Batteries are a huge part of society simply because of the growing prevalence of mobile technology. Battery technology is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the consumer, and one of the most useful battery designs uses lithium as the anode for the discharge. There are two main types of battery that use lithium, which are standard lithium batteries, also called lithium-metal batteries, and there are lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries use lithium and a whole host of other ions as the anode, and they both have distinct benefits.
Normal lithium-metal or lithium batteries are standard, non-rechargeable cells that offer quite few benefits. Their energy density is quite high, which means they offer higher levels of output that can operate for longer periods of time than older battery cell designs. The higher power densities are also necessary for applications that require more power per time interval, like electric cars or power tools that need powerful torque. Lithium-ion batteries are often rechargeable, and while they offer a larger charge density than normal Ni-Cad batteries, the standard lithium batteries offer the highest charger density of all.
One issue that plagues all batteries is self-discharge, which is simply the amount of power that naturally drains from the battery even if it isn’t in use. All cells will naturally lose their charge over time, but some cells lose their power much faster than others. For instance, older rechargeable NiMH batteries leak power at a fairly quick rate, while lithium-ion rechargeable batteries self-discharge at a much lower rate. Standard lithium-metal batteries offer the best self-discharge rates since they are the most stable, but that stability is the trade-off for a lack of reusability.
Lithium-ion batteries are perhaps the most effective rechargeable battery technology on the market. Older cells that use outdated technology would require priming before they could be charged for the first time. Lithium-ion batteries don’t have this requirement due to the architecture of the technology. This is just one more way the lithium batteries have an advantage over older battery technologies.
These cells also can be used with limited maintenance. Some older rechargeable batteries based on Ni-Cad technology have to be occasionally discharged to prevent the memory effect, but this isn’t something that affects lithium batteries. Their stability makes them a better option for utility in a situation that requires reliable use.
Because of how common lithium batteries are and will continue to be, there are numerous methods for recycling the batteries. These batteries are relatively easy to recycle, and as the technology becomes more stable, the need to recycle them might vanish. The goal is to create a battery that will last a lifetime without needing many recharges, and lithium is one of the most promising technologies to that end.
Lithium batteries come in all shapes and sizes, so they can be used to power just about any device or machine. They are already commonly found installed in electronic devices like mobile smartphones and tablets, and they can be found in portable video game systems, remote-controlled vehicles, and power tools. Of course, there are some lithium batteries being used to power automobiles. As the technology improves and more power can be gleaned from them at once, lithium might grow to surpass other energy sources like natural gas and oil, it least in terms of value.
Another distinct advantage of lithium batteries is that they tend to function well in just about any temperature. Where other batteries would fail at the extremes of heat and cold, lithium batteries continue to work with no trouble. This is a great advantage for batteries that might be used outside often, like those found in automobiles or mobile devices.
In terms of weight, lithium batteries are also the clear choice. Lithium is an exceptionally light metal, which makes batteries based on the substance much lighter than standard alkaline batteries. For mobile devices, this is obviously a point in the pro column.
Lithium batteries last longer, produce more power, and are generally safer than older alkaline batteries. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries offer more cycles than other forms of rechargeable batteries, and they can be used with less worry about failure. It’s hard to think of a situation in which a lithium battery wouldn’t be the preferential option.