lithium-ion batteries

Power on the run is what batteries promise to provide. Batteries give us all the power of electricity that instead comes in a convenient form. The only problem with batteries is that they can run off flat very easily. Hence, a lot of people truly cannot depend on them. Ordinary batteries are also found to be a potential threat to the environment. Since people throw away millions of batteries every year, it becomes quite disposable. So how do lithium-ion batteries work? What are the chances of such batteries to replace ordinary ones?

Rechargeable batteries like lithium-ion radically come into the picture and help solve the problem. Everyone perceives the functions of lithium-ion batteries as fit for the generation. But how do they actually work, you may ask? Let’s find out the structure and features of the functionality that help ease so many problems at one go!

How lithium-ion batteries work

Lithium-ion batteries contain more than one cell that generates power. These cells are also known as power-generating compartments. One single cell generally consists of three components, namely:

  • Positive electrode
  • Negative electrode
  • Electrolyte

The simple construction goes, the positive electrode is connected to the positive (+) terminal and the negative electrode to the negative (-) terminal. between the two terminals, the electrolyte is set up.

Now, making the cells and their components is just as important to understand how these batteries actually work. The positive electrode is made up of lithium cobalt oxide or LiCoO2. In most new batteries, the positive electrode can also be found to be made up of lithium phosphate or LiFePO4. For negative electrodes, the chemical compound carbon or graphite is used to make them.

During the time of charging, the lithium cobalt oxide, which is the positive electrode, gives away some of the lithium ions, and the ions move up to the electrolyte and gradually to the graphite or negative electrode. In this entire process, the battery tends to take the energy and store it. When the battery gets to the point of discharge, the ions from the negative electrode move back to the positive electrode creating energy that helps to power the battery. 

A female engineer working in a chemistry lab for building batteries
The demand for lithium-ions batteries is indeed outstanding!

Ions moving through the electrolyte and the electrons that move around the external circuit are very much connected, and thus the process is interconnected as well. If one of the processes stops, it also makes the other processes stop as well. Any process not fulfilling its due procedure will make the battery lose power. Switching off the battery of whatever you’re charging will hence result in the break of the flow of electrons, and the power immediately discharges. 

What makes lithium-ion batteries win the show?

Unlike any other battery that a consumer would use, lithium ions offer so much when it comes to being energy-efficient, cost-effective and the likes. Sure, the traditional battery range may provide you with a similar service. Still, with lithium-ion, you’re looking at a faster charging capacity that can last longer than the typical ones. The high power density of the lithium ions sets it apart from the ones we regularly buy from the market.

One of the very demanding functionalities of lithium-ion is that; it can withstand very low temperatures. The operating capacity in cold temperatures is not very ideal when we look out for traditional batteries. 

Lithium-ion batteries weigh lighter than alkaline, lead, and traditional batteries. With portable devices, you’re so much more at ease carrying it to your vacation, work, or school. 

The high-performing standards of lithium replace any other battery in terms of functionality. Since it’s super long-lasting, most prefer to stick with it.

Is lithium-ion workable for mobile technology?

Having the highest charging density, you’d bet lithium-ion to be anything but bad for mobile and tablet technology. The lightweight feature of the batteries makes it work even better for such devices. 

Person holding back a smartphone in his hand with a charger connected to it
lithium-ion batteries have taken over the portable world!

Lithium is also the most electropositive element. The electropositivity allows lithium to produce energy in a much more easy way than in any comparable system. Lithium does not lose electrons easily, and hence the energy remains in a very stable condition.

Will lithium-ion batteries work in the future?

The significant advantages of lithium-ion batteries have made them outstanding in many sectors. lithium-ions are more reliable than any other technology. Unlike technologies such as nickel-cadmium, lithium ions do not suffer from memory effects. The memory effect makes the battery very hard to charge until it completely discharges. Since lithium-ion is also great for the environment, most people resort to it as a testament to saving nature.

picture of two batteries painted yellow and grey
Why stick to traditional batteries when lithium ion is ruling?

However, the future of lithium-ion batteries and their workability may not be as similar. Although large companies and in-vehicle technologies are adopting lithium-ion batteries, there might be a potential shift to battery technology years from today. The progression and development of the aluminum ion battery can take up the future leaders as it charges 1/60th time of lithium-ion. It is safe for use and much easy to recycle.

But until the whole development, lithium-ion takes the lead and will stay up-top in the market as the demand keeps rising. Lithium-ion will dominate the market through the next decade and the following years and so.

What are the downsides of using lithium-ion batteries?

Lithium ions are super impressive and have been ruling the market ever since it’s discovery. However, the battery comes with some downsides as well. The biggest downside of the is that it battery wears out very fast, which means it needs a replacement after 2-3 years. If you worry about your budget, lithium-ion batteries work well but cost a lot more than traditional batteries. 

Another widespread concern about lithium-ion batteries is that they can be very reactive, which leads to the possibility of malfunction. However, a built-in circuit breaker in lithium work actively to solve the problem of overheating. 


With the advancing technologies and the climate change that is almost as disruptive, any technology that supports the wellbeing of humans and nature is feasible for today and the future. More and more companies are shifting towards renewable energy and adopting means that can best support the user-friendly dynamics. Lithium-ion batteries are hence an excellent acceleration for the future.

September 12, 2021
A phone with it's battery compartment

How do lithium-ion batteries work?

Power on the run is what batteries promise to provide. Batteries give us all the power of electricity that instead comes in a convenient form. The […]