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What is Lithium Ion Batteries?

April 26, 2023

1. What is Lithium Ion Batteries?

A battery is a source of electric power consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections for powering electrical devices. A lithium-ion or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery which uses the reversible reduction of lithium ions to store energy and is famous their high energy density.


2. The Structure of Lithium Ion Batteries

Generally most commercial Li-ion Batteries use intercalation compounds as active materials. They typically consist of several layers of materials that are arranged in a specific order to facilitate the electrochemical process that enables the battery to store and release energy--anode, cathode,electrolyte,separator and current collector.


What is anode?

As a component of the battery, anode plays an important role in the capacity, performance, and durability of the battery. When charging, the graphite anode is responsible for accepting and storing lithium ions. When the battery is discharged, the lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode so that an electric current is created. Generally the most common commercially used anode is graphite, which in its fully lithiated state of LiC6 correlates to a maximal capacity of 1339 C/g (372 mAh/g). But with the development of technologies, new materials such as silicon have been researched to improve the energy densities for lithium-ion batteries.


What is cathode?

Cathode works to accept and release positively-charged lithium ions during current cycles. It usually consists of a layered structure of a layered oxide (such as lithium cobalt oxide), a polyanion (such as lithium iron phosphate) or a spinel (such as lithium manganese oxide) coated on a charge collector (usually made of aluminum).


What is electrolyte?

As a lithium salt in an organic solvent, the electrolyte serves as a medium for lithium ions to move between the anode and cathode during charging and discharging.


What is separator?

As a thin membrane or layer of non-conductive material,separator works to prevent the anode (negative electrode) and cathode (positive electrode) from shorting, since this layer is permeable to lithium ions but not to electrons. It can also ensure the steady flow of ions between the electrodes during charging and discharging. Therefore, the battery can maintain a stable voltage and reduce the risk of overheating, combustion or explosion.


What is current collector?

Current collector is designed to collect the current produced by the battery's electrodes and transports it to the external circuit,which is important to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the battery. And usually it is typically made from a thin sheet of aluminum or copper.



3. The Development History of Lithium Ion Batteries

Research on rechargeable Li-ion batteries dates to the 1960s, one of the earliest examples is a CuF2/Li battery developed by NASA in 1965. And oil crisis hit the world in 1970s, researchers turned their attention to alternative sources of energy, so the breakthrough that produced the earliest form of the modern Li-ion battery was made because of the light weight and high energy density of lithium ion batteries. At the same time, Stanley Whittingham of Exxon discovered that lithium ions could be inserted into materials such as TiS2 to create a rechargeable battery. 


So he tried to commercialize this battery but failed due to the high cost and the presence of metallic lithium in the cells. In 1980 new material was found to offer a higher voltage and was much more stable in air, which would later be used in the first commercial Li-ion battery, although it did not, on its own, resolve the persistent issue of flammability.The same year, Rachid Yazami invented the lithium graphite electrode (anode). And then in 1991, the world's first rechargeable lithium-ion batteries started to enter the market. 


In 2000s, the demand for lithium-ion batteries increased as portable electronic devices became popular, which drives lithium ion batteries to be safer and more durable. Electric vehicles were introduced in 2010s, which created a new market for lithium-ion batteries. The development of new manufacturing processes and materials, such as silicon anodes and solid-state electrolytes, continued to improve the performance and safety of lithium-ion batteries. Nowadays, lithium-ion batteries have become essential in our daily lives, so the research and development of new materials and technologies are ongoing to improve the performance, efficiency, and safety of these batteries.



4.The Types of Lithium Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and not all of them are made equal. Normally there are five kinds of lithium-ion batteries.


l Lithium Cobalt Oxide

Lithium cobalt oxide batteries are manufactured from lithium carbonate and cobalt and are also known as lithium cobaltate or lithium-ion cobalt batteries. They have a cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite carbon anode, and lithium ions migrate from the anode to the cathode during discharge, with the flow reversing when the battery is charged. As for its application, they are used in portable electronic devices, electric vehicles, and renewable energy storage systems because of their high specific energy, low self-discharge rate, high operating voltage and wide temperature range.But pay attention to the safety concerns related to the potential for thermal runaway and instability at high temperatures.


l Lithium Manganese Oxide

Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) is a cathode material that is commonly used in lithium-ion batteries.The technology for this sort of battery was initially discovered in the 1980s, with the first publication in the Materials Research Bulletin in 1983. One of the advantages of LiMn2O4 is that it has good thermal stability, meaning that it is less likely to experience thermal runaway, which are also safer than other lithium-ion battery types. Additionally, manganese is abundant and widely available, which makes it a more sustainable option compared to cathode materials that contain limited resources like cobalt. As a result, they’re frequently found in medical equipment and devices, power tools, electric motorcycles, and other applications. Despite its advantages, LiMn2O4 poorer cycling stability compared to LiCoO2, which means that it may require more frequent replacement, so it may not be as suitable for long-term energy storage systems.


l Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP)

Phosphate is used as a cathode in lithium iron phosphate batteries, often known as li-phosphate batteries. Their low resistance have improve their thermal stability and safety. They are also famous for durability and a long life cycle, which make them the most cost-effective option to other types of lithium-ion batteries. Consequently, these batteries are frequently used in electric bikes and other applications requiring a long life cycle and high levels of safety. But its disadvantages make it hard to develop rapidly. Firstly, compared to other types of lithium-ion batteries, they cost more because they use rare and expensive raw materials. In addition, lithium iron phosphate batteries have a lower operating voltage, which means that they may not be suitable for some applications that require a higher voltage. Its longer charging time makes it a disadvantage in applications that require a quick recharge.


l Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC)

Lithium Nickel manganese Cobalt Oxide batteries, often known as NMC batteries, are constructed of a variety of materials that are universal in lithium-ion batteries. A cathode constructed of a mix of nickel, manganese, and cobalt is included. Its high energy density, good cycling performance, and a long lifespan has made it the first choice in electric vehicles, grid storage systems, and other high-performance applications, which has further contributed to the growing popularity of electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. To increase capacity, new electrolytes and additives are used to enable it to charge to 4.4V/cell and higher. 


