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The Truth About Batteries and Clean Energy!


David Pratt

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Very Interesting. This is not Political, but Just Real Facts about Batteries that should Expel a lot of Myths.
Hopefully this will get you thinking The zero emissions electric concept is everything but. This is the information that the “save the planet environmentalist “ either don’t understand and/or don’t want you to know.
 
This format may seem silly but the information needs to be shared. 

AN EXCELLENT TUTORIAL ON BATTERIES!

 Bruce Haedrich

When I saw the title of this lecture, especially with the picture of the scantily clad model, I couldn’t resist attending. The packed auditorium was abuzz with questions about the address; nobody seemed to know what to expect. The only hint was a large aluminum block sitting on a sturdy table on the stage. 

     When the crowd settled down, a scholarly-looking man walked out and put his hand on the shiny block, “Good evening,” he said, “I am here to introduce NMC532-X,” and he patted the block, “we call him NM for short,” and the man smiled proudly. “NM is a typical electric vehicle (EV) car battery in every way except one; we programmed him to send signals of the internal movements of his electrons when charging, discharging, and in several other conditions. We wanted to know what it feels like to be a battery. We don’t know how it happened, but NM began to talk after we downloaded the program. 

     Despite this ability, we put him in a car for a year and then asked him if he’d like to  do presentations about batteries. He readily agreed on the condition he could say whatever he wanted. We thought that was fine, and so, without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to NM,” the man turned and walked off the stage.    

     “Good evening,” NM said. He had a slightly affected accent, and when he spoke, he lit up in different colors. “That cheeky woman on the marquee was my idea,” he said. “Were she not there, along with ‘naked’ in the title, I’d likely be speaking to an empty auditorium! I also had them add ‘shocking’ because it’s a favorite word amongst us batteries.” He flashed a light blue color as he laughed.  

     “Sorry,” NM giggled then continued, “three days ago, at the start of my last lecture,  three people walked out. I suppose they were disappointed there would be no dancing girls. But here is what I noticed about them. One was wearing a battery-powered hearing aid, one tapped on his battery-powered cell phone as he left, and a third got into his car, which would not start without a battery. So I’d like you to think about your day for a moment; how many batteries do you rely on?” 

      He paused for a full minute which gave us time to count our batteries.  Then he went on, “Now, it is not elementary to ask, ‘what is a battery?’ I think Tesla said it best when they called us Energy Storage Systems. That’s important. We do not make electricity – we store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators. So to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at all valid. Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the road are coal-powered, n’est-ce pas?” 

     He flashed blue again. “Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same amount of energy to move a five thousand pound gasoline-driven automobile a mile as it does an electric one. The only question again is what produces the power? To reiterate, it does not come from the battery; the battery is only the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.”  

     He lit up red when he said that, and I sensed he was smiling. Then he continued in blue and orange. “Mr. Elkay introduced me as NMC532. If I were the battery from your computer mouse, Elkay would introduce me as double-A, if from your cell phone as CR2032, and so on. We batteries all have the same name depending on our design. By the way, the ‘X’ in my name stands for ‘experimental.’   

     There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single-use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic, heavy metals. 

     Rechargeable batteries differ only in their internal materials, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium. 

     The United States uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and most are not recycled; they end up in landfills. California is the only state which requires all batteries be recycled. If you throw your small, used batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them. 

     All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a flashlight or two from an old ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, you think of it as dead; well, it is not. It continues to leak small amounts of electricity. As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic, and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill. 

     In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle batteries like me, or care to dispose of single-use ones properly. 

     But that is not half of it. For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive embedded costs.” 

     NM got redder as he spoke. “Everything manufactured has two costs associated with it, embedded costs and operating costs. I will explain embedded costs using a can of baked beans as my subject. 

     In this scenario, baked beans are on sale, so you jump in your car and head for the grocery store. Sure enough, there they are on the shelf for $1.75 a can. As you head to the checkout, you begin to think about the embedded costs in the can of beans. 

     The first cost is the diesel fuel the farmer used to plow the field, till the ground, harvest the beans, and transport them to the food processor. Not only is his diesel fuel an embedded cost, so are the costs to build the tractors, combines, and trucks. In addition, the farmer might use a nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas. 

