Image: Jehu Garcia
More than two years after Tesla launched its first version of Powerwall, the firm led by Elon Musk has come up with a tough competitor who, in reality, are many and are distributed all over the planet. It is a group of self-manufacturing enthusiasts who have launched into the production of their own batteries to store renewable energy, for which they usually dispose of recycled laptop batteries. And the results are astonishing since there are those who claim to have equipped themselves with homemade versions that far exceed the storage capacity of Powerwall, the authentic one. Compared to its 14 kWh, there are those who claim to have reached 100.
This achievement is attributed to this youtuber who, however, is not the only one who defends on the net having beaten the capacity of the original battery. So has Peter Matthews, another youtuber who, in this case, is one of the heavyweights of this trend. In addition to being behind the production of a battery to store up to 40 kWh, he has created the DIY Powerwalls Facebook group, which has more than 6,300 members.
And, as you can see, it is in the online universe that this movement gains strength. Thus, experiences, recommendations and achievements are shared on social networks, but also through specialized forums and with models that inspire and that many follow, such as Jehu Garcia, one of the most prominent drivers of this trend, if not the most.
“It’s the future. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s efficient and it’s powerful ”, he assured VICE about self-manufacturing batteries that he has become an example for many enthusiasts. In fact, his YouTube channel exceeds 13 million views.
How to make your own ‘Powerwall’.
One of the most demanding points in the process of building a homemade Powerwall is obtaining the necessary batteries for it. Without taking this step, it will be impossible to move on.
Typically, the most popular home storage battery creators go for 18650 Li-ion batteries. To make matters worse, they are those that are usually found in electronic equipment such as laptops.
The self- manufacturing boom of Powerwalls has made obtaining these batteries increasingly difficult, but if it can be done, it will be worth it. If you choose to buy them new, it can cost more than five dollars a piece (just over 4 euros to change). On the other hand, if you try to obtain second-hand, the costs can be significantly cheaper although, as mentioned, it will not be easy to find discarded and low-cost batteries.
Once they are collected, the next step will be to test them to ensure that they are safe enough to incorporate into the project. Once this step is completed, the next step will be what is known in this circle as ‘ cycling ‘, which basically consists of unloading each unit completely and then recharging it until it is at full capacity.
From there, it will be necessary to shape the holders for the batteries, incorporate the electricity conductors in the upper area of the system and, immediately afterwards, weld the whole assembly. Once the system is assembled, it will be time to connect it to an inverter and place it in a safe structure to, with this, begin to manage the energy storage of your home.
DIY Powerwalls “are the future.”
Image: Peter Matthews.
Self-manufacturing Powerwalls or batteries for domestic energy storage are the future, according to Garcia and many of the enthusiasts of this trend. Those who have launched into it have chosen to move from a passive attitude to another, fully active: from waiting for the companies that dominate the market to offer better and more affordable answers, to equipping themselves with these solutions. This alternative, in addition, can respond in passing to another problem; that of the waste generated by batteries that fall into disuse and that, thus, can gain a new life.
Via Motherboard VICE.