What Is LiFePO4 Battery (& Is LiFePO4 the Ideal Battery)?

Lithium iron phosphate (or LiFePO4) batteries become increasingly popular ever since the announcement of the BYD Blade battery technology, which comes with a lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) chemistry instead of the nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) mix. According to recent reports in 2022, the LiFePO4 battery is now the dominant battery chemistry for Chinese EV manufacturers. And nearly half of all vehicles produced by Tesla are equipped with LiFePO4 (LFP) batteries instead of NMC batteries due to LFP’s lower cost. It’s no doubt that the LiFePO4 battery has already become the star of the power battery market in China and abroad.

In the previous post, we talked about 6 types of lithium-ion batteries on the market, and the LiFePO4 battery is one of them. If you’ve read the article before, you should already know the basic knowledge of the LiFePO4 battery, which is considered the safest, most stable & most reliable lithium-ion battery.

But if you’re new to the lithium battery industry and have no idea what an LFP battery is, here’s a quick breakdown of almost everything you need to know about LiFePO4 batteries, including definition, benefits, applications, lifespan, price, charging, and more.

Read on for more details.

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What Is LiFePO4 Battery?

Lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4) is a kind of lithium-ion rechargeable battery for high-power applications, including EVs, electric tools, portable power tools, energy storage, yacht, etc. Lithium iron phosphate battery, lithium Ferro (iron) phosphate battery, LiFePO4 battery, or simply LFP battery are all referring to the same thing but with different names.

Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery

LiFePO4 battery basic features:
● Working voltage: 2.8V ~ 3.6V
● Nominal voltage: 3.2V
● Operating temperature range: -20℃~ +60℃

The difference between lithium iron phosphate batteries and other lithium-ion batteries such as lithium cobalt oxide or lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide is that the LFP battery uses lithium iron phosphate as the cathode material for storing lithium ions and graphite as the anode material.

Then what is lithium iron phosphate?

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is a widely used and cost-effective cathode material for lithium-ion cells. Unlike other lithium chemistries, lithium iron phosphate is an inherently safe chemistry due to its thermal and structural stability.

Here’s a table showing the comparison between LFP and other rechargeable batteries.

Chemistry

Voltage  Energy Density  Working Temp.  Cycle Life  Safety Environmental Cost based on cycle life x wh of SLA
LiFePO4 3.2V >120 wh/kg  -20-60 °C  >2000(0.2C
rate, IEC Standard)
Safe Good 0.15-0.25
lower than SLA
Lead-acid 2.0V > 35wh/kg  -20 – 40°C >200 Safe Not good 1
Ni/CD 1.2V > 40wh/kg  -20 – 50 °C >1000 Safe Bad 0.7
Ni/MH 1.2V  >80 wh/kg  -20 – 50 °C  >500 Safe Good 1.2-1.4
LiMnxNiyCozO2 3.7V >160 wh/kg  -20 – 40 °C  >500 better than LiCo OK 1.5-2.0
LiCoO2 3.7V >200 wh/kg  -20 – 60 °C  > 500 Unsafe w/o PCM OK

1.5-2.0

Notes:
● The LiFePO4 cells experience a slower rate of capacity loss than other lithium-ion battery chemistries.
● The lithium iron phosphate battery cells also feature a greater cell density than lead acid battery.

Read More: LiFePO4 vs. Lithium-ion: How Do They Compare?

Is LiFePO4 the Ideal Battery?

As you can see, there are many benefits offered by lithium iron phosphate batteries, but is it the ideal battery solution for you? And what exactly makes LiFePO4 battery a better choice for RV solar systems, portable power stations, solar applications, renewable energy storage, backup power, electric vehicles, and power appliances? Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of LFP batteries and find out the answers.

Lithium-ion Battery Recycling

Advantages of Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery

Stability & Safety
LiFePO4 battery is known for its excellent thermal and chemical stability, making it more reliable and safer than other lithium batteries. It is less prone to thermal runaway or explosion even at high temperatures, which means you don’t have to worry about it exploding or catching fire from misuse or structural damage.

Long Cycle Life
LiFePO4 battery provides longer cycle life, which is usually between 2,000 and 6,000, depending on different brands. And qualified LiFePO4 cells could remain 80% DoD after 2000 cycles of charging and discharging. Plus, LFP batteries have a low self-discharge rate of 3-5% per month, so they can be left in a discharged state for months or over a year without running out of juice or damaging the battery.

