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Thread: Next step in home solar electricity storage batteries?

  1. #1
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Next step in home solar electricity storage batteries?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    One of the possible next generation of storage batteries for solar panel generated electricity that could become common for domestic use.

    They sound to be safer, cheaper to produce, more efficient, quicker charging etc.

    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/...attery-mb0957/

    Gelion Technology – Gelion Technology
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    Yep, have been watching this one closely for a while now and looks to be very encouraging. Far better (Zinc Bromine) than using Lithium Ion batteries for home/grid energy storage...

    Mal.
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    You sound like you don't like living with a bomb strapped to the side of your house Mal?
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    Could be one of the reasons...

    Mal.
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    This is interesting, thanks for sharing! I've been keeping an eye on the ZCell for a while - whilst the power density isn't up there with lithium batteries, the other advantages are very desirable such as 100% discharge, lack of degradation, more sustainable materials and the fact you don't have a spontaneous incendiary device strapped to the side of your dwelling. I'm not sure what the advantages of going with gel as opposed to liquid is, other than use in non-static devices (e.g. cars)?
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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    This is the ABC Catalyst episode on Home Storage batteries where the Gelion battery developer makes an appearance towards the end of the program.

    https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/batt...homes/11016162


    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeHack View Post
    I'm not sure what the advantages of going with gel as opposed to liquid is, other than use in non-static devices (e.g. cars)?
    Somewhere in the earlier linked information was a reference to how the Gel and battery construction can be better tailored to suit the intended application for optimum performance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    This is the ABC Catalyst episode on Home Storage batteries where the Gelion battery developer makes an appearance towards the end of the program.

    https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/batt...homes/11016162




    Somewhere in the earlier linked information was a reference to how the Gel and battery construction can be better tailored to suit the intended application for optimum performance.
    G'day CafeLotta

    And I thought most CS's weren't following both Solarquotes and Catalyst. You aren't also an Energybiz subscriber are you? Using the gel to place batteries within walls seems to be pretty straightforward once the tech gets mature enough. Add the clear solar cells (see CSIRO) to the windows and roof and it would be hard to even spot it was there. An unobtrusive self-powered insulated building with battery storage may be fairly close in time. Mind you, I do take the "no need for active cooling" with a grain of salt if it gets scaled up - it may end up being more useful in Antarctica and northern climes than hot, dry Oz. I think of it as edge heating, not central heating.

    The only addition to the above battery portion is that the must maligned Tesla "big battery" in SA actually stabilised the entire eastern seaboard grid about 3 days after it was installed - before the Victorian grid management team realised there was a grid issue that needed sorting. Impressive. Gives their gas generators enough time to get up to speed (roughly 6 seconds) before the voltage drops too much, and if it is really major the hydro can join in later (neither are instant, with hydro slower than gas).

    Meanwhile internationally China installed more solar power last year than the whole US grid has installed to date, and their factories are still ramping up production. No wonder the Chinese wires are lagging behind their tech... China has also cancelled virtually every coal powered station that has not installed their generators yet (for obvious reasons). Beijing Olympics had an entirely unexpected bonus - it woke China up as to declining air quality and made them fix it.

    However, for places like the US and Oz, rather than large scale deployments, I suspect our power structure will alter one roof at a time as homes and businesses just go ahead and do it whilst idiots in their respective parliaments (and their bureaucratic hangers on) promote coal - potentially with a large amount of bribery, as the economics simply do not stack up. Only an idiot would reckon coal is a good future investment.

    In my case, this partially shaded house installed 3KW of solar plus micro inverters in late 2013. The setup sent a nett of 2MWH of power to the grid in the first three years - and the ******* still sent us bills. Currently looking at installing batteries when ever the costings work - hopefully within the year. An EV may be an ideal supplement to a small home battery as I rarely need more than a 160Km round trip these days and the car is mostly sitting in its carport.

    Enjoy your solar powered coffee - I do.


