Lithium Iron Phosphate

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), also known as LFP, is a compound used in lithium iron phosphate batteries (related to Li-Ion batteries). It is targeted for use in power tools and electric vehicles. It is also used in OLPC XO education laptops. Most lithium batteries (Li-ion) used in 3C (computer, communication, consumer electronics) products are mostly lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) batteries. Other lithium batteries include lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4), lithium nickel oxide (LiNiO2), and lithium iron phosphate (LFP).

The cathodes of lithium batteries are made with the above materials, and the anodes are generally made of carbon. Avoiding the lithium cobalt oxide cathode leads to several advantages. LiCoO2 is one of the more expensive components of traditional li-ion batteries, giving LFP batteries the potential to become significantly cheaper to produce. Lithium iron phosphate has no known carcinogenicity, whereas lithium cobalt oxide does because it contains cobalt, which is listed as a possible human carcinogen by the IARC. LiCoO2 can lead to problems with runaway overheating and outgassing, particularly in the form of lithium polymer battery packs, making batteries that use it more susceptible to fire than LFP batteries.

This advantage means LFP batteries don’t need as intense charge monitoring as traditional li-ion. However, LFP batteries tend to have lower (~60%) energy density compared to conventional Li-ion.

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