     Next is the energy costs of cooking the beans, heating the building, transporting the  workers, and paying for the vast amounts of electricity used to run the plant. The steel can holding the beans is also an embedded cost. Making the steel can requires mining taconite, shipping it by boat, extracting the iron, placing it in a coal-fired blast furnace, and adding carbon. Then it’s back on another truck to take the beans to the grocery store. Finally, add in the cost of the gasoline for your car. 

     But wait - can you guess one of the highest but rarely acknowledged embedded costs? NM said, then gave us about thirty seconds to make our guesses. Then he flashed his lights and said, “It’s the depreciation on the 5000 pound car you used to transport one pound of canned beans!” 

     NM took on a golden glow, and I thought he might have winked. He said, “But that  can of beans is nothing compared to me! I am hundreds of times more complicated. My embedded costs not only come in the form of energy use; they come as environmental destruction, pollution, disease, child labor, and the inability to be recycled.” 

     He paused, “I weigh one thousand pounds, and as you see, I am about the size of a travel trunk.” NM’s lights showed he was serious. “I contain twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside me are 6,831 individual lithium-ion cells.  

     It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each auto battery like me, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just - one - battery.”

     He let that one sink in, then added, “I mentioned disease and child labor a moment ago. Here’s why. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”  

     NM’s red and orange light made it look like he was on fire. “Finally,” he said, “I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

     The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicon dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

     Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard-to-extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects. 

     NM lights dimmed, and he quietly said, “There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent. I’m trying to do my part with these lectures. 

     Thank you for your attention, good night, and good luck.” NM’s lights went out, and he was quiet, like a regular battery.  

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Great read for sure. I think I need to check the facts and numbers from other sources but still is a very well written piece. Thanks for sharing. I 100% agree that this should not be a political statement. This is all about the place our kids and grandkids will live in.

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Interesting piece. Couldn't find out much about Haedrich other than the one I found that was a retired air-force and commercial airline pilot who writes fiction books. Would be interesting to have his Substantial Authority or Cites on the subject. 

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I feel like mother earth is not as fragile as some like to think she is.  Take India for example.  If any country is polluting the earth, it is India.

Then there was the Exxon oil spill in Alaska.  I would say one cannot find any evidence of that spill today.  Yet the news media and some politicians predict dooms day.

Just my opinion.

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The cost of the huge cranes necessary to build and service a windmill was left off plus some articles say one will never generate enough power to equal the power used to create the materials that go into its construction. Without government assistance (money) none would be built as the private sector has to make a profit to stay in business.

So,  I have a couple questions:

1) how many inches have the oceans risen in the last 15,000 years?

2) What percent of the increase was in the last 5000 years? Hint… 33% would be the average.

3) Why is 1700–2000 used as the temperature range to justify global warming?

1) 4,000+ inches

2) 50 inches or 1.2%.

3) 1700 is an unusual cold period at the height of the little Ice Age. It was almost as warm 1000 years ago as it is today.
 

And to stir the pot some more… based on past earth’s temperature cycles, we are coming to the end of a unusually warm period. Also, one large volcano eruption may cancel in a week, all CO2 reductions we’ve accomplished in a year.

Edited by Ivylog
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I feel like mother earth is not as fragile as some like to think she is.  Take India for example.  If any country is polluting the earth, it is India.

Then there was the Exxon oil spill in Alaska.  I would say one cannot find any evidence of that spill today.  Yet the news media and some politicians predict dooms day.

Just my opinion.

Dick, I am with you on that.  Chuck

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I was very involved in the various phases of the Design, Manufacturing and Construction of the Alaskan Pipeline. You can not immage what went on with the enviorment, and the land, during the construction.  The spill was minute, to say the least, in comparision. 

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3 hours ago, Paul A. said:

I was very involved in the various phases of the Design, Manufacturing and Construction of the Alaskan Pipeline. You can not immage what went on with the enviorment, and the land, during the construction.  The spill was minute, to say the least, in comparision. 

You are correct...I cannot imagine.  So, enlighten me.

