Lithium iron phosphate battery (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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The lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, also called LFP battery, is a type of rechargeable battery, specifically a lithium-ion battery, which uses LiFePO4 as a cathode material. LiFePO4 batteries have somewhat lower energy density than the more common LiCoO2 design found in consumer electronics, but offers longer lifetimes, better power density (the speed that charge can be drawn from them) and are inherently safer. LiFePO4 is finding a number of roles in vehicle use and backup power.




LiFePO4 is a natural mineral of the olivine family. Its use as a battery electrode was first described in published literature by John Goodenough's research group at the University of Texas in 1996,[1][2] as a cathode material for rechargeable lithium batteries. Because of its low cost, non-toxicity, the high abundance of iron, its excellent thermal stability, safety characteristics, electrochemical performance, and specific capacity (170 mA·h/g, or 610 C/g) it gained some market acceptance.[3][4]

Its key barrier to commercialization was intrinsically low electrical conductivity. This problem, however, was then overcome by reducing the particle size, coating the LiFePO4 particles with conductive materials such as carbon, and doping[3] the result with cations of materials such as aluminiumniobium, and zirconium. This approach was developed by Yet-Ming Chiang and his coworkers at MIT. Products are now in mass production and are used in industrial products by major corporations including Black and Decker's DeWalt brand, the Fisker Karma,DaimlerCessna and BAE Systems.[citation needed]

MIT has introduced a new coating that allows the ions to move more easily within the battery. The "Beltway Battery" utilizes a bypass system that allows the lithium-ions to enter and leave the battery at a speed great enough to fully charge a battery in under a minute. The scientists discovered that by coating particles of lithium iron phosphate in a glassy material called lithium pyrophosphate, ions bypass the channels and move faster than in other batteries. Rechargeable batteries store up and discharge energy as charged atoms, known as ions, from between two electrodes called the anode and the cathode. Their charge and discharge rate are restricted by the speed with which these ions move. Such technology could reduce the weight and size of the batteries. A small prototype battery cell has been developed that can fully charge in 10 to 20 seconds, compared with six minutes for standard battery cells.[5]

[edit]Advantages and disadvantages

This article contains a pro and con listPlease help improve it by integrating both sides into a more neutral presentation. (November 2012)

Most lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion) used in consumer electronics products use lithium cobalt oxide cathodes (LiCoO2). Other varieties of lithium-ion batteries include lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) and lithium nickel oxide (LiNiO2). The batteries are named after the material used for their cathodes; the anodes are generally made of carbon and a variety of electrolytes are used.[citation needed]

The LiFePO4 battery uses a lithium-ion-derived chemistry and shares many advantages and disadvantages with otherLithium-ion battery chemistries. However, there are significant differences.

LFP chemistry offers a longer cycle life than other lithium-ion approaches.[6]

The use of phosphates avoids cobalt's cost and environmental concerns, particularly concerns about cobalt entering the environment through improper disposal.[6]

LiFePO4 has higher current or peak-power ratings than LiCoO2.[7]

The energy density (energy/volume) of a new LFP battery is some 14% lower than that of a new LiCoO2 battery.[8]Also, many brands of LFPs have a lower discharge rate than lead-acid or LiCoO2. Since discharge rate is a percentage of battery capacity a higher rate can be achieved by using a larger battery (more ampère-hours).

LiFePO4 cells experience a slower rate of capacity loss (aka greater calendar-life) than lithium-ion battery chemistries such as LiCoO2 cobalt or LiMn2O4 manganese spinel lithium-ion polymer batteries or lithium-ion batteries.[9][10] After one year on the shelf, a LiFePO4 cell typically has approximately the same energy density as a LiCoO2 Li-ion cell, because of LFP's slower decline of energy density. Thereafter, LiFePO4 likely has a higher density.


One important advantage over other lithium-ion chemistries is thermal and chemical stability, which improves battery safety.[6] LiFePO4 is an intrinsically safer cathode material than LiCoO2 and manganese spinel. TheFe-P-O bond is stronger than the Co-O bond, so that when abused, (short-circuited, overheated, etc.) the oxygen atoms are much harder to remove. This stabilization of the redox energies also helps fast ion migration.[citation needed]

As lithium migrates out of the cathode in a LiCoO2 cell, the CoO2 undergoes non-linear expansion that affects the structural integrity of the cell. The fully lithiated and unlithiated states of LiFePO4 are structurally similar which means that LiFePO4 cells are more structurally stable than LiCoO2 cells.[citation needed]

No lithium remains in the cathode of a fully charged LiFePO4 cell—in a LiCoO2 cell, approximately 50% remains in the cathode. LiFePO4 is highly resilient during oxygen loss, which typically results in an exothermic reaction in other lithium cells.[4]

As a result, lithium iron phosphate cells are much harder to ignite in the event of mishandling especially during charge, although any battery, once fully charged, can only dissipate overcharge energy as heat. Therefore failure of the battery through misuse is still possible. It is commonly accepted that LiFePO4 battery does not decompose at high temperatures.[6] The difference between LFP and the LiPo battery cells commonly used in the aeromodeling hobby is particularly notable.[citation needed]


