Building Safer Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion battery technology has popped in and out of the news in recent years, mostly for safety concerns. But engineers who understand how lithium batteries work know that it’s among the best and safest commercial options for energy storage needs. Most consumers know that lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries can get hot. In extreme circumstances, the heat can cause fires with catastrophic consequences.
Safety is a full-fledged design feature with lithium-ion batteries, and for good reason. As we’ve all seen, the chemistry and energy density that allows lithium-ion batteries to work so well also makes them flammable, so when the batteries malfunction they often make a spectacular and dangerous mess.
A company dedicated to the development and production of the advanced series “BSLBATT” (Best Solution Lithium battery) is headquartered in Huizhou, China. The company’s chief operating Officer Haley Ning and chief technology Officer Hugo Chen were guests at HZ News. They explain how BSLBATT makes lithium-ion batteries safer.
“The foundation of safety in the lithium-ion battery really comes from a good and effective thermal management system,” Hugo Chen said. “Another really critical component for safety actually ends up being the battery management system—the BMS. That’s kind of the electrical computer brains of the battery,” he said. BSLBATT has put a lot of emphasis on incorporating reliable and redundant protection into its designs “that give the whole system a very high level of safety.”
BSLBATT prides itself on offering lithium-ion batteries designed around safety and longevity. Although the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries we sell can’t currently be manufactured small enough for use in consumer electronics, the LiFePO4 technology is by far the safest chemistry available.
All BSLBATT batteries also come with either a Power Control Module (PCM) or Battery Management System (BMS) that have many extra safety features including; over-current, over-voltage, under-voltage, and over-temperature protection, and the cells come in an explosion-proof stainless steel casing.
Heat is generated in Li-ion batteries due to the chemical reaction that takes place in the process, as well as from inefficiencies or losses. As battery systems become larger, operate at higher power levels, and are asked to charge and discharge at faster rates, additional heat is generated, making effective management systems even more important.
“That’s really one of the key aspects of the lithium-ion batteries, especially of today, is managing that heat and getting them to make sure they operate in a safe and comfortable temperature range,” Hugo Chen said.
Why LiFePO4 is Safe
As for the batteries BSLBATT uses, our lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry is inherently safe, so you don’t have to worry about a battery meltdown.
LiFePO4 batteries have a chemical and mechanical structure that does not overheat to unsafe levels, unlike batteries made with a cobalt-oxide cathode or manganese-oxide cathode.
This is because the charged and uncharged states of LiFePO4 are physically similar and highly robust, which lets the ions remain stable during the oxygen flux that happens alongside charge cycles or possible malfunctions. Overall, the iron phosphate-oxide bond is stronger than the cobalt-oxide bond, so when the battery is overcharged or subject to physical damage then the phosphate-oxide bond remains structurally stable; whereas in other lithium chemistries the bonds begin breaking down and releasing excessive heat, which eventually leads to thermal runaway.
LiFePO4 works great for our customers’ needs. But the chemistry doesn’t work as efficiently in batteries used in small electronics. The industry needs a different solution.
BSLBATT sees the marine sector as a thirdly market for Li-ion batteries, and its products in particular. Haley Ning noted that the marine sector transfers much of the world’s cargo and releases between 2% and 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Incorporating batteries into the shipping industry could lessen that greatly. Nonetheless, much of the progress the company has made on battery technology also translates to other sectors.
“As new power generating technologies come to market, the battery is probably a very good enabler to make those work efficiently as well, because many of the technologies we see are not very good at big peaks in power consumption,” said Haley Ning. “So, the battery can kind of be the buffer that takes the big hits and the big changes in load. And then, those stable power generating technologies can help.”
To learn more about work being done by BSLBATT to advance Li-ion battery technology, Please get in touch with us to learn about how we can help your team achieve its energy needs safely and efficiently. BSLBATT Battery team is dedicated to providing our customers with the highest quality and safest lithium products currently available.
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