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Lithium Titanate Batteries: Driving the energy revolution with safety and efficiency

Explore why Lithium Titanate Batteries lead the transition towards a more sustainable energy


Lithium Titanate Batteries (LTO) are gaining increasing popularity due to their advantages over other technologies traditionally used in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs)


This preference is growing for four main factors:


  • High charging and discharging speeds

  • Longer lifespan

  • The ability to operate over a wide range of temperatures

  • High safety and reliability

Currently, these batteries are utilized in various applications, from electric cars to conventional electronic devices, as well as in household or professional energy storage systems. These applications play a crucial role in our society’s energy transition, a commitment to which we are fully dedicated at rimsa.


In this article, we provide an overview of the key aspects of LTO batteries, explaining why this material has become so relevant to the sustainable energy industry and why an increasing number of batteries are adopting this technology.

 

1. What are lithium-ion batteries?


An electric battery is a device capable of converting the chemical energy stored in its components into electrical current in a reversible manner, allowing for the accumulation of energy (charging) for later use when needed (discharging).


The flow of current during the charging or discharging process in lithium-ion batteries involves the movement of lithium ions (Li+) from one electrode to another, entering or exiting the structure of the active materials based on the battery’s charging or discharging state. During the charging process, lithium cations move from the cathode to the anode, while during the discharging process, this process is reversed, releasing the accumulated energy. The charging speed of a battery depends on the ability of the active material to accommodate lithium ions reversibly in its structure.

 

2. Limitations and advantages of LTO batteries


The lifespan of a battery depends on various factors, with the most relevant being the active materials used in the electrodes and usage habits. Typically, a battery is considered to reach the end of its lifespan when its capacity falls below 80% of its initial capacity. The loss of capacity with successive charge and discharge cycles accelerates when higher charging speeds are employed, a growing necessity in our society.


Batteries employing lithium titanate (LTO) as an anodic material experience less capacity loss than batteries with conventional materials, extending their lifespan to 15 or 20 years with a daily charge-discharge cycle. The ability to charge and discharge at higher speeds enables quick utilization of stored energy, providing high power and replenishing the battery rapidly over the years by leveraging peaks in renewable energy production.


Furthermore, LTO batteries are safer as they are non-flammable and do not release toxic gases when overcharged or heated, significantly reducing the risk of fire or explosion. These batteries stand as a secure and reliable alternative for applications where safety is essential.


However, the relatively lower energy density compared to other materials suggests that, depending on the specific application, opting for another material may be preferable.

 

3. LTO as a material of present and future


Lithium Titanate batteries offer significant advantages compared to other materials:


  • A significantly longer lifecycle, extending the battery and/or device lifespan.

  • Enhanced safety, reducing the risk of accidents throughout its lifespan.

  • Capability to operate across a wide temperature range (-30 to 70ºC), allowing deployment as energy storage units in areas where conventional batteries may not be viable due to climate conditions.

  • High charging and discharging speeds, a crucial parameter given that elevated charging speed inevitably negatively impacts the lifespan of conventional batteries.

It is essential to consider the specific needs of each application when designing a battery to fulfill its function optimally for the maximum possible duration, taking into account the characteristics and specific requirements of the application. LTO stands out for its exceptional qualities, positioning itself as one of the most relevant materials in the near future for the emerging European battery industry.



by Roger Oriol, PhD - Senior R+D+i Engineer - Electrochemistry Division

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