A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is a kind of advanced battery that relies heavily on lithium ions in its electrochemistry. The lithium ions go from the anode to the cathode to mix with their electrons to neutralize them. Between the anode and cathode, the lithium ions are tiny enough to pass through a micro-permeable separator. Due to the tiny size of lithium (third only to hydrogen and helium), Li-ion batteries have a very high voltage and charge storage capacity per unit mass and volume.
Electrodes in lithium-ion batteries may be made of a variety of different materials. The most often used combination is lithium cobalt oxide and graphite, which is used in most portable electronic devices, like smartphones and laptops. Additionally, lithium manganese oxide (used in hybrid and electric vehicles) and lithium iron phosphate are utilized as cathodes. Li-ion batteries are typically electrolyzed with ether (an organic chemical family).
What are some of the benefits of lithium-ion batteries?
Li-ion batteries offer a variety of benefits over other quality rechargeable battery technologies. They provide the greatest energy density of any battery technology currently available (100-265 Wh/kg or 250-670 Wh/L). Additionally, Li-ion battery cells can provide up to 3.6 Volts, three times the voltage of Ni-Cd or Ni-MH batteries. This implies they are capable of delivering huge quantities of current for high-power applications, which offers a number of advantages. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries need little maintenance and do not require regular cycling to preserve their long life. Li-ion batteries do not have the memory effect, which is a negative phenomenon in which repeated partial discharge cycles cause a battery to “remember” a lower capacity. This is advantageous for Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries, which exhibit the same behavior. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries have a low self-discharge rate of about 1.5-2 percent each month. They do not contain poisonous cadmium, making them more environmentally friendly than Ni-Cd batteries.
Li-ion batteries have surpassed Ni-Cd batteries as the market leader in portable electronic gadgets as a result of these benefits (such as smartphones and laptops). Additionally, lithium-ion batteries are utilized to power electrical equipment in some aircraft applications, most notably the new and more ecologically friendly Boeing 787, where weight is a major cost issue. From a clean energy standpoint, much of Li-ion technology’s promise stems from its prospective use in battery-powered automobiles. Currently, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, the two most popular electric vehicles, both run on Li-ion batteries as their main fuel source.
What are some of the drawbacks of lithium-ion batteries?
Despite their technical potential, lithium-ion batteries continue to have a variety of drawbacks, most notably in terms of safety. Lithium-ion batteries have a propensity to overheat and are susceptible to damage when exposed to high voltages. This may result in thermal runaway and combustion in certain instances. This has resulted in major issues, most notably the grounding of the Boeing 787 aircraft after reports of onboard battery fires. Due to the dangers connected with these batteries, a number of shipping firms have refused to transport batteries in bulk by aircraft. Lithium-ion batteries need safety systems to regulate their voltage and internal pressures, which may add weight and performance limitations in certain instances. Lithium-ion batteries are also prone to aging, which means they lose capacity and often fail after a few years. Another impediment to broad adoption is its cost, which is about 40% more than that of the Ni-Cd. Addressing these problems is a critical component of contemporary technological research. Finally, despite the fact that Li-ion batteries have a higher energy density than previous types of batteries, they are still approximately a hundred times less energy dense than gasoline (12,700 Wh/kg mass or 8760 Wh/L volume).