Lithium-ion bat­tery The bat­tery of fu­ture

Cost of pro­duc­tion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles is bound to come down in In­dia with ISRO agree­ing to trans­fer its bat­tery tech­nol­ogy for com­mer­cial use.

Alive - - News - ■ by G.V. Joshi

The au­thor­i­ties of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia (GoI) have re­quested In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISRO) to share the tech­nol­ogy in­dige­nously de­vel­oped tech­nol­ogy for the pro­duc­tion of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) bat­ter­ies with pub­lic sec­tor in­dus­tries in In­dia as well as those from pri­vate sec­tor, in­ter­ested in man­u­fac­tur­ing Li-ion bat­ter­ies.

ISRO had ear­lier de­vel­oped Li -ion bat­ter­ies for ap­pli­ca­tions in satel­lites and the rock­ets built by them.

The Vikram Sarab­hai Space Cen­tre un­der ISRO has de­vel­oped indige­nous tech­nol­ogy to man­u­fac­ture such high­power bat­ter­ies use­ful also for elec­tric au­to­mo­biles and elec­tric two wheel­ers and their fea­si­bil­ity tests have been suc­cess­ful.

A num­ber of automobile and bat­tery man­u­fac­tur­ers like M/S Mahin­dra and Mahin­dra, Re­nault, Tata Mo­tors, and the like as well as pub­lic sec­tor un­der­tak­ings like Bharat Heavy Elec­tri­cal Ltd (BHEL) and the In­dian Oil Cor­po­ra­tion (IOC) have ex­pressed their keen interest.

Lithium is a chem­i­cal el­e­ment with the sym­bol Li and Atomic Num­ber 3. The dis­cov­ery of lithium is at­trib­uted to the Jo­han A. Ar­fved­son of Swe­den,

who first iden­ti­fied it in 1817 while analysing the min­eral Pe­tal­ite. How­ever, it was made through the elec­trol­y­sis of lithium chlo­ride, by Sir Humphrey Davy and Wil­liam Thomas Brande in 1855 only. The first com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of lithium took place in Ger­many in 1923 when Me­tallge­sellschaft AG used elec­trol­y­sis to treat a molten mix­ture of lithium and potas­sium chlo­rides.

Lithium is a soft, sil­ver-white metal and is the light­est metal as well as light­est solid el­e­ment. It is highly re­ac­tive and flammable. For this rea­son, it is typ­i­cally stored in min­eral oil. It is used in a num­ber of in­dus­trial prod­ucts in the form of al­loys and com­pounds.

Ma­jor sources of lithium

The main rocks used as sources of lithium are: Spo­dumene – the most abun­dant and im­por­tant of the lithium con­tain­ing ores. It is found in North Amer­ica, Brazil, USSR, Spain, Africa, and Ar­gentina, Lepi­do­lite, found in Canada and Africa and Pe­tal­ite found in Africa and Swe­den.

Ac­cord­ing to Amer­i­can Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey, Chile had the largest re­serves of lithium by far (7.5 mil­lion tonnes). One of the largest re­serves of lithium is in the Salar de Uyuni area of Bo­livia, which has 5.4 mil­lion tonnes. Other ma­jor sup­pli­ers in­clude Aus­tralia, Ar­gentina and China. As of today, there is no worth­while source of lithium in In­dia.

The pro­duc­tion fig­ures for 2015 are Aus­tralia 13,400 tonnes, Chile 11,700 Tonnes, Ar­gentina 3,800 Tonnes, etc. The fig­ure for the whole world is 32,500 tonnes.

Lithium is most com­monly ex­tracted from spo­dumene.

An elec­tric bat­tery is a device con­sist­ing of one or more cells that con­vert stored chem­i­cal en­ergy into elec­tri­cal en­ergy. Each cell con­tains a pos­i­tive ter­mi­nal, or cath­ode, and a neg­a­tive ter­mi­nal, or an­ode. Elec­trolytes al­low ions to move be­tween the elec­trodes and ter­mi­nals, which al­lows cur­rent to flow out of the bat­tery to per­form work.

A cath­ode is the metal­lic elec­trode through which cur­rent flows out in a

po­lar­ized elec­tri­cal device. Con­versely, an an­ode is the elec­trode in a po­lar­ized elec­tri­cal device through which cur­rent flows in from an out­side cir­cuit. Cath­odes get their name from cations (pos­i­tively charged ions) and an­odes from an­ions (neg­a­tively charged ions).

