Advantages of Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

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Advantages of Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

Advantages of Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries Sep. 25, 2023

Advantages of Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

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As the fossil fuel crisis continues, consumers are trying to find alternatives to gas generators and other power sources. Lithium ion batteries are the most plentiful sources of portable energy, but many people don’t realize there are different battery types.

One type of battery that is growing in popularity is lithium iron phosphate batteries. Also known as LiFEPO4 and LFP, lithium iron phosphate batteries have many advantages. These advantages might be less obvious, but they can make the difference in price and performance between LLFP and standard lithium ion batteries.

Lithium Ion Batteries vs. LFP Batteries

Both standard lithium ion batteries and LFP achieve the same functionality — they use lithium ions to generate electricity. What makes the difference is the chemical composition. 

Lithium iron phosphate batteries are lithium ion batteries that use lithium iron phosphate or LiFeP04 as the primary cathode material. Conventional lithium ion batteries use nickel or cobalt as their cathode materials. 

When compared to lithium ion batteries, there are numerous advantages of lithium iron batteries.

Greater Stability and Safety

The iron phosphate cathodes give FLP batteries stronger covalent bonds. This gives them more excellent resistance to thermal runaway, which causes overheating — the number one cause of battery fires in lithium ion. 

 

This stability is why LFPs have become the standard in solar power applications. Energy stored in LFPs installed in residential structures has a much lower chance of causing battery related accidents such as electrical fires.

Longer Life Cycle

While lithium ion batteries have greater energy levels, they do not live as long as LFP batteries. While conventional lithium ion batteries go through about 500 charge and discharge cycles before degrading, LFP batteries can complete thousands of processes before the performance starts to decay.

This is because lithium iron cathodes are much more stable than cobalt and nickel ones. While cobalt and nickel cathode batteries have a more powerful discharge, they come at the cost of being highly unstable when performing tasks requiring continuous usage. 

This is especially true when lithium ion batteries are forced to operate under high temperatures. The temperature range for lithium ion is 32 degrees Fahrenheit — or 45 degree Celsius. Because of this, lithium ion batteries must be stored in temperature-controlled areas during summer and winter. 

In comparison, LFP batteries have a much more comprehensive range. The increased stability of lithium iron cathodes allows them to continue functioning in extremely high and low temperatures without any signs of destabilizing or degradation.

Cheaper Cost

While the cost of purchasing batteries depends on the price set by the manufacturer, on average, LFP batteries are cheaper than lithium ion batteries. This is because mining and refining nickel and cobalt costs more than iron.
In contrast, phosphate and iron are much more abundant, so they don’t have to spend as much time and resources mining them. Since manufacturers have to spend less to make the batteries viable, they can profit from them by selling them cheaply.

Environmental and Humanitarian Impact of LFP Batteries

Replacing nickel and cobalt with lithium iron phosphate is one of the major advantages of lithium iron phosphate batteries. Demand for electric vehicles has dramatically increased as world governments push initiatives to combat climate change. While this is helpful in curbing harmful emissions, it has also caused a worldwide shortage of nickel and cobalt. 

This is because the standard for batteries used in electric vehicles is lithium ion based. As production for EVs ramps up, the need for these metals has skyrocketed. 

Furthermore, nickel and cobalt mining operations have notorious reputations for being harmful to the planet in their own right. The process of mining and refining these metals are highly labor intensive and use chemical compounds that are harmful to the environment.

In addition, the blasting methods used to form the mines are extremely dangerous and damage the surrounding area, destroying the surrounding ecosystem. 

Not to mention, these mining operations are also known for being hazardous to the miners that work there. Workers take minimal safety precautions, resulting in them developing various health problems. 

One of the most significant humanitarian concerns regarding cobalt mines is the reports of child labor used for mining. A report from the International Labor Organization found that the Democratic Republic of Congo uses at least 400,000 children to work in cobalt mines. The DRC supplies over 70% of the world’s cobalt. 

