If you are not from the battery industry, then you might not be familiar with the different kinds of batteries used in various items which play a vital role in giving a comfortable lifestyle to us. The blog title might have flooded your mind with questions such as What is lithium-ion? Before I dig into the chemistry of how it works and why the future of lithium-ion batteries is brighter than ours, allow me to briefly describe batteries in general and Lithium-ion itself. The following are two types of batteries we use in our daily lives.
Lead Acid Batteries
The popular and high in demand Lithium-ion battery power things like phones, electric vehicles, laptops, etc. While Lead Acid batteries are used to give energy to internal combustion engines and store power for automobiles lights, radios, and so on. The core difference between the two kinds of batteries is energy density. Lithium-ion is a better choice as it can consume more energy and can last longer than Lead-acid batteries. This is another reason why the role of lithium-ion in our daily life is quite common. It is rapidly replacing lead-acid batteries in transport and grid applications as well. Other types of products that are powered by lithium-ion include vaping devices, hoverboards, and solar backup power storage.
How do Lithium-Ions work?
In these types of batteries, the energy storage and discharge are given by the movement of Lithium-ion from the positive to the negative electrode back and forth. The positive electrode is the core element of the lithium source and the negative electrode works as the host for lithium. With its materials and cell pattern, the li-ion technology is expected to reach a pleasing energy limit in the coming years. The new active materials should be able to unlock restricted limits of Lithium Ion in the future. These advanced compounds can hold up more lithium in positive and negative electrodes and allow them to join energy and power together for the first time. Making the demand higher and the future of lithium-ion batteries positive in the world.
Lithium-ion batteries are not only made of lithium but also include other materials like Nickel, Manganese, and cobalt. There are other kinds of lithium batteries that are popular for various uses. A lithium polymer battery is popular to be used in Remote control cars and Drones, although it is less effective and rare compared to the popular kind of battery. Similarly, rechargeable lithium solar batteries are one of the most popular lithium batteries that allow a solar energy system to store excess power. The most used and common type of lithium battery is Lithium Cobalt Oxide which is used to give power to our laptops, mobile phones, and Cameras.
Around the world, a new set of developments and better standards of monitoring are safely manufacturing batteries to increase their capacity to store electricity. For instance, if an EV (electric vehicle) might face failure in one battery cell, the entire vehicle won’t suffer from the circumstances. Lithium-ion carries safety as the highest concern. It is manufactured and put together to avoid any accident involving a thermal runaway or explosion.
While there is a vital importance of batteries in our life, many have major concerns such as explosions as renewable energy is stored only by big battery installations, however, the lithium-ion battery is made in a controlled environment which reduces the chances of such incidents occurring.
Electric vehicles are cheaper to run compared to fossil fuel cars, which is most likely to encourage people to switch toward the eco-friendly automobile which runs on a Lithium based battery. The amount of energy these batteries hold can easily power your home and stabilize the grid. Nonetheless, it is going through an improvising mode to fight the threat of global warming.
Lithium Ion in Future
With a close understanding of the role of lithium-ion in our daily life and the types of products that are powered by Lithium-ion, let’s have a closer look at the future of Lithium-ion batteries. Starting, with the common fact, a Lithium-ion battery consists of a tiny amount of Lithium. However, the increasing demand for these batteries can put the supply chain under stress for resources such as Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel, and Manganese. To match the higher demand in the market it is important that the supply chain keeps working in an organized order. In an attempt to find a solution to this conundrum, the World Economic Forum initiated a partnership with Global Battery Alliance in 2017. The following step was taken to guarantee the supply chain remains decently active.
More than 60 members of the Global Battery Alliance are dedicated to the importance of industry working ethically to support labor, protect the environment and avoid exploitation in mining areas as well as in various parts of the supply chain. In 2020, the demand raised slightly above 0.41million metric tons of LCE (Lithium Carbonate Equivalent) but in 2021, production crossed over 0.54 million metric tons. With increased demand, it is predicted for Lithium demand to go further up to 33 million tons by 2030. So far, Lithium mining occurs in countries such as Australia, Latin America, and China.
With the demand rising higher, new pipeline projects have been introduced in new locations for Lithium Mining. The areas include Western and eastern Europe and Russia. By doing so, it is expected that Lithium production will be able to grow 20% per year.
What makes Lithium-Ion more popular than other Batteries
Compared to a battery like a lithium polymer battery, the Lithium battery is known to be quick and efficient. It can charge and release energy at a higher rate while giving maximum versatility for all types of usage. It can charge more quicker and has a higher rate of discharge. Lithium’s productivity is unmatched especially when working under stressful situations. The fluctuations in temperature do not bother its quality of power delivery. Lithium Solar batteries are designed to bear extreme weather conditions as well.
The battery carries minimum weight, which gives advantages to consumers of easy installation and flexibility for mobility. Another major benefit these batteries offer is low maintenance. They don’t require any kind of maintenance work to produce better quality in their work. The Lithium-ion Batteries are rechargeable and can easily support high-powered applications. They also have the ability to provide up to 3.6 volts which is more than any nickel-based batteries. Moreover, they are increasing in demand because they can store energy for portable electronic gadgets as well. Last but not the least, they have longer shelf lives.
However, the most popular battery also supports some of the cons as well. The Lithium-ion powered battery runs the risk of explosion. It is expensive compared to other kinds of batteries. If it is completely drained out, then it can be damaged and is extremely irritated by higher temperatures.
The Bottom Line
Only time can tell what the future holds for Lithium-ion powered batteries but with a lot of convenient and promising features, it is found in every household. The importance of batteries in our life such as Lithium-ion cannot be excluded as many of our daily activities are dependent on the products that are powered by them. Although it does include some disadvantages they are surely less to impact its increasing demand in the coming times.