How Lithium-ion Batteries Have Evolved

How Lithium-ion Batteries Have Evolved

Lithium-ion batteries are more common today than they have ever been before. As these batteries are more widely used, you may wonder why it is that lithium-ion batteries are becoming so popular - not only commercially, but in individual homes as well. 

To understand why lithium-ion batteries are so important, we have to take a look back at the batteries we used to rely on and how energy storage has changed because of the lithium-ion battery. That story takes us clear back to the 19th century when the first true battery was invented.

The Development of Batteries

It was 1801 in Paris when Napoleon watched an Italian man named Alessandro Volta demonstrate his new invention - the voltaic pile, or battery. The resulting electric current impressed Napoleon so much that he made Volta a count and senator, which was only the beginning of the honors that came Volta’s way because of his invention. 

Volta’s voltaic pile, considered the first true battery, was made of alternating plates of zinc and silver separated by a cloth soaked in saltwater. It was not, however, a battery that could be recharged. His discovery made it possible for many others to study electrochemical currents and create their own batteries as well.

About fifty years later, the lead-acid battery was introduced through the work of two men - Wilhelm J. Sinsteden and Gaston Planté. Their discovery, made in the late 1850s, could be recharged and is still commonly used today. Odds are, your TV remote is powered by lead-acid batteries.

Near the end of the 19th century, studies began on batteries made with nickel, but a nickel battery wasn’t commercialized until 1989. While many batteries we use today come from these older designs, each of them also contributed to the latest advancement in battery technology - the lithium-ion battery.

The Start of Lithium-ion Batteries

About 150 years after Volta first demonstrated his voltaic pile, new researchers began to look at lithium as an ideal element for batteries. Lithium is the lightest element on the periodic table, and its characteristics made it suitable for high-density, high-voltage batteries. 

It wasn’t a quick process, however. Lithium isn’t the most stable of metals, so finding a way to utilize it safely in a battery was a real challenge. The first lithium batteries used lithium metal, but the battery’s chemical process resulted in build-ups of lithium that could eventually puncture the opposite electrode in the battery, which could cause short-circuiting and fires.

After this problem was discovered, attention moved from lithium metal to lithium ions. Lithium ions were considered a safer way to use lithium in a battery without the risk of short-circuiting.

The discoveries of three men - John B. Goodenough, Akiro Yoshino, and M. Stanley Whittingham (winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry) - came together to make a fully functioning lithium-ion battery. It took a lot of time and work to determine the best materials to use to make the battery functional, and those materials have continued to be fine-tuned since.  

Lithium-ion Batteries Today

Lithium-ion batteries are not the only batteries we use today, however, they are playing a bigger and more important role in our lives each day. These batteries have the potential to help us move away from fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources, which will help protect our planet’s resources and environment.

But lithium-ion batteries aren’t just a better option for our planet, they’re also a convenient and powerful option for individuals as well. 

Advantages of Lithium-ion Batteries

Aside from their benefits for the planet, lithium-ion batteries have a lot of personal advantages too. For example, lithium-ion batteries:

  • Have a longer lifespan than other batteries.
  • Can hold a charge longer with less self-discharged power.
  • Are lighter weight than other batteries.
  • Can power anything from cell phones to cars.
  • Work with solar power. 
  • Require zero maintenance.
  • Can replace gas-powered generators.
  • Are easily portable.

It’s becoming more obvious by the day that lithium-ion batteries are the most practical portable power solution on the market right now. They’re used all over the place now, but it isn’t just commercially that these batteries are used.

Widespread Use - Even At Home

If you look around you, you could probably find at least one thing in your home that uses a lithium-ion battery. For example, if you have an iPhone, iPad, Macbook, or any other portable Apple product, then you use tech with lithium-ion batteries. In fact, most portable devices, not just Apple products, use lithium-ion batteries.

Personal devices aren’t the only tech that use lithium-ion batteries though. In recent years, electric cars have become not only real but almost common. This is possible because of the lithium-ion battery. It’s the only battery that has the capacity to power a vehicle long-term without noise or extra maintenance. 

You might be surprised at just how common these lithium-ion batteries are. And honestly, they’re a lot more practical today than they ever have been. 

There are now large lithium-ion batteries on the market that can be a useful power supply anywhere you go - in your home, in your car, in a campground, or on a lake. Because they can hold their charge for long periods of time and can last for hours longer than other batteries, lithium-ion batteries work well for emergency situations, for getting off the grid, and for day-to-day living.

Current Pricing

You might have heard that lithium-ion batteries are really expensive. And if you’re pairing the batteries with solar panels, the cost might not seem worth the benefits.

But before you write off lithium-ion batteries as too expensive, take some time to compare prices. Lithium-ion batteries used to be a lot more expensive than they are now, so the prices might surprise you. 

And while some batteries on the market are still somewhat pricey, you can still find high-quality options that are not extremely expensive. The price really comes down to the individual batteries because factors like size and voltage can have an effect on price. You can find batteries in a range of prices here to get you started.

Join the Lithium-ion Revolution

Lithium-ion batteries can do so much for you - lower your bills, give you security and back-up power, and keep your devices charged and running anytime you need them. Even better, you can feel good using them because you know that you’re using a clean, renewable energy source. 

Where can you find the best lithium-ion battery options for you? Try Lion Energy. These batteries from Lion Energy come in all shapes and sizes to fit your needs, so click here to find the right battery for you today.