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[Energy] #1 Secondary batteries, the driving force of modern civilization

by Eco Generation | 21-02-2020 08:20 Comments 10 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations



Secondary batteries, the driving force of modern civilization

 

 

By Science Columnist Ho-Gwan Ko

 

 

Today, many people carry around various electronic devices such as smartphones, wireless earphones, tablet PCs, e-book readers, and laptops. Running on electricity, these mobile devices commonly have batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are the ones generally used.


Lithium-ion batteries can be recharged and used many times. They are lightweight and can hold a lot of energy in a small volume. It is not too much to say that lithium-ion batteries have enabled the widespread use of mobile devices. In recognition of such importance, the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to John B. Goodenough, Akira Yoshino, and M. Stanley Whittingham for their contributions to the development of lithium-ion batteries.


Lithium-ion batteries are secondary batteries. At this point, you would naturally ask: "Then, are there primary batteries?" Yes, there are. Let's take a look at the difference.


A battery is a device that generates and provides electricity. The battery that we commonly use converts its chemical energy into electrical energy. Toys, watches, and flashlights are some of the typical uses of batteries. However, it is hard to reuse these batteries once they are used up. This is because the internal chemical reactions cannot be reversed. These batteries are called primary batteries.


In contrast, secondary batteries can be recharged and reused again and again. The process of converting electrical energy into chemical energy and storing it is called recharging, while the process of using the stored chemical energy to produce electrical energy is called discharging. Not being thrown away after use like normal batteries, secondary batteries help reduce overuse of resources as well as protect the environment. However, as they contain more toxic materials than their primary counterparts, disposing of them without care can lead to environmental pollution.


Secondary batteries include lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, lithium-ion, and lithium polymer batteries. They are divided based on the material used for the anode and cathode. Lead-acid batteries are widely used as starting batteries for cars. If the one in your car is not recharged on time or is completely discharged by reaching the end of life, your car will not start. While lead-acid batteries provide high capacity, they are heavy and can have harmful effects on humans and the environment if thrown away carelessly, as they are made with lead and sulfuric acid.


Nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries are secondary batteries used in portable electronic devices such as toys, digital cameras, and laptops. The use of them has recently decreased with the widespread use of lithium-ion batteries.


Most secondary batteries used in today’s portable electronic devices are lithium-ion batteries. Lithium, with atomic number 3, is the third lightest material after hydrogen and helium. Smaller and lighter than other batteries, lithium-ion batteries can produce higher voltages. In addition, they rarely self-discharge even when left unused, and have a long life.


Lithium-ion batteries could be called the main contributor to the manufacturing of small, powerful portable devices like smartphones. Thanks to their outstanding performance, they have been utilized in an even wider range of applications. Drones and electric vehicles also run on lithium-ion batteries.


However, lithium-ion batteries also have drawbacks. Above all, they carry a risk of explosion. You may have heard the news that the battery of a smartphone or laptop exploded. In addition, their performance decreases in cold weather. This is because the chemical reaction slows down at low temperatures. The lower the temperature, the lower the voltage and the faster it is discharged.


Then how can we use batteries in a smarter way? In winter, it is recommended to keep your battery warm in your pocket or by covering it with a cloth, rather than leaving them outside. For lithium-ion batteries, their life will become shorter, if they are fully discharged to 0%. In order to use the battery for a long time, you need to recharge it whenever you can. In addition, keep it plugged in to fully recharge even after reaching 100%. When in a hurry, we often use a fast battery charger, which quickly charges up a battery with a high current, but it has negative effects on battery performance. If you want your battery to last longer, it is better not to use a fast charger.


One last tip to use batteries correctly! Do not throw away used batteries; dispose of them in a dedicated battery recycling box.

 

Energy Column #1 Secondary batteries, the driving force of modern civilization

If it weren't for this small and lightweight secondary battery, the mobile era would not have come.

10 Comments

Bal krishna Pandey

  • Bal krishna Pandey says :
    thank you for this informative article @ecogeneration
    Posted 30-03-2020 23:37

Rachu Khanal

  • Rachu Khanal says :
    Secondary batteies indeed have been the drivong force of modern civilization
    Posted 28-03-2020 20:26

Garima Pandey

  • Garima Pandey says :
    Very interesting article. Thank you so much Tunza.
    Posted 28-03-2020 04:45

Dikshya Parajuli

Shreyas Krishna PS

  • Shreyas Krishna PS says :
    Thanks for the informative article Tunza :)
    Posted 20-03-2020 21:05

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Thank you fkr this amazing article @EcoGeneration
    Posted 06-03-2020 20:38

Justice Obiri

  • Justice Obiri says :
    Great info there, thank you
    Posted 29-02-2020 13:42

Dibya Bhatta

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Greetings Tunza
    This is very informative
    Thank you so much for this information!
    Green cheers
    Regards
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 28-02-2020 13:31

Vazira Ikhtiyorova

  • Vazira Ikhtiyorova says :
    Wooow! Great! Will follow given instructions:)
    Posted 22-02-2020 21:40

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