How To Charge Lithium Batteries?
A lithium battery offers an outstanding level of performance. These durable, long-lasting, and highly compatible li ion rechargeable batteries are an ideal solution for solar panels.
Additionally, their lightweight and high energy density make them suitable for a wide range of portable consumer electronic devices, power backups, medical equipment, and electric vehicles.
Learn about its working and composition to understand how to charge lithium battery to enhance its performance and lifespan.
How Does A Lithium-Ion Battery Work?
It is important to understand the composition of a rechargeable lithium battery to comprehend its working.
Lithium batteries consist of several cells. Each lithium ion cell contains two electrodes (cathode and anode), an electrolyte, and a separator that physically separates the two electrodes.
Each of these components contributes to the rechargeable nature of a lithium battery. The anode of one li ion cell is connected to the cathode of another cell and so on in parallel to form a lithium battery.
Lithium batteries have lithium as their anode, and when they are discharged, the lithium charge moves from anode to cathode.
Discharging is the process of providing current to an external circuit. Contrastingly, when you charge lithium battery there is a movement of lithium charge from cathode to anode.
How Are Lithium-Ion Batteries Made?
The following steps explain the process of how these powerful batteries are made:
- Electrode Slurry: Electrode powders with active materials such as lithium are mixed with binding materials to create a slurry.
- Electrode Coating: The slurry is spread onto long foil pieces and baked in high heat (up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Electrode Stamping: The electrode is cut into individual electrode battery pieces.
- Electrode Stacking: An automated suction machine picks up and releases sheets of cut-out electrodes by wrapping an insulating layer between each sheet to create an electrode stack.
- Pouch Making: Each electrode stack is placed in a moisture-resistant rectangular barrier material to create a pouch cell.
- Electrolyte Injection: Next, a machine injects liquid electrolyte into the open battery pouch.
- Sealing: The battery pouch with electrolyte is heat-sealed and placed in a vacuum chamber to eliminate any excess air within the pouch.
How to Charge Lithium Battery?
It is important to charge lithium battery per the following guidelines to avoid overcharging. Bear in mind that these get damaged when charged above the nominal voltage (usually 3.7 volts per cell).
Charging lithium batteries in solar power systems requires the following components: solar panels, charge controller, rechargeable battery, and inverter.
During the entire process to charge lithium battery, the charge controller plays the most important role.
- It regulates the current produced by the solar panel, protecting the batteries from overcharging.
- It detects when the lithium charge has finally made the battery full. Further, it stops the charging process or limits the current when it reaches its ideal voltage.
- The charge controller also prevents reverse current flow, i.e., back into the solar panel from the batteries in the absence of sunlight.
So, connecting lithium batteries directly to a solar panel is not the ideal way to charge them.
You should opt for a good quality charge controller in order to safely charge lithium battery. Since there are various battery types, different solar charge controllers are also available.
Choose the one specially curated for lithium batteries that stops charging the battery as soon as it attains the nominal voltage.
Why Do We Need Lithium-Ion Batteries?
A lithium ion battery pack is the ultimate choice in today’s scenario because its competitors – the lead-acid batteries – have a shorter lifespan and demand regular maintenance.
Although lithium batteries might appear to be expensive for customers, they are maintenance-free and offer a longer lifespan; thereby, compensating for the high lithium ion battery price.
For instance, the Li ion 18650 battery is an economical option offering an impressive cost-to-energy ratio. Its unique features have made it popular in the mobile computing industry.
Lithium-ion batteries better suit various purposes, given their higher densities and efficiencies. This energy-saving trait of a lithium ion solar battery makes it an ideal option for solar panels.
Moreover, lithium solar batteries charge faster and last longer. Li batteries have a high battery capacity that you can check at the time of purchase.
Battery capacity is given in Ah or Amp-hours. For instance, a 10V lithium battery with 100Ah capacity delivers 100A to a 10-volt device for an hour.
Please note: The battery capacity of lithium batteries is usually three times higher than other technologies like Ni-Cd or Ni-MH.
Uses Of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium batteries have been used in electric cars and portable electronic devices since the 1900s. However, lithium solar batteries have become popular in recent years.
You can charge lithium battery types in two ways:
- You can charge lithium batteries directly from the grid using a battery charger.
- You can use a lithium battery-supported charge controller to charge lithium battery via solar panels.
Additionally, some of the most common uses of lithium ion batteries are:
- Mobile phones
- Tablets and laptops
- Digital cameras and camcorders
- Game consoles
- Cordless drills and saws
- Garden equipment
- Electric cars, motorcycles, and e-bicycles
- Electric wheelchairs
- Model aircraft
- Backup power
Advantages Of Using Lithium-Ion Battery
The following points cover the most striking advantages of lithium-ion batteries:
- They are fast charging. On average, it takes only up to 30 minutes to charge lithium battery up to 50%. Moreover, it has a 100% charging capacity. The other batteries have a low charging capacity, only up to 70%.
- They are lightweight. A lithium-ion battery weighs three times less than standard lead-acid batteries.
- They have a low maintenance cost as compared to other batteries. A major reason behind this feature is that they cannot be opened up.
- They guarantee a high battery life of up to 1500 – 2000 life cycles.
- They are less hazardous than other batteries as they release no gas.
Disadvantages Of Using Lithium-Ion Battery
The following points hinder the lithium-ion battery market:
- Cost: Although several attempts have been made to reduce the lithium ion cell price, it is still higher than other alternatives such as cadmium cells.
- Safety issues: Usually, lithium-ion batteries are safe, but they can be hazardous if mistreated. They are very sensitive to high temperatures.
- If the separator in the lithium cell gets damaged, it can catch fire. Consumers need to be careful when handling lithium-ion batteries.
- Some lithium-ion batteries last only two to three years if the user fails to maintain their charge cycles or charges them repeatedly for longer durations. Also, completely discharging the battery reduces its overall life.
The lithium battery favours intermittent charging. So, the lithium-ion battery cell need not be charged to saturation. This feature offers a major advantage for renewable energy storage, such as a solar panel which cannot always fully charge lithium battery.
These batteries power our modern lives, from home energy storage devices to smartphones to cars. They come in several sizes, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.
They have served various industries and have gained customer loyalty over the years. However, it is crucial to ensure a proper charging process for Li-ion batteries to get the best performance and longest operational life.
Still, have questions? You can have a look at the upcoming FAQs to find out more about lithium charge, features to consider when buying a lithium battery, how to charge lithium battery, and more.
1. What features should you consider when buying a lithium-ion battery?
Customers must ensure that they consider the following specifications of a lithium-ion battery:
- The manufacturing technology
- Charging cycles
- Backup time
- Charger and inverter compatibility
- Charging time
2. How is a lithium-ion battery safer than a lead-acid battery?
A lithium-ion battery releases no gas and is suitable for various industries, including the food industry.
Contrastingly, a lead-acid battery releases gases while charging and is unsuitable for use in the food industry.
3. What are the most commonly used lithium battery technologies?
The three popular technologies used in the lithium batteries are
- Lithium-ion: It is the oldest and most popular technology.
- Lithium Phosphate: The latest popular technology.
- Lithium-polymer: The most advanced battery type.
4. What is the starting lithium battery price?
The li-ion battery price ranges from ₹ 2,250 to ₹ 1,50,000. The price has fallen by approximately 60-70% in the last few years, and companies are still trying to reduce the cost.