High Efficiency
Higher energy efficiency can be of vital importance in off-grid energy storage devices such as solar and wind. The LFP batteries have excellent operation efficiency because of their fast charging and discharging rate capability. According to the reports, the LiFePO4 battery’s round-trip energy efficiency (discharge from 100% to 0% and back to 100% charged) is over 90%, while the lead-acid battery is 80%.

What’s more, LFP batteries maintain a voltage of 13 to 13.4 volts when discharging up to 95+% while a lead-acid battery decreases in voltage from 13 to 12 volts or below. This example shows that the appliances equipped with LiFePO4 batteries will operate more efficiently during the discharge cycle than those using lead-acid batteries.
LiFePO4 State of Charge

Eco-Friendly & Sustainable
Lithium iron phosphate battery is considered an environmentally friendly choice in power batteries because it doesn’t contain any heavy metals or rare metals. So, when LFP batteries are disposed of inappropriately, there would be no negative impacts on the ecological environment. Also, with electrodes made of non-toxic materials, LFP batteries can be recycled to recover the materials used in their electrodes, making them more cost-effective and sustainable.

And more benefits of LFP batteries are as follow:
● Cost-Effective
● Light Weight
● Maintenance-Free
● Higher Rate of Charging and Discharging
● Wider Temperature Range
● More…

Disadvantages of Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery

The main drawbacks of LFP batteries are as follow:

Low Energy Density
The energy density of LiFePO4 batteries is between 15 to 25%, which is considerably lower than other lithium batteries. Because of the lower energy density, the LFP battery is not a good option for wearable devices like watches.

Poor Performance at Low Temperatures
Lithium iron phosphate batteries cannot be charged in below-freezing conditions. Charing a LiFePO4 battery under 32°F would cause lithium plating, which will lower the battery’s capacity and can cause short circuits and damage.

Low Tapped Density
Low tapped density can significantly decrease the energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries. Currently, the energy density of a commercially produced LFP is generally about 1.0 g/cm3, which is far below the density of lithium cobalt oxides which is about 2.2 g/cm3. In that case, LiFePO4-based batteries would be much larger than lithium cobalt-based batteries if we are trying to get the same discharge capacity.

You May Also Like: Causes of Failure Analysis of Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

Main Applications of LiFePO4 Batteries

LiFePO4 battery technology is applied to a wide variety of applications. Here is a list of the applications:
● Solar and Renewable Industry
Portable Power Station
● Telecom Base Station
● UPS and Backup Power
● Low-Speeded Vehicles: Golf Carts, Patrol Carts, Tourist Carts
● Electric Vehicles/E-Bikes/E-Scooters
● CCTV and Security System
RV/Motorhome/Caravan/Marine/Boats
● Much more: floor machines, liftgates, flashlights, electronic cigarettes, radio equipment, emergency lighting, etc.
Applications of LiFePO4 Battery

What LiFePO4 Batteries Does Etekware Offer?

As one of the top lithium-ion battery manufacturers in China, Etekware offers a complete line of LiFePO4 batteries for various applications. You can contact us if you have any questions.
Home Wall Mounted Battery
Outdoor Portable Power Station
UPS Backup Lithium Battery
LiFePO4 Battery Cell

FAQs about LiFePO4 Batteries

How should LiFePO4 batteries be stored?

Here are some tips for storing LiFePO4 batteries depending on different situations.
● For a short period of time, make sure that the battery has a state of charge at 50% or higher.
● For a long period of time, make sure to charge the lithium battery up to 100% before storing it.
● Most importantly, it is highly recommended that you store a LiFePO4 battery indoors at room temperature.

How can I make my LiFePO4 battery last longer?

If you want to extend the life of your LiFePO4 battery, you should be aware of the followings:
● Keep the battery temperature under 45 °C.
● Keep the charge and discharge current of the battery under 0.5C.
● Make sure the battery temperature is above 0 °C when discharging.
● Don’t cycle below 10% – 15% SOC.
● Don’t charge to 100% SOC if you do not need it.

Can I charge a lifepo4 battery with a normal charger?

The answer is no. It is highly recommended that you charge your LiFePO4 battery with a lithium iron phosphate battery charger, as it will be programmed with the appropriate voltage limits. To fully charge a 12V LFP battery, you’ll need a charger with a voltage of 14V to 14.6V.

Conclusion

In conclusion, LiFePO4 batteries offer lots of benefits compared to traditional lead-acid batteries and other lithium batteries. It is undoubtedly a good option for providing power to your RVs, EVs, boats, solar systems, and more. If you are considering buying an LFP battery or replacing the lead-acid battery with an LFP battery, make sure that you understand the pros and cons of the LFP batteries before making a purchase. If you still have any questions about LFP batteries, let us know in the comments below!

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