An overview of Lithium Batteries


Between electric cars, cell phones and laptop computers it seems like batteries are everywhere. This is not about to change any time soon. Global electrical energy use is skyrocketing and smart phones, tablets and e readers are becoming more prevalent. Moreover, batteries are trying to find opportunities in energy storage as the renewable energy industry continues to grow. Engineers as well as scientist have created several novel solutions to provide our storage needs, but not any appears to have established itself as the supreme technology. Flywheel, compressed air and winter storage tend to be strong contenders for grid scale storage while lithium ion, nickel-metal-hydride batteries and nickel-cadmium compete for portable electrical energy storage. What’s all boils down to would be that we still haven’t realized an ideal manner to keep the electricity of ours. This article is going to discuss the technology as well as opportunity of lithium batteries.

Until the 1990s nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries were essentially the only choice in rechargeable batteries. The major problem with such gadgets was that they had a high temperature coefficient. This meant that the cells’ performance would plummet whenever they heated up. Moreover, cadmium, one of the cell’s main elements, is pricey and environmentally unfriendly (it is also useful in thin film panels). Nickel-metal-hydride (nimh) and Lithium-Ion emerged as competitors to NiCad in the 90s. Since then a mind numbing number of systems have turned up on the market. Amongst these lithium-ion batteries stand out as a promising candidate for a wide range of uses.

Lithium-ion cells have been used in many hundreds of uses such as electrical powered vehicles, pacemakers, laptops and military microgrids. They are very low energy and maintenance dense. Unfortunately commercial lithium ion cells have a couple of significant drawbacks. They’re very high-priced, vulnerable and have quick lifespans in deep-cycle applications. The long term future of many budding technologies, which includes electric vehicles, is dependent upon improvements in cellular performance.


A battery power is an electrochemical device. This implies it changes chemical energy into electrical energy. Normal rechargeable batteries are able to change in the contrary direction because they use reversible reactions. Each cell is composed of a good electrode called a cathode along with a negative electrode called an anode. The electrodes are put into an electrolyte and also connected via an external circuit that enables electron flow.

Early lithium batteries have been temperature cells which are high with molten lithium cathodes and molten sulfur anodes. Working at around 400 degrees celcius, these thermal standard rechargeable batteries have been first sold commercially in the 1980s. Nevertheless, electrode containment proved a serious issue because of lithium’s instability. In the end temperature issues, corrosion and also enhancing ambient temperature batteries slowed the adoption of molten lithium sulfur cells. Though this is still theoretically a really impressive battery, experts discovered that trading a bit of energy density for stability was necessary. This lead to lithium ion technology.

A lithium-ion battery normally features a graphitic carbon anode, which hosts Li+ ions, along with a metallic oxide cathode. The electrolyte entails a lithium salt (LiPF6, LiBF4, LiClO4) dissolved in an organic solvent such as ether. Since lithium would react rather violently with water vapor the cell is always sealed. In addition, to avoid a brief circuit, the electrodes are divided by a porous materials that prevents actual physical contact. When the cell is charging, lithium ions intercalate between carbon particles in the anode. Meanwhile in the cathode lithium ions and electrons are released. During discharge the exact opposite happens: Li ions leave the anode and also driving to the cathode. Since the cell involves the flow of ions and electrons, the system needs to be both a good electrical and also ionic conductor. Sony produced the pioneer Li+ battery in 1990 that owned a lithium cobalt oxide cathode plus a carbon anode.

Overall lithium ion cells have essential advantages that have made them the best choice in a lot of applications. Lithium is the metal with the lowest molar mass and also the greatest electrochemical potential. This simply means that Li-ion batteries can have very high power density. A typical lithium cell potential is 3.6V (lithium cobalt oxide carbon). In addition, they have a much smaller self discharge rate at five % than that of NiCad batteries which typically self discharge at twenty %. Additionally, these cells don’t have dangerous heavy metals including lead and cadmium. Finally, Li+ batteries do not have some memory effects and don’t have to refilled. This permits them to be low maintenance compared to various other batteries.

Unfortunately lithium ion technology has several restricting issues. Foremost and first it is pricey. The typical cost of a Li ion cell is forty % higher than that of a NiCad cell. Furthermore, these devices require a protection circuit to take care of discharge rates between 1C and 2C. This is the cause of virtually all static charge loss. In addition, though lithium ion batteries are stable and powerful, they have a lower theoretical charge density than some other kinds of batteries. Therefore improvements of various other technologies could cause them to become obsolete. Finally, they’ve a substantially shorter cycle daily life along with a longer charging time than NiCad batteries and are additionally very hypersensitive to high temperatures.

