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1. (WO2007005435) CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF AN OILFIELD MOLTEN SALT BATTERY
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WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A battery for use in a subterranean well, the battery comprising:
an outer case;
an elongated mandrel positioned within the outer case; and
the mandrel being an electrical component of the battery.

2. The battery of claim 1, further comprising an electrode assembly attached to the mandrel.

3. The battery of claim 2, wherein the mandrel is electrically connected to an electrode of the electrode assembly.

4. The battery of claim 2, wherein the mandrel supports the electrode assembly within the outer case.

5. The battery of claim 1, wherein the mandrel is centralized within the outer case, and further comprising at least one electrode positioned between the mandrel and outer case .

6. A battery for use in a subterranean well, the battery comprising:
an outer case;
an electrical pickup; and
a polymer insulator providing electrical insulation between the outer case and the electrical pickup.

7. The battery of claim 6, wherein the insulator seals an electrolyte within the outer case.

8. The battery of claim 6, wherein the electrical pickup is attached to a mandrel positioned within the outer case.

9. The battery of claim 8, wherein the electrical pickup biases the insulator against the mandrel.

10. The battery of claim 8, wherein a cap for the outer case biases the insulator against the mandrel.

11. A method of charging a battery for use in a subterranean well, the method comprising the steps of:
providing the battery including an electrolyte, and anode and cathode electrodes, the electrolyte being a molten salt with a dissolved lithium salt, and at least one of the electrodes comprising lithium atoms;
positioning the battery within a wellbore of the well; and
then charging the battery.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the charging step further comprises controlling a voltage across the battery while the battery is being charged.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein the positioning step further comprises enclosing the battery within an outer housing, and then exposing the outer housing to well fluids within the wellbore.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein the charging step further comprises at least one of: maintaining a constant current through the battery, maintaining a constant voltage across the battery, varying voltage across the battery, varying current through the battery, varying electrical energy applied to the battery in discreet steps, periodically pulsing electrical energy to the battery, trickle charging and float charging.

15. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of heating the battery prior to the charging step.

16. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of sealing the battery within an outer housing of a well tool.

17. A method of charging a battery for use in a subterranean well, the method comprising the steps of:
providing the battery including an electrolyte, and anode and cathode electrodes, the electrolyte being a molten salt comprising a lithium salt;
heating the battery;
then charging the battery; and
then positioning the battery within a wellbore of the well .

18. The method of claim 17, wherein and at least one of the electrodes comprises lithium atoms .

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the charging step further comprises controlling a voltage across the battery while the battery is being charged.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the positioning step further comprises enclosing the battery within an outer housing, and then exposing the outer housing to well fluids within the wellbore.

21. The method of claim 17, wherein the charging step further comprises at least one of: maintaining a constant current through the battery, maintaining a constant voltage across the battery, varying voltage across the battery, varying current through the battery, varying electrical energy applied to the battery in discreet steps, periodically pulsing electrical energy to the battery, trickle charging and float charging.

22. The method of claim 17, further comprising the step of sealing the battery within an outer housing of a well tool.