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The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

It all started in the 70s and today, you have a battery that can power huge power-ton trucks. When lithium batteries became popular, they only powered small devices. Now, they are one, if not the best batteries available.

The government wanted to reduce carbon emissions, and lithium batteries did just that. Today, they offer few emissions. This has made them a fan-favorite battery type.

The Main Types of Lithium Batteries

There are different types of lithium batteries. In fact, when you want to buy them, you need to make a choice. These cells have different chemistries. They also have different energy densities. 

We will talk about four types of lithium-based batteries you must know, including: 

  • Lithium-Ion
  • Lithium Polymer
  • Lithium Iron Phosphate
  • Lithium Titanate
The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

What Are Lithium-Ion Batteries?

These are rechargeable batteries. They are used for electricity. If you want a technical explanation, lithium-ion batteries work by lithium-ion movement. To produce electricity, a battery must have an inner anode and cathode. These have positive and negative charges. 

The anode has a lithium (Li) compound. The cathode is a graphite carbon. These electrodes have an electrolyte. Now, this is different based on the lithium battery type.  

How does a lithium-ion battery work? The ions will move from the cathode to the anode when you’re charging the battery. But when using, the reverse is the case. If you check your battery, you will see + and - signs. This is to let you know about the electrodes. Now, the electrodes don’t touch themselves. It’s the electrolyte that separates them. It is this same electrolyte that carries the ions from one electrode to another. 

Finally, something called a collector takes the charge to an electrical device. 

Advantages of Lithium-ion Batteries

Why get a lithium-ion battery (lithium-ion battery)? Check below:

  • If you love the environment, you will love a lithium-ion battery. a lithium-ion battery reduces carbon emissions. It also allows you to depend less on fossil fuels.
  • Lithium-ion batteries charge with solar and wind. This is great for green technology.
  • Lithium-ion batteries last long. You don’t need to change it all the time. This reduces waste.
  • Lithium-ion batteries are efficient. They don’t die quickly.
  • Lithium-ion batteries have many applications. 

Disadvantages of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have negatives too. And they are?

  • The lithium metal can produce methane (CH4). This is dangerous. It affects the ozone layer. It causes something known as global warming.
  • A lot of water goes to waste when mining lithium.
  • Lithium-ion batteries have toxic metals. It’s harmful when exposed.
  • If you dispose of a lithium-ion battery wrongly, it can cause a fire.

Basic Applications of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are for some uses:

  • As batteries in solar and gas applications.
  • As consumer batteries in cameras, laptops, and toys.
  • In medical devices like power hearing aids, life support, and wheelchairs.
  • In UPS, for emergency electricity.
  • For transportation such as boats and aircraft batteries.
  • Industries use it for forklifts and heavy machines.
The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

Understanding Lithium Polymer Batteries

Lithium polymer is old-tech. You can mostly find it on your old, worn-out laptops and phones. A Li-Po looks like a lithium-ion battery, but they are different. Lithium polymer batteries are jelly-like and lightweight. Since they're light, they’re great for laptops and power banks.

Advantages of Lithium Polymer Batteries

Li-Po has its benefits. What are they?

  • Li-Po batteries are flexible and can fit in any space.
  • They are lightweight.
  • They have a high discharge rate.
  • If you want high energy output, Lithium polymer does so effortlessly.

Disadvantages of Lithium Polymer Batteries

What about the disadvantages? Check below:

  • Lithium polymer batteries swell. After a while, the battery suddenly swells and stops working.
  • Since Li-Po has a high discharge rate, it doesn’t last long.
  • Li-Po has poor thermal performance. Heat and the battery don’t work well together. This is part of what causes its swelling. Too much heat can make Li-Po burst.

Lithium-Ion Batteries vs. Lithium Polymer Batteries: The Differences

Lithium-ion batteries and Li-Po are great in their own ways. But lithium-ion is much better. Lithium ions have a higher power density than Lithium polymer. This is why smartphones prefer Lithium-ion.

Lithium-ion batteries are also memory effect-free. The memory effect is what happens when batteries start charging slowly. A lithium-ion battery is free from the effect. You can charge your batteries with ease. They will always be fast.

Li-Po is lightweight and rigid. But they can’t escape the memory effect. After a while, they lose charging speed. They also find it difficult to last. Remember how you had to change your old laptop batteries every year? Li-Po doesn’t last long.

Applications of Lithium Polymer

What applications does Li-Po have?

  • They are great for portable laptops.
  • They serve as wireless controllers for game consoles.
  • They are batteries in power-banks
The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

What are Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries?

LiFePO4 is popular. It is of high quality and has a very long life span. LiFePO4 batteries are great for heavy loads. Another thing to love is safety. Lithium ferrous phosphate batteries are non-toxic. They are also stable. This is not like other batteries.