As cobalt becomes rarer, the working conditions of these mines become more punishing as they struggle to keep up with demand. Using lithium iron batteries can reduce or eliminate the dependence on cobalt — potentially saving both the environment and human lives.

Uses of Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

The advantages of lithium iron phosphate batteries make them perfect for powering EVs. Many electric vehicle companies all around the world are beginning to adopt LFP batteries as replacements for lithium ion batteries. 

Electric vehicle manufacturers are the most prolific consumers of lithium ion batteries — yet mining for the minerals to create these batteries is becoming harmful to the environment. Switching to LFP batteries can help reduce the negative effects of mining because the minerals used to make them are more plentiful. 

In 2022, Tesla and BYD accounted for 68% of all LFP batteries in EVs worldwide. Other auto manufacturers such as GAC, MG and Geely made up the remaining 32%. 

Furthermore, more than 85% of LFP batteries used in EVs were from Chinese companies. This makes China the most prolific user of LFP batteries to date. Behind China is the U.S., which is ramping up the production of lithium iron phosphate batteries. 

Canadian tech firm Phostech Lithium plans to open many new factories in U.S. territory. These factories will give the U.S. their own supply of lithium iron, making the country less dependent on foreign nations. This will also raise the adoption rate of LFP batteries by both companies and the consumer market. 

The advantages of lithium iron phosphate batteries — lower cost, greater stability and longer lifespan — are perfect for the EV market. Although they are less powerful, EVs that use LFP batteries can stay on the road for longer periods of time. The stability of LFP batteries also makes EVs safer to ride.

LFP Batteries are the Future of Portable Energy

While conventional ion phosphate batteries are still the standard, LFP batteries are a proven alternative. LFP batteries last longer and have greater stability than conventional batteries. In addition, they can have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the need for nickel and cobalt — shutting down hazardous mining operations.

 

Advantages and disadvantages of LiFePO4 Battery

What are the advantages and disadvantages of LiFePO4 battery?

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery differ from Lithium-ion battery which using phosphate as anode material. It is popular use to motive batteries, such as electric bikes, motorcycles, light electric vehicles and pure electric vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

LiFePO4 battery advantages:

 

 

Longer cycle life - LiFePO4 batteries offers a longer cycle life than Lithium-ion batteries and Lithium-ion Polymer batteries. Qualified LiFePO4 cells should remain 80% DOD after 2000 cycles of charging and discharging.

 

 

Safety and stability - LiFePO4 batteries has one key advantage over other Lithium-ion batteries is the superior thermal and chemical stability, which provides better safety characteristics than Lithium-ion batteries with other cathode materials.

 

 

Constant output power - Unlike other Lithium-ion batteries, LiFePO4 batteries have a very constant discharge voltage. Voltage stays close to 3.2 V during discharge until the cell is exhausted. This allows the cell to deliver virtually full power until it is discharged.

 

 

Environmentally friendly - LiFePO4 batteries are non-toxic, non-contaminating and contain no rare earth metals, making them an environmentally conscious choice. The use of LiFePO4 also reduces the cost and environmental concerns of Lithium Cobalt cells, particularly in regards of cobalt entering the environment through improper disposal.

 

 

There are also other advantages same as Lithium-ion battery:

 

 

Low self-discharge

 

 

Non memory effect

 

 

Quick Charging

 

 

Low maintenance

 

 

No requirement for priming

 

 

 

 

 

LiFePO4 battery disadvantages:

 

 

* Lower energy density - The energy density of LiFePO4 battery is lower than Lithium-ion batteries, e.g. the highest capacity of LiFePO4 18650 battery is 1800mAh, but the highest Lithium-ion 18650 battery can be 3600mAh(Made by Panasonic).

 

 

* Poor performance under low temperature - LiFePO4 batteries has poor performance when discharging at -20℃. However, low temperature Lithium-ion or Lithium Polymer batteries can discharge at -40℃ and output 70-80% DOD.

