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Powering Up with Lithium

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Do you know what’s powering your smartphone, laptop, or power drill?  It’s very likely a lithium-ion battery (Li-ion battery or LIB).  These batteries currently power a large number of consumer electronics like portable devices (mobile phones, handheld games), power tools (drills, saws, hedge trimmers) and electric vehicles (electric cars, hybrid car, electric wheelchairs). 

Lithium ion batteries have rapidly replaced traditional nickel-cadmium batteries because of their high energy density. National Alliance for Advanced Technology Batteries reports that 64% of the lithium-ion battery market is in consumer batteries (laptops, cell phones, cameras, etc.).   Energy density is the battery’s energy delivery capability relative to its volume or weight.  Li-ion batteries also have higher voltage of any commercially available rechargeable battery.  This means that Li-ion batteries are smaller and lighter than other batteries which is why they’re so powerful. 

Think about your smart phone – does it rapidly lose its charge?  Can you recharge it even when it still has power?  A Li-ion battery allows you to have a long battery life and you can recharge your device without requiring a full charge or discharge cycle.

As Li-ion battery use is still evolving, there are also some drawbacks to its use among them costs, operational safety in larger circuits, and performance loss when not in use.  As the need for greater efficiency of technology devices grows, it is expected that the growth of Li-ion battery use will also increase with consumer batteries accounting for 52% of the lithium-ion battery market by 2016.

For more information about Lithium ion batteries, visit any of the links and factsheets below.

Resources:

Department of Energy – Lithium Ion  

UL LLC

UL Sustainable Energy Journal Issue 4: Lithium Ion Batteries

Battery University

Battery University Lithium Ion 

Apple

National Alliance for Advanced Technology Batteries

NAATBatt Blog