Lithium iron phosphate battery

The lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery (also designated "LFP") is a type of rechargeable battery, specifically a lithium ion battery, which uses LiFePO4 as a cathode material.

LiFePO4 cells have higher discharge current, very fast charge times (5 minutes), high power density and do not explode under extreme conditions, but have lower voltage and energy density than normal Li-ion cells.


LiFePO4 was identified as a cathode material for rechargeable lithium batteries by John Goodenough's research group at the University of Texas in 1997cite paper|title=Phospho-olivines as positive-electrode materials for rechargeable lithium batteries, A.K. Padhi, K.S. Nanjundaswamy and J.B. Goodenough, J. Electrochem. Soc., 144, 1188-1194 (1997).|url=] . Because of its low cost, non-toxicity, the high abundance of iron, its excellent thermal stability, safety characteristics, good electrochemical per­formance, and high specific capacity (170 mA·h/g) it has gained some acceptance. cite news| title=Bigger, Cheaper, Safer Batteries: New material charges up lithium-ion battery work
format=html] cite paper
title=Building safer Li ion batteries

The key barrier to commercialization was its intrinsic low electricial conductivity, however, reducing the particle size and effectively coating the LiFePO4 particles with conductive materials such as carbon as well as the doping approaches developed by Yet-Ming Chiang and his coworkers at MIT with appropriate cations — such as aluminum, niobium, and zirconium overcomes this problem. It has been shown later that most of the conductivity improvement is due to presence of nanoscopic carbon, originated from organic precursors cite paper|title=N. Ravet, A. Abouimrane, and M. Armand, Nat. Mater., 2, 702 ~2003 ] . Products using the carbonized and doped nanophosphate materials developed by Chiang are now in high volume mass production by A123Systems and various other companies and are in use in industrial volumes by major corporations including Black and Decker, DeWalt, General Motors, Daimler, Cessna and BAE Systems among others.

Most lithium batteries (Li-ion) used in consumer electronics products are mostly lithium cobalt oxide batteries. Other lithium batteries include lithium-manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) and lithium-nickel oxide (LiNiO2). The cathodes of lithium batteries are made with the above materials, and the anodes are generally made of carbon.

Advantages and disadvantages

Being a lithium-ion-derived chemistry, the LiFePO4 chemistry shares many of the advantages and disadvantages of lithium ion chemistry. Key differences are safety and current rating. Cost is claimed to be a major difference, but that cannot be verified until the cells are more widely accepted.

LFP batteries have some drawbacks.

1. The capacity/size ratio of an LFP battery is somewhat lower than that of a LiCoO2 battery. Battery players across the world are currently working to find a way to get the maximum storage performance as well as smaller size/weight. Fact|date=October 2007

2. Brand new LFP's have been found to fail pre-maturily if they are "deep cycled" (discharged below 33% level) too early. A break-in period of 20 charging cycles is currently recommended by some distributers.

3. Rapid charging LFP's will shorten their life-span when compaired to traditional trickle charging.


* Cell voltage = Min discharge voltage = 2.8V Working voltage = 3.0V to 3.3V Max charge voltage = 3.6V.
* Volumetric Energy Density = 657 kJ/L
* Gravimetric Energy Density = >200 Wh/kg
* Deep Cycle life = ? (Number of Deep cycles to 66% of capacity)
* 80% Cycle life = 2000 (Number of Cycles using 80% of rated capacity)

* Cathode Composition (weight)
* 90% C-LiFePO4, grade Phos-Dev-12
* 5% Carbon EBN-10-10 (Superior Graphite)
* 5% PVDF
* Cell Configuration
* Carbon-Coated Aluminium current collector 15
* 1.54 cm2 cathode
* Electrolyte: EC-DMC 1-1 LiClO4 1M
* Anode: Metallic Lithium
* Experimental conditions:
* Room temperature
* Voltage limits: 2.5 – 4.2V
* Charge: C/4 up to 4.2V, then potentiostatic at 4.2V until I afety

LiFePO4 is an intrinsically safer cathode material than LiCoO2 and manganese spinel. The Fe-P-O bond is stronger than the Co-O bond so that when abused, (short-circuited, overheated, etc.) the oxygen atoms are much harder to remove. This stabilization of the redox energies also helps fast ion migration. Only under extreme heating (generally over 800 °C) does breakdown occur, which prevents the thermal runaway that LiCoO2 is prone to.Watch a [ video of safety aspects of Lithium Phosphate technology] compared to traditional metal-oxide battery technology.

As lithium migrates out of the cathode in a LiCoO2 cell, the CoO2 undergoes non-linear expansion, which affects the structural integrity of the cell. The fully lithiated and unlithiated states of LiFePO4 are structurally similar, which means that LiFePO4 cells are more structurally stable than LiCoO2 cells.

No lithium remains in the cathode of a fully charged LiFePO4 cell — in a LiCoO2 cell, approximately 50% remains in the cathode. LiFePO4 is highly resilient during oxygen loss, which typically results in an exothermic reaction in other lithium cells.


Lithium Technology Corp. announced in May 2007 the immediate availability of cells large enough for use in hybrid cars, claiming they are "the largest cells of their kind in the world."cite news|title= Next Generation Battery Technology Makes Hybrid and Electric Vehicles a Reality|url=|format=html] .

This type of battery is used on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project [ cite web | url = | title = Laptop With a Mission Widens Its Audience | publisher = New York Times | accessdate = 2007-10-04 LiFePO4 used in OLPC] .

Segway Personal Transporters advanced from a 10 mile range to a 24 mile range with Valence Lithium Phosphate technology.

OLPC batteries are manufactured by BYD Company of Shenzhen, China, the world's largest producer of Li-ion batteries. BYD, also a car manufacturer, plans to use Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries to power its own PHEV, the F3DM and F6DM (Dual Mode), which will be the first plug-in hybrid vehicles on sale in the world. It plans to mass produce the cars in 2009.


ee also

*A123Systems - makes lithium iron phosphate batteries
*Valence - makes lithium phosphate battery modules

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