As the cost of storage technology is decreasing rapidly, the search is on for the next generation of rechargeable batteries that can store larger levels of renewable energy.
Lithium-ion is the most promising and versatile storage solution that is fast growing and the most commonly used battery type.
The lithium-ion battery
Sony Corporation commercialized the first lithium-ion battery in 1991. Today, many companies are producing larger cells in order to use for energy storage applications. The range of these applications is tremendously increasing every year, ranging from rooftop residential systems to multi-megawatt containerized batteries. Low maintenance, fast charging, and longer life cycle make it an ideal solution for renewable energy storage.
Can lithium ion handle the big storage?
Lithium-ion is still in its phase of maturity. It’s not far that we get to hear about great developments and much-improved storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries. Apart from the storage in our laptops and mobile phones, Lithium-ion batteries in future could be plugged even into the electricity grid. The foundations for this have already been laid with numerous lithium-ion based solar products in the market.
What’s so special about lithium-ion?
- The high energy density – one of the key aspects that give lithium-ion an edge over others and why Electric vehicles have lithium ion.
- Low self-discharge rate – The rate of discharge in lithium-ion batteries is way low than the others. Over a month, the discharge rate is as low as 1- 2%.
- Almost no maintenance – Unlike other batteries, lithium-ion batteries do not require maintenance to keep up its performance.
- No priming – Lithium-ion batteries do not require priming during the initial charge.
- Small and light – They are smaller and lighter compared to other rechargeable batteries which makes it more practical and portable.
- Quick charging – Lithium-ion batteries charge much faster than its counterparts. The difference in time is quite significant.
- Longer lifespan with wide varieties – Lithium-ion cells are available at high densities for mobile electronics and higher densities for power tools. They can also handle 100s of charge cycles with minimal capacity loss
- What’s good comes with a price – Lithium-ion batteries are notorious for their cost. But looking at the price drop every year, we can expect advanced versions for a lesser price.
- Heat sensitive – Lithium-ion batteries degrade faster than the normal rates with heat.
- Deep discharge – A lithium-ion cell becomes unusable if the voltage drops below a certain level.
- Aging – Yes, they do suffer from aging. Their capacity falls after a certain number of charges. But this figure is increasing with technology.
The advanced lithium-ion technology is creating numerous opportunities for a multitude of high-energy applications. With a significant decline in the cost every year, lithium-ion is definitely the future of energy storage.
Lithium-ion applications at Intelizon
On the verge of becoming the leader in energy based product innovation, Intelizon has developed a number of products using lithium-ion technology. Today, it’s the fastest growing and the most commonly used battery type in the world.
Intelizon uses lithium-ion batteries for Zonstreet solar street lights as they are maintenance free and allows faster charging to full capacity. The lithium-ion batteries used by Intelizon function normally even at extreme temperatures offering over 2000 charge cycles.