Lithium batteries have been around since the 1990s and have become the go-to choice for powering everything from mobile phones and laptops to pacemakers, power tools, life-saving medical equipment and personal mobility scooters.
One of the reasons lithium-ion battery technology has become so popular is that it can be deployed in various practical applications. Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about some of the uses for these rechargeable batteries that are made using metallic lithium-ion cell technology.
What are lithium batteries?
Li-ion battery technology uses lithium metal ions as a key component of its electrochemistry.
Lithium metal ions have become a popular choice for batteries due to their high energy density and low weight. One notable example is lithium-ion batteries, which are used in a wide range of electronic devices, from smartphones to laptops. Another type, lithium iron phosphate batteries, offer greater stability and a longer lifespan. This makes them well-suited for use in electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage systems.
Basically, lithium batteries have four key components.
- Cathode material: The material used for the positive electrode determines the voltage and capacity of the lithium-ion battery as well as being the source of the lithium ions. There are various cathode materials. For example, a lithium iron phosphate (LiFEPO4) battery uses lithium iron phosphate as the cathode material.
- Anode material: When the lithium-ion battery pack is being charged, the anode material of the negative electrode is what the electric current flows through from an external circuit. It is also where Li-ions are stored.
- Electrolyte: This is made up of additives, solvents, and salts. It is the conduit between the cathode and anode.
- Separator: This is what separates the anode and cathode materials.
What are the Different Applications and Uses of Lithium Ion Batteries?
Li-ion batteries have many applications in the real world aside from simply running the apps you’ve downloaded onto your smartphone. Here are just a few of them.
Rechargeable lithium batteries have become common in pacemakers because they provide long life, low drain current, high energy density, and desirable voltage characteristics. Pacemaker Li-ion batteries have a typical lifespan of seven to eight years and often weigh less than 30 grams. Primary lithium cells experience a 10% loss of capacity over five years.
For a digital camera to function effectively, it requires a robust and high-energy-density power source. So most mirrorless cameras and DSLRs take advantage of the many benefits of using lithium-ion batteries as a power source.
These rechargeable Li-ion battery packs are much smaller than other battery types and, generally, have a much larger power capacity and superior battery performance.
Many camera brands stay loyal to a specific Li-ion battery design throughout many generations of cameras. This means that even when users upgrade their digital camera, they can use the same lithium-ion battery.
Personal Digital Assistants, Smartphones, and Laptops
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have become incredibly popular for smartphones, laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other portable electronic devices. There are many reasons why so many manufacturers have adopted rechargeable Li-ion batteries, for example:
- High energy densities: Li-ion batteries can store more power (up to 150 watt-hours of electricity in 1 kg of battery)
- Lighter than most types of batteries
- Charging is easy, plus you don’t have to wait for Li-ion batteries to discharge from 100% before recharging
- Maintenance is low cost, and when disposed of, lithium-ion battery cells cause almost no harm
Li-ion batteries used in watches are small. Despite their size, their 3 Volt capacity has a lifespan of as much as a decade in a low-drain watch.
Portable Power Packs
The benefits of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are very familiar to anyone with a smartphone or one of the latest lightweight laptop computers. Compared to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are smaller in size and lighter.
In addition, they can withstand more movement and changes in temperature and still maintain power delivery while in use.
Charging of Li-ion batteries can be done much quicker than a lead-acid battery. Thanks to custom Li-ion battery options, it’s now possible to swap out existing battery technology for more efficient and longer-lasting portable power packs.
A rechargeable lithium-ion-powered personal mobility scooter can go a long way. The range can be as much as twelve miles.
One of the main benefits of using lithium-ion batteries is they are lightweight. Users can easily carry the battery indoors for recharging.
In addition, lithium batteries are the perfect green alternative to lead-acid batteries, are longer lasting, and charge faster. Less weight also means an extended travel range and less mechanical wear and tear.
Solar Energy Storage
Solar power is something the world is looking to rely on more and more. In the United States alone, it is predicted that solar will provide 20% of the country’s energy needs by the year 2050.
Lithium batteries are ideal for energy storage and can be used to store the excess power produced by solar panels. Let’s face it, even in the middle of the desert, there are days when the sun doesn’t shine. There are also going to be times when the solar equipment needs repairing. Using lithium-ion batteries for energy storage means there are no occasions when you find yourself left in the dark.
