The lithium energy storage – batteries and their development
Lithium batteries were developed in the sixties and introduced to the market in the beginning of the seventies when they entered the consumer market.
Because of its high voltage and light weight, lithium is considered the most suitable material to use in batteries. Furthermore, in comparison to nickel metal hydride batteries, lithium ion batteries in the same size can store two times more energy.
In particular, "high end" products in the market for mobile communication technologies the transition from nickel cadmium technology will be carried out by means of nickel metal hydride technology to the lithium ion and lithium polymer technology, if it hasn’t already taken place.
- low self-discharge
- consistent discharge voltage
- comparatively simple integration of remote maintenance systems
- no "memory effect"
- high energy density
- low volume
- light weight
- long lifespan
Despite its advantages, the lithium-ion technology wasn’t able to capture an adequate market share of the total market volume of secondary systems. The biggest obstacle during the development of the lithium-polymer technology was the amount of time needed to transfer from laboratory to large-scale production.
The first successful batteries were produced from different manufacturers, and were based on a patent of the American company Telcordia (formerly Bellcore). The currently produced batteries are still the first generation of lithium batteries. They are based on the AEP patent, the licence of which Sony and many other production companies have acquired. Since then the former patent has expired and the technology is freely available.
Over time it has been shown that the production technology of batteries larger than 10 ah is a high-risk venture. For example, the incident last year with Dell Notebooks and the Sony batteries that were installed was found to be dangerous. The danger was drastically increased due to the request to create still a higher energy density. During the initial forming of the anode, an SEI-layer was built around the anode material. This layer protects the anode against unintentional reactions. However, the layer breaks down at temperatures over 100°C and uncontrolled reactions can occur. Normally, the material ignites and the battery starts to burn.
With the second generation of lithium batteries, which are currently developed by OGRON, the danger associated with the first generation of lithium batteries no longer exists. This generation of batteries are as safe as lead-batteries and furthermore, offer significant advantages. These advantages make it possible to produce lithium batteries with very high capacity and voltage. In this procedure new materials are used both at the cathode and at the anode. These materials have been completely developed and, if necessary, can be mass-produced.