Lithium batteries are disposable (primary) batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode.
Depending on the design and chemical compounds used, lithium cells can produce voltages from 1.5 V to about 3.7 V, over twice the voltage of an ordinary zinc-carbon battery or alkaline cell battery.
The most common type of lithium battery today is the lithium-ion battery, a rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode (anode) to the positive electrode (cathode) during discharge, and from the cathode to the anode during charge.
The three primary functional components of a lithium-ion battery are the anode, cathode, and electrolyte, for which a variety of materials may be used.
Commercially, the most popular material for the anode is graphite. The cathode is generally one of three materials: a layered oxide (such as lithium cobalt oxide), one based on a polyanion (such as lithium iron phosphate), or a spinel (such as lithium manganese oxide), although materials such as TiS2 (titanium disulfide) originally were also used.
Lithium-ion batteries are common in portable consumer electronics because of their high energy-to-weight ratios, lack of memory effect, and slow self-discharge when not in use.
Nearly all pure EVs and plug-in hybrids on the market today require a lithium-ion battery of some sort. Compared to other rechargeable battery types, namely nickel-metal hydrides and lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries offer greater energy density, lower self-discharge, and a longer useful life span.
But even the lithium-ion battery is evolving. Researchers have now invented the lithium-air battery that uses a solid electrolyte instead of the usual liquid variety. Batteries with solid electrolytes are not subject to the safety issue with the liquid electrolytes used in lithium-ion and other battery types, which can overheat and catch fire.
The lithium-air battery has the highest projected energy density of any battery technology being considered for the next generation of batteries and could be very useful for EV owners who would like more than getting 1,000 miles per charge.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Overview of Lithium Battery Technology, a 1-day course that provides participants with a comprehensive understanding of lithium battery technology, including its principles, applications, advantages, challenges, and future developments.
Participants will gain the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions regarding the use and management of lithium batteries in various industries.