There is a trend toward NMC-blended Li-ion since the system is cost-effective and provides good performance. Nickel, manganese, and cobalt are three active materials that may be easily combined to suit a wide range of automotive and energy storage systems (EES) applications that require frequent cycling. From which we can see the NMC family is becoming more diverse However, its side effects of thermal runaway, fire hazards and environmental concerns may hamper its further development.


l Lithium Titanate

Lithium titanate, often known as li-titanate, is a type of battery that has a growing number of uses. Because of its superior nanotechnology,it is able to rapidly charge and discharge while maintaining a stable voltage, which makes it well-suited for high-power applications such as electric vehicles, commercial and industrial energy storage systems, and grid-level storage. 


Together with its safety and reliability, these batteries could be used for military and aerospace applications, as well as storing wind and solar energy and constructing smart grids. Furthermore, according to Battery Space, these batteries could be employed in power system system-critical backups. Nevertheless,lithium titanate batteries tend to be more expensive than traditional lithium-ion batteries due to the complex fabrication process required to produce them.



5.The Development Trends of Lithium Ion Batteries

The global growth of renewable energy installations has increased intermittent energy production, creating an unbalanced grid. This has led to a demand for batteries.while the focus on zero carbon emissions and need to move away from fossil fuels, namely coal, for power production prompt more governments to incentivize solar and wind power installations. These installations lend themselves to battery storage systems that store excess power generated. 


Therefore, government incentives to incentivize Li-ion battery installations also drive the development of lithium ion batteries. For example, the global NMC Lithium-Ion Batteries market size is projected to grow from US$ million in 2022 to US$ million in 2029; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of % from 2023 to 2029. And the increasing needs of applications demanding heavy loads is projected to make lithium ion batteries of 3000-10000 the fastest growing segment during the forecast period (2022-2030).



6. The investment analysis of Lithium Ion Batteries

The lithium ion batteries market industry is projected to grow from USD 51.16 billion in 2022 to USD 118.15 billion by 2030, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of 4.72% during the forecast period(2022-2030),which depends on several factors.


l End-User Analysis

Utility sector installations are key drivers for battery energy storage systems (BESS). This segment is expected to grow from $2.25 billion in 2021 to $5.99 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 11.5%. Li-ion batteries show a higher 34.4% CAGR due to their low growth base. Residential and commercial energy storage segments are other areas with large market potential of $5.51 billion in 2030, from $1.68 billion in 2021. The industrial sector continues its march toward zero carbon emissions, with companies making net-zero pledges in the next two decades. Telecom and data center companies are at the forefront of reducing carbon emissions with an increased focus on renewable energy power sources. All of which will promote the rapid development of lithium ion batteries as companies find ways to ensure reliable backup and grid balancing.


l Product Type Analysis

Because of the high price of cobalt, cobalt-free battery is one of the development trends of lithium-ion batteries. High-voltage LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 (LNMO) with high theoretical energy density is one of the most promising Co-free cathode materials in the further. Further, the experimental results proved that the cycling and C-rate performance of LNMO battery is improved by using the semi-solid electrolyte. This can be proposed that the anionic COF is capable of absorbing strongly the Mn3+/Mn2+ and Ni2+ through Coulomb interaction, restraining their destructive migration to the anode. Therefore, this work will be beneficial to the commercialization of LNMO cathode material.


l Regional Analysis

Asia-Pacific will be the largest stationary lithium-ion battery market by 2030, driven by utilities and industries. It will overtake North America and Europe with a market of $7.07 billion in 2030, growing from $1.24 billion in 2021 at a CAGR of 21.3%. North America and Europe will be the next largest markets due to their goals to decarbonize their economies and grid over the next two decades. LATAM will see the highest growth rate at a CAGR of 21.4% because of its smaller size and low base.



7. Things to Consider for a High-quality Lithium Ion Batteries

When buying an optical solar inverter, not only the price and quality must be considered, other factors should also be kept in mind.


l Energy Density

The Energy density is the amount of energy stored per unit volume. Higher energy density with less weight and size is more extensive between charging cycles.


l Safety

Safety is another critical aspect of lithium-ion batteries since explosions and fires that may occur while charging or discharging, so it is necessary to choose batteries with improved safety mechanisms, such as temperature sensors and inhibitory substances.


l Type

One of the latest trends in the lithium-ion battery industry is the development of solid-state batteries, which offers a range of benefits such as higher energy density and a longer life cycle. For example, the use of solid-state batteries in electric cars will significantly increase their range capability and safety.

l Rate of charging

The rate of charging depends how fast the battery gets charged safely. Sometimes the battery takes a long time to charge before they can be used.

l Lifespan

No battery runs for the entire life but has an expiry date. Check the expiry date before making the purchase. Lithium ion batteries have an inherent longer life due to its chemistry but every battery differs from each other depending on the type, specifications and the way they are made. High quality batteries will last longer since they are made of fine materials inside.


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