High energy accumulators
Background: Batteries containing lithium are of great importance for the environment due to the hazard potential, the strongly increasing sales figures and the resulting need to secure collection. Lithium tends to react violently with water, which is why only water-free materials are used in the cells. The materials, for example fluorine-containing or phosphorus-containing guidelines, can release gaseous substances in case of fire and thus pose a significant risk to humans and the environment.
Lithium batteries have many advantages over other batteries and rechargeable batteries: high cell voltage (more volts), no memory effect and low self-discharge. However, they pose a fire hazard if used improperly. Through proper handling, valuable resources such as lithium, cobalt, manganese, silver or copper can be recovered.
Use of lithium batteries: Lithium batteries and lithium accumulators are used in notebooks, mobile phones, watches, cameras, calculators, memory chips or medical devices. There are both non-rechargeable lithium batteries and rechargeable lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries. With the rapid growth of information technology devices, the demand for lithium batteries is also growing.
Safe handling of lithium batteries: In general, lithium batteries are considered safe when handled properly. Nevertheless, dangers can result from mechanical damage, electrical faults and thermal effects.
- Due to mechanical damage, gaseous or liquid substances can escape, which can be highly irritating, flammable or even toxic.
- An electrical fault, such as a short circuit due to production error, can lead to overheating and fire.
- Even the external heating of a lithium battery, for example by sunlight or heating, can lead to fire or explosion.
Always make sure that the lithium battery is sufficiently protected against mechanical or thermal influences. If the lithium battery still shows signs of damage, it should be removed immediately from the device and disposed of professionally via the collection points.
Extend lifetime: With lithium-ion batteries, even more than with other batteries, the correct use prevents premature aging and the service life can be extended. You can avoid irrevocable losses of capacity by taking simple measures such as correct loading and storage during the usage phase:
A temperature range of 10-25 °C is optimal; temperatures above this can lead to accelerated aging. When charging the battery, both deep discharge and full charging should be avoided. After the complete charging of a battery, it should be disconnected from the charger shortly afterwards to prevent premature aging: Leaving the battery in the laptop when only working on the mains can damage the battery in the long term.
During prolonged storage, batteries should be stored away from equipment and not under high temperatures. Often the manufacturers recommend a charge of approx. 40% if a battery is stored for a long time, so the battery has enough energy for any self-discharge. However, one should not worry too much about the charging status of a battery. The most important thing is that it is stored cool and dry.
Correct disposal: Never throw lithium batteries and lithium accumulators – like all other batteries and accumulators – into the residual waste. On the one hand, separate collection keeps pollutants out of residual waste and the environment, which in this case can also cause fires. On the other hand, it enables the recycling of batteries and thus the recovery of valuable materials such as steel, zinc and nickel.
For lithium batteries and rechargeable batteries, tape the poles beforehand to avoid a short circuit. When disposing of old electrical equipment such as cameras or laptops, remove the batteries beforehand.
What else can they do:
- The same applies to lithium batteries: Whenever possible, rechargeable batteries should be preferred to non-rechargeable “throw-away” batteries for mobile devices.
- Lithium batteries are safe when handled properly.
- However, they can cause fires if used and stored improperly.
- Do not use defective lithium batteries.
- Tape the poles during storage and disposal to prevent short circuits.
- Dispose of used batteries and rechargeable batteries properly, preferably at the SDK’s mobile collection service or the Resources Center