Lithium Ion Batteries

Lithium Ion Batteries

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There are very few people in the industrial world who have not had some experience with lithium ion battery technology. Lithium ion batteries power almost all modern electronic calculators, electronic watches and cell phones. The advent of rechargeable lithium ion technology in the early 1990s led to such widespread acceptance of the technology that in Japan in 2011, two-thirds of all portable secondary battery sales were lithiums.

Lithium technology has a number of properties that make these rechargeable batteries so attractive. Most important—especially for those used in cell phones—is that they don’t acquire a memory. They can therefore be recharged from any state of charge without adversely affecting their capacity. The second helpful feature is that lithium ion batteries can be recharged very rapidly. A NiCad battery that used to power early cell phones took almost four hours to charge. The Lithium ion battery that charges a new similar cell phone takes about 45 minutes and lasts almost three times longer.

Lithium ion batteries have been making their way into the marine market due to the features noted above for the smaller batteries. In addition, two other lithium battery features are finding great favor with boat owners.

The first is a relatively light weight. Lithium is one of the lightest elements in the periodic table that is not a gas. It floats on water, and a cubic foot of it weighs 62.4 pounds. By comparison, a cubic foot of lead tips the scales at about 710 pounds. A lithium-based battery of about 61 pounds will have approximately the same capacity as a lead-based battery of 168 pounds. This gives marine designers, builders and decorators much more flexibility.