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What Is Lithium-ion Batteries: The Complete Guide

From golf carts to energy storage systems, most common electric storage items have lithium-ion batteries as part of their configuration. With a revolution in power storage, these batteries can discharge more electrical current and take a fraction to fully charge. 

But what is a lithium-ion battery and how does it work? In this article, we will look at the basics of lithium-ion batteries and see why it’s the preferred power storage option for many applications, including solar power setups.

energy storage system

What Is a Lithium-ion Battery?

Before we take a deep dive into the subject, let’s first answer the most important question: what are lithium-ion batteries? 

A lithium-ion or Li-Ion battery is a rechargeable battery type that has lithium compounds as an electrode component. It has the same structure and setup as typical nickel-cadmium and lead-acid batteries but is lighter, safer, and capable of longer discharges. Some variations of the lithium-ion battery include the lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4 battery) and the lithium ferrophosphate (LFP) battery. 

These batteries see great use in a wide assortment of electronic products. They are key to powering up mobile phones, vehicles, and emergency power systems, among others.

Lithium-ion Battery Components

A typical structure of a lithium-ion battery cell is composed of the following pieces:

  • Electrodes – refers to the positively and negatively charged cell ends attached to the current collectors.
  • Anode – negatively charged electrode, usually made from graphite.
  • Cathode – positively charged electrode, usually made from lithium cobalt oxide.
  • Electrolyte – the liquid material that conducts electricity through the setup. Most LI+ batteries use a type of organic compound called ether as an electrolyte.
  • Current Collectors – connected to the cell terminals, this transmits the current within the device, the power source, and the battery.
  • Separator – found between the anode and cathode, this porous polymetric film keeps electrodes separated while allowing lithium-ion exchange between both ends.

How Do Lithium-ion Batteries Work?

Now that we have a clearer picture of a Li-ion battery and what you’ll find inside one, time to understand how a typical LI+ battery works. In the previous section, we saw how a typical Li+ battery is set up, where anodes and cathodes are situated on opposite sides. Electrodes then freely move from one side to another with the help of electrolytes.

How lithium-ion batteries work

Discharging Process

When the Li+ battery supplies electrical currents, also called a discharge, lithium atoms are ionized by the anode and leave the electrons, creating lithium ions. These ions flow through the electrolyte going to the cathode on the other end through the electrolytes. The resulting connection to the cathode neutralizes the electrons, releasing the electric current that powers up the home appliances or vehicle.

Charging Process

The charging process of Li+ batteries works in a similar manner, albeit in reverse. Ionized lithium atoms are released from the cathode to the anode via the electrolyte.

Compared to other batteries, lithium-ion batteries can discharge more electric currents and charge faster. This is due to the smaller atomic weight and overall radius of lithium, which is a third of hydrogen and helium. With lithium-ion, the battery can have higher voltage levels and carry more charge, while charging from 0-100 faster for longer periods.

History and Development

The development of lithium-ion batteries started as an alternative to lithium-metal batteries. Due to lithium being the lightest metal available and having great electrochemical potential, researchers have been working on using the material as a battery component since the early 1900s. Despite advancements in their research and the release of the first non-rechargeable lithium batteries in the 1970s, the option for rechargeable lithium batteries was still out of the question.

This is where lithium-ion batteries come in. Seen as a viable alternative to lithium metal, R&D teams opted to use lithium-ion for battery manufacturing. While not as strong in energy density compared to lithium metal, it is more stable and safer to recharge, provided the right setup is made. Sony led the commercialization of lithium-ion batteries in 1991, with other manufacturers releasing theirs soon after.

Advantages of Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have advantages that make them a more suitable alternative power source than traditional nickel-cadmium batteries. Here are a number of perks li-ion batteries have:

Higher Energy Density

A key feature of lithium-ion batteries is their high energy density. Reaching up to 300 watt-hours per kilo, lithium-ion batteries have one of the highest energy densities in the market. It can also deliver higher voltage compared to its contemporaries, up to 3.6 volts.

Quick Charge and Longer Discharge Times

Another advantage that lithium-ion batteries have is their relatively short charge times and longer discharge times. Once plugged into a main power outlet, it takes a few hours for the battery to reach full capacity. Additionally, it retains the stored energy for longer periods, requiring longer intervals before self-discharging. 

Low Maintenance

Compared to other batteries, li-ion batteries are void of the memory effect, or the process of partially discharging to ‘remember’ a low battery level.

Longer Lifespan

Thanks to having longer self-discharge intervals when not in use, lithium-ion batteries have longer shelf life and stay fully charged longer. This means that they’re ready for use anytime. 

