Lithium-ion cells have been used in hundreds of applications including electric cars, pacemakers, laptops, and military microgrids. They are extremely low maintenance and energy-dense.
lithium ion cells were high-temperature cells with molten lithium cathodes and molten sulfur anodes. Operating at around 400 degrees Celcius, these thermal rechargeable batteries were first sold commercially in the 1980s. However, electrode containment proved a serious problem due to lithium's instability.
They are very expensive, fragile, and have short lifespans in deep-cycle applications. The future of many budding technologies, including electric vehicles, depends on improvements in cell performance.
A battery is an electrochemical device. This means that it converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Rechargeable batteries can convert in the opposite direction because they use reversible reactions.
A lithium-ion battery generally has a graphitic carbon anode, which hosts Li+ ions, and a metal oxide cathode. The electrolyte consists of a lithium salt (LiPF6, LiBF4, LiClO4) dissolved in an organic solvent such as ether. Since lithium would react very violently with water vapor the cell is always sealed.
Lithium is the metal with both the lowest molar mass and the greatest electrochemical potential. This means that Li-ion batteries can have a very high energy density. A typical lithium cell potential is 3.6V (lithium cobalt oxide-carbon).