Make car batteries cheap and safe? Maybe just heat the lithium iron phosphate battery...
Abstract: Wang Chaoyang and his team proved that if the heated LFP battery is frequently partially charged—it only takes 10 minutes—the lithium battery car should be able to run long distances without any inconvenience.
The British "New Scientist" weekly website reported on January 18 that lithium batteries that work under high temperature conditions may be cheaper and safer than other metal batteries used in electric vehicles.
Today, most batteries used in electric vehicles contain nickel and cobalt. However, nickel-based batteries may overheat during operation, posing a safety risk. In addition, nickel-based batteries are expensive, and the cobalt contained in them is toxic and difficult to obtain consistently.
Reports believe that a cheaper and safer alternative-lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries may be a better choice. The performance of LFP batteries is usually not as good as nickel-based batteries, but Wang Chaoyang and his colleagues at Pennsylvania State University have found that the performance of LFP batteries will improve if they are heated first.
The research team heated the LFP battery to 60 degrees Celsius and maintained this temperature. It was found that the performance of the LFP battery is better than the two common nickel-based batteries. LFP batteries perform well at 60 degrees Celsius because they generate much less extra heat during discharge.
The report pointed out that the reason why electric car manufacturers favor nickel batteries instead of LFP batteries is because the energy density of nickel batteries is higher, which means better endurance.
However, Wang Chaoyang and his team proved that if the heated LFP battery is frequently partially charged—it only takes 10 minutes—the lithium battery car should be able to run long distances without any inconvenience. This charging method may be safer than infrequent but fully charged nickel-based batteries, because long-term charging will heat up the battery and may cause a fire.
The researchers pointed out that although energy is required to heat LFP batteries, the performance advantages of operating LFP batteries at high temperatures outweigh any additional costs. In addition, since LFP batteries can operate safely at high temperatures, the battery cooling technology with nickel-based batteries is not so necessary. This also reduces the need for energy and helps reduce operating costs.
Wang Chaoyang said: "Lithium batteries will continue to reduce costs, improve fast charging capabilities and safety." His team is now working with battery and car manufacturers to use LFP batteries in electric vehicles.