    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    You sound like you don't like living with a bomb strapped to the side of your house Mal?
    We've had a Tesla power wall installed at home for about 3 years now, so I thought I'd chime in with some first hand experience.

    First up, I'd make the point that there's a fair bit of FUD around the subject of Lithium Ion household batteries. People think because cousin Billy's chinese "hoverboard" off AliBaba caught fire, that all lithium batteries must be the same.

    The household storage batteries from the big manufacturers have about as much in common with the hoverboards as a Profitec 700 has with an Aldi capsule machine.

    They have sophisticated Battery Management Systems (BMS), active cooling and highly engineered module arrangement. They even use modern Li-ion batteries on the International Space Station. I'm not aware of a single case of a fire with a home storage battery from any reputable maker like Tesla, Sonnen.

    As for our experience - fantastic. It gets a full charge nearly every day, even in the dead of winter (5kw solar). Battery powers the house whenever the clouds pass over and during the night. In summer we usually get a credit, and in winter a small bill (and that includes EV charging).

    Definitely the way forward.
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    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    I designed the roofline for the house we are building to maximise solar collection (but the builder then Effed it up by changing the angle without consultation). The idea is to install lots of solar as soon as we can afford it then battery storage after that.

    If the GelIon thing is even close to the price / performance promised it looks very attractive. I personally cannot see the sense in using lithium technology in a static installation. I get that Tesla is leveraging their existing manufacturing base but if specific capacity isn't your primary driver lithium doesn't stack up IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    . I personally cannot see the sense in using lithium technology in a static installation. .
    Thereís a number of advantages.

    Itís physically compact due to the high energy density. This allows for a very favourable form factor that can be fitted to most homes, even very small ones.

    The switching capability between charge and discharge is extremely quick. Fast enough for backup power without interruption.

    No daily maintenance cycle. Some flow batteries go offline every day for a 1 hour maintenance routine. This means if you want uninterrupted power, you need two of them.

    And the biggest advantage, itís available right now.
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    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    And the biggest advantage, it’s available right now.
    Granted. Given that I won't be in the market for a few years, I'm actively looking at alternatives.
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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    We've had a Tesla power wall installed ... It gets a full charge nearly every day, even in the dead of winter (5kw solar). Battery powers the house whenever the clouds pass over and during the night. In summer we usually get a credit, and in winter a small bill (and that includes EV charging).

    Definitely the way forward.
    How does it go if you have a rainy week or two?

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    Quote Originally Posted by flynnaus View Post
    How does it go if you have a rainy week or two?
    We're not off grid, so no real issue. Rainy weather just means the panels produce less power. Even then, we still get a partial charge on bad weather days.
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  14. #14
    338
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    Herzog, what you say about the battery management system and active cooling is the biggest difference between poor and good lithium ion batteries and battery installations. There are plenty of similarities though as well with lower cost installations. The Tesla Model S and X cars use 18650 batteries as did the early Powerwalls. An 18650 is probably the most common lithium ion battery, well priced and energy dense. They are used in many household devices such as notebooks, drills, etc usually in packs. Often you can put an 18650 next to a notebook battery and see how it would be made up of. Tesla is moving to a new battery, the 21700 for it's new car (Model 3 from memory) and already uses this battery in the Powerwall 2. The difference is size, an 18650 cell is 18mm by 65mm, the 21700 is 21mm by 70mm. Batteries are more efficient at a larger size, so the 21700 is a better match for vehicles and Powerwalls.

