Lithium Iron Phosphate vs Lithium-ion Batteries

The advancements in the battery industry have made quite a few changes in recent years. As a result, superior and high-tech devices have become affordable. Lithium iron phosphate or LFB battery is the latest addition. The prices of LFP batteries have also made them handy. Besides that, their efficiencies have also improved. In some parts of the world, this battery has surpassed lithium-ion batteries. Manufacturers have started to use them in off-grid solar systems and electric vehicles. Li-ion batteries have finally got a worthy competitor.

Let’s look at the differences between both batteries and see which one is better.

How are LFP Batteries different from Li-ion Batteries?

Both types of batteries are rechargeable and use lithium ions to release electrical energy. The working of both batteries is also similar in many ways. But there are certain differences between them. These include their energy densities, weight, cost and performance.

Have a look at a few of them:

Energy Density

Regarding energy density, lithium-ion batteries are better than any other battery. It means they can store more energy compared to other batteries. That is the reason why manufacturers use them in lighter EVs. But the case is different for LFP batteries. They have uses in heavier devices such as remote controls.

Performance

Both the batteries perform well enough in EVs and other such devices. However, their design and chemistry will matter more if you have to use them for specific purposes. 

Cost

The production cost for LFP batteries is less than for Li-ion batteries. So, the former is less expensive. But their energy density is also low. So, you’ll need more LFP batteries to power your EV. But the case for lithium-ion batteries is different. Therefore, the cost advantage is more in lithium-ion batteries.

Safety

Li-ion batteries have liquid electrolytes in them. So, the chances of leakage are also high. That’s why they are not considered safe. On the other hand, LFP batteries are safer because of no issue associated with their overheating.

Composition

The LFP battery is a subtype of li-ion battery utilizing unique chemistry to increase the advantages. That’s why they’re popular in backup power solutions and off-grid systems. The cathode in LFPs consists of lithium iron phosphate. At the same time, the anode consists of carbon. Oxygen, phosphate and iron atoms in the cathode create covalent bonds. So, the chances of overheating and thermal runaway are less. LFPs are more stable than lithium-ion batteries.

Li-ion batteries consist of various chemical compositions. These include oxides of lithium manganese and lithium cobalt. Besides that, lithium iron phosphate is another addition to the list. These batteries also have an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte. The chemistries of both batteries differ in the cathode. The charging and discharging of both work in the same way. The electrons move in opposite directions when li-ions move from cathode to anode.

Weight

The weight and energy density of a battery go side-by-side. LFP batteries weigh more than Li-ion batteries. But some of them are lighter in weight as well. Some Li-ion batteries, like NCA and NCM, have higher energy densities. But they’re not ideal for solar applications anymore. Rather, home-power applications are switching to technologies like lithium iron phosphate batteries. LFPs weigh 10-12kg only. So, you can carry it in the house with ease.

Temperature Range

LFP batteries offer wide operating temperature ranges. They can work well in temperatures as low as -4 °F and as high as 140 °F. On the other hand, the temperature ranges of Li-ion batteries are small. That means storing it in climate-controlled places during extreme weather conditions. You can store LFP batteries in your garage, home, or anywhere. There is no need to worry about decreased efficiency.

Lifespan

Many Li-ion batteries have at most 1000 charge cycles. After that, their performance starts to degrade. But the case is different for LFP batteries. They can go through thousands of charge cycles. For example, some LFP batteries have 6000 charge cycles before their capacity drops to 50%. It means LFP batteries have a reliable lifespan. But that doesn’t mean the battery will stop working after that. Rather, it can still serve you for years.

The differences between both the batteries are clear. However, it’s up to you to decide based on your needs.

Which of these batteries is recyclable?

Both lithium-ion batteries and lithium-iron phosphate batteries are recyclable. However, the process of recycling is different depending on their composition. Recycling LFP batteries is easier compared to Li-ion batteries. The reason is that the cathode in LFP batteries is made of iron phosphate. This material is not harmful, which makes things easy. Besides that, LFP batteries contain no toxic or heavy metals either. As a result, they are easy to handle. Hence, their recycling is also simple.

In comparison, Li-ion batteries contain toxic and heavy materials in their cathode. So they are more challenging to recycle. Also, Li-ion batteries consist of a cathode, anode and electrolyte. So, you’ve to break the battery down into various components first. After that, you’ve to separate all three of its parts. It makes the entire process more complex. All in all, it’s possible to recycle both types of batteries. However, the complexity of the process for both is different.

Both Li-ion batteries and LFPs have some similarities in them. But the differences are what make you decide what’s suitable. The differences in chemistry, composition, cost and weight are significant. As a result, the choice will depend on your needs.

Conclusion

Investing in a battery bank is a big deal these days. But you’ve to decide what you need it for. If you want it for your off-grid system, the LFP battery is a good choice. One of the reasons is its added safety feature. The risk of overheating and thermal runaway is also not there. Also, the longer lifespans of LFP batteries make your investment worth it. However, Li-ion batteries have their advantages. All in all, you’ve to consider all the factors and decide what suits you best.

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