Safe and Non-Toxic

Since Li-ion batteries don’t contain lead or cadmium in their composition, the battery is completely non-toxic and safe for consumers to use.

What Is a Lithium-ion Battery Used For?

Due to the inherent benefits and affordable production costs associated with lithium-ion batteries, they’ve become the preferred power source for multiple industries. Some of the most popular applications of Li-Ion batteries are as follows: 

Consumer Electronics

If it requires a battery to function, chances are a Li-Ion battery is installed in it. Most consumer electronics feature a Li-Ion battery, from toys to power tools. And with the compact design of Li-ion batteries, they can even be used to power up small gadgets like watches. 

Digital Devices

Mobile phones, laptop computers, and portable digital devices like tablets and handheld gaming consoles are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Lightweight and rechargeable, this battery provides a reliable power source that doesn’t require a full discharge before recharging. 

Energy Storage

Li-Ion batteries have become one of the go-to battery options for energy storage. Whether as part of a solar power alternative setup or for mobile power banks, the small size and quick-charging capability of Li-ion batteries enhance the performance of these devices.

Emergency Power Systems

Almost every household or business relies on a constant supply of power to fully function, with power outages and power interruptions significantly hindering daily tasks. Li-ion-powered Universal Power Systems or UPS and Emergency Power Systems can provide power to devices instantly and for long durations, which makes them a dependable solution to these situations.

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicle and golf cart owners are slowly moving away from lead-acid and transitioning to Li-ion batteries. With its longer cycle life and better power capabilities, opting for a lithium-ion variant is a safe choice. Plus, since it uses the same connectors as lead-acid batteries, swapping is simpler than ever.

Mobility Aid Equipment

Moving around won’t be an issue for those with mobility issues, thanks to mobility equipment powered by lithium-ion batteries. The lightweight and reliable power capabilities of Li-ion batteries are used on mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, and stairlifts.

Alarm Systems

Security and alarm setups with lithium-ion batteries installed allow for reliable functionality even if the system is placed in remote locations. It can even work without interruption even if the main power source is cut off.


Whether you’re looking for stable energy storage solutions for solar power setups or affordable power alternatives for your customers, look no further than BLJ Solar. As one of the premier energy storage makers in China, expect no less than the best lithium-ion batteries from our warehouse.

BLJ Solar’s line of lithium-ion batteries excels at everything customers need in energy storage products: from high energy density and working voltage to long cycle life. It also maximizes the advantages of Li+ batteries, like low self-discharge rates, no memory effect, and smooth, eco-friendly operation. The versatility and top performance of our lithium-ion battery make it a great fit for any application, including grid connection and emergency power systems.

Lithium-ion battery

BLJ Solar Lithium-Ion Battery Advantage

  • Available in 12v and 24v voltage options.
  • Made from A-grade lithium iron phosphate.
  • Cutting-edge Battery Management System (BMS) developed in-house.
  • At least 10 years of low-maintenance service life.
  • Multi-level safety protection protocols.
  • Seamless RS485/RS232/CAN communication.
  • Compatibility with different energy storage inverters.

The BLJ Solar Guarantee

BLJ Solar is a professional manufacturer of solar-related products with more than a decade of production experience. Utilizing modern technology and sophisticated designs, we offer an assortment of solar batteries, solar panels, solar inverters, portable power stations, and energy storage solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

Quality and dependable performance in every lithium-ion battery is the primary focus of BLJ Solar’s production philosophy. Our modern facility combines a smart manufacturing process featuring automated production lines and a smart management system for quality control, ensuring top-notch output with consistent results. Talented R&D experts handle lithium-ion battery designs while constantly raising the bar of innovation, developing advanced BMS technology and creative assembly for optimized battery performance. 

Complementing our world-class smart manufacturing is our wide range of comprehensive services that includes product customization and responsive customer support. Rely on our decade-long expertise to provide businesses with dependable and competitively priced Li+ batteries.


Since the late 90s, lithium-ion batteries have influenced the industry of power storage and energy alternative solutions. What was originally created as a substitute for lithium metal batteries, has proven to be the standard that modern batteries do their best to emulate. The versatility, dependability, and lightweight design of Li+ batteries make them indispensable for any application.Time to upgrade solar power and energy storage solutions with high-grade and energy-efficient lithium-ion batteries from BLJ Solar. Get in touch with our seasoned consultants today for a free consultation and see how our products and expertise can give your business an invaluable boost.

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