    When used in one or two removable battery installations it is usual to specify a 'protected' 18650, meaning it has a chip to protect from overcharging or discharging. Usually when a battery in this style of installation has a problem it is because a non protected cell is used. In notebooks, which are known for their problems it is usually because the battery management system hasn't reacted to a weak or poor cell properly. In use the good cell tries to shunt the poor cell, which leads to exceeding it's design parameters and overheating, often going into thermal runaway. A poor effort by the battery management system. Similar thing on the hover boards. Of course the most famous of these pack fires is the Tesla motor car, which really has no excuse with it's good battery management system. The Model S uses something like 7,000 of the 18650 cells. When these go into thermal runaway they are hard to stop, the Tesla Model S fire in Antwerp needed a 24 hour water bath to stop it.

    https://www.news.com.au/technology/i...057c03acfbe2b0
    https://www.news.com.au/technology/i...0ed5d749baaa40
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/billrob.../#2f3637eb7bd9

    or the video of one catching fire
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtjjuk_p2pA

    Disclaimer. I don't have first hand knowledge of the Powerwall like Herzog does, I don't own one. I do supply about 9 or 10 thousand 18650 batteries a year, mainly to government departments and hear a lot of anecdotal issues. I also have been involved in a number of investigations, most notably one in a power station no less, where their safety department spent two months investigating an 18650 fire and organising procedures around it. Turns out the purchasing department had bought some bargain batteries which were unprotected.
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    Yeah Iím across the 18650 and 2170 based modules.

    Worth noting that the cells in question are form factors, but the chemistry can vary. In the case of Tesla, the chemistry is proprietary and not the same as a typical laptop cell.


    On the subject of vehicle fires, Tesla vehicle fires always make the news, but statistically they are far less likely to catch fire than petrol/diesel vehicles.

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    338
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    Not that proprietary! Tesla and I get our cells from the same place, Panasonic, about a year ago I had to wait for my higher capacity cells because Tesla had bought all the stock. The chemistry can vary quite a lot in the size of cell, also a new breed of 18650 has much higher discharge, more like 8C rather than the second crack of the old. Not singling Tesla out, they are just the most prolific maker of 18650 cars. Sony for example had a lot of laptops catch fire, probably poor battery management programming. I would take your word that Tesla is statistically less likely to catch fire than a normal car, though surprised about diesel cars (actually met a guy 20 years ago who made a third of his income repairing Jag V12 fires). I do believe Tesla owes their customers a greater duty of care to have a better battery management system in their vehicle when it is carrying 7,000 batteries which could go into thermal runaway. There aren't many car fires which need to go into a 24 hour water bath to put them out, but they did need to do that to the Tesla which caught fire earlier this month in Antwerp. Can get an Elise shell into space, but can't produce a safe charging and discharging algorithm? Reminds of the book 'Unsafe at any speed', when people realised it was cheaper to lose a few and make the payouts, than change to more expensive components. I also can imagine it must produce some interesting discussions on charging at Tesla, battery engineers wanting to stick within accepted safety limits, customers wanting as fast as possible. Quite the charging dichotomy. I am probably also old school enough if Tesla believes they can make their car autonomous with half the sensors everyone else believes is needed - they shouldn't really be running into things.

    You are right, they always run stories about Tesla catching fire, have never read one about a Prius catching fire.

    Above said, the Powerwall was tested by whatever the US fire board is called and found fires won't leave the cabinet. Great news, but again smaller scale than the cars.


    Ps I don't blame Tesla for pushing the envelope to get a jump on the competition, I just think now is the time to cross the t and dot the i so their customers are looked after. The test will be when the VW groups arms all release their full electric cars to see if they have issues. Even with their dieselgate record (a tech at end of car life) I would like to think they could and show a safe clean future.

    The autocorrect changes 2-C to 'second crack'.
    Last edited by 338; 30th June 2019 at 09:39 PM.

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    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Window Solar article.

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...edium=Facebook

    Just sharing.
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    Isn’t IKEA bringing out a battery for home solar? I read in the news last year time that IKEA is going to sell a battery for about cost price. I can remember in which country though.

    Aside from this, my take on this whole home solar thing is, even with rebates, governments are pushing the cost of installation directly onto consumers. This way, governments don’t spend nearly as much money on building renewable energy power plants.
    Last edited by pamount; 6th July 2019 at 07:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pamount View Post
    Isnít IKEA bringing out a battery for home solar? I read in the news last year time that IKEA is going to sell a battery for about cost price. I can remember in which country though.