 

 

* Low tap density - Tap density of LiFePO4 batteries only 0.8-1.3, that makes them lost the condition to use on small portable devices like mobile phone. So most of LiFePO4 batteries are using as power batteries for electric bikes, LEV or EV.

Other disadvantages are similar to Lithium-ion battery:

 

 

* Protection required

 

 

* Aging effect

 

 

* Transportation problems

 

 

* Deep discharge

Lithium iron phosphate battery

Type of rechargeable battery

The lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO
4 battery
) or LFP battery (lithium ferrophosphate) is a type of lithium-ion battery using lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO
4) as the cathode material, and a graphitic carbon electrode with a metallic backing as the anode. Because of their lower cost, high safety, low toxicity, long cycle life and other factors, LFP batteries are finding a number of roles in vehicle use, utility-scale stationary applications, and backup power.[6] LFP batteries are cobalt-free.[7] As of September 2022, LFP type battery market share for EVs reached 31%, and of that, 68% was from Tesla and Chinese EV maker BYD production alone.[8] Chinese manufacturers currently hold a near monopoly of LFP battery type production.[9] With patents having started to expire in 2022 and the increased demand for cheaper EV batteries,[10] LFP type production is expected to rise further and surpass lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxides (NMC) type batteries in 2028.[11]

The energy density of an LFP battery is lower than that of other common lithium ion battery types such as nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA), and also has a lower operating voltage; CATL's LFP batteries are currently at 125 watt hours (Wh) per kg, up to possibly 160 Wh/kg with improved packing technology, while BYD's LFP batteries are at 150 Wh/kg, compared to over 300 Wh/kg for the highest NMC batteries. Notably, the energy density of Panasonic’s “2170” NCA batteries used in 2020 in Tesla’s Model 3 is around 260 Wh/kg, which is 70% of its "pure chemicals" value.

 

History

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LiFePO
4 is a natural mineral of the olivine family (triphylite). Arumugam Manthiram and John B. Goodenough first identified the polyanion class of cathode materials for lithium ion batteries.[12][13][14] LiFePO
4 was then identified as a cathode material belonging to the polyanion class for use in batteries in 1996 by Padhi et al.[15][16] Reversible extraction of lithium from LiFePO
4 and insertion of lithium into FePO
4 was demonstrated. Because of its low cost, non-toxicity, the natural abundance of iron, its excellent thermal stability, safety characteristics, electrochemical performance, and specific capacity (170 mA·h/g, or 610 C/g) it has gained considerable market acceptance.[17][18]

The chief barrier to commercialization was its intrinsically low electrical conductivity. This problem was overcome by reducing the particle size, coating the LiFePO
4 particles with conductive materials such as carbon nanotubes,[19][20] or both. This approach was developed by Michel Armand and his coworkers at Hydro-Québec.[21] [22] Another approach by Yet Ming Chiang's group consisted of doping[17] LFP with cations of materials such as aluminium, niobium, and zirconium.

Negative electrodes (anode, on discharge) made of petroleum coke were used in early lithium-ion batteries; later types used natural or synthetic graphite.[23]

 

Specifications

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Multiple lithium iron phosphate modules are wired in series and parallel to create a 2800 Ah 52 V battery module. Total battery capacity is 145.6 kWh. Note the large, solid tinned copper busbar connecting the modules together. This busbar is rated for 700 amps DC to accommodate the high currents generated in this 48 volt DC system. Lithium iron phosphate modules, each 700 Ah, 3.25 V. Two modules are wired in parallel to create a single 3.25 V 1400 Ah battery pack with a capacity of 4.55 kWh.Cell voltage

Minimum discharge voltage = 2.0-2.8 V[24][25][26]

Working voltage =

3.0 ~ 3.3 V

Maximum charge voltage = 3.60-3.65 V[27][25]

Volumetric energy density = 220 Wh/L (790 kJ/L)

Gravimetric energy density > 90 Wh/kg[28] (> 320 J/g). Up to 160 Wh/kg[1] (580 J/g).