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5 hours ago, Chuck B 2004 Windsor said:

I feel like mother earth is not as fragile as some like to think she is.  Take India for example.  If any country is polluting the earth, it is India.

 

In my opinion, this is the main problem in this world today!

You think I'm bad..... LOOK at him!!!!!!!!!

I live in B.C Canada, so practically all of our power is from dropping water from a high level to a low level. 

Yes, we use batteries to store power just like the rest of the world.

When you haven't solved your own problems, it's not time to point your finger at other countries!

Edited by 96 EVO
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8 hours ago, 96 EVO said:

In my opinion, this is the main problem in this world today!

You think I'm bad..... LOOK at him!!!!!!!!!

I live in B.C Canada, so practically all of our power is from dropping water from a high level to a low level. 

Yes, we use batteries to store power just like the rest of the world.

When you haven't solved your own problems, it's not time to point your finger at other countries!

Give me a break!  Chuck simply had the balls to make a true statement on a social media platform.  What exactly are "your own problems"?

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Whoopee, BC has a population of 5 million and yes, most of their power comes from hydro created before the environmentalists stopped the creation of any more lakes. Where is NYC’s 8 million going to get their power from?

China is currently building coal fired plants while we are either shutting them down or converting them to natural gas.

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11 hours ago, 96 EVO said:

In my opinion, this is the main problem in this world today!

You think I'm bad..... LOOK at him!!!!!!!!!

I live in B.C Canada, so practically all of our power is from dropping water from a high level to a low level. 

Yes, we use batteries to store power just like the rest of the world.

When you haven't solved your own problems, it's not time to point your finger at other countries!

I agree that hydroelectric, river or tidal, are better, more weatherproof alternatives to other 'renewable' sources such as wind and solar,  both of which have huge dollar and energy costs (and raise issues of future recycling which seem to be downplayed).  Having said that I hope you realize that in the US, the population density and geography preclude the same methodology.  {Perhaps you don't come visit the US and use our mostly fossil-fuel created electricity so you may not know that).

However you did chastise another member for 'point[ing] your finger at other countries' but then implicitly did the same to those of us in the US.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Maybe, someday, some company will develop solar or other 'renewable' energy systems which can directly generate high voltage AC at 50%+ efficiency, and are cost efficient.  That's be great but we're far from it.

For now it would be nice if  production of clean-burning fuel were done synthetically.  It's been done in the lab and now we wait for the political environment to proceed.

"Professor Alan Goldman and his Rutgers team in collaboration with researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a way to convert carbon sources, such as coal, to diesel fuel.... Goldman explained that the breakthrough technology employs a pair of catalytic chemical reactions that operate in tandem, one of which captured the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry."  ... Goldman said. “What we are now able to do with our new catalysts is something no one else has done before. We take all these undesirable medium-weight substances and convert them to the useful higher- and lower-weight products.”

https://ucmweb.rutgers.edu/medrel/science/coal.shtml

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22584036/

Edited by rpasetto
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I doubt that anyone here is anti battery,  solar,  or wind power,  we have batteries and solar in our coaches.

It's all fascinating, advancing technology that has a place in powering things, but NOT EVERYTHING, NOT YET. 

It's those preaching that this new approach is the only thing that will save mankind and the planet that are the real danger.  Bah Hum Bug  on them 

I believe now that even the coal fired power plants are operating pretty clean and they will get better in time given the opportunity.

I'm sure we all want to see a cleaner and safer environment.   However, throwing the baby out with the bath water will only create more problems.   

If we want to maintain our standard of living, then fossil fuel is going to be necessary for the foreseeable future.   IMHO                                                                                                   

Edited by Ray Davis
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Visiting the glaciers in Alaska was a humbling experience, as they are definitely eroding away.  Scientists say CO2 but I'm not opposed to the Earth experiencing a natural temperature cycle.

Good point about volcanic activity.

I've seen other discussions where "free energy" technologies were discussed.  It's not so free, as the author above suggests.  Even operational costs aren't all that great. 

It will be a lonnnnng time before the public sees the embedded costs, both financial and environmental, in these "zero-emission" solutions.  I don't see developing countries jumping on the green bandwagon.  Maybe someday we won't have a war over oil but a war over planetary pollution.  I'll be long gone by then!

