Most people have one of the primordial elements right in their pocket. Lithium (in the form of your phone battery) was created during Big Bang Nucleosynthesis and other explosions that occurred before the solar system was formed.
Lithium is a highly reactive alkali metal element. First discovered in 1817, it is not naturally found isolated and is relatively rare, comprising only 0.0007% of the earth's crust. It is both the lightest metal and the least dense solid element – soft enough to be cut with a knife. Lithium has numerous industrial applications, including:
- Creating heat-resistant glass and ceramic materials
- An additive in the production of other metals, such as steel
- Grease that kept airplane engines running during World War II
- Lithium and lithium-ion batteries
Lithium-ion has become the go-to chemistry for batteries and power storage needs around the world, from recreational vehicles to emergency power supplies. Lithium batteries are an extremely efficient way to harness the power of our closest star when used in solar power storage applications.
Crunching The Numbers: Facts About Lithium Vs. Lead Acid Batteries
Lead, which is the heaviest non-radioactive metal, has been the standard in batteries for decades. Why should you consider a lithium battery conversion? Here are seven features explaining the disparity between lead acid and lithium-ion batteries.
1) Weight: Lithium-ion batteries are one-third the weight of lead acid batteries.
2) Efficiency: Lithium-ion batteries are nearly 100% efficient in both charge and discharge, allowing for the same amp hours both in and out. Lead acid batteries’ inefficiency leads to a loss of 15 amps while charging and rapid discharging drops voltage quickly and reduces the batteries’ capacity.
3) Discharge: Lithium-ion batteries are discharged 100% versus less than 80% for lead acid. Most lead acid batteries do not recommend more than 50% depth of discharge.
4) Cycle Life: Lithium-ion batteries cycle 5000 times or more compared to just 400-500 cycles in lead acid. Cycle life is greatly affected by higher levels of discharge in lead acid, versus only slightly affected in lithium-ion batteries.
5) Voltage: Lithium-ion batteries maintain their voltage throughout the entire discharge cycle. This allows for greater and longer-lasting efficiency of electrical components. Lead acid voltage drops consistently throughout the discharge cycle.
6) Cost: Despite the higher upfront cost of lithium-ion batteries, the true cost of ownership is far less than lead acid when considering life span and performance.
7) Environmental Impact: Lithium-ion batteries are a much cleaner technology and are safer for the environment.
Though they are used to power the same applications, that is where the similarity between lithium-ionand lead acid batteries ends. Lithium batteries deliver higher-quality performance in a safer, longer-lasting package.
Are you considering a conversion from lead acid batteries? Discover the myths and facts of lithium-ion.