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Reliable Lithium-Ion Batteries

There are quite a few benefits to lithium iron phosphate batteries that make them one of the most popular options for applications requiring a large amount of power. The primary benefits, however, are durability, a long life cycle, and safety. Lithium batteries rely on lithium ions to store energy by creating an electrical potential difference between the negative and positive poles of the battery. An insulating layer called a “separator” divides the two sides of the battery and blocks the electrons while still allowing the lithium ions to pass through. Li-ion batteries are charged to three different SoC levels and the cycle life modelled.

  • You can test it now, start discharging the battery to 0%, you will notice a significant improvement in your performance.
  • After 2 weeks of constant use this battery has proved itself to be a solid performer.
  • Lion Energy’s Safari UT series uses the latest in Lithium Iron Phosphate Technology which means you get 2X as much power as traditional batteries, they last 14X as long, charges up to 5X faster and are only half the weight.

This chemistry creates a three-dimensional structure that improves ion flow, lowers internal resistance, and increases current handling while improving thermal stability and safety. The lithium-ion battery works on ion movement between the positive and negative electrodes. In theory such a mechanism should work forever, but cycling, elevated temperature and aging decrease the performance over time. Manufacturers take a conservative approach and specify the life of Li-ion in most consumer products as being between 300 and 500 discharge/charge cycles.

Versatile batteries

Internal resistance and self-discharge also play roles, but these are less significant in predicting the end of battery life with modern Li-ion. Battery research is focusing on lithium chemistries so much that one could imagine that the battery future lies solely in lithium. There are good reasons to be optimistic as lithium-ion is, in many ways, superior to other chemistries. Applications are growing and are encroaching into markets that previously were solidly held by lead acid, such as standby and load leveling.

Research led by mechanical engineering (ME) professor Corie Cobb in her Integrated Fabrication Lab focuses on how 3D electrode architectures can improve many aspects of battery performance. Furthermore, with the state-of-the-art prototyping and testing capabilities at the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, ME and materials science & engineering (MSE) professor J. Devin MacKenzie’s group and the Holmberg group are collaborating to structurally engineer antimony alloying electrodes. The Testbeds, at which MacKenzie is technical director, also house top-of-the-line microscopes and battery testing equipment to validate new electrode designs. ALL types of batteries need to be above freezing in order to charge them. As a result, it is best to use the batteries in a climate controlled location (not on the tongue of a trailer or using a lead acid battery compartment that has to be ventilated, thus allowing freezing air to circulate around the battery).


Meanwhile, chemistry professor Cody Schlenker and his group investigate the fundamental chemistry of interfaces within energy storage systems with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of electrochemical processes. CEI researchers also use direct imaging techniques like x-ray spectroscopy to understand the inner workings of batteries. Professor Jerry Seidler’s lab has developed a method to perform X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy on the lifepo4 200ah benchtop. The technique provides relatively detailed measurements of certain characteristics of a battery’s internal state, without having to open it and thus disrupt the system. Previously, XANES could only be accomplished with an extremely high radiative flux, from instruments such as a synchrotron. These are extremely large and expensive facilities, costing up to $1 billion and often only available to the public via federal labs with months-long waiting lists..

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