What is a battery?
A battery is defined as any source of electrical energy that is generated by the direct conversion of chemical energy.
The chemical reaction that produces electricity may not be reversible and in that case the battery is called “primary battery” and must be disposed of once all the chemical energy has been converted to electricity and consumed. If on the other hand the chemical reaction is reversible, then the battery is called “secondary battery” and can be recharged via the input of electricity and used repeatedly. Such batteries are commonly called rechargeable batteries or accumulators.
Due to the wide range of applications the category of portable batteries can be further divided as follows:
- General purpose batteries: These are the familiar standard shape and size round or prismatic cells available in grocery stores, etc. Although the majority are single use primary batteries, they can also be rechargeable.
- Button Cells: These are generally non-rechargeable and specially designed for small appliances such as hearing aids, watches and toys. They have the shape of a button. Rechargeable button cells are also used in certain industrial applications.
- Battery packs: In most cases the battery packs contain rechargeable batteries, which fit into the design of appliances such as mobile phones, camcorders, etc.
Besides these main shapes of batteries more specialised batteries are made for specific professional users.
The chemistry of batteries defines the capacity, energy density and the ability to be recharged. Batteries displaying specific characteristics are then designed for optimal efficiency in specific applications.
Depending on the expected power demand of the appliance and the the intensity with which the appliance is used, different portable batteries can be selected.
Total primary and rechargeable by volume: According to EPBA statistics a total of 5 billion units of portable batteries were placed on the European market by the EPBA members in 2015. This included primary round and prismatic batteries, button cells and rechargeable batteries and packs.