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Why Are Lithium-Ion Batteries Better? - Battery Mate

Why Are Lithium-Ion Batteries Better?

So much of our lives are powered by an energy source. Batteries are an integral part of life in the 21st century, providing the world with electricity in a convenient, portable format. Batteries live in a range of products - remote controls, our smartphone, and other such devices that get us through the day. Not every battery is created equal though, which is why when looking for an energy source, lithium-ion batteries are one of the best options on the market. Sturdy, strong, and tough enough with an excellent power generation capacity, these types of batteries really do the trick and keep you running. Rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-on) batteries are increasingly popular as a power option for select equipment. But the main flaw with a number of batteries – including lead-acid and nickel-cadmium – is that they tend to run flat relatively quickly and are then, ultimately, thrown away. Their advantages fall into five broad categories: maintenance, longevity, charging speed, safety, and ease of charging. Before diving into the specifics, let’s define what exactly are lithium-ion batteries and a little bit of the science behind them. 

Lithium Ion Battery Advantages

What makes lithium-ion batteries so great? To put it simply, they provide a stable and powerful energy source, which means minimal or no downtime for you. Lithium-ion batteries are constructed in a way that makes them have a very low discharge meaning that they are safer than other types of batteries. As they are being used, there is no dropping in output like with other batteries and this means you can find them far more reliable to suit your needs. In short, lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable whereas most traditional wet batteries aren't. Li-ion batteries are able to be recharged hundreds of times and are more stable. They tend to have a higher energy density, voltage capacity, and lower self-discharge rate than other rechargeable batteries. This makes for better power efficiency as a single cell has longer charge retention than other battery types. This is another advantage of using lithium-ion batteries over other types of batteries. Solar batteries need to operate for longer hours between charges to store the maximum amount of energy possible. Solar batteries, on the other hand, consume more power when storing the sun’s energy. That’s why solar batteries should have a high energy density. There isn’t a better technology than lithium-ion for solar batteries. The high density provided by li-ion batteries is a distinct advantage when it comes to solar batteries. Li-ion batteries need very little maintenance to ensure superior performance. For example, Ni-Cad batteries often need a periodic discharge to make sure they don’t exhibit the memory effect. This doesn’t affect li-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries don’t need regular maintenance because of this reason. That’s why li-ion battery technology is so popular in the solar industry. Lithium-ion batteries do require less energy to keep them charged than lead acid.  The charge cycle is 90% efficient for a lithium-ion battery vs. 80-85% for a lead acid battery. Additionally, lead acid batteries self-discharge at a higher rate than Lithium-ion. These efficiency gains, however, are offset by the need for Li-ion to have a battery management system (BMS) to protect against short circuits and overcharging.  This monitoring system consumes energy.  So the total operating losses are very similar between the two. You should opt for li-ion batteries when buying solar batteries for your home or office. Make sure you invest in li-ion batteries when buying solar batteries for your home or office. 

Lithium Ion Battery Better for Environment

In a nutshell, it is the way they are constructed that makes lithium-ion batteries better. Compared to lead-acid and other lithium batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries offer significant advantages, including improved discharge and charge efficiency, a longer life span, and the ability to deep cycle while maintaining power. In a world where we are striving for a cleaner, more renewable form of energy, lithium-ion provides this without a huge sacrifice in power capacity, which you might think you are doing when opting for more sustainable options. A huge plus point of having Lithium-ion batteries is that they can be used to power vehicles as an alternative to damaging fossil fuels. Motor vehicles and their abundance of them are one of the biggest polluters of air and having cars powered on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is of huge importance. The materials inside that contain the energy source ensure they have a long shelf life, and since they are stable, can recharge for many more cycles. There are many different ways you could consider a product to be more environmentally friendly or not than another.  Li-ion batteries do not contain hazardous materials while lead-acid batteries do (i.e., lead).  Both battery types are recyclable; however, at present, it is much easier in most regions of the world to recycle lead acid than larger format li-ion batteries used in UPSs and electric vehicles.  And while lithium itself isn’t of great concern from a pollution angle, these batteries do contain metals like cobalt, nickel, and manganese. While these metals aren’t as problematic as lead, they are considered toxic heavy metals. They are also more tolerant to higher and lower temperatures, which means that you can cart around items with this type of battery in it through different weather conditions; better yet, they are very simple to maintain. With the dominant factor for determining a 10-15 year carbon footprint basically a wash, one must look to the other factors.  95% of Lithium comes from pumping underground brine into pans, then allowing the liquid to evaporate. After this, they separate the lithium using electrolysis. Which is much less destructive than mining methods for fossil fuels. Given that lithium-ion batteries containing landfill-safe materials are recyclable, and because their lifespan is 2-3 times longer than lead acid batteries, it can be argued that lithium-ion batteries are “greener”. 

While they can often be on a little more of the pricier side, their longevity makes up for it. This also means less waste in the long run, which is not just better for the environment but super convenient for the user. Further, because lithium isn’t a toxic heavy metal like lead, there has been far less pressure to recycle these batteries. 

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