Hey folks, long time lurker, first time poster.
I recently have been reading a book called the battery builders. Very interesting book, completely shows how to rebuild or build both pasted and plante cells (more on paste than plante though). The more I read about lead acid batteries the more i realize off gridders and solar powered homes are being hosed hard by battery companies. Only a handful of manufacturers actually make cells that are made for off grid power. Golf cart batteries, L16, "deep cycle" marine batteries and even some fork truck cells are just not up to the challenge. In comparison to a plante cell, they are basically glorified starter/hybrid batteries. Some commercial manufacturers sell plante cells but its mostly stuff in Europe and to industry like nuclear power etc. Rated for 25 years in float. I think with thick plates, lower specific gravity and maybe a touch of antimony and possibly a battery additive we could hit 30 years of moderate use. Most float or long term batteries have a specific gravity of 1.200. This does lower its charge and discharge rate but it also slows down corrosion of the positive plate, that plus 1/4 inch thick plates could mean some major life. The best part is it gains capacity as its used. If you want you can half form it and patiently use it. Every day the cells will gain capacity. If you had a midnite classic you can use the current limit feature to grow as the battery does. Its a system that you can actually grow, a pasted cell cant do that. Also if you can build it, you can repair it or replace it again. I can get lead at 70 cents per lb at my local scrap yard. Pure soft lead.
Now for the downsides.
Its heavy and nowhere near as energy dense as pasted cells. Best case scenario you double the lead to make it. It also takes a long time to form. Several months, a month if you half form it.
Back to the upsides, mechanically speaking its a very simple device. You can do a jelly roll or a plate, both have advantages. You can reuse old cases and terminals. You can store lead and acid indefinitely, so keep a set of dry uncharged cells onn hand for down the road. I'm a nutty prepper, my battery bank has always worried me. I have great cells that cost a pretty penny. I have tubular fork truck cells rated at 3250 cycles at 50% dod. Its a 12 volt 1064 AH battery bank, 6, 2 volt batteries. They cost me 1900 dollars shipped via freight. If i baby them i might hit 15, maybe even 20 but what about after that?
Anyways, thoughts? Also before i get a ton of "its dangerous!" so is driving and just about any sort of construction or even leaving the house. I know lead is toxic, batteries also give off toxic fumes, especially when forming or when casting lead. I plan on wearing a respirator, a tyvek suit, rubber gloves and face shield. Plante is a tad safer since the active material is formed wet in the acid so no lead powders to give me lung cancer.