- bob

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6 hours ago, Ray Davis said:

I doubt that anyone here is anti battery,  solar,  or wind power,  we have batteries and solar in our coaches.

It's all fascinating, advancing technology that has a place in powering things, but NOT EVERYTHING, NOT YET. 

It's those preaching that this new approach is the only thing that will save mankind and the planet that are the real danger.  Bah Hum Bug  on them 

I believe now that even the coal fired power plants are operating pretty clean and they will get better in time given the opportunity.

I'm sure we all want to see a cleaner and safer environment.   However, throwing the baby out with the bath water will only create more problems.   

If we want to maintain our standard of living, then fossil fuel is going to be necessary for the foreseeable future.   IMHO                                                                                                   

I agree, Ray,  I think most of us know the usefulness of our solar panels.  Most RV'ers are aware of the energy cost in controlling, storing and inverting those solar watts we get into 110vAC, as the general public may not.  We're far from even 10% efficiency and know the complexity of reducing the batteries as well as other components. 

[The theoretical solar energy density at earth's average distance is about 1.3KW per square meter.  I saw an ad for a 'typical' 12 sq ft solar panel (1 sq meter) advertised at 200 watt, so about 15%, ideally, but that's only on a very clear day with Sun directly overhead.  Realistically it would be a few percent less, and then it has to go thru a controller and wiring, stored then inverted to 110vAC , I'd expect 10% at best. ]

Thinking about the solar fields out there which need to send power stored in massive battery arrays over longer power cables than we use, then invert to high AC voltages, tens of thousands I'd expect,  finally  transmitted & distributed to local transformers where it becomes 110/240 or 3pH AC.  I've yet to see published data on solar system efficiencies (I do not mean the advertising stuff the door-to-door solar guys are selling).  Hoping this will become viable someday, but there's a lot of R&D ahead , until then we need the coal, gas and nuclear plants.

 

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Unless you do more dry camping than FHU, spending serious money on solar is probably a mistake. Based on usually being the only big rig dry camping, we are the exception. Yes, 150W of solar to keep your batteries charged in storage is worth the investment.

I DIYed 1000W of solar for $1200 knowing I’d not live long enough to reach a payback because of our usage. Only half timers and only 2 months of dry camping during the summer where shade is more important than being in the sun. 

I also built 600AH of Lithium batteries this year for $2/AH which I thought was pretty good considering B Born was getting $8/AH. Recently bough some more cells that brings the price down to $1/AH assuming they eventually arrive from China. That makes them cheaper than AGM with 3X the life. Like so many “new” things, the longer you wait, the better the price.

If you are a FHU to FHU camper having 300+ Watts of solar is not necessary nor cost effective. The same is true of 300+ AH of batteries… not needed.

Would be interesting to see how many dry campers we have on here??? Not sure how you’d do a poll on here?

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Of course, there are negative externalities for everything if you look closely enough. Even discounting the potentially immense damage that C02 and methane pollution has caused to the ecosystem.

For example, let's consider the massive long term pollution caused by leaking underground fuel tanks!

Quote

 

Leaking USTs are a grave threat to America's groundwater. Gas stations, industries and other entities use USTs to hold toxic material such as gasoline and oil that contain dangerous substances, including benzene, toluene and heavy metals that can cause cancer and harm developing children. USTs can threaten communities as their walls corrode by silently leaking toxins into our drinking water supplies, homes and businesses.

There are 680,000 USTs and a backlog of 130,000 cleanups; 9,000 new leaks are discovered annually. In 2004, UST cleanups declined by 22 percent compared to 2003. Chemicals in USTs can quickly move through soil and pollute groundwater. One gallon of petroleum can contaminate one million gallons of water. One pin-prick sized hole in an UST can leak 400 gallons of fuel a year. More than 100 million people drink groundwater in states where delayed cleanups threaten groundwater quality.

