Graphene vs Lithium-Ion Battery Comparison

As the energy storage market grows to meet consumer demand, Graphene and Lithium-Ion compounds are being compared to determine a user’s ROI and environmental impact. When comparing home batteries, Cycle Life, Energy Density, Recyclability and Safety are key factors to consider.

Lithium-Ion Cycle Life

Lithium-Ion is a chemical substance that naturally degrades over time. A product’s Cycle Life is determined by the number of times it can ‘charge’ and ‘discharge’ efficiently throughout its lifespan. Most Lithium-Ion batteries on the market offer a 5,000-10,000 cycle life which generally equates to a 5-10 year lifespan (assuming 1,000 cycles per annum). Because Lithium-Ion technology requires a chemical reaction to exchange energy from the battery into a power source, this reaction is limited by the overall resource available. Essentially, every time the reaction occurs, a small amount of the chemical resource within the battery is used.

In summary, the reaction that occurs within a Lithium-Ion battery is finite and degrades in efficiency over the course of its life. This means that a Lithium-Ion battery’s once ‘fast’ response time gradually becomes slower and weaker each time it charges and discharges, until eventually losing its voltage and failing entirely.

Graphene Cycle Life

Unlike Lithium-Ion, Graphene-based hybrid Supercapacitors have a standard cycle-life of approximately 50,000. And, depending on its architecture, can reach up to 1,000,000 cycles over its lifetime. Graphene is a stable substance that can be derived from naturally forming graphite.

To supply power to and from a Hybrid-Supercapacitor energy storage system (PowerCap®) only a small chemical reaction is required. As the PowerCap® technology utilizes Graphene to store electrons until, upon request, they are immediately discharged. Because of PowerCap® technology’s notable cycle life, these systems have an estimated lifespan of 25-30 years, or even beyond.

Graphene vs Lithium Energy Density

Graphene is made up of a single layer of carbon atoms that are condensed to achieve a substance that is stronger than metal but lighter than a feather. These carbon atoms seamlessly connect in a hexagonal, honeycomb-like formation to create a high surface area for energy travel – being the reason why Graphene can charge and discharge rapidly. The same atomic structure is also responsible for the PowerCap®’s astonishingly high energy density. Where Lithium-Ion achieves an average energy density of 180Wh per kilogram, Graphene can achieve up to 600-700Wh per kilogram.

Recyclability of Lithium-Ion

Whilst up to 95% of Lithium-Ion based battery components can be recycled, a 2018 report by CSIRO indicated that approximately only 2% in Australia actually are. This is due to a lack of battery recycling centres, poor battery disposal education and waste centre mishandling. While this situation needs to improve regardless of the Lithium-Ion waste crisis, the material is hazardous and when discarded to general landfills has a devastating effect on the surrounding environment, wildlife and human health. The chemistry of Lithium-Ion also means that batteries may catch fire due to a reaction known as ‘thermal runaway’.

Recyclability of Graphene

Graphene is a wholly recyclable and biodegradable compound which means that if accidentally discarded (rather than recycled) would naturally break down over time. We strongly advise that all PowerCap® technology be recycled due to the exterior steel and copper components however, we can confidently reveal that no elements within PowerCap® technology are toxic or hazardous.