A Comparison of Lithium-Ion and Lead-Acid Aircraft Batteries 2008-01-2875
In recent years, a tremendous interest has spawned towards adapting Lithium-Ion battery technology for aircraft applications. Lithium-Ion technology is already being used in some military aircraft (e.g., the F-22, F-35 and the B-2) and it has also been selected as original equipment for large commercial aircraft (e.g., the Airbus A380 and Boeing B787). The advantages of Lithium-Ion technology over Lead-Acid and Nickel-Cadmium technologies are higher specific energy (Wh/kg) and energy density (Wh/L), and longer cycle life. Saving weight is especially important in aircraft applications, because it can boost fuel economy and increase mission capability. Disadvantages of Lithium-Ion technology include higher initial cost, limited calendar/float life, inferior low temperature performance, and more severe safety hazards. This paper will present a direct comparison of a 24-Volt, 28Ah Lead-Acid and a 24-volt, 28Ah Lithium-Ion aircraft battery. Performance data under various temperature conditions and rates of discharge are reported. Conclusions regarding the future of Lithium-Ion aircraft batteries are also included.