In recent years, lithium batteries have become a revolution in the energy world. Their efficiency, durability and charging capacity have far surpassed previous battery technologies, such as lead-acid batteries.
In this article, we'll explore in depth everything you need to know about these types of storage devices, from their chemistry and charging process to the advantages they offer.
The chemistry behind lithium batteries
Lithium batteries are based on a chemistry which involves the transfer of lithium ions between two electrodes: the cathode and the anode.
- The cathode is mainly composed of lithium oxide.
- The anode is usually made of graphite.
During discharge, lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode, releasing electrons that generate electric current. During charging, the lithium ions return to the anode.
The six most commonly used lithium-based chemistries are:
- Lithium-Cobalt-Oxide (LiCoO2)
- Lithium-Manganese-Oxide (LiMn2O4)
- Lithium-ferro-phosphate (LiFePO4)
- Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (LiNixMnyCozO2)
- Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminium (LiNiCoAlO2)
- Lithium Titanate (Li4Ti5O12)
NMC and NCA batteries are ideal for automotive applications where energy density, fast charging capability and acceleration power are priorities.
In contrast, other lithium chemistries such as Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) are noted for their longer cycle life, making them more suitable for applications where durability and repeated charge/discharge cycles are critical, such as home energy storage systems or industrial applications.
Advantages of lithium batteries
Lithium batteries offer a number of significant advantages over lead batteries.
Increased carrying capacity
Lithium batteries have a higher charge capacity compared to lead-acid batteries, which allows for greater autonomy and efficiency in applications such as electric vehicles.
One of the main advantages of lithium batteries is their reduced weight compared to other battery technologies, such as lead-acid batteries. This is due to the high energy density of lithium batteries, which allows them to store a greater amount of energy in a more compact and lighter space.
Lead-acid batteries usually require regular maintenance, such as adding distilled water to maintain electrolyte levels, cleaning the terminals and constantly monitoring their condition.
In contrast, lithium batteries are virtually maintenance-free, as they are sealed and do not leak. Frequent cleaning or inspection is also unnecessary.
In addition, lithium batteries do not suffer from the problems associated with sulphation, which is a common cause of failure in lead-acid batteries. In contrast, lithium batteries are less prone to sulphation and maintain their performance for longer.
Longer service life
Lead-acid batteries typically have a limited lifetime, with a set number of charge and discharge cycles before they need to be replaced. Lithium batteries, on the other hand, can withstand a much higher number of cycles, making them more durable and cost-effective in the long run.
The life of lithium batteries can vary depending on several factors, such as usage conditions, operating temperature, and charging and discharging patterns. However, in general, it is estimated that lithium batteries can last between 500 and 1000 full cycles, and even longer in some configurations, and specific technologies.
Lithium batteries enable fast charging, which reduces downtime and improves the operating efficiency of utility vehicles.
Lower self-discharge rate
Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries have a much lower self-discharge rate, which means they retain their charge for longer periods of time when not in use.
Types of lithium batteries
There are several types of lithium batteries, each with its own specific characteristics and applications. Some of the most common types include:
- Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries: They are most commonly used in utility and commercial vehicles due to their high energy density and fast charging capability.
- Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries: They are known for their high stability and safety, making them a popular choice for applications that require a focus on safety, such as utility vehicles.
- Lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries: They are lightweight and flexible, making them ideal for applications requiring custom shapes and sizes, such as portable electronic devices.
- Lithium titanate (Li-Titanate) batteries: They are characterised by their fast charging capability and their ability to withstand a high number of charge and discharge cycles.
NCPOWER, Spanish manufacturer
Our company is the Spanish market leader in LifePo4 lithium-ion batteries for utility vehicles. Our advanced NCPOWER System combines cutting-edge technology with customised solutions to meet the specific needs of each project and customer.
If you are looking for a Spanish manufacture for utility vehicles, please contact us for more information.