Last Saturday I joined fellow members of the Denver Electric Vehicle Council on a tour of Iron Edison, a Lakewood company which manufactures lithium iron (distinct from lithium ion) batteries for home storage of electricity.
Such batteries are most appropriate for off-grid properties, such as in the mountains, but they could make sense in certain applications for homes which do have access to the electrical grid, especially if that grid offers off-peak pricing, but also if you can’t risk losing electrical service during a black-out, such as for medical equipment.
Brandon Williams, co-owner with his wife of Iron Edison, is shown here, explaining the circuitry that makes his batteries work. He told our group that he has two quite different clients — right-wing survivalists preparing to survive a social meltdown and left-wing environmentalists who want to reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Both sectors utilize solar photovoltaic arrays, capturing electricity from the sun and storing it in large batteries.
Another big client base for Iron Edison is the cell phone industry, which needs to install cell towers or small generating stations in remote locations far from an electrical provider. In his presentation, Brandon showed us pictures of one such installation near the tar sands of northern Alberta.
Many utilities are also developing an interest in battery storage. Utilities have to create more electricity than is needed at any given time. With a large bank of batteries, a utility could run its generating stations at a much lower level, letting the batteries absorb any unused electricity while also satisfying surges in demand as they arise.
Even if the battery is not a perfect fit for me right now, with the rising costs of electricity from the grid, and the falling costs of solar + batteries, there are more and more opportunities where batteries make sense. It was exciting to see the future of energy storage at Iron Edison. Learn more at their website, www.IronEdison.com, and by watching their videos at www.YouTube.com/IronEdison.
Published Oct. 19, 2016, in the YourHub section of the Denver Post and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers.