Lithium-ion batteries: Myths and truth

1. Lithium-ion batteries are fire and explosive
This myth owes its appearance to several widely disseminated media cases of ignition of various devices with lithium-ion batteries.
Fortunately, technological progress does not stand still, and lithium-ion batteries are becoming safer. This is facilitated by both changes in the chemical composition of batteries and the development of battery monitoring and control systems.
The main reason for the ignition of lithium-ion batteries of the first generation was the presence in their composition of lithium metal as the anode material. On such an anode, during multiple charge/discharge cycles, spatial formations (dendrites) appeared, which sprouted, like trees, from the anode to the cathode and pierced the separator, which led to the closure of the electrodes and, as a result, the battery failed, and in rare cases, to a fire or explosion. Similar processes occurred inside cobalt oxide batteries, but they occurred only in the event of a violation of the operating conditions – when the cells were recharged.
In modern batteries, we managed to get rid of these shortcomings. First, the anode material was replaced with graphite. Graphite in lithium-ion batteries is used due to its ability of its porous structure to capture and retain lithium. Secondly, the charge process control systems were significantly improved, which did not allow the battery to be brought to dangerous states. In case of deviation of any parameters from the permissible ones, the battery was disconnected either from the charger or from its load.
The improvement of lithium-ion batteries continues to this day. For example, some modern types of lithium-ion batteries are not susceptible to fire and explosion, even if they are pierced through with a metal object. Such damage is considered the most "tough" crash test for batteries, as it leads to a short circuit inside the cell.
Thus, lithium-ion batteries today are modern, reliable and compact energy sources that are used everywhere and on a daily basis, without posing a threat to our safety. This is facilitated by the ongoing process of battery modernization, proven algorithms of the battery control and management system and the accumulated experience of previous errors over almost thirty years of operation of lithium-ion batteries.

2. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than lead-acid
batteries This statement, although not a myth, is not completely true. Indeed, at this stage of technology development, the capital cost of purchasing energy storage systems with lithium-ion batteries can be 2-4 times higher than the capital cost of purchasing the same systems with lead-acid batteries.
However, as the results of experimental operation and calculations carried out on economic models show, the total cost of ownership of energy storage systems with lithium-ion batteries is lower than that of the same systems with lead-acid batteries. This effect is achieved due to the following advantages of lithium-ion batteries over lead-acid batteries:
• less frequent replacement of batteries: service life of up to 20 years versus 2-6 years for lead-acid batteries;
• virtually no maintenance costs;
• Higher energy density: up to 300 Wh / kg versus 50 Wh/kg for lead-acid batteries;
• as a result of high energy density, less space and mass of the finished solution;
* no memory effect;
* high charging speed with less loss: up to 1-2 hours with 93% efficiency versus 4-10 hours with 64% efficiency for lead-acid batteries;
* Advanced battery monitoring and management capabilities.
Due to the combination of these factors, the purchase and installation of lithium-ion batteries can become more profitable than the use of lead-acid batteries starting from 2 years of operation. It is worth noting that the payback period for capital expenditures depends on the specific application and can be either less or more than the specified one.
In addition, it should be remembered that the unit cost of kWh of energy stored by lithium-ion batteries is decreasing annually. This makes the technology more accessible, allowing you to create safer, more reliable and easy-to-use energy storage systems based on it.

3. Lithium-ion batteries do not work in the cold
This myth, as well as the myth about the fire and explosion hazard of lithium - ion batteries, came from the field of mobile technology. Everyone remembers the times when phones in the extreme cold very quickly lost their charge. Indeed, a single battery cell is exposed to negative temperatures, because at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius, the output capacity can decrease by up to 20-40%.
It is obvious that one of the main requirements to the batteries of portable equipment is its compactness and low weight. Phones and other appliances are getting smaller and lighter with each generation, and their power consumption is at least not reduced. This feature of the use of lithium-ion batteries does not allow them to be equipped with a temperature control system, which is necessary to protect the battery from the temperature effects of the environment.
The situation is quite different in larger equipment: electric transport and stationary energy storage systems. The size and weight of batteries in such a technique play an important role, but still the increased size of their equipment allows you to complete the battery with the above-mentioned temperature control system, sacrificing part of the performance for the sake of versatility of application. The temperature control system is designed to maintain the optimal temperature in the battery compartment for lithium-ion batteries – from 0 to 25 degrees Celsius. Temperature control systems can be presented in the form of a cooling system, a heating system, or a combination of these systems.
Proof of the efficiency of modern lithium-ion batteries regardless of weather conditions is the continuous growth in sales of electric vehicles, including in the Nordic countries-Norway, Denmark, Finland. Also, modern stationary systems based on lithium-ion batteries provide uninterrupted power supply regardless of weather conditions in various parts of Russia-from the far north to the hot south.
Modern lithium-ion batteries are not just a battery cell, but a whole complex of ensuring the efficient and safe use of stored electrical energy. Lithium-ion batteries of our time, with the right system design, are able to work in all weather conditions - from minus 60 to 50 degrees Celsius. It is the integrated solutions in one package that make lithium-ion batteries the technology of the future.

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