of brittle rubber containers.
Since VRLA batteries are housed in steel trays the transit damages are minimal.
Initial charging is done at site. This increases the time and space requirements.
These batteries are factory charged. Hence Commissioning is immediate and no initial charging at site is required. An 80% saving in installation time is quite common.
Design life expectancy is 10 Years.
Design life expectancy is >15 years.

Other intangible benefits include in VRLA batteries:
50% Reduction in floor space requirements.
40% Reduction in volume.
30% Reduction in weight.

Comparison between SMF- VRLA and SMF-Automotive Batteries
SMF-VRLA batteries  SMF-Automotive batteries
Works on Oxygen recombination principle………..hence no need for topping up over the lifetime.
Flooded design with low gassing Characteristics…more electrolyte reservoir to address the water loss. Needs topping once in 6 months or year. Reducing the water loss rather than combining oxygen and hydrogen inside the battery achieves zero-maintenance Characteristics.
The battery can meet high rate discharge as well as steady load long discharge applications.
The battery was designed for vehicle starting (cranking) application. Not superior in terms of long discharge applications/requirements (1/2 hr and above)
Rugged construction allows no sedimentation of active material and short-circuiting during transit and service.
Flooded electrolyte design prone to active material shedding and short circuits.
Totally Sealed construction
Not a totally sealed battery…..venting devise will have access to add water or acid.
Explosion proof vent plug is provided and hence safer.
No explosion proof vent plug is provided and it is only an anti splash type. Installation in confined spaces is a safety Hazard as the accumulation of pent up gases will ignite and explode.
Perfect spill & leak proof, hence user friendly and office compatible.
Due to the free electrolyte in the battery, chances of spillage, Leaks & fumes are possible.
Patented alloy positive grid imparts the superior cyclic life and good for deep cycling applications.
Generally the automotive battery positive grids made with Lead calcium based alloys will have poor cyclic capabilities due to the passivation of positive plate during discharge cycle. This will be more pronounced in Lead Calcium Systems. Lead Antimony is not MF
The float currents will be low & It will be stable throughout out the life of the battery.
Over a period of time the float current will increase because of grid corrosion, Plate expansion etc.
Self discharge is very Low <1%
Self discharge comparatively high.
Has 1.8-2.5 mm approx. Absorptive Glass Mat AGM separator which will prevent short circuit.
The separator is thin usually 1.0 to 1.5 mm thick to facilitate low internal Resistance for high starting currents. UPS has no similar application need. The short circuit is a major failure mode.
Life -Even in ideal start-light-ignition the primary application SLI batteries are intended for life is less than 36 months.

Comparison of Ni-Cd Batteries Vs VRLA Batteries
Ni-Cd Batteries VRLA BATTERY
1.2 volt / cell system i.e more cells per a given bank voltage 2.0volt/cell system i.e. less cells per a given bank voltage.
Very Expensive (3 to 4 times). Very cost effective.
Vent pulgs are of conventional float type. Vent plugs are of explosion proof safety valve type.
Normal vent plugs. Batteries are fitted with explosion proof safety values, which can't be opened without a special tool.
Very bulky in weight. Weight 30% less
Occupies more space. Occupies 40% less space.
Requires separate battery room. Doesn't require any separate battery room.
Requires good ventilation with Exhaust fans. Normal ventilation is sufficient.
Spillage & Leaks are possible. Spill & Leak Proof.
Requires very long Initial charging process at the customer's sites. No initial charging required.
Needs an additional wooden rack for installation. Comes in self stackable steel trays.
Can't be transported in charges condition. Can be transported in charged condition.
They need to be stacked vertically only. Can be stacked in any direction.
Regular Maintenance is required. No regular maintenance.
Monitoring of the system and charger is required. Monitoring of the system and charger is required.

Heat generation from battery bank during Float & Boost mode -calculation
Generally heat will generate from battery during Float & boost charging mode. The heat calculations during these modes of charging are as follows. Float mode the heat generation in Watt-Hrs for 2V Cell.
= 0.1 x 2.23 x Ah @C10 x No. of cells in the battery bank

Boost mode the heat generation in Watt-Hrs for 2V cell.
= 0.2 x 2.3 x Ah @C10 x No. of cells in the battery bank

Amount of Hydrogen gas that will evolve from the battery during trickle mode.
The H2 gas evolved form a battery bank =
= 0.1 x Ah capacity @ C10 x 9.056 x No. of cells in the battery bank. CC/Hr

Battery CYCLE Life Vs LIFE
A battery "cycle" is one complete discharge and recharge cycle. It is usually considered to be discharging from 100% to 20%, and then back to 100%. However, there are often ratings for other depth of discharge cycles, the most common ones are 10%, 20%, and 50%.

