Sometimes the biggest threat to a lithium-ion battery pack is not the internal heat generated during discharge, but external heat from solar loading or hot ambient conditions. This is particularly true for iron phosphate cells (LiFePO4) which don’t generate as much heat as other lithium chemistries during discharge, but break down more quickly when exposed to high temperatures. Hot temperatures (hotter than 60°C/140°F) can be easily achieved inside a metal enclosure exposed to high-intensity sunlight (for example inside a metal shipping container or the trunk of a parked car). As solar technologies continue to decrease in cost, lithium-ion batteries are increasingly being deployed in hot and sunny climates. Addressing the challenge of environment heat is critical for a wide range of applications.
Cheaper Per Cycle Than Lead Acid in Hot Environments
A recent white paper published by AllCell found that in hot environments, lithium-ion batteries have a lower lifecycle cost of ownership than lead acid batteries. Even though the initial purchase price of lead acid batteries is significantly lower than the price of lithium-ion, when analyzed on a full life-cycle basis lithium-ion batteries are now cost-competitive in moderate climates and lower cost in hot climates. As solar photovoltaic costs continue to fall, the lightweight, long life cycle, and deep discharge capacity of lithium-ion battery systems will enable a growing range of grid-connected as well mobile, portable, and off-grid products and applications to become economically feasible.