Are Lithium Batteries Safe? The Definitive Answer
This question has been asked many times over the years, but the answer hasn’t always been clear. There was a time early in the development of lithium batteries that there were safety concerns. However, with the advent of newer lithium technologies, it’s clear that lithium batteries are, in fact, safe.
Let’s look at why.
What Are Lithium Batteries?
Before diving into what a lithium battery is, let’s cover the basics of how a battery works. Batteries have a positive side (cathode) and a negative side (anode). When you connect an electronic device to a battery, electrons flow from the anode to the cathode through your device and power it.
Lithium batteries get their name because they use lithium metal as the cathode material. Compare this to traditional lead-acid batteries, like in your car, which uses lead as the lead dioxide.
Learn More: The Truth About Lead-Acid Vs. Lithium-Ion Batteries
There are many different types of lithium batteries. For example, you’ve probably heard of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Phones, computers, and other small rechargeable electronics commonly use Li-ion batteries.
However, in this article, we discuss lithium battery replacements for traditional lead-acid batteries in RVs, boats and other larger mobile off-grid applications. The most common lithium battery replacement for lead-acid batteries is the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery.
Are Lithium Batteries Safe?
As we mentioned above, there are many different types of lithium batteries. Some are safer and more stable than others. However, when used and maintained correctly, lithium batteries of all kinds can be safe.
Lithium-ion batteries have been in the media in the past few years for incidents where cell phone batteries catch fire or explode on airplanes or perhaps an electric car catching on fire. These accidents have given lithium batteries a bit of a bad reputation for being unsafe.
Battery fires and explosions like this are caused by thermal runaway. Thermal runaway can happen in all types of batteries, not just lithium, and can be caused by many different factors.
Lithium battery technology is still relatively new. As this technology has advanced, improvements such as integrated battery management systems (BMS) and more stable internal chemistries have resulted in lithium batteries that are safer than their lead-acid counterparts and provide many advantages.
The Safest Lithium Battery: The LiFePO4
As we mentioned earlier, the most popular option for lithium RV batteries is the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. LiFePO4 batteries have a lower energy density than Li-ion batteries, resulting in them being more stable and making them an excellent option for RV applications.
Another safety benefit of the LiFePO4 is that lithium iron phosphate is not toxic. Therefore, you can dispose of it more easily than lead-acid and Li-ion batteries.
Benefits of Lithium Batteries
The safety consideration of LiFePO4 batteries is obviously essential. However, many other benefits help make LiFePO4 batteries the optimal choice for RVers.
Longer Life Span
Some people balk at the up-front price tag on lithium batteries, which can easily reach $1,000 each. However, lithium batteries can last up to ten times longer than a standard lead-acid battery which often results in overall cost savings over time.
Safer than Lead Acid or AGM
Although most lead-acid or AGM batteries are sealed to improve their safety, they still do not offer many safety features that lithium batteries do.
Lithium batteries typically have an integrated battery management system (BMS) which helps them charge and operate more efficiently and safely. Lead-acid batteries are also susceptible to damage and overheating when being charged and discharged but do not have a BMS to help protect them.
Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries are made out of non-toxic materials that resist thermal runaway. This adds to not only increased safety for the user but the environment as well.
More Battery Capacity
Another advantage to lithium batteries is that they have a greater useable capacity as compared to lead-acid batteries.
You can only safely discharge a lead-acid battery to about 50% of its capacity rating before you start to damage the battery. That means that if a lead-acid battery is rated at 100 amp-hours, you only have about 50 amp-hours of usable energy before you start damaging the battery. This limits its future capacity and lifespan.
By contrast, you can discharge a lithium battery almost completely without causing damage. However, most people don’t deplete them below 20% before recharging. Even if you follow this conservative rule of thumb, a 100 amp-hour lithium battery provides about 80 amp-hours before it needing to be recharged.
The integrated BMS monitors and helps maintain your lithium battery, eliminating the need to do this yourself.
The BMS makes sure the battery isn’t overcharged, calculates the state of charge of the batteries, monitors and regulates temperature, and monitors the batteries’ health and safety.
There are two ways that lithium batteries can reduce the weight of your battery system.
As we said before, lithium batteries have more usable capacity than lead-acid batteries. This will often allow you to need fewer lithium batteries in your system to achieve the same capacity as a lead-acid system. Additionally, a lithium battery will weigh about half as much as a lead-acid battery with the same capacity.
As mentioned, lithium batteries are much more efficient than lead-acid batteries. Even with a similar capacity rating, lithium batteries offer more usable energy. They also discharge at a more stable rate than do lead-acid batteries.