Cycle life from 2,700 to more than 10,000 cycles depending on conditions.[5]

 

Comparison with other battery types

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The LFP battery uses a lithium-ion-derived chemistry and shares many advantages and disadvantages with other lithium-ion battery chemistries. However, there are significant differences.

 

Resource availability

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Iron and phosphates are very common in the Earth's crust. LFP contains neither nickel[29] nor cobalt, both of which are supply-constrained and expensive. As with lithium, human rights[30] and environmental[31] concerns have been raised concerning the use of cobalt. Environmental concerns have also been raised regarding the extraction of nickel.[32]

 

Cost

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In 2020, the lowest reported LFP cell prices were $80/kWh (12.5Wh/$) .[33]

A 2020 report published by the Department of Energy compared the costs of large scale energy storage systems built with LFP vs NMC. It found that the cost per kWh of LFP batteries was about 6% less than NMC, and it projected that the LFP cells would last about 67% longer (more cycles). Because of differences between the cell's characteristics, the cost of some other components of the storage system would be somewhat higher for LFP, but in balance it still remains less costly per kWh than NMC.[34]

 

Better aging and cycle-life characteristics

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LFP chemistry offers a considerably longer cycle life than other lithium-ion chemistries. Under most conditions it supports more than 3,000 cycles, and under optimal conditions it supports more than 10,000 cycles. NMC batteries support about 1,000 to 2,300 cycles, depending on conditions.[5]

LFP cells experience a slower rate of capacity loss (a.k.a. greater calendar-life) than lithium-ion battery chemistries such as cobalt (LiCoO
2) or manganese spinel (LiMn
2O
4) lithium-ion polymer batteries (LiPo battery) or lithium-ion batteries.[35]

 

Viable alternative to lead-acid batteries

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Because of the nominal 3.2 V output, four cells can be placed in series for a nominal voltage of 12.8 V. This comes close to the nominal voltage of six-cell lead-acid batteries. Along with the good safety characteristics of LFP batteries, this makes LFP a good potential replacement for lead-acid batteries in applications such as automotive and solar applications, provided the charging systems are adapted not to damage the LFP cells through excessive charging voltages (beyond 3.6 volts DC per cell while under charge), temperature-based voltage compensation, equalisation attempts or continuous trickle charging. The LFP cells must be at least balanced initially before the pack is assembled and a protection system also needs to be implemented to ensure no cell can be discharged below a voltage of 2.5 V or severe damage will occur in most instances, due to irreversible deintercalation of LiFePO4 into FePO4.[36]

 

Safety

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One important advantage over other lithium-ion chemistries is thermal and chemical stability, which improves battery safety.[31] LiFePO
4 is an intrinsically safer cathode material than LiCoO
2 and manganese dioxide spinels through omission of the cobalt, with its negative temperature coefficient of resistance that can encourage thermal runaway. The P–O bond in the (PO
4)3−
ion is stronger than the Co–O bond in the (CoO
2)−
ion, so that when abused (short-circuited, overheated, etc.), the oxygen atoms are released more slowly. This stabilization of the redox energies also promotes faster ion migration.[37]

As lithium migrates out of the cathode in a LiCoO
2 cell, the CoO
2 undergoes non-linear expansion that affects the structural integrity of the cell. The fully lithiated and unlithiated states of LiFePO
4 are structurally similar which means that LiFePO
4 cells are more structurally stable than LiCoO
2 cells.[citation needed]

No lithium remains in the cathode of a fully charged LFP cell. In a LiCoO
2 cell, approximately 50% remains. LiFePO
4 is highly resilient during oxygen loss, which typically results in an exothermic reaction in other lithium cells.[18] As a result, LiFePO
4 cells are harder to ignite in the event of mishandling (especially during charge). The LiFePO
4 battery does not decompose at high temperatures.[31]

