Below is a summary to distinguish the batteries difference.Although energy density is paramount, other important attributes are service life, load characteristics, maintenance requirements, self-discharge costs and safety. Nickel-cadmium is the first rechargeable battery in small format and forms a standard against which other chemistry are commonly compared.
Nickel-cadmium- mature but has moderate energy density. Nickel-cadmium is used where long life, high discharge rate and extended temperature range is important. Main applications are two-way radios, biomedical equipment and power tools. Nickel-cadmium contains toxic metals.
Nickel-metal-hydride- has a higher energy density compared to nickel-cadmium at the expense of reduced cycle life. There are no toxic metals. Applications include mobile phones and laptop computers. NiMH is viewed as steppingstone to lithium-based systems.
Lead-acid- most economical for larger power applications where weight is of little concern. Lead-acid is the preferred choice for hospital equipment, wheelchairs, emergency lighting and UPS systems. Lead acid is inexpensive and rugged. It serves a unique niche that would be hard to replace with other systems.
Lithium-ion- fastest growing battery system; offers high-energy density and low weight. Protection circuit are needed to limit voltage and current for safety reasons. Applications include notebook computers and cell phones. High current versions are available for power tools and medical devices.
LiFePO4-very promising and blooming in the market. A very good replacement for lead acid, Ni-MH and Ni-CD batteries, due to excellent performance of safety, high energy density, long cycle life and lower cost; very good choice for applications like solar storage, lighting system, portable appliances and UPS back up etc.
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