    Aside from this, my take on this whole home solar thing is, even with rebates, governments are pushing the cost of installation directly onto consumers. This way, governments donít spend nearly as much money on building renewable energy power plants.
    G'day pamount

    Reducing the need for new power plants is simply prudent when official overall electricity use is flatlining as more solar and wind is installed by small business and residential. That trend is showing all the indications of reaching a tipping point in the next ten years or so, and power plants often take that long to install. Another often not mentioned factor - the solar generated by private roofs (i.e. like mine) and then used "in house" does not even figure in the overall power statistical measurements - so they are currently understated by about 2 million homes worth of "unexported solar".

    Another factor - apart from the "gold plating" of transmission lines in rural NSW, most Oz lines are in dire need of upgrades. Reducing the electrical traffic is often cost effective.

    For example, Kalbarri had no local power generation and only had a single set of poles leading the 65Km or so from the main highway / transmission towers into town (... and the wires into Kalbarri were often close to critical temperature in the daytime). Adding more lines from the highway would have cost far more than the locals could pay via their bills. Even in the '90's it was cheaper to build a small solar farm to reduce the daytime load and let the lower night temperatures take care of the extra heat generated by heavier loads when the solar was low. I know they expanded the system after a couple of years, but haven't looked for any updates since then. Even a moderate amount of storage would have been a done deal as it would have kept the overworked main line into town even cooler.

    FWIW, my little 3Kw system sent 17MWH of power into the local grid over the last 5 1/2 years - which means my near neighborhood has less reliance on Perth's power station at Muja and the connected transmission lines (say 100Kms of cable away). Every roof helps.

    TampIt

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    My average daily use of electricity (or “elec-trickery”, according to Catweazle) is 6.55 kilowatts according to my recent bill. I’m with AGL here in Melbourne.

    I rang AGL maybe over a year ago and I was told I’m not using enough electricity to justify paying to have solar installed. I haven’t checked the current solar rebate though. I’m in suburban Melbourne.

    The Victorian Government (“Guv-ah-mentt”) brought in a new law saying the power companies have to make it easier to see what the cheapest elec-trickery plans are. I’m still waiting to hear about that.

    What would you suggest I do, TampIT?

    EDIT: I own a small house.
    Last edited by pamount; 7th July 2019 at 11:31 AM.

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    Pamount, probably worth giving TampIt a clue about your circumstances. Do you live in a house, unit, rent or own? Interesting in Sydney there was a company supllying solar to rental accommodation (like student blocks), then supplying the electricity at a much lower rate to residents. Win for all three parties.




    Ps this is the Vic government comparison site - https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/
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    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    50% of my bill is the line rental (whatever they call it). Of the 50% usage I have, 50% of that is the fridge keeping the ice machine cold. The fridge is 50Ę per day in usage...
    I wonder if I could disco the power and run the genset on natural gas...

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    Looks like good stuff;

    Think there might be a limited industrial uses for this though, flow batteries don't do too well on high discharge rates. Unless of course they solved that using gel... which then might make things interesting...
    Did anyone find any mention of it's cycle life?
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    Senior Member CoffeeHack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 392392 View Post
    Looks like good stuff;

    Think there might be a limited industrial uses for this though, flow batteries don't do too well on high discharge rates. Unless of course they solved that using gel... which then might make things interesting...
    Did anyone find any mention of it's cycle life?
    Looks like it's still in development phase?

    The Solar Quotes website has an interesting home battery comparison webpage, which appears to be updated regularly: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/batte...parison-table/

    The Redflow ZCell is still the only flow battery listed. It's hard not to imagine that the home battery market will advance a fair way over the next few years!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    The technon both panels and batteries is soon to jump forward. They are saying light wave rectifiers are on the horizon

  26. #26
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    I read an article today regarding the worlds electricity use through internal news a work today.
    An interesting thing is the world will consume double the amount of electricity in 2050 than it does now.
    The worlds electricity production doubled between 1990 and 2015.

