Every time a person plays on his or her smartphone, they take advantage of lithium-ion battery power. It’s a very common technology, found in everything from emergency backup generators to smartphones to even lawnmowers. These batteries seem to be everywhere, but what exactly are they and how do they work?
What are Lithium-Ion Batteries?
No matter what kind of battery you have, they work by moving electrons from one end of the battery–called electrodes–to the other. One end is called the anode. The other is called the cathode. They both store lithium. Between these two electrodes is a separator plate and an electrolyte, which can be any one of several materials. In the case of lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte contains lithium ions, which also gives the batteries their name.
How do they work?
The principle holds true across all types of batteries. What makes this type of battery unique is the materials used to make them and their properties. Every part of the battery has a charge, and energy is generated by the flow of positive and negative charges from one end to the other. When the battery is powering a device, lithium ions are attracted from the anode toward the cathode through the separator plate and electrolyte. As they do that, we force them to go through the device, giving it power.
What makes them unique is their ability to be recharged. When the device is charging, lithium ions move back toward the anode, essentially resetting the battery for another use. This type of battery is unique. It’s rechargeable and very lightweight. In fact, this type of battery has the best weight to power ratio and is being continually improved by advancements in nanotechnology. All of these attributes make the lithium-ion battery one of the most sustainable types of battery in existence today, even though recycling fully depleted batteries is still a challenge. Fortunately, this is partly due to so many batteries being used in consumer devices that are still in circulation.
Lithium-ion batteries are one of the best batteries available today, due to their size and power. They are incredibly useful in the search for more sustainable technology, green living, and decreasing our dependence on petroleum due to their applications in electric and hybrid vehicles. If you are interested in creating a more sustainable environment in southern Oregon, or if you have any questions, please contact us.