lithium rechargeable battery, or Li-Ion batteries are a type of recharged batteries that’s used in many applications, but they’re widely used in mobile phones, notebook computers, electric tools, electric vehicles, standby power supplies for street lights, navigation lights, and small household appliances.
Lithium is the primary source for Li-Ion battery packs as it is more stable and safer in charging and discharging energy compared to other minerals.
Except for the electronics industry, lithium is a staple mineral in mining, manufacturing, energy storage,etc. Owing to its many industry uses, the importance of Lithium-Ion batteries cannot be overstated: it is, quite possible, one of the most crucial developments in the modern world, without which the 21st century would have been impossible.
The History of the 12v lithium rechargeable battery
During the oil crisis in the 1970s, Stanley Whittingham, an English chemist working for Exxon mobile at the time, started exploring the idea of a new battery – one that could recharge on its own in a short amount of time and perhaps lead to fossil-free energy one day.
In his first attempt, he tried using titanium disulfide and lithium metal as the electrodes, but the combination posed several challenges, including serious safety concerns. After the battery short-circuited and caught on fire, Exxon decided to halt the experiment.
However, John B. Goodenough, currently an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, had the other idea. In the 1980s, he experimented using lithium cobalt oxide as the cathode instead of titanium disulfide, which paid off: the battery doubled its energy potential.
After five years, Akira Yoshino of Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan, made another swap. Instead of using active lithium metal as the anode, he tried to use the carbonaceous material petroleum coke, which led to a revolutionary discoveries: not only was the new battery significantly safer without lithium metal, the battery performance was more stable, therefore producing the first prototype of the lithium-ion battery.
In 1991, Japanese companies Asahi Kasei and Sony started mass-producing the lithium-ion battery and applying it to many of their electronic products, with many scientists and engineers perfecting the technology throughout the 90s. In 2019, scientists Stanley Whittingham, Akira Yoshino, and John Goodenough were co-awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry, specifically for their achievement in the development of Li-Ion batteries.
12v lithium rechargeable battery construction
Li-Ion batteries come in different types, but they are generally made up of the constructions as follows:
Cathode or the positive electrode: a current collector composed of lithium cobalt oxide (or lithium nickel cobalt manganate, lithium manganate, lithium iron phosphate, etc.) and aluminum foil
Anode or the negative electrode: a current collector composed of graphitized carbon material and copper foil
Electrolyte: Medium that transports ions between the cathode and anode
Separator: Barrier that prevents the cathode and anode from coming in contact with each other
These major construction need to be present in a Li-Ion battery in order to function properly.
Portable Power Packs
As mentioned above, recharged li-ion battery provide portable electricity that powers electronics gadgets. Li-ion battery is lightweight and can be made smaller than other battery types which makes them convenient to take it around.
Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)
12v lithium rechargeable battery supply emergency back-up power in order to avoid power loss or fluctuation. Office equipment like computers, and IT servers, need to keep running in case of power interruption to prevent data loss. Back-up power is also needed in the medical or health care industry to guarantee consistent power supply to life-saving medical equipment.
Solar Energy Storage
Li-ion batteries are also used for storing solar energy in solar panels as they can be charged quickly. They are lighter, more compact and can hold higher amounts of energy compared to lead acid batteries.
Li-ion batteries continue to emerge as an alternative to gasoline and lead-acid batteries in powering work or tug boats and leisure boats like speed boats and yachts. Li-ion batteries not only supply quiet and efficient power source,but also can be used to supply electricity to use inside the boat or yacht while it is on dock.
The automotive industry poses a request for li-ion battery packs to supply power source for electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. As li-ion battery can store large numbers of energy and can be recharged many times, they offer good charging capacity and longer lifetime.
The above applications are just a few of the many uses of lithium-ion batteries. As lithium-ion batteries are compact, portable and equipped with fast-charging and great storage capacity, the requirement for lithium-ion batteries remains or may even increase in the future.
Safety and Environmental Hazards of the Li-Ion Batteries
Despite its widespread use and energy-efficient storage, the Li-Ion battery isn’t perfect; it can be a safety hazard if produced, used, and stored incorrectly. Because the battery contains flammable electrolytes, Li-Ion batteries have a tendency to become pressurized to the point of exploding should they sustain any structural damage. When charged too quickly, Li-Ion batteries can also run the risk of short-circuiting and cause to an explosion.
Therefore, and because of its widespread use in many commercial products, the safety standards and safety testing of Li-Ion batteries is much more stringent than other types of batteries. The flammable electrolytes present in Li-Ion batteries means that incorrect production can lead to often disastrous results.
Li-Ion batteries are also susceptible to damage when charged over their voltage limits. Generally, a Li-Ion battery has a voltage range of between 2.5 and 3.65 volts (or, up to 4.35V depending on the cell’s composition). Exceeding this voltage due to incorrectly charging can lead to a premature aging of the battery’s cells, which, at best, means the battery stores energy less efficiently, or at worst, causes the reactive components in the cells to explode.
When stored for too long, Li-Ion batteries can also degrade prematurely, which means it won’t be able to reach its general voltage range when finally used. This poses a risk because it runs the chances of being overcharged despite the user following package instructions for charging.
Even if Li-Ion batteries use ‘less toxic’ metals for example iron, nickel, copper, and cobalt (and are categorized as such), their production and way of disposal can still pose a substantial hazard to the environment.
When the metallic components of Li-Ion batteries are recycled, and are even safe for both incineration and in landfills, repurposing them for reuse and reproduction in other products is a lengthy and expensive process, which, in turn, leads manufacturers to forego recycling and instead just mine new constructions.
The Future of the ICR 18650
Even if now over 50 years old, the Li-Ion battery is still constantly improving: scientists are continuously pushing the limits and boundaries of current Li-Ion technology by experimenting with new ways to combine electrolytes, anodes, and cathodes to create a battery that is more energy-efficient, more cost-efficient, and much safer than its current form.
12v lithium rechargeable battery have been widely used in portable electrical appliances such as laptop computers, cameras, and mobile communications due to their unique performance advantages. The large-capacity lithium-ion battery developed at present has been tested in electric vehicles and is expected to become one of the main power sources of electric vehicles in the 21st century, and will be used in artificial satellites, aerospace and energy storage. With the shortage of energy and the pressure of the world’s environmental protection. Lithium batteries are now widely used in the electric vehicle industry, especially the emergence of lithium iron phosphate batteries, which has promoted the development and application of the lithium battery industry.