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June 16, 2022

Lithium-Iron based Battery Chemistry FAQ

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Lithium-Iron Cells

The Lithium-Iron chemistry deserves a separate section because it is one of a handful of lithium metal systems that have a 1.5 volt output (others are lithium/lead bismuthate, lithium/bismuth trioxide, lithium/copper oxide, and lithium/copper sulfide). Recently consumer cells that use the Li/Fe have reached the market, including the Energizer. These have advantage of having the same voltage as alkaline batteries with much more energy storage capacity, so they are called "voltage compatible" lithiums. They are not rechargeable. They have about 2.5 times the capacity of an alkaline battery of the same size, but only under high current discharge conditions (digital cameras, flashlights, motor driven toys, etc.). For small currents they don't have any advantage. Another advantage is the low self-discharge rate–10 years storage is quoted by the manufacturer. The discharge reactions are:

Type Reaction Nominal Voltage Range
FeS2 Version 2 FeS2 + 4 Li —> Fe + 2Li2S 1.6 Volts 1.6-1.4 V
FeS Version FeS + 2Li —> Fe + Li2S 1.5 Volts 1.5-1.2 V
Both Iron sulfide and Iron disulfide are used, the FeS2 is used in the Energizer. Electrolytes are organic materials such as propylene carbonate, dioxolane and dimethoxyelthane

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