Lithium-ion vs. Lead acid
17 March, 2022 by
Lithium-ion vs. Lead acid
GPBM France, Jérôme Noris

Wouldn’t it be great if you could save space, decrease application weight, increase the lifetime, and charge less often?

Today rechargeable batteries are a part of our everyday life. We find rechargeable batteries in equipment we use daily, both in our private life and our work life, and often we do not even reflect on what is powering the equipment – at least not as long as everything runs according to plan. The first rechargeable battery was the lead acid battery, which was developed back in 1859 by Gaston Planté. Lead acid batteries has been and still is a common choice for applications such as back-up power supplies, emergency lighting and starting engines. However, research has moved forward and now there are several reasons to replace lead acid with lithium-ion technology.

Lithium-ion vs. Lead acid:

Application areas
Lead acid: Stationary storage and applications with low energy requirements. 
Lithium-ion (for lead acid replacement): Solar/wind energy systems, UPS battery backups, telecommunication systems, medical equipment, AGV, truck lifts. 

Energy density
Lithium-ion has 2-10 times higher energy density compared to Lead acid. This means you would need a much bigger Lead acid battery than Lithium-ion to reach the same energy level. This would occupy a lot of extra space and increase the weight of the application significantly.

Maintenance
Lead acid batteries have a long lifetime but require continuous maintenance. Li-ion batteries have a BMS (battery management system) which optimizes the battery performance by automatically balancing the cells and providing a multiple protection against over-charging, over current, short circuit, and over-temperature which maximizes the lifetime and minimizes the maintenance.

Safety
There are always risks with batteries and safe handling is of highest importance. Lead acid batteries need regular maintenance to stay safe and flooded* lead acid batteries need to get their electrolyte checked regularly. Lithium-ion batteries on the other hand can experience thermal runaway if the battery is becoming too hot. However, li-ion batteries without cobalt are still considered safer than lead acid. Lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) is an excellent choice for lead acid replacement which is a very safe solution that can be applied in many application areas.

Conclusion
Lead acid batteries might seem like an easier and cheaper choice at first and for off grid, stationary storage it could still be. However, there are several benefits of choosing a lithium-ion solution and it will pay off in the long run. If you need advice or support with energy solutions or how you can replace your lead acid batteries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

*Flooded lead acid batteries has their plates completely submerged in electrolyte.

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