The modern world cannot advance without power, and the majority of people prefer a clean, renewable form of power. As a result, modern technologies have spawned a new method of storing energy called lithium-ion batteries.
Gladly, various types of li ion batteries have enriched the cutting edge of energy-storing technology. However, most of us are not able to differentiate between the types of lithium-ion batteries due to their similar characteristics. As such, we will discuss all the related aspects of this battery technology today.
What Is A Li-ion Battery?
Obviously, you are familiar with different types of rechargeable batteries in your day-to-day electronics. Identically, a Li-ion battery is a rechargeable battery type made using lithium ions. If you think about the function, the lithium ions of the battery move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode when discharging. In a similar way, the ions move back to the previous position when recharging the battery. And, both processes happen through an electrolyte to move the electrodes from one side to another.
Generally, li-ion batteries come with an intercalated compound made by lithium on the side of a positive electrode. On the contrary, you’ll see a totally different material called graphite on the side of the negative electrode. This is because the ions can act oppositely in the time of recharge or discharge. If the same material is used on both sides, the ions won’t move in the right direction, creating pressure on positive or negative electrolytes.
Provided that this battery type is a modern invention, lithium batteries come with a very self-discharge rate. Besides, you won’t get a memory effect in these batteries, which is very common in most old battery types. Another mentionable benefit is its high density of energy. If you compare lithium-ion batteries with other batteries, they can hold the highest possible energy despite being of the same size.
Structure Of A Li-ion Battery
Before discussing li-ion battery types, it’s better to understand the structure of this battery. And, certainly, the basic design of a lithium-ion battery is very simple to acknowledge due to its straight functionality.
We’ve already mentioned that a lithium battery comes with two sides, where one is positive, and another is negative. These sides are actually made using a combination of plates. Specifically, the inner part is divided into a negative cathode plate and a positive one.
Obviously, a separator is added to separate the positive and negative plates. Besides, the separator is enough absorbent and porous so that chemical reactions can happen between the two sides. Actually, the chemical reactions become possible here only because of the electrolyte solution.
Types of Lithium Ion Batteries
Basically, you can differentiate among the types of lithium-ion batteries by considering the inside material. Especially, two materials called cobalt and manganese are very popular for lithium-ion types. Let’s get familiar with them.
Cobalt Based: Cobalt-used lithium battery is the first version of lithium batteries. These batteries can save energy for a long time and discharge at a very low rate. Usually, you’ll see this battery type in cameras, laptops, phones, and similar devices.
Manganese Based: Manganese is the second material used to make a lithium battery. Comparatively, manganese-made lithium batteries cannot last long, like cobalt batteries. However, they can serve high currents at a faster speed and can be used for powerful applications like electric vehicles or power tools.
Important to realize that the variants of lithium-ion batteries built using these materials have changed day-by-day eventually. That’s why we now have many variations in li-ion batteries. And, these variants or types are also clarified below.
Lithium Cobalt Oxide
Also known as LCO or Li-cobalt, this type is the first lithium-ion battery that entered the mainstream market. As this type is made using raw cobalt, the lifespan of this battery is very short, and you cannot fast charge it. The lithium-cobalt battery was popular for cameras, laptops, and smartphones at the time of its invention in 1991.
Lithium Manganese Oxide
The second Li-ion battery type entered into the market is also known as LMO or Li-manganese. You already know that a manganese-made lithium battery is suitable for powerful applications and has a short life cycle. However, this battery type is safer when compared to the Li-cobalt battery.
Lithium Iron Phosphate
In 1996, the year of releasing the LMO battery, this Li-phosphate (LFP in short) battery was also introduced in the lithium-ion battery industry. Surprisingly, the LFP battery is far safer than the Li-manganese battery, even when misused. Though Li-phosphate batteries can produce high current like LMO batteries, it has a longer life cycle than Li-manganese batteries. For this reason, this battery is the perfect fit for hybrid or electric cars.
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide
This type is the updated version of the cobalt-made battery, which has a different mixture of nickel and aluminum. Significantly, this NCA battery can hold higher energy compared to its size. Despite having a high energy density, it has a short life cycle and is broadly used for medical and industrial purposes.
Li-titanate is the unique variation of lithium batteries, with lithium titanate inside itself instead of graphite. Though the LTO battery was released along with the Li-aluminum battery, this type has some special features like extreme temperature handling, very low discharge rate, etc. On the negative side, a Lithium titanate battery can’t hold much energy for its size.
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide
NMC is the short name of this lithium-ion battery type that came to the market in 2008. As the last version of a lithium-ion battery, this type comes with a mixture of Cobalt, Manganese, and Nickel. The unique mix of materials has made this battery long-lasting, and you can use it for high-power applications. Typically, the NMC battery is used in several electric vehicles and power tools.
So, that’s a brief review of the Li-ion battery types of the current market. Though most of these types were invented long ago, most of them still hold their positions for many applications. Mainly, cobalt and manganese-based battery types are leading the Li-ion battery industry. As technology develops fast, you can expect a new li-ion type or new battery chemistry to replace this type in the near future.