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Re: NiCad vs. Li ion Batteries

Title: NiCad vs. Li ion Batteries
The switch away from NiCad is happening or being considered in many applications because other batteries have superior characteristics such as power cycle, recharge time, and weight.  Li ion batteries have been around for a while, but are not considered the final stop in battery evolution, mostly they use a liquid or paste electrolyte.  One variant that is gaining acceptance, and is even available in some power tools, are the Li polymer ion (LiPON) batteries.  Here is where you could have some real influence on environmental outcomes.  Many of the first LiPON batteries were based on lithum cobalt carbonate, and involved a messy and wasteful vapor deposition process.  But many other types are available and under investigation, some of which replace the cobalt with molybdenum or manganese, and others with far simpler and less wasteful fabrication techniques.
None are exactly engineered with end-of-life in mind, and the final package looks very tricky to take apart.  But the mass of materials is greatly minimized compared to Li ion and NiCad, and the life is much better.  Some are being considered for use by contractors in circular saws, a very demanding application.
Good Luck!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 9:20 AM
Subject: NiCad vs. Li ion Batteries

I recently got the following request and don't have any idea how to answer it. It sounds like paper vs. plastic bags.  Do any p2techers have a preference and why.:

I work for a company that designs power tools for Ryobi, Ridgid, and Milwaukee.  I was currently working on a project that would possibly switch over a popular NiCad rechargeable battery pack to Lithium Ion in a cordless tool line.  I was interested to know about environmental implications to this decision.  I was told Li batteries where much better from an environmental standpoint than traditional NiCad.  I hope this is the case.  I'm slowly trying to make my company more aware of environmental implications on products they make and how they are manufactured.  Any information you can provide or connect me to would be very appreciated.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
John Calcagni
Waste Reduction Resource Center