Rechargeable lithium batteries are fast gaining momentum thanks to their application in numerous areas. Batteries are used in almost all spheres of life from mobile phones to small vehicles such as the golf carts. Therefore, manufacturers are working hard to produce lithium batteries that suit various uses and can give absolute performance in their area of application. Mostly, they focus on energy density and size of the battery.
What are rechargeable lithium batteries? Like any other energy storage device, a lithium battery can be charged again after being discharged. However, while discharging the movement is from the negative to the positive electrode of lithium ions and vice versa while charging. The movement of these ions can be arranged to move within a cathode made of intercalated lithium material, but not applying lithium metal in the anode material. However, not all lithium batteries are rechargeable.
The primary lithium-metal batteries are not rechargeable, while the secondary lithium ion, lithium iron phosphate, and lithium polymer form rechargeable batteries, others are the lithium cobalt oxide (high energy density but a health risk), and the lithium-ion manganese. These types of batteries vary in energy density and health risk. Below are some features of lithium batteries.
i. Lightweight hence portable
ii. Come in different shapes
iii. No memory
iv. Low self-discharge rate
v. Uses intercalated lithium compound
vi. Ions move from positive to the negative electrodes while charging
Energy density is very high. This type of battery is packed with the highest amount of energy than any other battery. In fact, with improving technology, it is projected to pack more energy. These batteries are very vital in as mobile phone batteries, for instance, a mobile phone requires power for a longer time between charges, and that is what the rechargeable lithium batteries provide.
It’s small in size. This is advantageous because it allows the battery to fit in portable devices such as mobile phones. This also simplifies the battery design, making it more portable and convenient.
It features low cell resistance. The batteries come with low resistance allowing free flow of current. Such unrestricted movement gives optimal performance.
It takes a short time to charge and discharges slowly. As compared to other batteries, lithium batteries charge faster. When it comes to self-discharge, the rate is prolonged. This is an indication of a longer shelf life. Longer life means you'll charge and discharge them numerous times, without getting destroyed.
It features low maintenance. This battery has no maintenance practices. Once you buy it, it is ready to be used. It does not have memory; therefore you do not need to schedule cycling for prolonged life.
Besides, these batteries have little environmental harm when disposed of, because of their small size.
They are expensive than other rechargeable batteries even though their prices are still falling. On average, they cost about 40% more than others.
Their electrolyte is flammable. This poses a higher fire risk if something goes wrong. This means extreme care must be taken while charging the battery. For instance, if the battery is charged too quickly, it could cause a short circuit which may lead to an explosion.
A protective circuit is necessary for the rechargeable lithium batteries to prevent voltage surges: this limits voltage and current. The battery is safe if not provoked.
Subject to transportation regulation: being sensitive to higher temperatures and containing flammable electrode makes it risky to transport. Thus, there is a need for regulation when transporting to prevent occurring of accidents.
Rechargeable lithium batteries are prone to aging. This implies you need to replace them time after time. On average they can withstand about 500 charge-discharge cycles. Exposure to higher temperatures will further deteriorate the battery. It is recommended to store at about 15 degrees Celsius for longevity.
Any battery with a lithium anode is called the lithium battery. These batteries are essential when it comes to portable devices. Besides being expensive and posing a health risk, their importance can never be ignored. In fact, they stand out as the most used batteries in the world today: Their application is extensive. Their high energy densities and falling prices are some of the upsides of rechargeable lithium batteries. Put in mind that these batteries come in different sizes and shapes. What you purchase will depend on the type of device you are going to power.