A guide to lithium batteries

Used in a wide variety of consumer electronic devices, lithium batteries use lithium as a key ingredient for their electrochemistry. From electronics to electric cars and vehicles, they are highly sustainable when it comes to safety, costs, lifetime cycles and charging speed.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to lithium batteries.

Charging Mechanism

While charging, lithium moves back and forth between the positive and the negative electrode. An over-voltage is applied by an external electrical power source, forcing the charging current and the lithium ions to migrate from the positive electrode to the negative. While lead-acid batteries usually use about 30% of its storage capability, lithium batteries can use up to 100%.

Battery cycle life

A lithium battery’s cycle life can be affected by a range of different factors, such as temperature, discharge and charge current, and by the depth of discharge. It is safe to say that a Lithium-Ion battery lasts up to 3-years, or 300 to 500 charge cycles. A charge cycle is defined by the period of use between one charging and being fully discharged, and fully recharged again.

Safety issues

Besides its cells, lithium-ion batteries also have their BMS (Battery Management System) that keeps track of its operations. The BMS is a crucial part of the battery, as it is prone to damage due to overcharging, continued charging or shorts and deep discharge. It is the BMS that has a switch that disconnects the battery to prevent any future damage.

Sometimes, lithium-ion batteries cannot operate safely or suffer permanent damage, and fire and/or explosion may occur. This may happen because of improper storage or use, high or freezing temperatures, incorrect charging. Nevertheless, following the manufacturer’s guide to storage, use and charging, fire and explosions can be avoided. Nowadays, technology helped develop safer batteries.

What are Lithium-Ion Batteries Used for? 

Originally developed for portable electronic devices, as a high-energy and power source, lithium-ion batteries have now a wide range of use:

  • Solar Energy Storage – in solar panels;
  • Mobility – in wheelchairs, bikes, scooters and kickboards;
  • Marine Vehicles- in tugboats, speed boats and yachts;
  • Portable Power Packs – in many electronics gadgets;
  • Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) – when talking about computers, servers, medical industry;
  • Electric Vehicles – electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
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