The development of Lithium-ion batteries


The Lithium-ion battery is being used increasingly in portable devices and finding the right one to suit your needs can noticeably improve your user experience. There are many specialized online shops that boast impressive ranges. Leading online suppliers such as RS Components and Premier Farnell, for example, have a wide range of batteries available online, including Lithium-ion ones, which offer several advantages compared to standard battery types.

Benefits of Li-ion batteries

The use of Lithium-ion batteries has been boosted recently due to their adaptability for mobile phones and laptops. They have a higher energy density and lower weight than the nickel-based alternatives, making them ideal for portable devices. Approximately five billion Li-ion batteries were sold worldwide last year.

Possible drawbacks

Despite the huge benefits of Li-ion batteries, their uses have been somewhat confined to small items such as laptops and mobile phones. Their suitability for electric cars is a matter of debate as such vehicles need a battery of 500 watt-hours per kilogram. The current batteries on the market only provide about 150 watt-hours, compared to petrol’s 12,000. Consequently, much more development is needed if the Li-ion battery is to be suitable for motor cars.


Development of the Li-ion is ongoing and some companies are adapting it by using non-flammable materials. Meanwhile, improvements are being made to the performance of the battery by getting more energy stored in the same available space and also making the battery capable of holding its charge for longer periods of time.

Further developments in lithium will see batteries getting even smaller, some as small as grains of sand, while greater use will be made of solar power, which will increase the number of ways the batteries can be recharged.

There is also work going into extending the life of the batteries. Their performance declines a couple of years into their life, but new technology in wireless recharging could extend this considerably.

The future

Some believe that lithium technology is already showing signs of age. While the aforementioned advances will ensure lithium will remain dominant for a while, long term, there cannot be a reliance on it if we want improved performance from our gadgets and vehicles.

Maybe, as some researchers claim, there will be increases in the sources of energy used to power devices and there will be no need for batteries at all? Ambient backscatter is already used to power devices and its further development could make batteries obsolete. This is doubtful as it is likely only to be available for the smallest of devices and laptops, with electric cars having to rely on batteries for a long time to come.

Assuming that batteries will continue to be used, magnesium ion may replace lithium in the future because magnesium is more abundant and therefore cheaper. Lithium air is another possibility, differing from Li-ion as it allows much greater “charge storage”. Neither of these alternatives is the finished article but their development may be viewed more closely in the coming years.




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