Is there a powerful but safe lithium-ion battery for the marine industry?
And are there performance improvements for marine propulsion, diesel engine starting, or generator-off energy?
In 1995, the University of Texas patented lithium iron phosphate – known as LiFePO4. The technology has an energy density of about 120Wh/kg – about three to four times greater than lead-acid.
Essentially, it trades supreme power for supreme safety. In addition, it heats up only to a manageable 150°C, and is inherently safer than lead-acid batteries as there are no chemicals to spill or explode.
If the marine industry needs a better battery, it would seem that the solution is LiFePO4 as it offers an optimal balance between safety and power, given that these batteries are replacing lead-acid systems
installed in locations that are very close to danger zones in boats and yachts.
The marine industry tends to get new technology long after it has been released to the rest of the world. And even then, it is often a left-over design that has not been closely optimized for the specific needs of the marine industry. After struggling for 100 years with the same old lead-acid battery designs, it’s amazing how many marine customers now know exactly what improvements to batteries they want and
But the big lead-acid battery companies never came asking – and they still aren’t.
In summary, the battery of dreams would be, to some extent, a better lead-acid battery in that it would be a lithium-ion battery in a lead-acid battery footprint.
So what did the dream battery request list look like?
A lead-acid battery is either a deep-cycle type or an engine-starting type.
The industry need one battery that did both.