Lithium-ion battery history

How did the development of lithium-ion batteries, a significant invention that will go down in human history, occur?

Whittingham, an engineer at an American oil business in 1976, presented the idea to employ lithium in batteries. During that period, lithium served as the anode material and titanium disulfide as the cathode. Nevertheless, as secondary batteries, lithium-titanium disulfide batteries did not function steadily. Thus, lithium batteries found practical application as primary batteries that are non-rechargeable, e.g., batteries for fishing floats and throwaway camera flashes.

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Lithium cobalt oxide was suggested as the cathode material in 1980 by Goodenough, who was studying lithium batteries at the time. Yoshino suggested a technique the next year for mixing carbon as the cathode of lithium cobalt oxide with carbon as the anode.

Subsequently, Yoshino developed a method to steadily exchange ions between the cathode and anode, and Goodenough demonstrated in 1983 that low-cost lithium manganese oxide could also be utilized as the cathode material. Lithium-ion batteries might now potentially be used as secondary batteries, as this possibility was established.

Lithium-ion batteries, which are found in consumer electronics like computers and cell phones, were introduced in the 1990s. They were originally employed in the mobile phone industry, and then their use expanded to include laptops and portable music players. This occurred as a result of the necessary voltage dropping from 5.5 V to 3 V as the size of the primary units shrank. Therefore, it was determined that utilizing a single lithium-ion battery, which has a voltage output of 3V, would be more efficient than using three nickel-cadmium batteries, which have a voltage output of just 1.25V.

The need for electric cars has grown since 2006 as a result of the environment and energy revolution, which followed the change in the 1990s to items connected to mobile IT. Due to their high voltage and energy density, which make them appropriate as secondary batteries for cars, lithium-ion batteries have now found employment in electric vehicle applications.

Lithium-ion batteries have been aggressively embraced for a variety of goods in this fashion, and as the quantity of units manufactured has increased, costs have decreased and the uses for them have grown.

Longer battery life encourages the use of lithium-ion batteries

Because lithium-ion batteries last longer than conventional secondary batteries, their variety of uses has increased significantly. In comparison to other batteries, how much longer do lithium-ion batteries last?

A battery’s lifetime is determined by a number of things. The electrodes of lithium-ion batteries decay less because they extract power via a slightly different battery reaction than other secondary batteries. Their resistance to spontaneous discharge and their ability to withstand repeated charging and discharging are further qualities that increase their longevity.

Battery longevity is expressed as a number using two separate terms: cycle life and calendar life. The term “cycle life” describes how many times a battery may go through the cycle of being fully charged, being discharged to its lowest point, and then being fully charged again. Calendar life is the amount of time that batteries may be utilized, even if they are kept inactively in a specific state of charge.

These lifespan estimates are not generalizable due to their dependence on a number of variables, including the battery type and manufacturer, usage circumstances, environment, and terms and conditions of maintenance. For instance, according to data from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s “Storage Battery Strategy,” lead-acid batteries can last up to 3,150 cycles and have a 17-year calendar life; nickel-metal hydride batteries can last up to 2,000 cycles and have a 5- to 7-year calendar life; and lithium-ion batteries can last up to 3,500 cycles and have a 6- to 10-year calendar life.

Based on these numbers, lead-acid batteries outlast lithium-ion batteries. However, due to their size and weight—which can be observed by observing what’s inside cars—lead-acid batteries cannot be compared to lithium-ion batteries in terms of weight and size.