Characteristics of Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries

LiFePO4 cells have these characteristics: 

  • Nominal volt: 3.2V to 3.3V
  • Operating volt: 2.5V to 3.65V
  • Cycle life: 2500 cycles
  • Thermal stability: 270oC
  • Charge rate: 1C. It charges to full within 3 hours
  • Discharge rate: 1C. It can be as high as 25C in certain cells. The cutoff is between 2 and 2.5V
  • Specific energy: 90Wh/kg to 120 Wh/kg

Advantages of Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries

Why do people love LiFePO4 batteries? See below:

  • Their cycle life is long. It is much longer than all other batteries.
  • The battery cells are high-quality. They can last for up to 6 years and above.
  • They are not toxic. You don’t have to be afraid of explosions or toxic gases.
  • When charged fully, they don’t spoil. This is quite different from other lithium-ion battery types.
  • High temperatures don’t spoil LiFePO4 batteries. This makes it the most stable battery to get. 

Disadvantages of Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries

What downsides does LiFePO4 have?

  • Cost. You need a lot of money to buy the battery. When you compare the cost to value, it’s worth buying. LiFePO4 batteries are cost-effective at the end of the day. So, if you want to get a lithium battery, don’t think twice. Choose LiFePO4.

Applications of Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries

How can you use LiFePO4 batteries? 

  • To power military equipment
  • For electric vehicles
  • Solar panels
  • For Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems
The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

Understanding Lithium Titanate Batteries (Li2TiO3 or LTO)

These batteries are different from other Lithium-ion batteries. LTO batteries use Lithium Titanate as the anode. The cathode is a Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt metal.

Characteristics of Lithium Titanate Batteries

Consider these characteristics of lithium titanate batteries: 

  • Nominal voltage: 2.4V
  • Operating voltage: 1.8V - 2.85V
  • Cycle life: 3000 - 7000 cycles
  • Thermal stability: 175°C to 225°C
  • Charge rate: 1 - 5C. It charges up to 2.85V
  • Discharge rate: 10C. It cutoff is at 1.8V
  • Specific energy: 50 KWh/kg - 80 KWh/kg

Advantages of Lithium Titanate Batteries

What are the benefits?

  • The LTO battery's life cycle is one of the longest in all lithium-ion batteries.
  • They have a high thermal stability

Disadvantages of Lithium Titanate Batteries

What are the cons?

  • LTO batteries are very expensive. In fact, they are two times more expensive than a LiFePO4 battery.
  • They produce low energy when compared with their size.

Applications of Lithium Titanate Batteries

How can you apply these batteries?

  • For electric powertrains
  • To power Industrial tools
The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

Lithium Batteries: Comparison and Considerations

The table below shows the differences between the types of lithium batteries:


Lithium-Ion 

Batteries

Lifespan

Specific power

Energy Density

Cost (per value)

Thermal stability

Lithium Iron Phosphate 

Longer

High

Moderate

Low

Excellent

Lithium Titanate 

Longer

Moderate

Very low

High

Moderate


From the table, lithium iron phosphate is great. It is great value for your money. Even though it is expensive, it has everything you need from a battery. You don’t have to worry about your battery swelling. Or it explodes one day. This is because the batteries can conduct heat well. So, you have a safe and efficient battery in your possession.

Factors To Consider When Choosing the Right Lithium Battery Type 

How can you choose right? See below:

Durable

Never assume that all batteries are the same. Check the lifespan and energy of the Lithium battery. Does it last? Make a wise choice.

Manufacturer

Buy your lithium battery from a reputable producer. Go online and confirm the reputation of the firm. What are customers saying about their batteries? You can only get the best from the best. So, go online and look for quality lithium-ion batteries from great manufacturers. 

Thermal Behavior

Have you seen a swollen battery before? This was because of poor thermal stability. How much heat can the Lithium battery you buy take? You need to consider these when choosing. So far, Lithium ferrous phosphate batteries conduct heat best. Your battery will never swell. So, make a good choice.

Safety

This is important. The technology for batteries can be dangerous. Especially older batteries like lithium polymer. Li-Po batteries can explode when hot. People who use Li-Po batteries complain about the swelling and explosiveness of their batteries. A much better battery is Lithium-ion. This can take heat without swelling or exploding.

Money

No one likes to spend on an item that won’t last. So, look for a lithium battery worth paying for. Do you need a high energy capacity? Or is it a longer lifespan? Choose a lithium battery that fits what you want.

Power Delivery

Why do you want to buy a lithium battery? To use it to power your devices of course. So, when choosing a lithium battery, choose a high-energy one. This way you deliver high power to your devices.

Amanda had previously used a lithium polymer battery with a bad experience. ‘It was war and torture,’ She says. ‘I had to change my batteries every six months. When it’s overcharged, it suddenly explodes. I remember one night, while I was in the kitchen, I heard a big explosion from my room. I rushed to check what it was. It was the polymer battery. The battery got hot and exploded. I don’t want to have this kind of experience again. This made me buy a lithium-ion battery instead. Ever since, I am not scared of overheating and explosions. My LiFePO4 batteries have been fun so far. Choosing the right battery is worth it.’

The Different Types of Lithium Batteries

Conclusion

Making a good choice is great. While there are different battery types, they are different in makeup. So make a good choice that fits your needs. Often, a LiFePO4 battery can meet all your power needs.

You’ve seen the different types, so this should be easy. You can shop for high-quality LiFePO4 batteries from a reputable manufacturer today.

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