What is a Lithium Battery?
Compared to a lead acid battery, which true to its name contains heavy lead plates or glass matt barriers and liquid or gel acid, a lithium battery is in effect a box of electronics.
It comprises multiple lithium cells or cell packs, a battery management system (BMS) and some include a Bluetooth communications circuit board, all housed in various outer casings to ensure the internal components are protected at all times.
The job of the BMS is to protect the battery cells, manage the charge and discharge process in line with the manufactures specification and to prevent thermal runaway and other events that could damage the battery.
In all other respects a lithium battery looks and behaves very much like its lead acid cousin but with some crucial differences, which are noted below.
Different Lithium Chemistries
There are over 25 known types of lithium chemistry, but they share the common feature that they all contain an anode in the cell made from metallic lithium. All chemistry types have commercial usages for but the two most popular are Li-Mn – Lithium Manganese Dioxide and Li-FePO4 (most often referred to as LFP) – Lithium Iron Phosphate – this is where the Lifos company derived its name!!
Whilst each chemistry has its pros and cons, at Lifos we only work with LFP, which whilst being more expensive than others and being slightly larger in dimension, provides better long-term performance, is more stable and does not use Cobalt, which is mostly sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo using unregulated labour.
LFP is becoming more widely used from utility scale storage right down to small personal charging equipment. Even Tesla has started to switch to LFP and many more in the EV world are following suit.