Lithium batteries are a common choice since they have a higher lifespan, charge faster, provide more energy after every discharge, and last longer on a single charge.
Since the invention of cold storage, America has seen a rise in refrigerated warehousing. Food, medicine, and other perishables must be kept at a low temperature to prevent deterioration. With the increasing demand for cold storage, the market size is expected to rise to 330.2 billion dollars by 2030.
The Battery is Made For Cold Storage Material Handling
On the other hand, lead-acid batteries cannot handle the cold as they can lose up to 50% of their capacity in cold environments. Cold storage operators may find it harder to operate the system since the battery has such a low capacity that it can no longer perform normal tasks due to its decreasing capacity.
Since many companies have to use these batteries, they use heaters to prevent excessive cooling of the batteries. However, lithium batteries have several advantages in cold environments:
- They can even be charged at a temperature of -20° C.
- They do not lose capacity in cold conditions.
- They need no maintenance to operate efficiently.
- No risk from opportunity charging.
- Up to 10x the life cycle.
Increased Efficiency In The Cold
Even though lithium batteries are more expensive than lead-acid batteries, they last longer. Compared to the charge cycle of lead-acid batteries, which is 200-500 cycles, lithium-ion batteries have an astounding 2000-5000 cycles.
Operators using lead-acid batteries might charge their batteries frequently due to their high discharge rates. Plus, lead-acid batteries must be maintained, so their capacity doesn’t decrease rapidly.
Another benefit of lithium batteries is that they have a built-in battery management system (BMS). This makes data collection and analysis so much easier. With BMS, you can rest easy as battery performance, and temperatures are tracked and monitored.
Cold Storage Battery Charging
As mentioned before, lead-acid batteries are a hassle since charging them in cold temperatures comes with its problems. You can completely charge a lead-acid battery before you use it. Hot and cold temperatures are a surefire way of shortening the lifespan of lead-acid batteries.
Cold temperatures slow down a battery’s charging time, which means you might not be able to charge it completely during a shift. Even a single battery can throw off an entire operation if it doesn’t perform correctly.
Cold storage warehouses have downtimes, too, and they are potentially unwelcoming to extra expenses, especially if it concerns longer charging times of lead-acid batteries due to the low temperature and higher discharge rate.
Different temperature zones might also complicate matters where one zone has a different charging rate than another. One solution is to have charger units outside the cold storage. However, the charging cables will run inside the trucks or jacks which need to be charged. This type of charging alleviates condensation concerns.
The best battery choice for cold storage applications is undoubtedly lithium batteries. They may be expensive, but they are more useful, efficient, and reliable than lead-acid batteries.