Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium combines the highest electrochemical potential with a low equivalent mass. These properties are the reason why lithium has become very attractive for lithium ion batteries (LIB).
Lithium ion batteries are high-energy-density power sources, especially important to all applications where mass matters. At the same time these devices are also capable of high charge and discharge rates, the second important requirement for utilization in mobility applications to achieve powerful acceleration in cars and e-bikes, as well as charge acceptance for energy recuperation during braking.
Lithium Salts for Cathode Active Materials
The most important application of lithium salts in LIB technology is their use in cathode material production. Many ten thousands of tons of different cathodes are being produced globally per year (i.e. LiCoO2, Li2Mn2 O4, LiFePO4, NMCs, NCAs etc.), using a growing amount of lithium salts. The main source of lithium in this application is currently Li2CO3 (lithium carbonate), followed by LiOH*H2O (lithium hydroxide monohydrate). The latter is gaining importance with high nickel content systems as well as lithium iron phosphate (nano crystalline) being on the rise.
Lithium Metal Anodes
The lithium anodes can be manufactured from high quality lithium metal (Na < 200 ppm), which guarantees very good processing properties. The bulk material can be transformed into soft foils with thicknesses as low as 30μm.
Besides the application of lithium metal in primary and secondary (polymer) lithium batteries, numerous lithium salts are used in electrolytes for these applications, too. These salts include lithium hexafluorophosphate, bis-(oxalate)borate, fluoride, chloride, bromide, iodide, perchlorate, and many more.
Next Generation Technologies
LIB technology in its current form is continuously being developed to improve the specific capacities and power densities; however, the next generation of lithium batteries is on the horizon already. Lithium/sulfur and lithium/air technologies have successfully proven their potentials. New materials are under development to satisfy the requirements and support the successful next generation of lithium technology.