 

Lower energy density

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The energy density (energy/volume) of a new LFP battery is some 14% lower than that of a new LiCoO
2 battery.[38] Since discharge rate is a percentage of battery capacity, a higher rate can be achieved by using a larger battery (more ampere hours) if low-current batteries must be used. Better yet, a high-current LFP cell (which will have a higher discharge rate than a lead acid or LiCoO
2 battery of the same capacity) can be used.[citation needed]

 

Uses

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Home energy storage

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Enphase pioneered LFP along with SunFusion Energy Systems LifePO4 Ultra-Safe ECHO 2.0 and Guardian E2.0 home or business energy storage batteries for reasons of cost and fire safety, although the market remains split among competing chemistries.[39] Though lower energy density compared to other lithium chemistries adds mass and volume, both may be more tolerable in a static application. In 2021, there were several suppliers to the home end user market, including SonnenBatterie and Enphase. Tesla Motors continues to use NMC batteries in its home energy storage products, but in 2021 switched to LFP for its utility-scale battery product.[40] According to EnergySage the most frequently quoted home energy storage battery brand in the U.S. is Enphase, which in 2021 surpassed Tesla Motors and LG.[41]

 

Vehicles

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Higher discharge rates needed for acceleration, lower weight and longer life makes this battery type ideal for forklifts, bicycles and electric cars. 12 V LiFePO4 batteries are also gaining popularity as a second (house) battery for a caravan, motor-home or boat.[42]

Tesla Motors uses LFP batteries in all standard-range Models 3 and Y made after October 2021[43] except for standard-range vehicles made with 4680 cells starting in 2022, which use an NMC chemistry.[44]

As of September 2022, LFP batteries had increased its market share of the entire EV battery market to 31%. Of those, 68% were deployed by two companies, Tesla and BYD.[45]

Lithium iron phosphate batteries officially surpassed ternary batteries in 2021 with 52% of installed capacity. Analysts estimate that its market share will exceed 60% in 2024.[46]

In February 2023, Ford announced that it will be investing $3.5 billion to build a factory in Michigan that will produce low-cost batteries for some of its electric vehicles. The project will be fully owned by a Ford subsidiary, but will use technology licensed from Chinese battery company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL).[47]

 

Solar-powered lighting systems

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Single "14500" (AA battery–sized) LFP cells are now used in some solar-powered landscape lighting instead of 1.2 V NiCd/NiMH.[citation needed]

LFP's higher (3.2 V) working voltage lets a single cell drive an LED without circuitry to step up the voltage. Its increased tolerance to modest overcharging (compared to other Li cell types) means that LiFePO
4 can be connected to photovoltaic cells without circuitry to halt the recharge cycle.

By 2013, better solar-charged passive infrared security lamps emerged.[48] As AA-sized LFP cells have a capacity of only 600 mAh (while the lamp's bright LED may draw 60 mA), the units shine for at most 10 hours. However, if triggering is only occasional, such units may be satisfactory even charging in low sunlight, as lamp electronics ensure after-dark "idle" currents of under 1 mA.[citation needed]

 

Other uses

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Some electronic cigarettes use these types of batteries. Other applications include marine electrical systems[49] and propulsion, flashlights, radio-controlled models, portable motor-driven equipment, amateur radio equipment, industrial sensor systems[50] and emergency lighting.[51]

A recent modification discussed here [52] is to replace the potentially unstable separator with a more stable material. Recent discoveries found that LiFePO4 and to an extent Li-ion can degrade due to heat, when test cells were taken apart a brick red compound had formed that when analyzed suggesting that molecular breakdown of the previously believed stable separator was a common failure mode. In this case, the side reactions gradually consume Li ions trapping them in stable compounds so they can't be shuttled. Also three electrode batteries that permit external devices to detect internal shorts forming are a potential near term solution to the dendrite issue.

 

See also

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References

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