Do you know everything about batteries? Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this revolutionary technology, and find out everything you need to know about lithium-ion batteries.
More advantages than disadvantages
The advantages of this revolutionary technology to have everything you need to know about lithium-ion batteries outweigh the disadvantages:
Let’s get one thing clear to start off with: there are several different types of lithium battery and the ones that are used as auxiliary / leisure batteries are very different indeed from those used in electric cars, mobile phones and cordless electric tools. Lithium batteries have a reputation for catching fire without warning but the batteries that we are looking at here are completely safe in normal use. These are lithium phosphate batteries, often referred to as LiFePO4 batteries and here are some of their advantages over traditional lead-acid batteries:
● Voltage remains constant for much longer during discharge.
● Much higher charging rate and so faster charging – varies according to the charging system used.
● Can be discharged quickly without damaging the cells, making them ideal for use with inverters.
● Can be discharged approximately 95% on average without damaging the battery.
● Thousands of charging cycles compared to just a few hundred from a typical lead-acid battery.
● Very low rate of self-discharge means they can be left unattended for months.
● Zero maintenance required.
● The shape of some models enables them to be installed in places where a lead-acid battery cannot.
● Approximately 50% lighter than a lead-acid battery with a similar Ah rating.
● Very safe in normal use with no toxic fumes or liquid and no risk of fire in normal use.
● The ability to charge quickly from the vehicle’s engine can remove the need for a generator or fuel cell.
● Can be used in almost every situation where a lead-acid battery is being used.
There is really only one disadvantage to having a lithium battery in your vehicle or boat and that’s the initial cost. This is likely to be significantly more expenisve than a lead-acid battery with a similar Ah rating. However, as a lithium battery can remove the need to ever use mains hook-up and can be charged and discharged several thousand times, for some people the purchase cost will be more than recovered during the battery’s lifetime.
But … What are the drawbacks?
1. Compatibility with the environment and fairness in the extraction of raw materials
The expansion of electromobility, which relies heavily on lithium batteries, is seen as progress in terms of environmental protection. However, the extraction of raw materials for lithium batteries is one of the disadvantages of these due to their lack of compatibility with the environment. Often also due to mining conditions. However, compared to conventional lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are the most environmentally friendly alternative. Also, some compounds, such as lithium iron phosphate, are less harmful than others. Work is also being done on optimizing degradation processes to make them more respectful of the environment.
2. Disposal and recycling
The highly reactive components in batteries make technology a hazardous waste that must be disposed of with proper care. Failure to do so can cause dangerous fires, releasing toxic gases into the environment. Due to the combination of different raw materials, the recycling of lithium batteries is a great challenge. There is still no established recycling process to recover all the raw materials contained in them with a low polluting level and a high level of quality.
3. Sensitivity to temperature
The high temperature sensitivity of lithium batteries affects both the level of charge and the performance of the batteries. Both at low temperatures below +5 degrees and at high temperatures above +35 degrees Celsius, many lithium batteries are sensitive. In some cases, a deep discharge may even occur. In this case, the usual working and use environment should be adapted to the battery to avoid problems.
Everything You Need to Know About Charging Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries
Change can be daunting, even when switching from a lead-acid battery to a lithium iron phosphate battery. Properly charging your battery is critical and directly impacts the performance and life of the battery. Discover how to charge your BSLBATT LiFePO4 battery to maximize your investment.
How to Charge a LiFePO4 Battery
The ideal way to charge a LiFePO4 battery is with a lithium iron phosphate battery charger, as it will be programmed with the appropriate voltage limits. Most lead-acid battery chargers will do the job just fine. AGM and GEL charge profiles typically fall within the voltage limits of a lithium iron phosphate battery. Wet lead-acid battery chargers tend to have a higher voltage limit, which may cause the Battery Management System (BMS) to go into protection mode. This won’t harm the battery; however, it may cause fault codes on the charger display.
The Key Differences Between Lithium Iron Phosphate and Lead-Acid Batteries When It Comes to Charging
Lithium batteries can charge at a much higher current and they charge more efficiently than lead-acid, which means they can be charged faster. Lithium batteries do not need to be charged if they are partially discharged. Unlike lead-acid batteries, which when left in a partial state of charge will sulfate, drastically reducing performance and life.
BSLBATT lithium batteries come with an internal Battery Management System (BMS) that protects the battery from being over-charged, whereas lead-acid batteries can be over-charged, increasing the rate of grid corrosion and shortening battery life.
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