Best practices to extend battery life and minimise degradation applauded


The Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC) has applauded research published by the University of Michigan in the Journal of Energy Storage on best practices for consumers for extending the life of lithium-ion batteries, as well as the cost savings associated with minimising degradation.

RBC is a coalition of companies, academics and organisations dedicated to the responsible management and environmental sustainability of batteries.

In the new research, the University of Michigan explores how to design and operate battery systems to maximise service life and limit degradation — by outlining nine consumer best practices for extending battery life to decrease costs and reduce environmental burdens associated with the production of new batteries.

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The new best practices address material consumption, mining impacts and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the disposal of used batteries. 

Many of the recommended practices discovered by the University of Michigan research team are related to three main variables that impact battery health: temperature, state of charge and current. Specific recommendations in the findings include:

  • Avoiding temperature extremes, both high and low, when using or storing lithium-ion batteries, with specific recommendations of leaving your phone or laptop out of direct sunlight, or parking and charging your electric vehicle in a shaded or cool location.
  • Minimising the amount of time a battery spends at either 100% or 0% charge, as both extremely high and low “states of charge” stress batteries.
  • Avoiding “fast-chargers,” that, while convenient, also degrade lithium-ion batteries more quickly than standard charging.

Steve Christensen, executive director at RBC, said: “As the nation and world shift to economies powered by batteries, it is paramount as responsible stewards of the environment that we extend the life of all types of batteries, particularly those in our cars and trucks.

 “This work by such a respected research institution as the University of Michigan is an important first step toward creating a generational change in how consumers use and manage batteries.”

The research is the second phase of work conducted by the University of Michigan and supported by RBC.  The first phase was published in May 2019 and outlined ten “Green Principles for Vehicle Energy Storage” (Green Principles) that represent a comprehensive set of recommendations to guide mobile battery deployment and technology development from an environmental perspective, particularly defining best practices for minimising the environmental impact of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. 

The International Energy Agency has predicted that 125 million electric vehicles will be on roads globally by 2030.