    It is estimated that two billion more people will have access to electricity by 2050.

    Can the world generate this much more sustainably?

    Something to think about.
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    Thorium reactors are a candidate to cover a chunk of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pamount View Post
    My average daily use of electricity (or ďelec-trickeryĒ, according to Catweazle) is 6.55 kilowatts according to my recent bill. Iím with AGL here in Melbourne.

    I rang AGL maybe over a year ago and I was told Iím not using enough electricity to justify paying to have solar installed. I havenít checked the current solar rebate though. Iím in suburban Melbourne.

    The Victorian Government (ďGuv-ah-menttĒ) brought in a new law saying the power companies have to make it easier to see what the cheapest elec-trickery plans are. Iím still waiting to hear about that.

    What would you suggest I do, TampIT?

    EDIT: I own a small house.
    G'day pamount

    I only just saw this question. FYI, I do not keep track of posts - too many alligators in my current swamp for that.

    We are using about 15 to 20KWH per day here across the whole year - including air con in summer / reverse cycle in winter. You are using below 1/2 of that so I presume you also have gas? Or you are a very low power user? If the answer is gas, you may consider a plan to move away from that as well (why pay even more "daily service charges" for redundant technology?). That may increase the size of "solar need" in your case.

    Semi related hint: if you are going to install a rooftop solar hot water system, please get a tank of marine grade stainless - all other alternatives should not even be on the market in my view, especially sacrificial anodes. The number of friends with leaky tanks is nothing short of insane - and they get told they should have got it serviced, which just means adding another sacrificial anode (at another $300ish) to last for another 3 years before another service is needed. Sheesh. Payback would be approaching infinity or longer. My 1983 system is still going strong with no servicing needed (yet).

    Back to solar PV. Ironically, the solar panel system here would be plenty for your needs. We "only" have 3KW of panels, most new installs are 5 to 6.5KW these days. That is a fancy way of saying you can go for a pretty small, cheap install compared to most.

    BTW, one of the installers here is scrapping 2 or 3 working systems a week (complete with all mounting hardware) as the old 48 cents per KWH runs out and early installers are forced onto the 6.9 cents per KWH rate for their exported power. They are upgrading in droves, and it is cheaper to scrap their old system and replace the whole shooting match with a higher capacity one. Those systems are usually from 1 to 3KW, even a 1KW would be worth it in your case at a cost of near zero... plus a little of your time and labor. One friend even arranged to do the removal and the installer thanked him profusely. Needless to say, said friend knew exactly how everything fitted together at his house by taking a few photos during the teardown. Win win.

    If you happen to be pretty handy in a DIY sense, I would find someone (via your local installers) with a working 2+KW system that is doing an upgrade and basically reinstall their whole "old system" at your abode. Be aware, you will need a sparky to do the final hookup - unless you enjoy being a homeless arsonist...

    Hope this helps.


    TampIt
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  29. #29
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Something else to add in to the mix, and quite interesting in its own right...
    https://www.techspot.com/news/81029-...-evs-grid.html

    Mal.
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    That nail safety test was pretty impressive Mal, not something you would want to do with lithium ion.
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  31. #31
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Indeed mate...

    It's the Safety, as well as the Energy Storage capacity, that grabbed my interest too.
    Definitely getting there I believe.

    Mal.
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  32. #32
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Not strictly about Energy Storage per sŤ, but thought this report is interesting nonetheless...
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/amazon-l...-secret-20779/

    Mal.

  33. #33
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Not strictly about Energy Storage per sŤ, but thought this report is interesting nonetheless...
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/amazon-l...-secret-20779/

    Mal.
    Add to that, Amazon only pay about 2% tax.
    But they do have many friends in Canberra.
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  34. #34
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Indeed mate...
    I've never used Amazon for much anyway, a couple of books, couple of movies is about it; right from the outset of their web presence.
    Will never use it again though, doubt they will miss me.

    Mal.



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