With the increasing demand for clean energies and to reduce CO² emissions, green energy is the solution to power the future. In order to power homes, devices, vehicles, and even airplanes, electricity should be stored in batteries to provide the power supply when needed. Researchers have been working for decades to come up with solutions to power storage problems. lithium-ion batteries were a major breakthrough in the industry. This technology lead to more powerful batteries, lighter in weight meaning they fit better in products and have great power specs. Lithium-ion batteries are mounted on a variety of products and they are still being developed to improve them.This article will talk about factors influence lithium ion battery prices.
1.What is the current price of lithium?
The extremely high demand for lithium in recent years has caused a huge rise in prices. Within the last couple of years, lithium metal prices went from $9.10 per metric ton in 2017 to $16.5 in 2018 reaching about $75 by March 2022. This huge jump in prices could be explained by downstream demand for lithium-ion batteries is increasing, while upstream lithium resource supply is tight.Experts believe the prices may drop but not significantly as companies are racing to buy this material to make lithium batteries.
2.Why lithium ion batteries are costly? Will lithium batteries get cheaper?
Used for electronic devices or even electric vehicles lithium-ion batteries aren't the only alternative. Compared to other battery types, lithium-ion batteries are more expensive and there is a good reason for that.
- Expensive metals: the main component of these batteries is lithium; this metal is relatively rare compared to other natural resources or metals like aluminum or iron. The demand for lithium increased in a way supplier couldn't provide enough of it to the market. A shortage in supplies raised the metal prices about 5 times.
- Processing cost: lithium is used in lithium batteries in its purest form, this is a major challenge for producers and increases costs. Also producing lithium require a lot of water and time.
In addition, the performance and advantages of lithium-ion batteries make the slightly higher price reasonable. Lithium-ion batteries have a high energy density and weigh a third as much as lead-acid batteries of the same specification. The life cycle of LFP battery can reach 3000 times and the memory effect will not appear in the process of use at the same time. There is no need to add water for maintenance, which saves a lot of maintenance and replacement costs.
Over the past decade, the price of lithium-ion batteries dropped significantly. The explanation is easy; back in the date, lithium-ion technology was new in the market and needed years to improve and make good selling. They are about 30% of the cost of an EV so dropping the costs will be great for the industry. However, the major increase of lithium metal prices by about 500% between 2021 and 2022 is expected to influence the price of lithium batteries meaning they may rise again.
3.How much is lithium battery per kWh?
The price of lithium-ion batteries per KWh was dropping during the last few years. It went from 140$ /KWh in 2020 to 132 $/ KWh in 2021. But recently the demand for lithium increased suddenly causing a shortage in supply which pushed the metal's prices higher than before. This will definitely cause a rise in lithium-ion batteries' prices per KWh. The good news is that many experts predict the price will be about 100$ per KWh by the year 2024. The main industry that will benefit from that is electric vehicle manufacturing. As lithium batteries make cars cost more than fossil fuel-powered vehicles, a significant drop in their prices will automatically affect the entire price.
4.Where to buy the cheap lithium battery?
The relatively high price of lithium-ion batteries makes users and companies look for the cheapest suppliers to reduce expenses. China is the world's top producer of lithium metal. Many Chinese companies produce lithium-ion batteries at competitive prices, compared to other brands their products are cheaper. But there is a difference between buying from a well-reputed Chinese brand and an imitation producer. You have to check the reviews of the product before buying to avoid any quality-related troubles.
5.Which is the best battery in the world?
The best batteries are lithium-ion batteries in terms of high performance. These lithium batteries are mounted on a variety of products like electronic devices, e-vehicles...
6.How long do lithium batteries last?
There are many types and models of lithium-ion batteries depending on their usage and functioning; rechargeable and single usage batteries. The life duration could be measured in years for single-usage lithium-ion batteries. Ordinary models can live 6 to 12 months, while some ultimate batteries can survive for many years. Lithium-ion batteries used for smoke detectors can live for 10 years. If stored properly, Lithium-ion batteries can last for 20 years and provide a stable power supply.
These batteries can be used in different products thanks to their high capacity. However, for the electric vehicle industry, even 4000 cycles isn't enough. Compared to thermal engine vehicles, a battery lasting that much can't be a solution. There comes the need for further research to improve those numbers.
Among the top lithium batteries for the future is a model with great specs. This battery has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Can survive up to 10000 charge-discharge cycles and could be fully charged in just 20 minutes. They are designed to be mounted on electric vehicles.
7.What are the disadvantages of lithium-ion batteries?
Like any product, lithium-ion batteries have pros and cons. Knowing their weakness is important in order to make the right choice and offroad money and time.
- Lithium-ion batteries are expensive when compared to other batteries. Their high prices are in the first places related to the fact that lithium is a rare metal and needs to be treated for long periods before it could be used.
- High-temperature sensitivity is a problem for lithium batteries.Even they have good performance, they are extremely sensitive to high temperatures. Overheating may lead to a fire or an explosion in a lithium battery which could be disastrous. But the lithium battery management system can prevent this.They have to be protected from many factors like overdischarge, overcharging, and dangerous power overloads.
- Transportation problems; there are many restrictions worldwide regarding lithium-ion batteries air transportation. Prior to some incidents, severe rules are made to limit the air carrying of these batteries. They can only be put in carry-on luggage and that limits their transportation.
- Although lithium batteries are used for more than a decade, they are still a relatively new technology under development. That could be a disadvantage as some of the problems couldn't be determined. But from another perspective that may be a positive point meaning better models will be available for users.
8.Are lithium batteries worth it?
Although they have disadvantages, lithium-ion batteries are a very promising technology. Companies are investing to improve them in order to power their future products. Lithium-ion batteries could be a bit expensive but their features make them worth it:
- High energy density: lithium batteries have higher energy than any other type. They can provide steady power flow for longer periods of time compared to any other model.
- Self-discharge: This is one of the major issues for rechargeable batteries. lithium-ion batteries have very low self-discharge rates compared to other types. This feature makes them last longer and gives users a better experience.
- A variety of lithium battery types are available in the market. Different sizes, capacities, and types make them mountable on many products.
- Zero maintenance, unlike other batteries like lead-acid, lithium-ion batteries don't corrode so they don't need to be inspected frequently. However, it's recommended to check their health to prolonge their lifetime.
- Fast charging and longer in-use time: so far these are the best features of lithium batteries. For all applications, a battery that recharges in a few minutes and lastest for many hours and even days is just perfect.
- Being more expensive doesn't mean buying lithium-ion batteries can't save you money. They last longer so they are replaced less often which saves a lot of money in the long term.
9.What will replace lithium batteries?
The entire world is working on reducing CO² emissions, electric vehicles can really solve this issue. They have electric motors and huge batteries to supply them with power. Currently, e-vehicles are using lithium-ion batteries which represent 20 to 40% of their total cost. To reduce the growing demand for lithium batteries, much research is conducted on other alternatives. A very promising alternative is the Sodium-ion batteries. Sodium is more available on earth than lithium and easier to harvest from salt which exists in very large quantities. This technology could be the future of electric vehicles if it is successful.
Lithium-ion batteries are a great source of power for many products. They have great specs like light-weight, high capacity, long-lasting, fast charge... These batteries are relatively expensive due to the process of their production but experts expect that to change in the future. Lithium technology will be more affordable as research will improve production ways and reduce costs.