This effectively allows you to operate longer without having to recharge your batteries, which is especially useful when boondocking and allows you to reduce generator usage and maximize your solar power.
Less Expensive Overall
While lithium batteries initially cost more than their lead-acid counterparts, the fact that they last 6-10 times longer means that you will ultimately save money in the long run.
There’s A Reason Lithium Is The New Gold Standard
So, are lithium batteries safe?
The advancements in lithium battery technology have made them safer than ever and have introduced many other benefits as well. Safety, cost, weight, and efficiency are all critical factors in deciding what type of battery to use in your RV. Lithium batteries outshine lead-acid batteries across the board, making it no surprise that they are quickly becoming the gold standard for RVers everywhere.
5 Things You Need to Know About Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Deep – Amperetime-US
When it comes to battery technology, change may be surprised, especially when shifting from a lead-acid to a lithium iron phosphate battery. However, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is a fairly stable lithium chemistry when compared to all other lithium chemistries. The battery is made with a cathode material (iron phosphate) that is safe to use. Unlike other lithium chemistries, iron phosphate creates a strong molecular connection, extending cycle life and chemical integrity. Therefore, these batteries have outstanding temperature stability,, high energy density, low self-discharge, fast charging and extended cycle life.
Super easy to maintain
As far as batteries go, lithium-ion ones are rather maintenance-free. The BMS (Battery Management System) automatically performs a "balancing" operation to ensure that all the cells in a battery bank are charged equally. We will assume that the battery is equipped with a BMS, or battery management system, which is common among LiFePO4 batteries supplied in 12/24/48-volt packs. The BMS protects the amperetime battery by disconnecting it when it is discharged or is in danger of being overcharged. The BMS also limits charge and discharge currents, analyses cell temperature (and limits charge/discharge if required) and balances the batteries after each full charge (think of balancing as bringing all the cells inside the battery pack to the same state-of-charge, similar to equalising for a lead-acid battery). Don't buy a battery without a BMS unless you're willing to live on the edge.
Unlike lead-acid batteries, Amperetime lithium batteries are equipped with an integrated Battery Management System (BMS) that prevents the battery from being overcharged. Overcharging lead-acid batteries increases the rate of grid corrosion and shortens the battery's life expectancy.
Safety and handling
Are lithium batteries considered safer than other types of batteries? Yes, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries have become the industry best choice for RV, marine, automotive replacement, and general solar PV applications. They are extremely safe, can be mounted indoors, and are an outstanding product for mobile living and entertainment. As with sealed lead acid batteries, you only need to make sure that the cables haven't been shaken loose by vibration when you're on the route and that everything looks good.
Superior depth of discharge
A battery bank's depth of discharge (DoD) is the amount of stored energy that may be consumed without significantly shortening the battery bank's life expectancy. For example, under the same condition of 1C discharge, a 100Ah (amp-hour) lead acid battery rated for 50% DoD requires just 1/2 of its rated capacity to be used, leaving the remaining 1/2 in the battery unused.
To offer the same quantity of useful energy, a amperetime lithium battery bank is substantially smaller than a lead-acid battery bank. For instance, if you use 100Ah of energy every day, you will require a 200Ah lead acid battery bank to maintain a 50% depth of discharge, but in amperetime 12v 100Ah battery, only 100Ah of lithium is needed to maintain an 100% depth of discharge. With lithium batteries, that's a substantially smaller battery bank than you'd expect.
Lightweight and small
Many factors contributed to making LiFePO4 batteries superior. They are absolute lightweights when it comes to weight.LiFePO4 batteries are 60% lighter than lead acid batteries.
When you use your amperetime LiFePO4 battery in a car, this equates to reduced gas use and better mobility. In addition, they are small, allowing you to fit them on an automotive replacement, scooter, a boat, or even an industrial application.
Extensive range of applications
High capacity retention, deep discharge, consistent discharge performance, and Deep cycle lifetimes are required in all the following applications.
- Automotive replacement batteries
- Renewable energy sources
- Commercial aviation
- Machines for Floor
- Platforms for aerial work
- RVs and Boats
- Electronics for Security
Modern boats consume more energy than ever before, not just for the systems that power them, but also for the passengers who bring their own gadgets on board. All of this results in a greater need for battery power. Amperetime LiFePO4 batteries have less space for more power, So, get more batteries that are smaller but have a lot of capacity so that you can have more power.
Amperetime LiFePO4 batteries can also be used to power and charge general-purpose and instrumentation equipment, like computers, amplifiers, mobile phones, scissor lifts, electric lawn mowers, and many types of sensors. They are also safe and environmentally friendly.