Together we are on a journey to 'restore our planet', our only home…
The world is on a move towards environmental sustainability. And in unison with respective governments, we have been participating in various measures taken to check on toxic emissions besides campaigns like: ‘No Plastics’, ‘reduce consumption of paper’, and’ afforestation’.
Banning fossil fuel vehicles and promoting e-mobility, exercising energy conservation with the use of renewable energy, and developing energy storage solutions (ESS) are some innovative and additional eco-initiatives and effective solutions to help save the environment from overexploitation. With such groundbreaking tech-driven programs running extensively and effectively on different lithium-ion (Li-ion) based battery types, our revolutionary green energy solutions have inclined towards Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries or LiFePO4 batteries.
A quick review on LiFePO4 batteries
LiFePO4 batteries are considered the safest of all Li-ion batteries available, with a very reliable chemistry. They also have a very high energy density, making LiFePO4 batteries ideal for inverters and UPS, solar lighting systems, ESS, 2-, 3- and 4-wheelers such as larger electric vehicles like vans, buses or trucks, as well as tourism boats and fishing boats.
Although the life of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries is beyond par excellence in comparison to Lithium Cobalt Oxide (mainly used for portable electronic devices), Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (also used in EVs), Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (used as an alternative to LCO and NMC), and Lithium Manganese Oxide (used in the early EVs), still they can be smartly enhanced with some fundamental approaches. But before learning about these fundamental approaches to enhance the life of LiFePO4 batteries, let us have a quick study on how it is impacting us. Positively or negatively?
Impact of LiFePO4 batteries: Positive or negative?
Besides being the safest of all the Lithium-ion battery types, a LiFePO4 batteries have distinct features. They have a low discharge rate, better power density, flat discharge curve, and higher charge cycles. They are designed to have less heating and are found to be non-explosive.
Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries have some major advantages which include high efficiency, a wide range of high operating temperatures, a broad cycling performance, and low internal resistance among others. They have no thermal runaway, very low toxicity for the environment, cycle life ranging from 2000 to several thousand, ease of recycling, longer life span, lightweight, and better capacity.
Lithium Iron Phosphate technology allows the greatest number of charge and discharge cycles. The technology has been used in applications from stationary energy storage systems to e-mobility, marine, electronics, and so on.
It is a one-time investment, but a good one.
Now let’s get on a good read about the fundamental approaches to enhance the life of LiFePO4 batteries
A LiFePO4 battery does not need to be fully charged
Today, the LiFePO4 batteries are the most up-to-date lithium-ion cells than the traditional Lead acid or other Li-ion or LiPo (Lithium-ion Polymer) batteries. These batteries are the revolutionary breakthroughs after continuous research and development process. They have built-in additional state-of-the-art features which are based on the advancement of nanotechnology. Further, the manufacturing process of the cathode electrode and a graphite carbon electrode having a metal support forming the anode for these batteries has experienced a noticeable improvement. Although these batteries come with compact energy density, superior power, flat discharge curve, high tolerance, fast charging, and more underlying and remarkable features, it has been noticed that the service life of a LiFePO4 battery slightly improves even if they are kept or are in function under partial charge. In contrast, a Lead acid cell will fail to function due to sulfation if it is operated on deficit mode or kept partially charged.
Effective use of Battery Management System
It is evident that an efficient battery management system in LifePO4 batteries will help to increase the shelf life. It is the heart of any type of Li-ion battery. In the case of LiFePO4 batteries, the BMS will generate a pre-alarm whenever there’s a fluctuation in the voltage and decrease to less than 3.1V (adjustable 2, 85-3, 15V). If the voltage goes below 2.8V the BMS will automatically shut down the cell. Interestingly, if the voltage is up to or beyond 4.2V the BMS will stop the charging process. Eventually, if there is a rise in temperature and exceeds 50°C, the BMS will shut down the system to avoid the risk of a breakdown and thus helping in enhancing the life of LiFePO4 batteries.