Lithium batteries are great when there might be a space or weight issue, but they are consumable products. Lead-acid batteries decays as they give energy. The nickel-iron battery powered the first electric cars, some of which had batteries that worked over 100 years later. These are not acid, but alkaline, made with a potassium hydroxide mix.
While they are only 1.2 volts, which means a lot of batteries and a lot weight, in a stationary situation, such as a house, the embodied energy is much, much better in nickel-iron batteries.
- Renewable energy is best judged via embodied energy: the amount of energy it provides over a lifetime versus the amount used to produce the system.
- Lithium and lead-acid batteries both have short lifespans, decreasing their embodied energy, and as a result, they create more waste.
- Nickel-iron batteries, a very old technology, lasts an incredibly long time and have much more embodied energy.
- In a stationary situation, such as powering a house, nickel-iron batteries, though they require more space and weigh more, are a more ethical choice.