The Future of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Can They Really Change the World?

Are they really the future?

Lithium-ion batteries were first introduced commercially in the year 1991 by Sony. Ever since then, there have been extensive improvements and countless research to enhance the performance of these batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are indispensable today when we talk about the life quality of people in modern society. It can easily be called a dominant technology that is widely used in portable electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

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Even beyond this application, Lithium-ion batteries can be regarded as the preferred option today when it comes to the emerging sector of electric vehicles. 

Although this technology is still rather underexploited in the field of power supply systems, predominantly in wind power and photovoltaics, yet it has massive global potential in terms of reductions in carbon emissions and energy sustainability.

Is lithium the future of batteries?

Lithium-ion batteries can easily be regarded as the batteries that could potentially change the world. These have become the batteries of choice today in countless consumer electronics and the electric vehicles of Tesla as well as other global conglomerates.

Although these batteries show a lot of promise to rid the world of several challenges in the future, there are still a few shortcomings of this battery that need to be addressed.

For starters, when Lithium metal electrodes are used, they produce a higher energy density than the traditional batteries. That said, Lithium metal electrodes can potentially develop dendrites that are finger-like structures and that are responsible for the ultimate short-circuit of the battery.

The problem was mitigated by using a carbon electrode that houses lithium ions instead of a lithium metal electrode. This gave birth to the lithium-ion batteries, even though they had a reduced energy storage capacity as compared to a battery that uses a Lithium metal electrode.

Another shortcoming of Lithium-ion batteries that has come up quite a lot is that they can easily catch fire or explode if they are damaged. This has happened in cell phones and laptops.

If these batteries get damaged, the energy that is inside the battery will be released quickly in short duration, and this is precisely what can cause an intense fire.

That said, the advantages of the lithium-ion batteries cannot be discounted as they have the power to change the world. One of the chief benefits of this technology is its high energy density. In addition to that, the self-discharge of Lithium-ion cells is significantly lower than any other rechargeable cell.

Moreover, Lithium-ion batteries require very low maintenance in order to perform well. They also do not need to be primed on their first charge and are available in a variety of types.

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While some Lithium-ion batteries have a high current density, which is perfect for consumer electronic equipment, other batteries have high current levels which can be perfect for electric vehicles and power tools.

How long will lithium batteries last?

Lithium Ion Laptop Battery
Source: Kristoferb/Wikimedia Commons

A lithium-ion battery easily lasts 2-3 years irrespective of whether it is being used or simply sitting unused on a shelf. Therefore, it is recommended to use the batteries when needed as they are not going to last you for a decade.

In addition to that, when you buy a new lithium battery pack, make sure that it is brand new. If the battery has been sitting in the store on a lonely shelf for more than a year, it will not do you much good and will die quickly.

Therefore, always check the manufacturing dates before buying a lithium-ion battery pack. Moreover, these batteries can also easily degrade by heat which is why you must avoid it for the long life of your battery. 

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Which Type of Battery Is the Best?

It is easy to get puzzled with the plethora of batteries in the market, all of which are paper thin, offer super-high energy densities and deliver thousand discharge/charge cycle. How real are these batteries?

Maybe they are genuine, but all these features certainly do not appear in the same battery. Some batteries are designed to be small and to run for a long time, which means that they will wear out prematurely and will most likely not last you for a long time.

Others might be big and bulky in size and might be designed for super long life. The third kind might offer all these desirable attributes, but might either be for commercial use or exorbitantly priced.

That said, battery manufacturers know the requirements of customers well and therefore, lay equal emphasis on high energy density, longevity, small size, and low-price. However, like all batteries, the lithium-ion battery also has some compromises.

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Due to their unpredictable nature, these batteries are considered to be largely unsafe for personal use. Also, the high price of these batteries also tends to make these items difficult to buy for the commercial market.

However, lithium-ion battery is known as a miracle battery for a reason. Their advantages far outweigh the shortcomings, which is why they are known as the future of the world. 

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Lithium-ion batteries are definitely revolutionary in nature and have brought about a big change in the world of batteries. However, they still have certain shortcomings that can make them questionable technology for the future.

With the extensive research and possibilities of its usage in electronic cars, the prospects of this battery do look promising. There is a need to put in more funds and humanpower to continue with the research in this field so that the shortcomings of these batteries are taken care of and they can prove to be more useful for the future generation.

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Moreover, these batteries are very expensive in their current form, and that is the reason many people don’t opt for them. Hence, with more research and development, if the cost of these batteries is reduced, they have the potential to become more popular. In any case, this love affair with Lithium-ion batteries is not expected to cool down any time soon.

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