What is a vrla battery?
VRLA batteries are also referred to as valve-regulated lead-acid batteries in full. They can otherwise be known as sealed lead-acid/ maintenance-free batteries in some instances. This is a particular type of lead-acid cell that is primarily divided into two categories that include:
"Absorbent glass mat (AGM)
For gel cells, they incorporate silica dust into the electrolyte producing a thick putty-like gel. On the other hand, absorbent glass mat (AGM) cells include a fiberglass mesh in between the battery plates, which purpose to bound the electrolyte within the cells and separate the plates from coming into contact with each other. Every cell in a VRLA battery has an automating operating that allows the gases developed by overcharging the cells to escape into the atmosphere as well as prevent the infiltration of oxygen gas into the cells from the atmosphere.
Unlike the case in flooded batteries that are lead-acid based, water is not needed to be added periodically into the VRLA cells. This is because the oxygen that is produced when the cells are discharged at the positive plate of the battery recombines with the hydrogen which is expelled from the negative plate of the cells to create water which prevents water loss. There are valves put in place in these cells that open when the concentration of hydrogen gas within the cells becomes higher than usual.
These cells have been popularized in the EV industry because of their high specific power. It also includes low initial costs that make it easier to acquire an incorporate into the design of electric vehicles. The batteries also have fast charge capabilities and are free of any maintenance needs.
What are the advantages and limitations of vrla battery and lithium-ion?
When it comes to the overall performance between lithium-ion batteries and VRLA cells, one needs to evaluate all the benefits as well as limitations posed by these two types of battery technologies. Be sure to understand the designs for each of these two batteries and the reasons why they were designed that way. VRLA batteries, also known as gel cells, provide its users with a wide array of advantages and disadvantages. The same goes for lithium-ion batteries, which, as much as it currently dominates the industry as one of the most reliable power sources in battery technology, also comes with its characteristics that need to be identified to understand why they stand out.
VRLA batteries present the following advantages:
1.No maintenance required
These types of batteries are specifically manufactured to reduce or eliminate the emission of certain gases and leaks that originate from electrolyte movement. This ultimately reduces the effort that users need to put in to maintain these lead-acid based batteries as they do not require water periodically, unlike other types.
2.Reduced need for safety gear
When handling lead acid-based batteries, individuals are always advised to put on safety gear as the cells can be unpredictable when it comes to presenting hazardous risks due to their chemical composition. However, when it comes to VRLA gel batteries, manufacturers induced specific designs for containing the electrolyte and reduce emissions, therefore, reducing the need for safety gear when handling them.
Electrolyte emissions create leaks from within the cells that lead to the formation of rust. This rust can be reactive to the battery's chemical composition and therefore is deemed dangerous to the cells because it quickens degradation. VRLA batteries use an absorbent mat to contain the electrolyte, therefore, reducing leaks and rust as well.
Lithium-ion batteries, like VRLA types, do not require much maintenance to keep their performance in check unlike their predecessors. This is because the batteries do not suffer from the collective memory effect in which old versions were prone to.
1.High energy densities
This is one of the significant advantages that lithium-ion batteries have to offer the industry. They provide opportunities for electronic equipment to operate longer between charges while still being able to consume more power. Thus, the reason for the various applications to which this type of battery technology is subjected to from conventional devices to high-end electric vehicles.
Many rechargeable batteries have a problem with their self-discharge rates, and this is where lithium-ion batteries come in. They offer a much lower rate of self-discharge as compared to other rechargeable battery types like NiCad and NiMH batteries.
As much as gel cells come with its benefits, they also come with several limitations, including:
1.They are bulky
As compared to other standard batteries, VRLA cells are much more substantial and less portable than them. However, this shouldn't be a significant concern and only affects a few people.
Well, don't exaggerate the level of cost at which these batteries are subjected to as they may be expensive but not too much. The batteries design comes with many protective measures designed to counter the flaws that come with the design, and these precautions are what make it heavier and more expensive because of the extra materials used.
VRLA batteries are subject to the risks of overcharging. They have a problem with temperature sensitivity and therefore, can spill out. This can be a danger to the battery especially during leaks, which degrades the cells quicker.
Lithium-ion batteries are typically related to high costs. They usually are about 40% more expensive to manufacture as compared to NiCad batteries. For this reason, their use in many conventional electronic devices makes the gadgets themselves pricier.
2.Require extensive protection measures
Lithium-ion batteries need protective measures to prevent them from being overcharged and over-discharged as well. They also need to have their current maintained to safe limits within the cells. This has thus, tasked the manufacturers to put in protective measures into their designs and thus use more material that renders the batteries costly too.
How efficient are vrla battery and lithium-ion?
We can safely assume that these two battery types are both efficient, depending on their applications. However, lithium-ion cells are considered more efficient than VRLA batteries because they were invented to replace the gel cells and provide a much more reliable power source.
Both lithium-ion and VRLA are fantastic inventions in the battery technology and are hence recommendable for specific types of applications. As much as lithium-ion may be the dominant source of power between the two in today's age, both batteries present almost similar properties that make them recommendable for a variety of applications.