Is a home battery safe?
The safety of a home battery depends on its chemical composition and design. Different batteries are designed for specific applications, and the chemistry used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, for example, may differ from that of home batteries.
Different functions are expected from these cells. The EV batteries have to charge, discharge and be light. The battery of a mobile phone has to have a high specific energy (light) and usually does not have to last long. A home battery must be safe and have a long life.
Safety is of paramount importance for AlphaESS. That's why they have chosen the highly safe Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) chemistry for their home batteries. This chemical composition ensures the cells safe and non-flammable even in extreme conditions. This means that you can pierce the battery or cause a short circuit without risking a fire. The AlphaESS home battery is therefore extremely safe.
What is the difference between a lead-acid battery and a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery?
Lead batteries are cheaper but have some significant disadvantages compared to lithium batteries. They can only be discharged halfway, requiring a larger battery capacity. In addition, lead batteries are three to four times heavier and take up much more space. In recent years, lithium-ion technology has undergone a gigantic evolution in terms of capacity and price, making the LCC (Life Cycle Cost) much more favourable than for lead-acid batteries.
AlphaESS only uses Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cells, which are safer than the lithium batteries used in cars. The chemical composition of LFP cells virtually eliminates the risk of overheating and thermal runaway, making them safe and non-flammable even in extreme conditions. LFP cells also have a long lifespan. Although they are slightly heavier and less compact, this is usually not a problem in a domestic situation. An additional advantage is that the LFP cells do not contain any cobalt.
Are AlphaESS home batteries recyclable?
The disposal and recycling of batteries have significant environmental implications. While some lead-acid batteries are safely recycled to recover materials like lead, many of them end up in landfills, particularly in developing countries.
AlphaESS uses only Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) for its battery cells. As the electrodes in LFP batteries are made from non-toxic materials, they pose a much smaller threat to the environment than lead-acid batteries. LFP batteries can also be recycled to reuse the materials of the electrodes, wiring, and casings, some of which can be used in new lithium batteries. There are already LiFePO4 batteries available that contain recycled materials.
Due to the long lifespan of LFP batteries, the recycling processes are still in the early stages. As more lithium batteries reach the end of their useful life, recycling will become more efficient and cost-effective as engineers are continually improving the processes to recover the materials.