Source: https://www.csu.edu/cerc/documents/LUSTThreattoPublicHealth.pdf

 

The positive news around batteries is that they are getting much better every year, a LiFePO4 pack for my RV is nearly upfront cost-equivilant to lead-acid now, and will last for 5000 cycles, far longer than my coach will. Even once it has reduced capacity it will be safe and effective to continue to use. This battery technology will greatly reduce the number of lead-acid batteries required. In addition, their chemistries are being improved to reduce or eliminate the most problematic chemicals. 

Used EV batteries will find second lives as grid power banks, once they are no longer able to supply the high output discharge required by EVs, they are still very suitable for utility-scale power storage. 

Finally, there is a lot of innovation happening in the lithium battery recycling area, the materials in these batteries are far too valuable to "throw away".

So I'd say the future for batteries is bright.  🙂 

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The future is bright until one drives across Texas on I 10 in a all electric vehicle.  Around 300 miles you will have depleted the battery bank.  You end up on the side of the road in the dead cold of winter.  I pray that you have enough blankets to stay warm until help arrives.  Wonder how many charging stations you passed up if any.  

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44 minutes ago, Chuck B 2004 Windsor said:

The future is bright until one drives across Texas on I 10 in a all electric vehicle.  Around 300 miles you will have depleted the battery bank.  You end up on the side of the road in the dead cold of winter.  I pray that you have enough blankets to stay warm until help arrives.  Wonder how many charging stations you passed up if any.  

You mean we can't walk down the road and get 5 gal of electricity?   Oh my, what'll we do?   Call an elect wrecker?   Maybe I better just stay off of I 10 in my EV. 😏

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I really don't get the negative energy towards green energy here, it all seems very can't do.

Do you all think that the gasoline (and diesel, of course!) refining, transport, and distribution system popped up overnight the day after the Model T went on sale??

Of course not. Same can be said for the electrical infrastructure requirements that going all electric. Of course we can build these out, and quickly. It's an amazing opportunity.

I get that it might seem like a slight on the way we have all lived our lives under fossil fuel dominance, but really it's just progress. We're all creatures of our times. What other aspect of modern life hasn't been revolutionized 3 times over during your lifetime? - think of computers, TV, medical science, materials science, etc. To think that we should just stick to burning coal and gasoline forever is asinine.

My daily driver is a 2016 KIA Soul EV+ that I picked up at an auction for little $ (because I'm cheap that way). It's amazing. Instant heat/ac, great torque, so quiet I can hear my brake calipers engage when I'm coming to a low speed stop. Costs me 1/5th to run vs my previous 2005 RAV4. Maintenance is almost non-existent. Has very limited range in this case, but enough to meet 80% of my daily driving requirements. If I wanted to spend real new car money I could have a Tesla that could meet all of my driving requirements. There is zero question that once people get their hands on EVs, it's game over for fossil cars. Sure, there are use cases that will take much longer to convert, long-range towing being one example, though even that might convert faster than you'd think. Driver's can only put on so many hours a day anyway, so stopping to charge might actually work out for them.

Don't worry though, nobody is coming to take away our DPs and fossil fueled sports cars. Lots of people still keep horses too.  😉

 

 

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3 hours ago, Ivylog said:

Unless you do more dry camping than FHU, spending serious money on solar is probably a mistake. Based on usually being the only big rig dry camping, we are the exception. Yes, 150W of solar to keep your batteries charged in storage is worth the investment.

I DIYed 1000W of solar for $1200 knowing I’d not live long enough to reach a payback because of our usage. Only half timers and only 2 months of dry camping during the summer where shade is more important than being in the sun. 

I also built 600AH of Lithium batteries this year for $2/AH which I thought was pretty good considering B Born was getting $8/AH. Recently bough some more cells that brings the price down to $1/AH assuming they eventually arrive from China. That makes them cheaper than AGM with 3X the life. Like so many “new” things, the longer you wait, the better the price.

If you are a FHU to FHU camper having 300+ Watts of solar is not necessary nor cost effective. The same is true of 300+ AH of batteries… not needed.

Would be interesting to see how many dry campers we have on here??? Not sure how you’d do a poll on here?

I must be one of the few that dry camps quite frequently. I have 400W of solar that keeps the batteries full during a sunny day. I also have a Residential Fridge with 8 6V batteries. I run a portable generator when the sun goes down just to top off the batteries. 

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