Battery life is directly related to how deep the battery is cycled each time. If a battery is discharged to 50% every day, it will last about 1.5 times as long as if it is cycled to 80% DOD. If cycled only 20% DOD, it will last about 2 times as long as one cycled to 50%. Obviously, there are some practical limitations on this - you don't usually want to have a 5 ton pile of batteries sitting there just to reduce the DOD. The most practical number to use is 50% DOD on a regular basis. This does NOT mean you cannot go to 80% once in a while. It's just that when designing a system when you have some idea of the loads, you should figure on an average DOD of around 50% for the best storage vs cost factor. Also, there is an upper limit - a battery that is continually cycled 5% or less will usually not last as long as one cycled down 10%. This happens because at very shallow cycles, the Lead Dioxide tends to build up in clumps on the positive plates rather in an even film.

AGM batteries have several advantages over both Gelled and Flooded, at about the same cost as Gelled
Since all the electrolyte (acid) is contained in the glass mats, they cannot spill, even if broken. This also means that since they are non-hazardous, the shipping costs are lower. In addition, since there is no liquid to freeze and expand, they are practically immune from freezing damage.

Nearly all AGM batteries are "recombinant" - what that means is that the Oxygen and Hydrogen recombine INSIDE the battery. These use gas phase transfer of oxygen to the negative plates to recombine them back into water while charging and prevent the loss of water through electrolysis. The recombining is typically 99+% efficient, so almost no water is lost.

The charging voltages are the same as for any standard battery - no need for any special adjustments or problems with incompatible chargers or charge controls. And, since the internal resistance is extremely low, there is almost no heating of the battery even under heavy charge and discharge currents.
AGM's have a very low self-discharge - from 1% to 3% per month is usual. This means that they can sit in storage for much longer periods without charging than standard batteries. The Power stack batteries can be almost fully recharged (95% or better) even after 3 days of being totally discharged.

AGM's do not have any liquid to spill, and even under severe overcharge conditions hydrogen emission is far below the 4% max specified for aircraft and enclosed spaces. The plates in AGM's are tightly packed and rigidly mounted, and will withstand shock and vibration better than any standard battery.

Even with all the advantages listed above, there is still a place for the standard flooded deep cycle battery. In many installations, where the batteries are set in an area where you don't have to worry about fumes or leakage, a standard or industrial deep cycle is a better economic choice. AGM batteries main advantages are no maintenance, completely sealed against fumes, Hydrogen, or leakage, non-spilling even if they are broken, and can survive most freezes. Not everyone needs these features.

Why Aging factor for Battery sizing calculation
The performance of any lead acid battery is relatively stable throughout most of its life, but begins to decline with increasing rapidity in its latter stages. The decline will be very drastic once the capacity drops to 80% of its rated capacity and there will be little life to be gained by allowing operation beyond this point.

In order to ensure that the battery meets the given duty cycle even at the end of its life (i.e. at 80% performance level) it is a prudent practice to consider a factor of 1.25, which is normally referred to as ‘Aging Factor’ or ‘Life Factor’ . But it is not necessary that the battery be replaced only when its capacity reaches 80%, and it can be done even at higher values of, say 85% or 90%. In such cases the aging factors to be considered will be 1.17 or 1.10 etc. respectively.

The International standard IEEE Ltd., 450-1995 states that, “The recommended practice is to replace the battery if its capacity as determined in 6.5 is below 80% of the manufacturer’s rating if the battery was sized using a 1.25 aging factor. If a lesser aging factor was used, battery replacement will be required before 80% capacity is reached to ensure that the load can be served (consult the battery manufacturer).”

The timing of the replacement is a function of the design/sizing Criteria utilised and the capacity margin available, as compared to the load requirements. A capacity of 80 % shows that the battery rate of deterioration is increasing even if this is ample capacity to meet the load requirements of the DC system.

Ageing factor one should consider while sizing the battery Ah capacity depending upon the end of life capacity specified by the end user.

Monitoring chart for VRLA batteries Maintenance recommendations for VRLA battery.
How do I get optimum life of VRLA battery?
What is the maintenance that has to carry on VRLA batteries.

