What is LiFePO4 Battery?
LiFePO4 Battery (Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery) or LFP Battery (Lithium Ferrophosphate Battery) is a type of lithium-ion battery using LiFePO4 as the cathode material, and a graphitic carbon electrode with a metallic backing as the anode.
LiFePO4 Battery Cell Basic Specifications
Type: Mainly Prismatic (Square) or Cylinder
Nominal Cell Voltage: 3.2 V (CATL LiFePO4 Battery: 3.22V)
Operating Voltage: 2.5~3.65V
Cycle Life: 1500 to 10,000+ (Cycles depending on conditions)
Charge Mode: CC/CV (Constant Current/Constant Voltage)
Advantages of LiFePO4 Battery
- High Safety Performance & Stability
The stability of LiFePO4 batteries is because of the P-O bond in the lithium iron phosphate crystal structure is stable and difficult to decompose.
The decomposition temperature of lithium iron phosphate is about 350~500 ℃, leading to the LiFePO4 battery has very high safety performance.
The superior thermal and chemical stability of LiFePO4 batteries provides better safety characteristics than other lithium ion or lead acid batteries.
LiFePO4 batteries can withstand extreme weather conditions and temperature. They don’t have thermal runaways and don’t explode when they overheat or overcharge.
- Longer Lifespan (Cycle Life)
Generally, the cycle life of lead-acid batteries is about 300 ~ 500 times, while the cycle life of LiFePO4 batteries (LFP batteries) can reach more than 2000 times. Actually, the high qualified LiFePO4 battery cells like CATL battery could remain 80% DOD (Depth of Discharge) after 3000 ~ 3500 cycles of charging & discharging.
To put it simply, if a lead-acid battery could be used for 1 ~2 years, while the LiFePO4 battery could be used for 5 ~ 10 years. (Tips: Cycles depend on conditions!)
- Maintenance Free
As known, Lead-acid batteries need special maintenance. Otherwise their life span will be decreased even more. But LiFePO4 batteries don’t require extra maintenance to extend their lifespan.
- No Memory Effect
Rechargeable batteries often work under the condition of being fully charged, and the capacity will quickly drop below the rated capacity. This phenomenon is called the memory effect.
Memory effect occurs in batteries like nickel-metal hydride, nickel-cadmium, lead-acid batteries etc. But LiFePO4 batteries do not have this phenomenon.
No matter what SoC (Status of Charge) the LiFePO4 battery is, it can be used at any time without having to discharge it before charging.
- Compact Size & Lightweight
Compared to lead-acid batteries, LiFePO4 batteries provide great energy density (at least half the mass), causing the LiFePO4 batteries to be relatively small and light.
Go for LiFePO4 batteries if you have strict requirements on weight and size in your applications.
- High Discharge Rate
Lithium iron phosphate batteries have the added advantage of a steady discharge rate. When needed, they can also discharge at a higher rate.
To give an example, when the power goes down in a grid-tied solar setup and multiple appliances come online all at once, LiFePO4 batteries will handle the load without complications.
- Low Self-discharge Rate
Monthly self-discharge rate of LiFePO4 batteries is ≤3.5%/month, you can store them for a longer period of time.
- Environmentally Friendly
LiFePO4 batteries are non-toxic, non-contaminating and contain no rare earth metals, making them an environmentally conscious choice.
Disadvantages of LiFePO4 Battery
- LiFePO4 batteries are unfit for small devices such as smartphones.
- LiFePO4 batteries don’t perform well under low temperatures and need more protection and care.
- When used as power batteries, LiFePO4 batteries, like other batteries, also need to face battery consistency problems.
- Transportation problems are also common in lithium iron phosphate batteries.
- Energy Storage System: Solar and Wind energy storage systems
- Industrial Vehicles, such as forklift, AGV, Tractor, etc.
- RVs, Caravans
- Backup systems, UPS, Telecommunication Base Station
- Golf Carts
- Marines, Yacht, Trolling Motors, etc.
- EV (Electric Vehicles): BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles), HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles), PHEV (Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles), etc.
- Emergency Lights, Warning Lights, Solar Street Lights and Miner’s Lights etc.
- Lead-Acid Batteries Replacements
- Other uses include: Engine Start Battery, E-Bike (Electric Bicycle), Motorcycle, Scooter etc.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) batteries have lots of benefits compared to lead-acid batteries and other lithium batteries. Longer lifespan, maintenance free, extremely safe, lightweight, improved discharge and charge efficiency and so on.
LiFePO4 batteries definitely are not the cheapest in the market, but because of it has so many advantages, LiFePO4 batteries are gaining popularity worldwide.