Battery Chemistry Types

Their exists today, for commercial consumption, 6 battery types. Their is considerable amount of work and investment dollars being poured into new fuel cell technology but as of today nothing is yet on the market. So of the battery types that are readily available they are as follows.

1. Nickel-cadmium batteries were first invented in 1899 and are a mature energy type with moderate energy density. Nickel-cadmium is used in batteries where long life, high discharge rate and extended temperature range is important. The main applications for nickel-cadium batteries are for two-way radios, biomedical equipment and power tools.

2. Nickel-metal-hydride batteries has a higher energy density compared to nickel-cadmium. Applications include mobile phones and laptop computers not much needs to be talked about here since nickel-metal hydride batteries are not too commonly used anymore for your portable consumer applications other than powertools to acheive higher battery capacities than NICD batteries.

3. Lead-acid batteries are the most economical portable power source for larger power applications where weight is of little concern. Lead-acid is the preferred choice for hospital equipment, wheelchairs, emergency lighting and UPS systems. The most common place where most of us find lead-acid batteries are in our personal vehicles. Automobiles, light trucks and vans almost always use a 12-volt, six cell, and negative grounded, lead acid automotive battery used to start gasoline or diesel engines. You will find lead-acid batteries in motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, jet skis, farm tractors, lawn and garden tractors, SUVs, etc.

4. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used today since they offer significant benefits for portable consumers. Lithium is the lightest of all metals, it has the greatest electrochemical potential, and the largest energy density for its weight.The load characteristics of lithium are reasonably good in terms of discharge.The high cell voltage of 3.6 volts allows battery pack designs with only one cell versus three (less costly and compact). Lithium ion is a low maintenance battery with no memory and no scheduled cycling being required to prolong the battery’s life. And finally Lithium-ion cells cause little harm when disposed.

5. Lithium-ion-polymer batteries are very similar to lithium-ion, but with an even far more slimmer
geometry and simple packaging but of course with a higher cost per
watt/hours. Main applications are cell phones and PDAs. The lithium-polymer differentiates itself from the conventional battery in the type of electrolyte used (a plastic-like film that does not conduct electricity but allows ion exchange – electrically charged atoms or groups of atoms). The polymer electrolyte replaces the traditional porous separator, which is soaked with electrolyte. The dry polymer design offers simplifications with respect to fabrication, ruggedness, safety and thin-profile geometry. Cell thickness measures as little as one millimeter (0.039 inches). Lithium polymer can be formed and shaped in any way imagined. Commercial lithium-polymer batteries are hybrid cells that contain gelled electrolyte to enhance conductivity. Gelled electrolyte added to the lithium-ion-polymer replaces the porous separator. The gelled electrolyte is simply added to enhance ion conductivity.
Capacity is slightly less than that of the standard lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion-polymer finds its market niche in wafer-thin geometries, such as PDA batteries. Lithium ion also offers improved safety – more resistant to overcharge; less chance for electrolyte leakage.

6. Reusable Alkaline – Its limited cycle life and low load current is compensated by long shelf life, making this battery ideal for portable entertainment devices and flashlights. Great batteries if you want to store on demand power for a emergencies.

Until next time – Dan Hagopian,