Choosing the Right Battery Supplier
Choosing the right battery supplier can make or break an OEM’s day-to-day operations. Look for one that can meet JIT shipping demands and lead technical innovation, as well as offer extended customer support.
EV battery supply chains are growing quickly, and raw material extraction and production are becoming more global. The United States has a small share of the midstream portion of the chain, but is working to strengthen it.
Types of Batteries
There are several battery types available, each with unique characteristics and ideal applications. Understanding these different types and technologies empowers you to select the best power source for your specific devices or applications.
Primary batteries, also known as disposable batteries, provide a short-term source of power for devices where recharging isn’t feasible or practical. These batteries are inexpensive, lightweight, and convenient to use with little or no maintenance required. They come in cylindrical shapes and usually contain an alkaline electrolyte (composed of potassium hydroxide), manganese dioxide as the positive electrode, and zinc as the negative electrode.
Nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, and lithium batteries are common primary batteries used in consumer electronics like phones, laptops, and tablets. They are also used in household appliances, such as clocks, smoke detectors, and portable power tools.
Lead-acid car batteries, on the other hand, are secondary batteries that are found in most cars and vehicles. These batteries are larger and block-shaped and deliver hundreds of amps. They are also long-lasting and require minimal maintenance by monitoring and topping off the liquid electrolyte. It is important to evaluate the energy capacity of a battery in terms of milliampere-hours or watt-hours, as well as its low self-discharge rate, which ensures that it will be ready for use when needed. Also, consider the environmental impact and recycling options when choosing a battery technology.
Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium batteries offer more energy and power than their lead-acid counterparts. They also are maintenance-free, requiring no electrolyte addition or spillage. However, these batteries do contain volatile chemicals and should be handled with care.
Multiple lithium-ion cells connect internally to make up a battery. The cell has a positive and negative electrode, an electrolyte, and a separator. During charging, lithium ions move through the separator from the negative side (called the cathode) to battery supplier the positive side (the anode). When a battery discharges, the flow reverses. This creates an electrical potential difference, or voltage, that powers your electronic devices.
Different lithium-ion chemistries have unique characteristics that can improve battery performance. For example, li-titanate, short for lithium titanate, offers zero strain properties and prevents SEI film formation when a battery is charging or discharging at high temperatures. It also has excellent thermal stability, which is important for long-life battery systems.
Battery manufacturers also incorporate safety features into lithium-ion batteries to keep them safe and operating properly. For instance, some have added protection circuits that prevent overcharging and undercharging. Others have built in a battery management system, or BMS, that monitors the condition of each cell and balances the energy across all the cells in PORTABLE POWER STATION a battery pack to ensure maximum runtime and performance. The BMS can also shut off the battery if it reaches critical conditions.
From the morning commute to tooling around on the golf course, lead acid batteries are the technology that drivers rely on to keep them moving. But despite their age, they’re not one-size-fits all – there are many different lead-acid battery designs that meet various power needs.
A standard flooded lead acid battery has its electrodes immersed in liquid sulfuric acid. However, there are a number of ways to improve battery performance by changing the volume and concentration of the electrolyte.
These changes have a direct impact on how easily the battery can be cycled (discharged and recharged) and how long it will last between maintenance. The way a battery performs also depends on how the lead sulfate is formed on its electrodes and how that process affects the battery’s ability to convert its current into energy.
A flooded lead acid battery requires regular maintenance – it must be regularly checked by measuring its specific gravity with a hydrometer and, if necessary, water added to maintain the correct electrolyte level. This is why these batteries are referred to as ‘flooded’. However, there are now a number of sealed lead acid battery designs that can be considered maintenance free. These include gel cells and advanced absorptive glass mat, or AGM. The gel and AGM designs suspend the electrolyte in a silica type gel or an absorbent glass mat respectively. These are less sensitive to temperature variations and have lower gassing rates compared to the flooded battery.
While rechargeable batteries are a little more expensive up front than single-use varieties, they offer a number of practical and environmental benefits. They have a longer run time than disposables, are environment-friendly as they require fewer resources to produce and can be used hundreds or even thousands of times. This is particularly true of nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium rechargeable batteries, which have significantly lower environmental impacts than their Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) and Lead Acid counterparts.
They also feature low self-discharge rates, so they will hold their charge for one to five years, even when they are not being used. These types of batteries are ideal for use in devices that require power on a regular basis such as remote control cars and digital cameras.
On the other hand, alkaline batteries are best for devices that only use low levels of power over a long period of time such as smoke detectors and wall clocks. They have a very long shelf life, in some cases up to a decade, so are a great option for stocking disaster preparedness kits.