  • Cell voltage = min. discharge voltage = 2.8 V. Working voltage = 3.0 V – 3.3 V. Max. charge voltage = 3.6 V.
  • Volumetric energy density = 220 Wh/dm3 (790 kJ/dm3)
  • Gravimetric energy density = >90 Wh/kg[11] (>320 J/g)
  • 100% DOD cycle life (number of cycles to 80% of original capacity) = 2,000–7,000[12]
  • Cathode composition (weight)
  • Cell Configuration
  • Experimental conditions:
    • Room temperature
    • Voltage limits: 2.0 – 3.65 V
    • Charge: Up to C/1 rate up to 3.6 V, then constant voltage at 3.6 V until I < C/24


[edit]Solar Powered Path Lights

LFP cells are now used in high end solar powered path lights instead of NiCd. Their higher working voltage allows a single cell to drive an LED without needing a step-up circuit. That, along with their higher energy density, enables them to outperform their NiCd counterparts. Indeed, there are models that claim to be 24x brighter than baseline path lights.

[edit]One Laptop per Child

This type of battery technology is used on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project.[13] The batteries are manufactured by BYD Company of Shenzhen, China, the world's largest producer of Li-ion batteries.

OLPC uses LFP batteries in its XO laptops because they contain no toxic heavy metals in compliance with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive.[14]


LFP batteries were featured on the November 5, 2008 episode of Prototype This!. They were used as the power source for a hexapod (walking) vehicle.[citation needed]

This battery is used in the electric cars made by Aptera[15] and QUICC.[16]

Killacycle, the worlds fastest electric motorcycle, uses lithium iron phosphate batteries.[17]

Roehr Motorcycle Company, uses a 5.8 kW·h capacity LFP battery pack to power its supersport electric motorcycle.[citation needed]

LFP batteries are used by electric vehicles manufacturer Smith Electric Vehicles to power its products.[citation needed]

Minneapolis Electric Bike and Chicago Electric Bicycles use LFP batteries.[citation needed]

BYD, also a car manufacturer, plans to use its lithium iron phosphate batteries to power its PHEV, the F3DM andF6DM (Dual Mode), which will be the first commercial dual-mode electric car in the world. It plans to mass produce the cars in 2009.[18]

In May 2007 Lithium Technology Corp. announced a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery with cells large enough for use in hybrid cars, claiming they are "the largest cells of their kind in the world.".[19]

Some electronic cigarettes use these types of batteries.[1]

Shorai Inc. makes lithium-iron batteries for a variety of powersport vehicles (motorcycles, ATVs, etc...)

RC model cars may use these batteries, especially as RX and TX packs as a direct replacement of NiMh packs or LiPo packs without need for voltage regulator, as they provide 6.6v nominal voltage over 7.4v of LiPo packs, which is little higher and may require to be regulated down to 6.0v.

[edit]See also


  1. ^ "LiFePO4: A Novel Cathode Material for Rechargeable Batteries", A.K. Padhi, K.S. Nanjundaswamy, J.B. Goodenough, Electrochimical Society Meeting Abstracts,96-1, May, 1996, pp 73
  2. ^ Phospho-olivines as positive-electrode materials for rechargeable lithium batteries", A.K. Padhi, K.S. Nanjundaswamy and J.B. Goodenough, J. Electrochem. Soc., 144, 1188-1194 (1997).doi:10.1149/1.1837571.
  3. a b "Bigger, Cheaper, Safer Batteries: New material charges up lithium-ion battery work".
  4. a b Building safer Li ion
  5. ^ New Battery Technology Charges in Seconds
  6. a b c d Rechargable Lithium Batteries. Electropaedia- Battery and Energy Technologies
  7. ^ A Better Battery? The Lithium Ion Cell Gets Supercharged, Adam Hadhazy , Scientific American, 2009-03-11.
  8. ^ Guo, Y.; Hu, J.; Wan, L. Nanostructured Materials for Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage Devices. Adv Mater 2008, 20, 2878-2887
  9. ^ A123Systems "...Current test projecting excellent calendar life: 17% impedance growth and 23% capacity lossin 15 [fifteen!] years at 100% SOC, 60 deg. C..."
  10. ^ How to prolong lithium-based batteries "...The speed by which lithium-ion ages is governed by temperature and state-of-charge. Figure 1 illustrates the capacity loss as a function of these two parameters...
    • 25 °C...[100% state of charge]...80% after 1 year
    • 40 °C...[100% state of charge]...65% after 1 year
  11. ^ "Large-Format, Lithium Iron Phosphate - After Gutenberg". Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Pogue, David (2007-10-04). "Laptop With a Mission Widens Its Audience". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-04. LiFePO4 used in OLPC
  14. ^ "About the Laptop: Hardware". OLPC Foundation.
  15. ^ "Aptera unveils full specs for its flagship 2e"
  16. ^ "QUICC electric vehicles".
  17. ^ Bunch, Joey (2007-09-02). "Electric motorcycle fries gas-fired competitors"Denver Post.
  18. ^ China Daily 2008-12-16 08:13 "BYD zooms past Toyota, GM in electric car race"
  19. ^ "Next Generation Battery Technology Makes Hybrid and Electric Vehicles a Reality".
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