Category Archives: Science and Technology

Pros and Cons of Lithium Ion Batteries

Pros and Cons of Lithium Ion Batteries

Batteries as the source of power have been our undeniable part. Everything that doesn’t run directly from the wall socket, is definitely powered by batteries. The battery being the portable source of power has been very famous in every gadget, household appliance, and can even power small device to a bigger house.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are essential to our energy-dependent lifestyle. We put on watch on our wrist, mobile phone in our pocket and other devices as well. They come in two types, rechargeable and non-rechargeable power source. It has been a couple of decades since the commercial debut of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and today they are dominant in the market as the top choice of portable power. They can be constructed in various shapes and sizes, making it the most preferred one to squeeze the battery even in the tighter of the spaces. The batteries are lighter than their alternatives. Like every other technical component, Li-ion battery to isn’t untouched with the disadvantages.

Lithium Ion Batteries Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Lithium Ion Battery

Image: AZoM

Though the battery is widely used one and is being used for over two decades, there exists equally valued pros and cons. The pros and cons of lithium-ion batteries are given below.

Pros

  • High energy density:

Greater energy density is the chief advantage of Li-ion battery. The devices available in the markets are shrinking in size and need to survive longer between the charges as well, so having the higher density Li-ion battery will help them keep size small and charge holding capacity relatively high.

  • Self-discharge:

The batteries tend to lose their charge much faster when not in use. But with Li-ion batteries whose self-discharge charge is very low than the existing batteries in the market, the problem of self-discharge is highly minimized.

Also Read: Wind Energy Pros and Cons

  • Priming:

Some batteries out there have a need to be priming. Priming is the method of fully charging and fully discharging a battery. But Lithium-Ion battery has no such need. Therefore, li-ion battery saves a significant amount of time and hassle of charging and discharging before they can actually be used.

  • Low Maintenance:

Many batteries out there require frequent battery check by the means of charging and discharging even when not in use. This ensures that there is no memory effect, due to which the batteries start holding less charge. But memory effect doesn’t happen with li-ions, so, there is relatively lower maintenance required with Li-ion cells.

  • Variety of types available:

Li-ion batteries can be manufactured in a variety of types. Some devices require higher current density like in mobile devices and some require high current level like in power tools. Hence, li-ion batteries can be manufactured suiting every device’s needs and wants. This technological advantage has made the li-ion battery the ideal to use the battery.

  • Quick charging:

Unlike other batteries, li-ion batteries take a fraction of time to charge which makes it feasible to use. For example, you can charge your mobile device batteries at the higher speed just by choosing the chargers that can safely charge the battery with a higher current. But other batteries might just take longer time for similar capacity battery.

Cons

  • Protection required:

Li-ion battery and cell require a protection circuit to protect the battery from being overcharged and discharged too far below. The circuit protects the battery by not getting it deflected too far from the safe current limit. Though modern technology has the protection circuit either within the battery or in the device for protection.

  • Expensive:

The li-ion batteries are almost 40% expensive to manufacture than nickel-cadmium batteries. This makes the li-ion battery expensive than the nickel-cadmium and other batteries.

  • Ageing:

The Li-ion batteries suffers from the ageing effect. The charge holding duration is affected by the age of the battery and also the charging cycle. Some manufactures mention the maximum charging cycle of the battery as well. When the battery needs to be stored, the battery can be better charged up to 40-50% and stored in a cool place to increase the life.

  • Transportation:

Transporting the li-ion batteries is relatively risk task, specially by air. Although the battery is transferred in the luggage, but there must be a special care taken to avoid the batteries from short circuiting and should be kept in protective cases.

  • Immature technology:

The li-ion battery is still in the development phase, the manufacturers are constantly researching and trying to produce batteries with higher capacity. It doesn’t work out every time though, under an unfavorable condition of heat, no ventilation, high current flow and others, the battery might explode as well and catch fire. We have seen many incidents of a mobile battery exploding.

Conclusion

Every technology has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages. The cons of the technology cannot be eliminated completely but necessary steps can be taken to minimize the cons. By understanding the positives and negatives of the li-ion battery technology, we can make better choices of using the appropriate ones in the appropriate devices.

