Lithium Batteries vs. Traditional Acid Batteries: There Is No Competition
With so many types of batteries to choose from, explore how lithium batteries have emerged as the top contender over traditional acid batteries.
Lead-acid batteries are on a path to extinction.
Batteries became an essential part of our lives in the 20th century. They allow us to power our transportation systems, heavy equipment, and even our cities.
The 21st century brought a battery revolution. As technology changes the way we live, work, and play, we are still highly dependent on batteries to power our lives.
New types of batteries have been developed and one has beaten out all the competition - lithium batteries.
Keep reading to learn more about lithium batteries and why lead-acid batteries are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Lithium Batteries Have Longer Lifespans
When it comes to batteries, one charge cycle is defined as when you discharge it and then charge it back up. Discharging basically means using it to power an appliance.
The lifespan of a battery is measured in terms of how many cycles it can handle before expiring instead of years. How much a battery is used is more important than its age in years.
The fewer cycles a battery has gone through, the better shape it will be in. When evaluating the lifespan of a battery, you want to determine how many cycles it can handle.
Lithium batteries can handle significantly more cycles than lead-acid batteries. Based on the lengths of the warranties offered by lead-acid and lithium batteries, you might expect to replace a lead-acid battery 3-5 times over the course of the lifetime of 1 lithium battery.
Lead-acid batteries are often warrantied for a limited number of cycles because they have shorter lifespans.
The cycle life of a battery is related to how much capacity you can use before it needs to be recharged. When batteries are discharged more deeply they undergo more stress and have a shorter life cycle.
Lithium Batteries Can Handle Deeper Discharges
When batteries are used, they don't discharge fully. They each have what is called a recommended depth of discharge.
This is how much of the battery can be used before it should be refilled. A battery's discharge depth is how much of its overall capacity you can use before you need to recharge it.
Lead-acid batteries can handle significantly less than their lithium counterparts. They are recommended to be run to a 50% depth of discharge. If you use them any further, you will shorten their lifespan.
On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries can handle a discharge depth of at least 90-100%. This means they have a higher usable capacity.
Lithium Batteries Are More Efficient
While it depends on the battery's condition and the model, in general, lead-acid batteries are only 80-85% efficient.
On the other hand, lithium batteries are over 95% efficient. What's more, batteries that are more efficient charge faster.
Using more efficient batteries can reduce costs in your operation when it comes to things like backup generator size and overall battery capacity needed.
Lithium Batteries Charge Faster
Because of their higher efficiency, lithium batteries charge more quickly than lead-acid batteries. The reason for this is that they can handle a much higher amperage from chargers.
This allows them to be filled much more quickly than traditional batteries. Lead-acid batteries can only handle so much charge current. This limitation is due to the fact that they will overheat if charged too quickly.
The charge rate also slows down significantly as the battery approaches full capacity. The battery charger will actually slow down after the battery reaches 85% capacity until the batteries are fully charged.
Because of this, lead-acid batteries take much longer to charge than lithium batteries, sometimes over twice as long.
Lithium Batteries Are More Energy Dense
Lithium batteries tend to weigh more than lead-acid batteries. While this can cause some challenges during installation, the trade off is worth the extra effort.
Because lithium batteries have a higher energy density, they allow you to fit more storage capacity into a smaller space. Since it would take more lead-acid batteries than lithium-ion batteries to power the same system, your overall battery bank will end up weighing significantly less.
This is beneficial when it comes to storing your battery bank. Whether you are hanging your batteries on a wall enclosure or storing them in a closet, a higher energy density means your battery bank can be stored in tighter spaces.
The higher energy capacity also means you can store and discharge more energy, powering more appliances and for longer periods of time.
While lithium batteries can cost more to initially purchase and install, they even the scales with their superior performance and longer lifespans. You'll end up buying fewer batteries and needing to replace them much less often.
This means your investment will pay off over time. When comparing the cost of lithium-ion vs lead-acid batteries, it's critical that you take into account all of the factors described above.
Choosing lithium batteries is especially beneficial for solar operations because of their increased efficiency.
Another benefit of lithium batteries is that they are safe and reliable. You won't have to worry about thermal runaway or catastrophic meltdown. This kind of peace of mind is priceless.
Lithium Batteries: The Superior Choice
When it comes to the debate of lithium batteries vs lead-acid batteries, there really isn't even a competition. The winner is clear — lithium batteries are a better investment no matter what you're using them for.
Technology has allowed the development of a superior battery. If you're looking to purchase lithium batteries, check out our products here.
Or you can contact us for more information and answers to your questions.