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Batteries and Other Energy Storage Devices


The range and diversity of batteries used as a source of electrical power is truly enormous, reflecting the immense range of uses of electrical power. They range in size from tiny button cells storing milliwatthours of energy and delivering microwatts of power to giant load levelling batteries, the size of buildings, storing megawatthours and delivering megawatts. The diverse range of applications has spawned a multitude of specialist batteries, each optimised for a particular use. Some of the applications for which unique batteries have been designed are outlined below.


Corner Application / Requirement Battery type Corner

Low power, low cost consumer applications

Low power Primary and Secondary cells. Leclanché, Alkaline, NiCad, NiMH, Lithium primary, Lithium secondary.
Power tools, cordless equipment NiCad, NiMH, Lithium Ion
Small devices, hearing aids, watches, calculators, memory back up, wireless peripherals. Primary button and coin cells, Zinc air, Silver oxide, Lithium Thyonyl Chloride and other Lithium primaries
Medical implants , long life, low self discharge, high reliability Lithium primary, button and special cells
Automotive (Starting, Lighting & Ignition SLI) Lead acid

Automotive traction batteries

Lead acid, NiMH, Lithium Ion, NaNiCl

Industrial traction batteries Lead acid, Nickel Iron
Other traction batteries, robots, bicycles, scooters, wheelchairs, lawnmowers Lead acid, Nickel Zinc, NiMH, Lithium Ion
Deep discharge, boats, caravans Nickel Zinc, Lead acid, special construction
Standby power., UPS (Trickle charged) Lead acid
Emergency power, long shelf life Lithium cells, water activated batteries
Emergency power, stored electrolyte Ampoule batteries

Very high power, load levelling.

Pumped, renewable electrolyte

Flow batteries
Marine use, emergency power Water activated batteries
High voltage batteries Multiple cells
High capacity batteries, long discharge period. Multiple cells, special constructions, special chemistries

Low Power Maximum energy density

Remote instrumentation

Lithium Ion

Low Power Maximum power density

Power tools

Lithium Ion

High Power Maximum energy density

Traction batteries, EV applications

NiMH. Lithium Ion, NaNiCl

High Power Maximum power density

Booster batteries, HEV applications

NiMH. Lithium Ion, NaNiCl
Long shelf life, low self discharge Lithium, special chemical additives
Long cycle life Temperature controls, built in Battery Management Systems, recombinant systems , chemical additives
Light weight, satellites, aerospace applications Silver oxide, Nickel Hydrogen,
High power, very long discharge period, long life, low maintenance RTG Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Nuclear battery
High energy density, light weight Air electrolyte, Zinc air
Special shapes Solid state, Lithium polymer
Wide temperature range Chemical additives, built in heaters, liquid cooling
Low maintenance Sealed cells, recombinant chemistries.
Inherently safe Sealed cells, stored electrolyte, solid electrolyte, special chemistries
Robust Special constructions
Missiles & munitions, safe storage, single use, robust, short one off discharge High temperature batteries
Torpedoes, short one off discharge Water activated batteries

Intelligent battery Communications between charger and battery

Built in electronics to control charging and discharging.
AC battery Built in electronics (inverter) to provide AC power
Remote charging Solar cells with deep discharge batteries
Short period power boost Capacitors and Supercapacitors, Lithium, NiMH
Green power, non electric charging Fuel cells, Solar cells


Note: The above batteries are available in a wide range of cell constructions optimised for different applications


For more types - see also Alternative Batteries and History 100 Battery Types


Cell Chemistry Comparison Chart







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