A quasi-realistic aging test of NCA/graphite lithium-ion 18650 cylindrical cells is performed during a long-term low c-rate cycling and using a new protocol for testing and studying the aging. This to emulate a characteristic charge/discharge profile of off-grid PV-battery systems. The cells were partially cycled at four different cut-off voltages and two state of charge ranges (ΔSOC) for 1000 and 700 cycles over 24 months. Differential voltage analysis shows that a combination of loss of active material (LAM) and loss of lithium inventory (LLI) are the causes of capacity loss. Cells cycled with high cut-off voltages and wide ΔSOC (20% to 95%) were severely affected by material degradation and electrode shift. High cut-off voltage and narrow ΔSOC (65% to 95%) caused greater electrode degradation but negligible cell unbalance. Cell impedance is observed to increase in both cells. Cells cycled with middle to low cut-off voltages and narrow ΔSOC (35%-65% and 20% to 50%) had comparable degradation rates to calendar-aged cells. Cycling NCA/graphite cells with low c-rate and high cut-off voltages will degrade the electrode in the same way high c-rate would do. However, low c-rate at low and middle cut-off voltages greatly decrease cell degradation compared to similar conditions at middle to high c-rate, therefore increasing battery lifetime.
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© 2020 The Author(s). Published on behalf of The Electrochemical Society by IOP Publishing Limited.