Wind Energy Pros and Cons

Wind Energy Pros and Cons

We have been naturally gifted with lots and lots of sources to extract energy from. The basic unit of life, the sun, provides us with warmth and light which can also be used to extract energy. The flowing river can be used to power houses through hydro-electricity. The heat as well can be used to extract electricity. The wind energy too is and alternative source of energy. There are areas all around the globe where the wind flow at just right speed over higher course of time that can be used to drive huge blades of windmills.

Wind costs us nothing, it is free everywhere and for everyone. This leads to a conclusion that the operation cost too is cheaper after once when the turbine starts to move and electricity is produced. The United States is planning to produce 20% of its energy from the wind by 2030, decreasing the reliability on the traditional fossil fuels. Research and development is taking place to address the challenges of making the wind power cheaper and more viable to individuals and the business enterprises out there.

Pros and Cons of Wind Energy:

Wind Energy Pros and Cons

After the solar energy, wind is speculated to be the alternative source of energy that could possibly aid in decreasing the consumption of fossil fuels. Though every technology has it upward side as well as the down side and wind energy too has it. The pros and cons of wind energy is listed below.

Pros of Wind Energy

  • Clean Source of Energy:

The production of electricity from wind is clean opposed to the coal, oil and other source which pollute the environment. Wind energy decreases our reliability on fossil fuels and helps in the improvement of environment as well as nations economy.

  • Renewable source:

Wind is renewable source of energy in a sense that till there is atmosphere on Earth, there will always be wind. Unlike fossil fuel, burning the fuel decreases the availability but wind energy doesn’t spend up on using. As long as the sun shines and wind blows, the wind energy can always be harnessed.

  • Cost effective:

Wind energy is produced through rotation of turbines. The turbine provides continuous energy as long as wind blows and doesn’t need any external energy to run the turbine. You don’t even have to harvest the turbine to produce electricity from your home, rather you can buy energy from the organizations which provide electricity from wind energy. It is cheaper to buy and cleaner to use.

  • Use of modern technology:
    Modern wind mills look sleek and attractive unlike older chunky and rusty wind mills. Modern ones are white, slick and good looking, if you have one on your land, you don’t have to worry about them being an eyesore.
  • Rapid Growth and Huge Potential:
    Wind energy has seen tremendous growth over last few years. U.S has seen growth on wind power capacity and is planning on producing 30% of total consumption of energy through wind power. Wind turbine are available in many shapes and sizes and you can have them according to your requirement and budget. It has huge potential as an alternative source, the need is just to have proper research done in order to find areas with maximum potential.

Also Read: Solar Energy Pros and Cons

Cons of Wind Energy:

  • Wind reliability:
    Wind doesn’t have any fixed schedule to flow. It does have a fixed time of year when it is the fastest, but it cannot be said that it will be this windy today. At the time when wind won’t help you, you won’t have any energy produced. And sometimes when there are high winds or storms, the wind might damage the turbine as well.
  • Threat to wildlife:
    The wildlife is under potential threat by the turbines, specially the flying ones. It becomes harder for the birds to fly across the areas with wind turbines. There isn’t a particular solution to the problem, but it’s definitely something that has to be watched for the possible consequences.
  • Noise Pollution:
    The wind turbines can become very noisy as they produce around 50-60dB of sound. If you have one by your house, it can be annoying. It’s a 24hrs torture. However, technology has been searching for a potential solution to minimize the noise of the turbine, but having house away from such wind turbine would be ideal.
  • Suitable to certain location:
    There are certain areas on Earth where the flow rate of wind is relatively constant and productive. The wind turbines are mostly set up in rural areas and for the energy to be transported to the urban areas, there has to be longer transmission lines to be set up which can cost extra in infrastructures.
  • Cost:
    Wind turbines are relatively costlier to setup in the beginning. The infrastructures will cost you a lot and it is hard to find someone who actually harvests wind energy to sell. As fossil fuels are easier to extract and easy to use, wind energy has potential disadvantage over fossil fuel due to cost.

Conclusion on Wind Energy Pros and Cons

The bottom line to this energy production technology is that the world is preparing for the alternative source and the wind energy looks promising one. There will be a day when along with solar PV panels’ farms, there will be a farm for the wind turbines as well and the consumption of the fossil fuel could be decreased to nil.

Solar Energy Pros and Cons

Solar Energy Pros and Cons

 What is solar energy?

Solar energy can be simply referred as an energy provided by the sun which is in the form of solar radiation creating possibilities in the production of solar electricity.

