owenski avatar image
owenski asked

Victron Quattro coupled to NiFe battery bank


I am examining the systems architecture of a quattro 48/15000/200-100/100 VE.Bus 48V 15000W VA 200A Inverter Charger, Coupled to a NiFe (nickel iron) battery bank, comprising of 1.2v x 40 cells. Fundamentally, they are a relatively safe, extremely robust solution, that can stand up to DOD's that would finish Li banks, that leaves other battery technologies in their wake, as long as, you are prepared for the top up requirements.

I am looking for someone that has attempted this solution. generally, the 4 brands of NiFe cells, have a specification as follows, with small variation;

Chemical System - Nickel Iron (NiFe)

Battery Type - Rechargable Deep Cycle, Flooded with Alkaline Electrolyte Electrolyte Chemistry Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) And Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH)

Electrolyte Refresh Rate Suggested every 7-10 years to sustain maximum performance Terminal Poles, Cell-To-Cell Busbars Nickel-Plated Steel, Tinned Copper Cell Container Translucent, Corrosion-Free Polypropylene or ABS Engineering Plastic Vents Flame-Arresting Flip-Top Vents

Nominal Voltage -1.2 Volts (per cell)

Charging Voltage - 1.65 Volts (per cell)

Efficiency - 80% Cycle Life 11,000 Cycles At 80% Depth Of Discharge

Float Life / Shelf Life - 30 Years / 85 Years

Optimum Charge & Discharge Current C/4

Minimum Charging Current -C/20

Maximum Continuous Charging Current C/2

Maximum Pulsed Charging Current 1C

Maximum Discharge Current C/2

Self-Discharge Rate 1% per day

Operating Temperature -30⁰ C To +60⁰ C (-22⁰ F To +140⁰ F)

I would like to hear from people that have done a implementation, of a quattro and NiFe cells, to understand where the stumbling block might be.

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2 Answers
petajoule avatar image
petajoule answered ·

We had a 48V 1p test setup in 2016 made of a Quattro 5kVA and Iron Edison ( NiFe cells to evaluate them as a possible configuration for commercial installations.

In the end, we decided against it, because even at 50% of the price tag of a "comparable" LFP battery (and the Iron Edison batteries were at that time significantly above that mark), the drawbacks were evident in the tests:

  • really low retention efficiency. The 80% hold true for both charging and discharging -> 64%
  • 1%/d self-discharge, more like 1.3%, really kicks in the bigger your battery bank is and if you have an installation in a region with pronounced winter time. Suddenly you lose 300+Wh per day of your 500Ah battery bank.
  • Rate of charge and discharge are abysmal. Sometimes the sun comes out for a short period of time. Like 15 minutes. And your 9kWp PV installation actually does deliver 8kW you will run into trouble pushing all of it (albeit with said .8² retention efficency) into the battery.
  • NiFe vendors try to position these batteries as "hassle free", because they do not need to be balanced, can cope with overcharging and extreme DoD. However, you need to take into account H2 gassing and temperature of the battery. When loading a 400Ah LiFePO4 at 200A (0.5C) for one hour, the battery temperature rises from 22°C to 25°C, doing 70A on a 500Ah NiFe did 22°C to 31°C within an hour. Of course - where do you think the other 20% of the efficiency go to?


If you can get them really cheap, and I'm talking about 50$ per kWh and you have enough space and a floor capable to cope with the weight (low energy density) and the place you put them in is kept above freezing point (forget performance below zero, -30°C "operating temperature" is a joke - or you live in a well tempered region) and you make sure there is ventilation and you do not have charge/discharge spikes and you are willing to trade less electronics hassle against more chemistry hassle... by all means.

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kami avatar image
kami answered ·

Did you already find a solution, especially for charge/defiition of the battery type and also for the ESS-System?



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