Every day, millions of people use lithium-ion batteries, which are also popularly known as Li-ion batteries. The purpose of this article is to explain what lithium-ion batteries are, to evaluate their characteristics, and to address their usage in Electric Vehicles (EVs). Li-ion technology is used in various applications, including small handheld devices like cell phones to computers, and power tools.
Understanding Li-Ion Battery
A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is a high-performance battery that employs lithium ions as the main component of its electrochemistry. Lithium atoms in the anode are ionized and isolated from their electrons during a discharge period. The lithium ions travel from the anode via the electrolyte to the cathode, where they recombine with their electrons and become electrically neutral. Between the anode and the cathode, the lithium ions are small enough to pass through a micro-permeable separator. Li-ion batteries can have a very high voltage and charge storage per unit mass and volume because of lithium’s small size.
Components of Lithium-Ion Battery
Cathode, anode, electrolyte, and separator are the four primary components of Li-ion batteries. Every part of a Li-ion battery is critical, as the battery will not work if one of them is missing.
Electricity in the lithium-ion battery is produced by lithium’s chemical reaction. The room where lithium is injected into the battery is known as the cathode. The mixture of lithium and oxygen, lithium oxide, is used as a cathode. This active material is a material that intervenes in the electrode reaction of the actual battery. The cathode plays an important role in deciding the battery’s characteristics such as power and voltage.
The anode layer is also covered with active material. The active material in the anode allows electric current to pass through the external circuit while also allowing the reversible absorption and emission of lithium ions emitted from the cathode. Lithium ions are contained in the anode, not the cathode when the battery is charged. As the conducting wire binds the cathode to the anode, lithium ions flow naturally back to the cathode through the electrolyte, and the divided electrons (e-) pass along the wire, creating electricity.
According to the above explanation, lithium ions pass through the electrolyte and electrons move through the wire. This is the secret to a battery’s ability to use electricity. If ions pass through the electrolyte, using energy would not be possible as even our protection will be jeopardized. This is where electrolyte comes into play. It acts as a conduit for only lithium ions to travel between the cathode and the anode.
The battery’s performance is determined by the cathode and anode, while the other two components, the electrolyte and the separator determine the battery’s safety. The separator serves as a physical boundary between the cathode and the anode.
Advantages of Li-Ion Batteries
Unlike flooded lead-acid batteries, which must be checked for water levels, lithium-ion batteries do not need watering. This decreases the amount of maintenance and time required to train and test the equipment to ensure proper water levels.
A large-capacity battery pack’s lithium-ion battery lifetime can be as long as eight years or more. A long service life helps in getting a good return on the lithium-ion battery investment.
- Safer Facilities
By reducing exposure to flammable fuels and battery acid, lithium-ion technology improves indoor air quality and reduces the risk of accidents.
Disadvantages of Li-Ion Batteries
The cost of lithium-ion batteries is a significant drawback. They are usually 40% more expensive to produce than nickel-cadmium cells.
- Developing Technology
Lithium-ion batteries have been around for a long time, but some still consider them to be built on outdated technology because they are still in the early stages of growth. This may be a drawback due to the fact that technology is constantly changing.
This drawback of lithium-ion batteries has become more apparent in recent years. Many airlines have a cap on the amount of lithium-ion batteries they can carry, which means they can only travel by ship.
Usage In Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles and their batteries are growing into a far bigger industry than most people realize. Because of their high capacity per unit mass compared to other electrical energy storage devices, lithium-ion batteries are currently used in most portable consumer electronics such as mobile phones and laptops. Lithium-ion batteries are used in the majority of today’s PHEVs and EVs, though the exact chemistry differs from that of consumer electronics batteries. There is ongoing research and development to lower their comparatively high cost, prolong their useful life, and resolve their overheating safety issues.
With the various advantages, disadvantages and applications, it is appropriate to state that the future of the energy industry does include lithium-ion batteries. With the use of these batteries in Electric Vehicles, they have a long way to go!