How to choose between LIFEPO4 and lithium-ion batteries depending on your needs
High-capacity batteries are in high demand right now for a variety of uses. These batteries have many different functions, including solar batteries, recreational batteries, and batteries for electric cars.
Lead-acid batteries were the only high-battery capacity choice on the market many years ago, as you would have noticed.
However, because of the increased use of lithium-based batteries, the market has seen a significant shift in recent years.
In this regard, lithium-ion batteries and lithium ferrous phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries stand out from the competition. People frequently inquire about the distinctions between the two types from us because they are both lithium-based.
As a result, we will examine these batteries in-depth in this post and discuss how they vary from one another. You will gain more insight into which battery will work best for you by learning about their performance on a variety of metrics.
Without further ado, let’s begin:
How Do Lithium-ion Batteries and LiFePO4 Differ Chemically?
Both lithium ion and lithium ferrous phosphate batteries fall under the umbrella term “lithium batteries.” Consequently, there are many parallels in the way that each of these batteries are built.
Lithium Iron Phosphate
New materials were tested as cathode materials in the lithium-ion battery as technology advanced. These substances include lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP batteries).
The batteries known as lithium iron phosphate batteries use lithium iron phosphate as the cathode ingredient.
A lithium-iron battery’s single cell produces a voltage of 3.2 to 3.3 volts. To build a single LFP battery, three or four of these cells are therefore wired together in series.
Lithium-ion batteries work on the principle that lithium ions move between two electrodes in an electrolyte solution or gel. Lithium-based substances like lithium cobalt oxide or lithium manganese oxide make up the cathode materials. Graphite and other carbon-based materials are typically used as the anode.
There are numerous varieties of lithium ion batteries accessible due to the wide range of cathode material and electrolyte possibilities. Lithium-ion polymer batteries are some variations that don’t need liquid electrolyte.
A lithium-ion battery’s individual battery cell normally produces a voltage of roughly 3.6V. Three or more of these cells are connected in series to form a single lithium-ion battery, which can provide usable electricity.
What characteristics do lithium-ion batteries and LFP batteries share?
As was already mentioned, lithium-based batteries include both lithium-ion and LFP batteries. As a result, the two varieties share a number of characteristics.
One distinction between these batteries is that they both depend on the motion of lithium ions to produce current. Additionally, the anode material in both of these is graphite.
When comparing lithium-ion batteries with LFP batteries, there are fewer differences than when comparing any of these batteries to a battery that doesn’t use lithium.
What Distinguishes Lithium-ion and Lithium-Iron Batteries?
We shall compare an LFP battery to other lithium-ion batteries based on a variety of important factors.
Density of Energy
The energy density measures how much power a battery can provide in comparison to its bulk. Watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) is the unit of measurement. A battery can produce more electricity with a smaller mass if it has a higher energy density.
Compared to a lithium-ion battery, an LFP battery has a somewhat lower energy density. Their energy content ranges from 90 to 165 Wh/kg.
One of the highest energy densities of any battery type is found in lithium-ion batteries. These batteries provide an energy density of about 100 Wh/kg to 265 Wh/kg.
In conclusion, Lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density. Because of this, these batteries are used in smaller, more power-demanding applications.
Lifetime and cycle life
The number of cycles a battery can withstand without experiencing any performance degradation is referred to as cycle life. A cycle is the process of entirely charging, fully discharging, and then fully charging once more.
A battery with a higher cycle life will likely last longer and offer you a greater return on your investment.
LFP has a long cycle life of roughly 3000 cycles. This is equivalent to a duration of over seven years.
Lithium-ion batteries have an average cycle life of 300 to 500 cycles. This amounts to around a two- to three-year period of time.
Conclusion: LFP batteries have four to five times the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries and perform better in terms of cycle life and battery lifespan.
Dimensions of Discharge (DoD)
The depth of discharge is the maximum percentage of discharge that a battery can withstand without experiencing any negative effects. A battery might suffer irreparable harm if it is discharged past the depth of discharge.
Since you are using more of the stored energy, a deeper depth of discharge suggests a larger performance range for the battery.
Batteries made of lithium iron phosphate have an astounding depth of discharge of 100%. This indicates that you can completely deplete the battery without worrying about doing any harm to it.
Conclusion: When it comes to depth of discharge, the lithium iron phosphate battery is the undisputed champion. It’s interesting to note that lead-acid batteries only offer a 50% DoD, whereas all lithium-based batteries have much greater DoDs.
Lithium ion batteries have a depth of discharge of between 80% to 95%. This means that you must always leave a minimum of 5% to 20% charge (precise percentage varies based on the specific battery) in the battery.
Rate of Self Discharge
There are intrinsic chemical processes that deplete some stored charge even while a battery is not attached to any appliances, even if it is only a little amount. The rate at which the battery depletes its charge while it is not attached to anything is known as the self-discharge rate.
Lower self-discharge rates are preferable for batteries since they signify improved chemical stability and increased charge retention.
The self-discharge rate for lithium iron phosphate is roughly 3% per month. Accordingly, the battery will decrease from 100% to 97% after being stored for a month.
The self-discharge rate of a lithium-ion battery is roughly 5% each month. This indicates that after a month of storage, a lithium-ion battery that has been charged, disconnected, and left alone will drop from 100% to 95%.