One of the reasons lithium batteries are used for solar energy storage is that they match the panels in how they charge. How fast they charge is another reason. Lithium batteries require low-resistance charging, which is what solar panels produce.
The fact that these batteries charge so quickly also allows users to maximize the potential energy storage of solar power for every minute of sunlight available.
Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) or Emergency Power Backup
Even in today’s modern world, there are issues with power instability – or worse – power loss. Lithium technology is commonly used for emergency power backup or UPS battery models.
Using a lithium battery for backup is different from relying on a generator or other backup energy system. It will provide almost instant power, which is crucial if critical equipment needs to be connected to a constant power supply.
Lithium batteries and the backup power they can provide benefit a range of critical equipment such as medical technology, communication technology, and computers.
Surveillance and Alarm Systems
A hard-wired electricity supply is no longer essential if you want to monitor remote locations, a fleet of vehicles, a temporary location, or various job sites. You can use Li-ion batteries instead to power an alarm or surveillance system in remote or difficult locations with no access to an electrical grid.
The qualities that make Li-ion batteries so useful are their small size, long life, and the fact that they don’t lose power by way of self-discharge when the system they power is inactive. The low self-discharge rate of a typical lithium-ion battery is ten times lower than a traditional lead-acid battery. Lithium batteries are the ideal solution if a system is not continually in use.
Electric Vehicles and Mobility Scooters
People with mobility issues have found new freedom thanks to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. They can be used in a variety of ways to make lives easier. Millions of people around the world now depend on stairlifts, electric wheelchairs, and mobility scooters.
The reliability of a Li-ion battery and the mobility technology it powers allows them to live a more independent life.
As in their many other applications, lithium batteries are lightweight, have a longer life span, and have a low self-discharge rate. They also offer an extended run time, size customization, and fast charging. Hence the popularity of large lithium-ion batteries for electric automobiles.
Golf Carts and Trolleys
While lead-acid batteries were the traditional choice for electric vehicle applications like golf carts and trolley makers, more are now choosing lithium batteries. As long as your electric golf trolley uses the same energy connector, you can swap out the lead-acid battery for a lithium-ion battery.
You can expect Li-ion battery systems to have a long cycle life of between 1,000 and 2,000 charging cycles. How long the battery lasts depends on how frequently you play golf and how often you charge the battery.
If you play golf twice a week, that’s 2 x 52 weeks = 104 charging cycles per year. This means you can expect a lithium-ion battery to last a minimum of ten years. For more information, read our guide on golf cart batteries.
A marine battery is a specialized type of battery designed specifically for use in marine vehicles, such as boats, yachts, and other watercraft. For many reasons, combining water and electricity is a situation that can lead to various problems. Use lithium-ion batteries instead, and you can focus on having fun rather than worrying if your marine vehicle’s motor will start at the end of the day.
It’s possible to upgrade marine vehicles by fitting long-lasting rechargeable Li-ion batteries. Doing so will give you many more years of reliability at a fraction of the weight of more traditional lead-acid or nickel-cadmium batteries.
Lithium-ion marine batteries are dependable and capable of powering a small trolling motor or the electronics you find on a luxury yacht.
Leisure Activities and Vehicles
For every adventurer, a leisure battery is a reliable power source designed for recreational vehicles and boats, providing sustained energy for appliances and devices during various activities.
Lithium batteries have proved to be very useful in leisure vehicles used in remote locations. They provide long-lasting, stable, and reliable power.
The life span of a lithium battery can be more than ten years. Leisure batteries can also provide power for long periods, and very little power is lost between uses.
You can use a lithium battery to power your electric vehicle or RV. Increased efficiency is another vital benefit, thanks to the reduced size and weight of the battery compared to alternatives such as lead-acid batteries.
Thanks to the reduced weight, size, and power consumption of lithium-ion cells, medical device manufacturers have been able to design and develop more convenient and portable products. Thanks to lithium-ion technology, medical devices can now be much smaller and more ergonomic without compromising performance.
Whatever you need a Li-ion battery for, you can rely on its durability, rechargeability, safety, and long-lasting power supply. Lithium batteries have become a vital part of our everyday lives in so many ways.
If you’re looking to purchase lithium batteries for personal or commercial applications, you can rely on Eco Tree Lithium. The lithium-iron batteries they supply are designed in Europe and are the best and safest available.
The lithium batteries provided by this reputable UK specialist provide top performance and longevity. In addition, a full 6-year manufacturer’s warranty against cell defects comes with every lithium-iron battery purchased.