Ternary Lithium Battery: The Definitive Guide

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What is ternary lithium battery?

Ternary lithium battery is a kind of lithium ion battery, which is a lithium secondary battery with three transition metal oxides of nickel, cobalt and manganese as the positive electrode material. Moreover, It combines the good cycle performance of lithium cobaltate, the high specific capacity of lithium nickelate, and the high safety and low cost of lithium manganate.

At present, the main types of lithium batteries on the market are divided into lithium cobalt oxide, lithium manganate, lithium nickel oxide, ternary materials, lithium iron phosphate, etc. However, ternary battery is currently the most widely popular and fastest growing rechargeable battery on the market.

According to the completeness of the assembly degree, we divide them into lithium battery cells and lithium battery packs.

How does ternary lithium battery work?

Same as other lithium batteries, the final ternary lithium battery are consist of 3 parts : lithium battery cell, BMS (battery management system PCBA), and housing basically. The work of lithium battery requires the three parts to work together. For the working principle details, please visit the article《How Do Lithium Ion Batteries Work?

ternary lithium battery structure
Ternary Lithium Battery Structure

What is cycle life of ternary lithium battery

Lithium battery life refers to the time when the battery capacity decrease to 70% of the nominal capacity after a period of use. The test environment are at room temperature 25°C, standard atmospheric pressure, 0.2C discharge battery capacity particularly. The industry generally calculates the cycle life of lithium batteries by the number of cycles.

The theoretical life of an ordinary ternary battery is about 800 cycles basically. Which is only moderate in the cycle life of a lithium battery. In comparison, lithium iron phosphate batteries can reach 2,000 to 6,000 cycles around. While lithium titanate battery can reach 10,000 to 25,000 cycles.

In addition, the cycle life is also closely related to the use environment, discharge rate, and battery consistency. In particular, the cycle life of the battery at a room temperature of 25 degrees is the longest . And the cycle life will be reduced if the temperature is too high or too low. Generally speaking, the best discharge current is 0.2C, which can maximize the life of lithium batteries. Excessive current will cause the internal structure of the battery to collapse, resulting in battery damage and end of life.

Curves Cycle Life Of Ternary Lithium Battery (18650 Battery)
Curves Cycle Life Of Ternary Lithium Battery (18650 Battery)

Advantages of ternary lithium batteries

  • High energy density. In fact, the highest energy density on the market is the ternary battery. This means that the battery can provide more energy in the smallest volume. For example, the typical reference is that the Tesla model Y uses a ternary battery with a cruising range of 440 kilometers.

  • The discharge platform voltage is high. The discharge voltage platform of a single ternary battery is as high as 3.7V, LiFePO4 is 3.2V, and lithium titanate batteryis only 2.3V. The higher the voltage platform voltage, the greater the specific capacity. Therefore, the same volume and weight, even the same ampere-hour, the higher the voltage platform of the ternary battery, the longer the battery life.

  • Long cycle life. As mentioned above, the cycle life of ternary battery can reach 800-1000 times in general.

  • Environmentally friendly and recyclable. Compared with lead-acid batteries, the recycling efficiency of ternary lithium batteries can reach more than 95%, while lead-acid batteries are difficult to recycle, which will have an impact on the environment.

Disadvantages of ternary lithium batteries

The biggest disadvantage of ternary lithium batteries is thta they have low safety factor. The structure of the ternary battery is not very stable, which resulting in poor safety of the ternary lithium battery. Lithium batteries can catch fire when the ternary battery is hit, or when it is continuously high temperature.

In addition, compared with lithium iron phosphate, the ternary battery can only reach about 800-1000 times, while the LiFePO4 battery can reach 2000-6000 times.

Model of ternary lithium batteries

In the market, there are several ternary ternary lithium battery, the main model including 14430 Battery, 14500 Battery, 14650 Battery, 16340 battery, 16650 Battery, 18350 Battery, 18650 battery, 18500 Battery, 20700 Battery, 21700 Battery. According to the application field, the ternary battery can be used for daily consumer electronics, power tools, portable power station, EVs, etc.

Are ternary lithium batteries safe?

Under high temperature conditions, the material of the ternary battery will decompose at 200 ° C. Which resulting in a violent chemical reaction, releasing oxygen atoms, and it is prone to combustion or explosion under continuous high temperature.

In order to ensure the safe use of the battery, the ternary lithium battery will be equipped with a BMS battery management system,battery cooling system, and a safety alarm system to prevent safety accidents.

The current level of battery technology is still improving step by step. At present, Tesla, BYD, Mercedes-Benz BMW, and other manufacturers have invested a lot of R&D funds to solve this problem. We believe that in the near future, safety should be within the controllable range.

Ternary lithium battery vs Lifepo4 ,which is the best?

Ternary lithium battery vs Lifepo4 Performance
Ternary lithium battery vs Lifepo4 Performance

Discharge Performance

At room temperature of 25℃, the discharge performance of ternary battery and LiFePO4 battery is the same. But when place the battery in a low temperature environment, the performance of ternary battery is better than that of LiFePO4 battery.

Energy Density

The energy density of the high-capacity 18650 ternary battery reached 232Wh/kg and will further increase to 293Wh/kg. In contrast, the current mainstream lithium iron phosphate battery has an energy density of only about 150Wh/kg. Therefore, the energy density of ternary lithium batteries is higher than that of iron lithium batteries.

Cycle life

Under the same use environment, the life of the ternary battery is about 800 to 1000 times. While the life of the lithium iron battery is 2000 to 6000 times. Therefore, the life of lithium iron phosphate batteries is much longer than that of ternary lithium batteries.

Ternary lithium battery vs Lifepo4
Ternary Battery vs Lifepo4 Battery

Related article

1. 《LFP Vs NMC Battery: Complete Comparison Guide

2. 《Top 10 Lithium Battery Manufacturers in China

3.《How Do Lithium Ion Batteries Work?

4.《How to extend lithium battery life?

5.《Top 10 Solid State Battery Companies

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