LMFP versus LFP: What’s the difference?

Lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) or lithium iron phosphate (LFP)? Both lithium-ion batteries have advantages over other battery cells, especially when it comes to safety, environmental compatibility and costs. However, they differ in terms of energy density, performance and price. In this article, we look at the differences between LMFP and LFP batteries and highlight their respective strengths and weaknesses.

 

LMFP and LFP – these two pioneering lithium-ion batteries have changed the landscape of solar energy forever: From their beginnings in laboratory research to their use in solar systems and electric cars, these batteries have come a remarkable way. They are considered stable, safe and cost-effective. Their temperature sensitivity is low and their service life is long. But what is the difference between the two?

Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries: Cost-effective and safe

LFP batteries have made a name for themselves thanks to their cost efficiency, safety and environmental friendliness. In them, the cathode material consists of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4); the anode is made of graphite with a metal backing. This compound forms a stable olivine structure – a crystal structure that minimizes deformation during charge/discharge cycles. The absence of nickel and cobalt makes LFP cells safer and more environmentally friendly than other lithium-ion battery variants.

One of the main advantages is the high thermal and structural stability. LiFePO4 batteries are significantly less susceptible to “thermal runaway” than batteries with layered cathodes such as nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries. Thermal runaway is the name given to the self-reinforcing process in which the temperature of the battery rises uncontrollably, which can lead to a chain reaction: In such a case, you must expect overheating, fire or even an explosion. This safety aspect makes LFP cells the preferred choice for applications where safety is the top priority.

They are also characterized by a long service life of up to 6,000 cycles. Lithium-iron batteries are therefore ideal for the fixed storage of a balcony power plant. This is because the weight of the storage system is irrelevant. Despite these advantages, however, LFP batteries have a decisive disadvantage: their low energy density of just 170 Wh/kg. This limited capacity can restrict the energy supply, for example if the LFP storage system is also to store electricity for night-time consumption.

Lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) - an improved version of LFP

LMFP batteries are a further development of LFP rechargeable batteries. Some of the iron in the cathode is replaced by manganese (LiMnFePO4). As a result, LMFP batteries offer a higher energy density and operating voltage than LFP cells – which makes them ideal for emergency power and mobile power stations. However, LiFePO4 batteries perform slightly better in terms of service life and costs. They are therefore particularly suitable for permanent storage. Both technologies are considered to be extremely secure. The following table summarizes the most important advantages and disadvantages:

With stationary balcony batteries , weight is the least important factor that should influence your decision. The situation is different with portable batteries such as those for our portable mobile station or for electric cars
 
When choosing a battery for your balcony solar system, pay attention to the ideal ratio between weight and service life (number of cycles).

A direct performance comparison:

FeatureLMFPLFP
Theoretical storage capacity (mAh/g) 1170170
Practical storage capacity (mAh/g) 1135-160150-160
Maximum energy density (Wh/kg) 2230170
Operating voltage (V) 33,5 - 4,13,2 - 3,5
Cycle stability 42.000 - 3.0002.000 - 6.000
SecurityHighHigh
CostsLowVery low
Theoretical weight for a 10 kWh storage unit43.5 kg58.8 kg
Storage capacity 1

The storage capacity describes the performance of a battery and is given in kilowatt hours (kWh). As a solar storage tank should only be discharged to around 75-80% in practice in order to protect the battery, the actual available capacity is lower.

Energy density 2

The amount of energy in relation to the volume of a material is called energy density. It provides information on how much energy a battery can store in relation to its size and weight. The higher the value, the better.

Operating voltage 3

This figure indicates how much voltage a battery provides in normal operation. It is also called the nominal voltage.

Cycle stability 4

This key figure indicates how often a storage system can be fully charged and discharged before its storage capacity falls below 75% of the specified capacity. In other words, it provides information about the service life of the battery.

Why LMFP could be the choice for the future?

There are several reasons why LMFP batteries could gain in importance in the future and possibly overtake LFP batteries:

While LFP batteries are likely to dominate in the short term due to established supply chains and cost advantages, the technology curve could tilt in favor of LMFP batteries in the long term. Their ability to combine higher energy density with safety, stability and potentially lower costs makes LMFP a promising candidate for the batteries of the future.

Other lithium-ion battery variations: An overview

Although LMFP and LiFePO4 are the main players in this comparison, we also want to refer to the other lithium-ion batteries:

With up to 20 percent more energy density, LMFP cells have a greater storage capacity and can discharge large amounts of energy more quickly. This is a decisive advantage for power-hungry applications.

Similar to NMC cells, NCA batteries have a high energy density, meaning they can store a lot of energy in a small space. However, they have less structural stability, which makes them less resistant.

LTO batteries are characterized by a long cycle life and safety, but have a low energy density. They are mainly used in stationary electricity storage systems and applications with high power requirements but low storage capacity.

7 tips on how best to handle lithium batteries

Regardless of the cell type used, proper care and handling is crucial to get the most out of the performance and maximize the life of your lithium-ion batteries. Here are seven tips you should take to heart:

If you follow these tips, you will increase safety and can look forward to many years of full battery performance. If you no longer need it, find out what measures you can take to recycle it or how to dispose of it properly. Always use the designated take-back systems.

A look into the battery future

Lithium-iron batteries are a big step forward for electricity storage. With their higher energy density, improved safety and stability and potentially lower cost, LMFP batteries could become the next generation of batteries for emergency power supplies and mobile power stations. Their sustainability and the possibility of mixing them with other cathode materials make them a promising option.

 

LMFP batteries have the potential to revolutionize energy storage and reduce dependence on conventional energy systems. With LiMnFePO4 batteries, the future of energy storage could be within reach.

Especially for your balcony power station: maximum power for the electricity storage system

Balcony power station storage 2240Wh: LiFePO4 power storage

This LFP storage tank was specially developed for use in balcony power stations. It stores surplus electricity so that you can use it when you need it. With a capacity of 2240 Wh, it offers high performance.

 

Equipped with the latest battery management system technology and a five-year guarantee, this storage system is extremely durable and reliable. Your home is thus continuously supplied with electricity.

 

Mobile Powerstation 2047 Wh: LiMnFePO4 battery

This LMFP power station, equipped with a battery capacity of 2047 Wh, is ready to provide your home with a reliable backup power supply or to supply you with power during your outdoor adventures.

 

Its home backup UPS function has a response time of less than 8 ms – providing you with power immediately in the event of a power failure.

 

Thanks to its low weight and simple operation, this power station is extremely mobile and flexible to use. The integrated inverters enable seamless operation both on-grid and off-grid, making them a versatile solution for a wide range of applications.

 

With an AC output of 2000 W and an impressive operating temperature range of -20 to 60° C, it ensures a reliable power supply around the clock and helps to increase your energy self-sufficiency – by up to 80 percent.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

LFP batteries are more cost-efficient, safer and more environmentally friendly than other lithium-ion battery variants. The cathode material consists of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), the anode of graphite with a metal backing. They have a long service life of up to 6,000 cycles.

The cycle stability index provides information about the service life of the battery. A modern LMFP battery can be fully charged and discharged 2,000 to 3,000 times before its storage capacity falls below 75% of the stated capacity. With an LFP battery, the range is even up to 6,000.

Higher energy density than an LFP battery (up to 20 percent) also means greater storage capacity. Due to the efficient use of materials, LMFP storage systems are more sustainable (only 0.13 kg of iron and 0.38 kg of manganese are required per kilowatt hour (kWh) of LMFP cathode material – compared to 0.61 kg of iron source per kWh for LFP cathodes) than other battery technologies.