The credit of us­ing the word "bat­tery" to de­scribe a group elec­tri­cal device goes to Benjamin Franklin, one of the found­ing fathers of the United States and a ver­sa­tile ge­nius. In 1748 he de­scribed a set of Ley­den jars as bat­tery of Ley­den Jars by anal­ogy to a bat­tery of can­nons. A Ley­den jar is a device that "stores" elec­tric charge.

The dry cell or dry bat­tery which can­not be recharged was in­vented by Carl Gass­ner of Ger­many in 1886-87. The first al­ka­line bat­tery was in­vented by Lewis Fred­er­ick Urry, in 1959. This also can­not be recharged and is dis­carded af­ter use. Thou­sands of tons of zinc–car­bon and al­ka­line bat­ter­ies are dis­carded ev­ery year around the world caus­ing huge en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion.

In 1859, a French physi­cian Gas­ton Planté in­vented the first recharge­able bat­tery. It was based on lead and acid, a sys­tem that is still used today. It is used in cars, bus and trucks.

Land­marks in devel­op­ment

Pi­o­neer­ing work with the lithium bat­tery be­gan in 1912 un­der Dr G.N. Lewis, an Amer­i­can phys­i­cal chemist. Lithium bat­ter­ies were first pro­posed by Dr M.S. Whit­ting­ham, an English chemist while working at Exxon Re­search & En­gi­neer­ing Com­pany in the US.

How­ever, pri­mary lithium bat­ter­ies in which the an­ode is made from metal­lic lithium posed se­ri­ous safety is­sues. As a re­sult, lithium-ion bat­ter­ies were de­vel­oped in which both an­ode and cath­ode are made of a ma­te­rial con­tain­ing lithium ions. An ion is an atom or mol­e­cule that has an elec­tric charge.

Dr John Ban­nis­ter Good­e­nough a physi­cist at The Univer­sity of Texas at Austin is widely cred­ited for the devel­op­ment of the Li-ion recharge­able bat­tery.

A ma­jor ad­van­tage of a Li­ion bat­tery is its high en­ergy den­sity. En­ergy den­sity is the amount of en­ergy that can be stored in a given mass of a sub­stance or sys­tem.

This gives the bat­tery a high-power rat­ing while still re­main­ing at a rel­a­tively small size. The com­pact size makes it a pop­u­lar choice in the mobile tele­phone in­dus­try. In ad­di­tion to mo­biles, they are also a pop­u­lar choice for elec­tric cars and golf carts.

There is no need to pro­vide special at­ten­tion to the Li-ion bat­ter­ies to main­tain their per­for­mance. Other types of bat­ter­ies, such as the nickel-based recharge­able bat­ter­ies re­quire a reg­u­lar dis­charge to main­tain op­ti­mal per­for­mance.

The Li-ion bat­tery is quick charg­ing. This is a ma­jor rea­son why they are used in phones, lap­top and tablet com­put­ers that are in need of the daily charg­ing with reg­u­lar use. They are com­monly used in the aero­space in­dus­try.

Most of the bat­ter­ies lose a cer­tain amount of charge af­ter dis­con­nect­ing from a power source. But, the Li-ion bat­tery has a dis­charge rate that is much lower than other types of bat­ter­ies. They also do not suf­fer from Mem­ory Ef­fect com­mon in Nickel based recharge­able bat­ter­ies.

A Li-ion bat­tery has great longevity and con­tin­ues to give re­li­able per­for­mance over a very long pe­riod. Plus, they can re­ceive a reg­u­lar charge without af­fect­ing any dif­fer­ence in its ca­pac­ity.

How­ever, they are ex­pen­sive. The process of mak­ing the lithium-ion bat­tery is quite long and ex­pen­sive. On av­er­age, this type of bat­tery costs nearly 40 per cent more to pro­duce com­pared to the nickel based bat­tery.

There are a few dis­ad­van­tages too. A Li-ion bat­tery it is not the eas­i­est type of bat­tery to trans­port. The us­able life­span of a Li-ion bat­tery can be short­ened if the bat­tery is reg­u­larly over­charged.

Lithium ore.

Working of lithium bat­ter­ies in au­to­mo­biles.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.