Low Temperature Electrical Performance Characteristics of Li-Ion Cells 1999-01-2462
Advanced rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are presently being developed and commercialized worldwide for use in consumer electronics, military and space applications. The motivation behind these efforts involves, among other things, a favorable combination of energy and power density. For some of the applications the power sources may need to perform at a reasonable rate at subambient temperatures. Given the nature of the lithium-ion cell chemistry the low temperature performance of the cells may not be very good. At Sandia National Laboratories, we have used different electrochemical techniques such as impedance and charge/discharge at ambient and subambient temperatures to probe the various electrochemical processes that are occurring in Li-ion cells. The purpose of this study is to identify the component that reduces the cell performance at subambient temperatures. We carried out 3-electrode impedance measurements on the cells which allowed us to measure the anode and cathode impedances separately. Our impedance data suggests that while the variation in the electrolyte resistance between room temperature and -20°C is negligible, the cathode electrolyte interfacial resistance increases substantially in the same temperature span. We believe that the slow interfacial charge transfer kinetics at the cathode electrolyte may be responsible for the increase in cell impedance and poor cell performance.