Lithium-ion – Dominating the Rechargeable Battery Industry

Since the chemistry’s initial commercial introduction in the 1990’s, Lithium-ion battery technologies have gained rapid acceptance as the rechargable (secondary) battery chemistry of choice for a wide range of consumer applications.  The popularity of mobile power in cell phones, laptop computers, PDA’s, power tools and numerous of “cordless” applications have driven the volumes for high energy and high power secondary batteries to incredible volumes.  At volumes of >200M cells per month, any application that can leverage any of the standard Li-ion cell form-factors will benefit from these volumes.  The benefits extend beyond the initial cost/volume curves and also include the statictical process controls and huge R&D budgets available to the cell manufacturers.

When compared to Lead-Acid and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Li-ion provides a lot of bag for the buck!  Lead-Acid is known for its price point, its simplicity and rock solid reliability.  Its downsides are fairly well known – damage occurs if left at a low state of charge for very long and it’s realizable capacity decreases dramatically at higher discharge rates (known as Peukert’s Law).  NiMH’s downsides have been weight and cost.  The lithium chemistries have entered the market with leading technical leading energy and power specifications and have dominated the laptop, cell phone, PDA markets.  New segments utilizing the Li-ion chemistries are power tools, e-motive and industrial power.    Click here to take a closer look at some of the Marketplace Trends.

Lithium-ion Chemistries
Today’s Lithium-ion Chemistries
Today, Lithium-Ion cells based on the Cobalt Oxide chemistry are by far the most prevanent.  Their “high energy” storage capability have made them the standard for laptops, cell phones and PDA’s.  Several new chemistries have  begun to make some impact in the marketplace which are based on Lithium-ion Iron Phosphate cathodes.

Click here to take a closer look at the differences between the various Li-ion Chemistries.

Lithium-ion Safety
Why Safety?  What’s Dangerous?
Contrary to the hype in the press, Lithium-ion batteries are safe and when used appropriately, provide best in class performance in the rechargable segment.  The Sony Li-ion Recall was widely publicized in 2006 and almost no coverage nor explanaition was ever given to the root cause.  Click here to learn a little more about the 2006 Sony Li-ion Recall.

Unlike Lead-Acid technology, Lithium-ion chemistries require a little more “care and feeding” to effectively utilize their capabilities.  That is the job of your Battery Mangement System (BMS).  Boundless’ state-of-the-art BMS is as advanced as anything on the market today.  Extending a module or packs life as well as protecting the cells and the user from any safety issues is a bit more complex than it seems on the outside.  Click here to explore Boundless’ Battery Mangement System.

Lithium-ion Knowledgebases –
Industry Analysts
Frost&Sullivan – http://www.frost.com
The Freedonia Agency – http://www.freedoniagroup.com
Avicenne – http://www.avicenne.com

Wikipedia Links
Rechargeable Batteries – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechargeable_battery
Lithium Ion Batteries – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_ion_battery
Lithium Iron Phosphate – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate
Lead Acid Batteries – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_acid_battery
Nickel Metal Hydrid – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel_metal_hydride_battery

Other
Battery University – http://www.batteryuniversity.com/  –  A very good general battery info resource

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