Benefits of LiFePO4 battery
Lithium iron phosphate is a truly multi-application laptop battery so the same battery can be used for both high power applications such as engine cranking as well as for general house power in the place of a deep cycle/AGM lead acid battery.
Another major factor which should be taken into consideration when replacing a lead acid battery with a LiFePO4 battery is that due to the higher energy density and greater performance of the lithium battery, often a smaller battery can be used which will provide equivalent performance to the original lead battery. For many applications a 60Ah lithium iron phosphate battery will provide equivalent performance to a 100Ah lead acid battery. A 12V 20Ah LiFePO4 battery is all that is required for a starting battery up to an engine size of 3000cc.
What many battery owners and users fail to realise about the lead acid battery is that its capacity (Ah) rating is usually specified at the 20 hour discharge rate. At high rates of discharge the useable capacity is reduced due to “Peukert’s Effect”. A typical 100Ah lead acid when discharged in an hour or two may have an actual measured capacity of as little as 60-70Ah.
As soon as a load is placed on a lead acid, thereisasuddendrop or “sag” in voltage. The voltage continuestodecreaseuntil thebattery is completely discharged. Bycontrastthedischargecharacteristic of a LiFePO4 battery isverydifferent. Thedischargecurve is close to being linear. Evenundervery heavyelectrical loadsa LiFePO4 battery will maintainalmostfull powerwith very littlereduction in nominal voltagethroughoutitsdischarge cycle until thebattery becomes almostexhausted andinneed of recharging.
Another great benefit of these is their inherent safety features. Since they do not produce flammable hydrogen under any circumstances (even if overcharged) a LiFePO4 battery can be safely installed in a confined area without fear of a fire or explosion. Also due to the slim cylindrical nature of LiFePO4 cells a custom battery of virtually any shape or size can be custom manufactured which will fit into any tight space even if the space is of an unusual shape.
To sum up, an overview of the benefits of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries is as follows:
· Safe technology, will not catch fire or explode with overcharge
· Half the weight of an equivalent capacity lead acid
· Over 2000 deep discharge cycles life compared to typically around 300 for lead acid
· Double the usable capacity of similar amp hour lead acid batteries
· Virtually flat discharge curve means maximum power available until fully discharged (no "voltage sag" as with lead acid batteries)
· High discharge rate capability, 10C continuous, 20C pulse discharge
· Unlike lead acid batteries, can be left in a partially discharged state for extended periods without causing permanent damage
· Extremely low self discharge rate (unlike lead acid which will go flat quite quickly if left sitting for long periods)
· Does not suffer from "thermal runaway"
· Can be used safely in high ambient temperatures of up to 60 deg.C without any degradation in performance
· Can be connected in series for higher voltages or parallel for higher capacity.
· Absolutely maintenance free for the life
· Does not contain any toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, nor any corrosive acids or alkalis thus making LiFePO4 batteries the most environmentally friendly battery chemistry available
It will not be long before several brands of LiFePO4 will be available. When selecting a particular brand the battery purchaser should consider a brand which uses cathode material manufactured by the inventor and patent holder of this technology (Phostech Lithium Canada). Such a battery should come with a warranty of at least 3 years and more than 1000 charge cycles.
Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are sure to revolutionise remote power requirements in coming years by enhancing the amount of power which can be stored in a given size battery thus allowing access to a source of longer sustained electrical current to power electrical equipment for longer.