Sl.No Description Monthly Qtly Hly Yearly
1. Check the float charging voltage and current. As per the O&M Manual
Note down the average ambient Battery room temperature. (Battery will give optimum performance when operated @ 270C.)
Check the charger ripple and the regulation. (Ripple: <2% rms. Value, Regulation: _ 1%.)
4.  Check the over voltage cut off and under voltage trip. Pl refer the O&M Manual
5. Boost charge the batteries for 24 Hrs. Pl refer the O&M Manual
Note down individual cell / Module voltage readings after discharging the battery bank for 15 min with the available load Current of 10% to 20% of the rated capacity to identify weak cells if any.
7. Inspect for any Physical damages, Cracks on cover & container.(1st time before installation &quarterly afterwards)
8. Checking the terminal Bolts tightness
Note: Maintain the Battery records with out fail. Follow the O&M manual instructions on further details and instructions.

AC ripple voltage and current effects on battery performance.
The achievement of optimum life form a VRLA battery system can also be related to the quality of the DC output voltage of the charger. The output should be as pure DC as is practical for the DC output voltage of the charger. If the output contains a significant AC component can cause additional heating of the battery. If the AC component is sufficiently large, during a portion of the waveform the charging voltage could actually dip below the battery OCV and slightly discharge the battery thus affecting the battery active materials. An excessive AC ripple effect would be, while the DC helps the battery plates for conversion of the active materials through the main reaction, the AC component (i.e. the ripple content) leads to side reactions. One of the major side reaction is hydrolysis of water thereby liberating hydrogen and oxygen gases in addition to the hydrogen and oxygen gases liberated from the main reaction. The gases thus liberated from the main reaction recombine to form back as water in a VRLA battery due to the oxygen recombination principle. The gases liberated from the side reactions increase the cell internal pressure increases beyond allowable pressure value the `safety valve` opens and releases these excess gases into the atmosphere. Thus the batteries are subjected to loss of water, eventually results in premature capacity loss.

Further, due to the availability of abundant quantities of nascent oxygen gas near the grid structure, the rate of corrosion of the grid increases drastically, thereby resulting in reduction of the service life of the batteries.

For best results, the AC ripple voltage on the charger output should be less than 2% p-p (peak to peak) of the battery DC charging voltage to ensure that the battery will not be “cycled”.

The AC ripple voltage will induce an AC ripple current and the value of this current will be related to the value of the voltage and the relatively low impedance of the battery (I=E/R). This AC ripple current will cause additional heating of the battery, which could affect the battery life, if significant. The AC ripple current should be limited to 0.05C for best results. For example, a 100 ampere-hour capacity © battery should experience less than 5 AC amperes ripple current for best results.

C10 Capacity Test Procedure
10 hr capacity discharge testing method:
The procedure has been prepared by considering with power stack modules, the same can be used for Amaron Quanta batteries.
The following tools are required to test the batteries.
Digital voltmeter (3½ digit) - Calibrated.
DC Clamp meter - Calibrated.
Spanners set with insulated.
Rubber gloves.
Load bank.
Safety goggles.
Testing procedure:
Ensure that all Modules terminals tightness with torque 11Nm’s.
Ensure that no damage battery modules in the string and all terminals cleanliness.
Ensure that the battery is in fully charge condition (i.e. the battery charging current droops and stabilizes at trickle value).
Measure & Record the on charge voltages of all the modules in the circuit.
Isolate the battery bank from system. Care should be taken to avoid short circuits.
Necessary arrangements to be taken to avoid system interruption during the absence of battery bank while testing.
Connect the external load to battery thru isolation switch. Switch current capacity should be two times more than the battery 10hr-discharge currents.
Set 10hr currents (C10 currents = Ah capacity of battery/10)
Ex.: For 100 Ah battery the10hr currents = 100/10 = 10A DC.
Measure and record the individual module voltage readings as per Annexure – sheet.
Bypass the battery when it reaches to its end cell voltage i.e 10.5 Volts/battery and continue the discharge for other batteries.
Bypassing procedure:
Disconnect the load.
Remove the failed module interconnections.
By-pass the battery from the circuit.
Tighten the terminal bolts to either side of the module.
Continue the discharge.
Record the down time & extend the discharge test of down time.
After completion of test, connect back the battery set as usual to the charging system.
Results interpretation
Battery to be replaced when ever it fails to deliver less than 80% of the rated capacity.
End user Location
System Sl. No. Mfg. Dt. Inst. Dt.
System rating Room temperature
Load current Duration
On charge voltage
Discharge readings in hr.