Electricity can be generally produced directly from photovoltaic cells which are made from materials which exhibit the “photovoltaic effect” i.e. when the sun rays hits the PV cell, the photons of light excite the electrons in the cell which makes them to flow because of which the electricity is generated. Solar energy is mainly produced during the day particularly during hot days when air-conditioners drive up electricity.

Australia is known as the sunniest countries in the world so it has huge potential for solar PV to make a significant contribution to electricity generation.

Solar Energy Pros and Cons

photocell boards

Pros of Solar Energy

  1. Renewable

The solar energy available is a renewable energy source which ultimately means that the people cannot run out of solar energy unlike the non-renewable energy sources.

People can have the access to solar energy for another more 6.5 billion years according to NASA.

  1. Good Availability:

Solar energy can be said as the mostly used energy which is easily available all over the world. Not only the countries closer to the Equator but also the countries far away have highest capacity of solar power in the world.

  1. Sustainable:

With being abundant and renewable the solar energy source is also very sustainable. This energy source meets the need of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. There isn’t any way that people can over-consume or over use the solar energy.

  1. Environmentally Friendly

Excessive use solar energy does not cause any kind of pollution. However, there are some emissions which are related with the manufacturing, transportation and installation of solar power systems which is nothing in comparison to most conventional energy sources.

  1. Reduces Electricity Costs

Using a solar energy, the homeowners can reduce their overall electricity expenses as solar energy produce more electricity than what they actually consume. It is calculated that adding solar panels to your home can bring in monthly savings of well above $100 in many states. As a result many homeowners choose leasing or power purchase agreements to finance their solar panels.

  1. Used in various purposes

Solar energy is used for different purposes such as generating electricity in places that have no grid connection, for distilling water in different places, or even to power satellites in space.

  1. Shared Solar

Because of lack of proper sunshine, shading, insufficient space and ownership issues, many American homes are unfit for solar panels. Due to improper sun rays distribution, people have introduced shared solar system, so the homeowners can subscribe to “community solar gardens”, and generate solar electricity with no solar panels on their own rooftops.

  1. Financial Support

The effective costs of solar panels are much less than the price before it used to be. Also in some cases, the price of a residential photovoltaic system can be cut more than 50%. Hence, government and state rebates have become available both on utility-scale and for the majority of homeowners.

  1. Low Maintenance

The attached solar power systems do not require a lot of maintenance. The solar panels require cleaning a couple of times a year. And in most of the cases, serious solar manufacturers ship 20- or 25-year warranties with their solar panels.

  1. Improved Technology

Technological improvements are being made in the solar power industry with new innovation in nanotechnology and quantum physics with the potential to triple the electrical output of solar panels.

Also Read: Pros and Cons of Drinking Beer

Cons of Solar Energy

  1. Price

The price range of solar panels is among the most debatable aspect on the entire solar energy pros and cons list. The solar panel used to be very expensive in back days but nowadays, the best solar panels can in many situations be cheaper than buying electricity from the utility. This has been made possible by its incentives.

  1. Intermittent

Solar energy is not the first choice of any people when it comes to meeting the base load energy demand because it is an intermittent energy source. Its access to sunlight is very limited at certain times i.e. morning and day time and during the overcast days it can be difficult.

  1. Energy Storage is Expensive

The technologies used for energy storage systems such as batteries to help smoothen out demand and load, making solar power more stable is quite expensive.

However, there are good correspondence between the access to solar energy and human energy demand. The electricity demand of the people increases in the middle of the day, the same time when there is a lot of sunlight!

  1. Exotic Materials

Some solar cell is made up of materials that are expensive and rarely found in nature. It is common among the thin-film solar cells which is based on either cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS).

  1. Associated with Pollution

Though solar energy is less known for pollution in comparison to fossil fuels, some problems do exist. The manufacturing processes of the panels are associated with greenhouse gas emissions. Some harmful gases Nitrogen trifluroide and sulfur hexafluoride has been traced during the production of solar panels. These are among the most harmful greenhouse gases which have many thousand times the impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide. As a result, the transportation and installation of solar power systems can also somewhat indirectly cause pollution.

  1. Requires Space

For solar panels to be kept in a house, the power density, or watt per square meter (W/m²) should be considered when looking at the amount of power which can be derived from a certain area of real estate of an energy source.