Why Will Sustainable Future Be Powered by Lithium-Ion Batteries?
Anything that draws electricity from a power source can, technically, work on a battery. This is why batteries are used as the primary power source in an array of objects, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops; electric vehicles (especially BEVs), UPS and inverters, and communication equipment (including those used for military communications in remote areas). Additionally, these energy storage devices are also used as secondary or auxiliary sources of power in conventional ICE vehicles, marine vessels, desktop computers, and even aircraft.
Due to such a vast application area, which continues to expand with technological advancements, the lithium-ion battery market is already valued at $46,142.1 million in 2021, from where it is expected to grow to $165,847.8 million by 2030, with a 15.3% CAGR. The most common battery is perhaps the domestic pencil cell and button cell, which work on the zinc-carbon chemistry. However, they, depending on their size, can hold a maximum charge of 8,000 mAh and offer the power of 12 Wh. Other common batteries presently are NiCd, NiMH, and SLA batteries. While NiCd and NiMH variants offer low voltages, SLA batteries contain lead and sulfuric acid, both of which are dangerous chemicals.
Therefore, Li-ion batteries have begun to gain rapid popularity, especially in consumer electronics and EVs. Compared to zinc-carbon chemistry, the Li-ion technology can offer charge capacities of over 60,000 mAh. Additionally, with technological advancements, companies have been able to limit their size and weight, while increasing their capacity and power output. Plus, these variants can be charged around 500 times over their lifetime, compared to the fewer than 300 charge cycles SLA batteries offer. Further, Li-ion variants are easier to dispose of, since they contain no or weakly toxic materials.
Key Applications of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Consumer Electronics: Li-ion batteries, being rechargeable, are widely used in smartphones, laptops, tablets, and wearable fitness trackers to enable them to run for long hours, away from a conventional electricity source. Currently, most smartphones and tablets have rechargeable Li-ion batteries.
Automobiles: There are two major uses of a battery in EVs: in BEVs, they are used as the primary source of propulsive power, in the absence of an engine, while in HEVs and PHEVs, they supplement the power generated by the engine. Moreover, they are used to power auxiliary systems, such as electronics, wipers, infotainment systems, ADAS, power steering and windows, B(T)MS, interior and exterior lights, and HVAC systems.