Whether you realize it or not, millions of people use lithium-ion batteries each day. Modern technology such as cell phones, laptops, power tools, hybrid vehicles, and medical technology rely on these batteries to function. As many people have started to ditch their lead-acid power sources, they set out on a search for the best alternative. Lithium-ion batteries have become a popular source of power for its long-lasting and environmentally friendly characteristics.
Let’s unpack exactly how lithium-ion batteries work. Though not all will appear the same on the outside, they all have the same basic makeup. Every lithium-ion battery will have an anode and cathode that store lithium ions on opposite ends of the battery. When the ions flow from one side to the other, they pass through the separator. This element also prevents the flow of electrons. Electrolyte is the liquid that carries the positively charged lithium ions back and forth from the anode and the cathode. Lastly, the positive and negative ends of the battery are the current collectors.
The movement of ions in the anode creates free electrons that charge at the positive end. It moves into the device that is being powered, such as a cell phone, and back into the battery on the negative end. This process of providing an electrical current is called discharging. When you charge the battery, the opposite occurs. The lithium ions move from the negative end into the positive end.
When compared to other UPS batteries, such as lead-acid or nickel-cadmium, the lithium-ion battery’s design makes it a viable alternative. Its long lifespan and faster charging times is only a small part of why so many people prefer these power sources to its competitors. However, we know people can be hesitant to make the switch to lithium-ion batteries. We want to answer some of the most common and important questions about lithium-ion batteries.
Do Lithium-ion Batteries Leak?
Due to their makeup, lithium-ion batteries do not leak toxic gas! The battery is designed to prevent leakage when damaged. Modern technology has also found a way to distinguish lithium-ion batteries from others by using gel instead of acid. This reduces the risk of leakage tremendously.
However, if the battery is not used correctly and gets overheated, it does have the potential to combust. Almost all lithium-ion batteries produced by a reputable source are made with a battery management system that will automatically cut off power if the temperature rises to a dangerous high. These systems are extremely effective in preventing the battery from overheating. This also ensures that the battery remains usable and keeps the user safe. Keeping batteries at room temperature is essential to ensure that they do not receive any damage from excess heat.
How Long Do They Last?
Lead-acid batteries can cause long term trouble for users. On average, you need to replace these power sources every five years, but numerous factors can make their life span even shorter. The cost of maintenance and their unreliability make their cost increase substantially over time. These batteries can be a hassle and end up costing more than you initially planned. Lithium-ion batteries have a reduced maintenance time due to integrated monitoring equipment. With this power source, maintenance check-ups are not required because you can constantly monitor the condition of your batteries.
Though some factors can shorten the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries, they are considerably more reliable than lead-acid batteries. Discharge is important to look at as different types of batteries must be recharged at a specific discharge depth. It is recommended that lead-acid batteries are recharged at 50% depth and will need to be replaced after 1,500 charge cycles. Meanwhile, lithium-ion batteries can be used completely before needing to be recharged and will last for 6,000 charge cycles. That is roughly 20 years, before needing to be replaced. With lead-acid batteries taking twice as long to charge, lithium-ion batteries are proven to be a more efficient option.
Are Lithium-ion Batteries Safe and Reliable?
Overall, lithium-ion batteries are safe and the percentage of lithium-ion batteries that experience heat related failures is low. They do not release toxic gas and have more safety features than any other UPS battery. In fact, you cannot purchase one of these batteries in a store and only approved assemblers are allowed access to purchase lithium-ion cells. This is to ensure that the number of unsafe battery packs on the market is limited. These safety precautions prevent subpar batteries from being easily accessible.
Though these safety incidents are few and far between, there is always risk when dealing with power and it is always smart to remain cautious. When a battery is operating as normal, it is designed to power-down when it short circuits. However, if microscopic metal pieces are inside the battery, it will continue operating and it can be hard to know that the battery is defective. Having your batteries, no matter which UPS you use, tested is important to ensure they are safe for use.
Lithium-ion batteries are extremely reliable. These UPS batteries are designed to consistently pull a restorative charge from the power source to ensure you have a constant power supply. Their built-in monitoring systems have revolutionized the battery industry, with safety being a priority. Lithium-ion batteries are your best option for making sure your system is running smoothly for years to come.
Curious to learn more about the differences between lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries? Download our free guide below that will help you explore both types of batteries, benefits and drawbacks of each, as well as what might be right for your system.