These problems have sparked interest in some other chemistries, like lithium-air, lithium-polymer and lithium-iron. Because I do not have time to examine all these products, we’ll briefly examine lithium-air batteries. In these devices, Li is oxidized at the anode, releasing electrons which usually travel through an exterior circuit. Li+ ions then flow towards the cathode exactly where they reduce oxygen, forming the intermediary compound lithium peroxide. Theoretically, this provides for a genuinely reversible response to take place, enhancing the overall performance of lithium air batteries in deep-cycle applications. Nonetheless, much love Li+ cells, these batteries endure quick lives. This’s as a result of the development of oxygen radicals that decay the cell’s organic electrolyte. Fortunately 2 lithium-air batteries developed independently in 2012 by Jung et al., a team of researchers from Seoul and Rome, and Peter Bruce, who led a number at St. Andrews, seem to have sorted out the issue. Both the groups’ batteries underwent approximately hundred charging and discharging cycles without losing much of their capacity. Bruce’s device lost only five % capacity during tests. The batteries likewise have higher power density than their lithium ion counterparts. This is a sign that the potential future of energy storage may perhaps reside with powerful, resilient lithium-air chemistry. However we will first be forced to overcome durability, weight problems as well as cost.


Though novel lithium battery chemistries have been designed and created, Li+ batteries remain close to the top part of the food chain for right now. As we pointed out earlier, this technique is typically considered the original option for electronic powered vehicles and also electronics due to its energy density. Tesla’s Roadster contains no less than 6831 lithium ion batteries. Arranged into packs of 69, the cells are capable of taking the automobile from 0 to sixty mph in only 3.9 seconds. Just in case you were wondering, 69 goes into 6831 exactly 99 times. Also, if you are looking at the write-up on your laptop computer, it’s probably it is powered by a lithium cell.

The major downside of current Li batteries is the susceptibility of theirs to aging effects, especially when heated. You may have realized that laptop plus cell phone life deteriorates substantially after a several years. This’s mostly on account of aging. This issue renders the science ill suited for backup as well as grid scale power. Despite this specific, Li-ion batteries have competed for energy storage projects with alternative technologies for example thermal, flywheels and compressed air storage. Most of these installations had been in California. Silent Power’s Li+ cells are being employed to dampen power fluctuations in Greensmith and Sacramento has installed 1.5 megawatts of grid-balancing lithium ion batteries throughout the state. In addition, AES Energy Storage has installed, or is in the process of adding, 76MW of Li+ battery capacity globally with 500MW in development. The primary benefit of this specific technique is the basic fact that we recognize it well and in addition have the immediate resources for doing it to be effective. In large scale projects lithium-ion batteries happen to be so profitable in web pages in which at this time there are serious space limitations or minimal maintenance capabilities.

In the future it seems as if lithium ion technological innovation is set to continue to take over most applications. Li+ batteries are an established concept, unlike some other technologies that have remained cloistered in the lab. The probable development of electric powered automobiles and also the booming demand for electrical gadgets will doubtless have beneficial effects on the market. Unfortunately, all wonderful things come to an end. Analysts forecast that the technology will lose several of its competitive edge once infant technologies like aluminium ion, zinc-bromine as well as lead-carbon are available in the marketplace. For example on the topic of lithium ion batteries in storage applications, Lux Research said the following:

“Li-ion electric batteries created for transportation apps are energy dense storage devices. Stationary storage projects hardly ever value this metric, resulting in wasted value for grid-tied Li ion battery systems. Rapidly developing technologies with superior or equivalent performance metrics and also considerably reduced costs as well as increased resource availability will take over the vast majority of the power grid storage industry within the coming years.”

Though they’re not going to be chosen in a great many grid scale storage projects, Li ion batteries will definitely play a significant role in the future of ours. The high cost of theirs will most likely decrease while the idea continues to mature and the products become more widespread. A study by Mckinsey study found that 1/3 price tag reductions could be attained through economies of scale alone. In any event lithium ion batteries are likely to be required to fight to maintain the edge they currently have.
3.7v LiPo battery

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