In conclusion, lithium iron phosphate batteries perform marginally better in terms of self-discharge rate. Again, both of these batteries are superior to lead-acid batteries, which self-discharge at a dismal rate of 4% each week.
Price per KWh
The price per KWh is the cost for each KWh of battery capacity. Every type of battery is offered in a range of storage capacities, therefore it is best to compare them based on their costs per KWh in order to determine which is more cost-effective.
You must first determine the battery’s KWh rating in order to compute the cost per KWh. Although it is not typically stated on the battery, this value is simple to determine. KWh = 1000 x (Voltage x Ampere Hours)
The battery you purchase will always list the voltage and amp hours.
The cobalt-free, significantly less expensive materials iron and phosphate are used in lithium iron phosphate batteries.
Cobalt is used in lithium ion batteries as an electrode material, which raises the price of the battery.
The cost of lithium iron phosphate batteries is just slightly higher than that of lithium-ion batteries.
For applications like electric motors, where weight might impact performance, weight can be an important component.
Lithium iron phosphate contains iron compounds, which are much lighter than the metals used in a lithium-ion battery.
Compounds of lithium manganese oxide and lithium cobalt oxide, two high density minerals that weigh more, are found in lithium ion batteries.
Conclusion: Lithium-iron batteries typically weigh around 50% less than lithium-ion batteries of the same capacity.
Determine whether a specific type of battery would be appropriate for your desired uses before choosing one. Here is a comparison of these two battery kinds’ applications:
Lithium iron phosphate batteries offer a wide range of uses in electric vehicles, leisure vehicles, solar batteries, and more because of their many benefits and improved performance.
Lithium-ion batteries are better suited for applications where the size of the battery is constrained due to their higher energy density. Electronic devices like electronic cigarettes, phones, and other compact rechargeable devices are the most common of these uses.
Conclusion: Because of the vastly various applications for each of these batteries, each one is a winner in its particular niche. Lithium-ion batteries perform better when there is a severe size restriction, whereas lithium-iron batteries work better when great performance is necessary.
Use in Cold Weather
Most batteries lose some of their operational capacity and many stop working altogether when temperatures dip below freezing. Lithium batteries are extremely susceptible to freezing temperatures and become inoperable below a particular threshold.
In addition, lithium iron phosphate stops working at very low temperatures. High-quality lithium iron phosphate batteries, like those provided by Maxworld, come with a battery management system (BMS), which can automatically heat the battery in cold weather
If you’ve ever been in an area where it gets very cold, you’ll find that your smartphone stops operating because the battery dies. All lithium-ion batteries are equally vulnerable to cold temperatures.
Conclusion: A lithium iron battery’s BMS characteristics tip the scale in its favor during the battery’s operation in cold weather.
The term “thermal stability” relates to temperature-related variables such battery overheating and thermal runaway. The term “thermal runaway” refers to a battery’s unchecked overheating, which could possibly result in an explosion.
A lithium iron battery cannot catch fire or explode because LiFePO4 batteries are completely incombustible. No matter how you charge them, these batteries don’t overheat. Furthermore, there is no thermal runaway.
Due to their propensity for overheating, lithium-ion batteries are infamous for their temperature behavior. Laptop lithium manganese oxide batteries have been known to explode. There is frequently thermal runaway with these batteries.
Conclusion: Lithium iron batteries are the clear winner when comparing the thermal stability of LiFePO4 vs. lithium-ion batteries.
Users and manufacturing firms are pushing for ecologically friendly goods and procedures. Determining which battery is more ecologically friendly is crucial.
Since lithium iron batteries do not emit any harmful gases or chemicals, they pose no environmental risks. These batteries also have a long lifespan, necessitating fewer battery changes.
Many harmful gases are known to be released by lithium-ion batteries, especially at high temperatures. Because these batteries last less time, you must replace them more frequently, creating significant waste.
Conclusion: Lithium iron phosphate batteries are among the greenest available.
Since you are confident that the battery will function for at least the warranty period, a longer warranty duration ensures a better return on investment.
A five-year guarantee period is normal for lithium iron phosphate. A six-year warranty is included with the best LFP batteries, like those from Maxworld.
You should anticipate a guarantee of six months to a year because lithium-ion batteries have an average lifespan of two years. For instance, you can see the typical six-month warranty you receive on smartphone batteries.
Conclusion: Lithium iron phosphate batteries aren’t simply fantastic on paper; they also come with a longer guarantee period. When you contrast the six-month warranty duration with the six-year warranty period, they are unquestionably miles ahead of their lithium-ion equivalents.
Which is better, lithium-ion or lithium-fePO4?
Despite the fact that each of these batteries is made of lithium, their performance is very different.
LiFePO4 is a superior option in every relevant area. You get higher performance, better value, and a significantly longer lifespan with these batteries.
When you take into account the energy density, the lithium-ion equivalent is the only one that stands out more. They are therefore a superior option for electronic devices including computers, cell phones, e-cigarettes, and other electronic gadgets.
LiFePO4 batteries are better suited for every use besides electronics. LiFePO4 is the greatest investment for everything requiring high capacity, including electric vehicles, solar panels, caravans, and more.