NMC vs LFP – what is the difference?

Understanding the exact definition of lithium batteries can be perplexing due to widespread misconceptions. Questions about the disparities between lithium-ion batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries are riddled with inaccurate and misleading answers. 

In this article, we’ll save you time by providing accurate information and specific insights into the most common question on the web: NMC vs. LFP – what sets them apart?”

Lithium-ion batteries - for the green transition.

Lithium-ion batteries, commonly referred to as Li-Ion batteries, have become an indispensable part of our daily lives and play a crucial role in driving the green transition towards renewable energy sources.

These rechargeable powerhouses not only enable us to invest in off-grid, solar, and wind power solutions but also allow us to efficiently store surplus energy for future use in our facilities.

As a result, NMC batteries find widespread application in both residential and industrial energy storage systems.

The composition of lithium-ion batteries is structured with a graphite anode (-) and a cathode (+) made of various materials, defining the battery’s chemistry.

Throughout the charging and discharging cycles, lithium-ions move back and forth between the positive and negative electrodes, generating a flow of electrons and thereby creating an electrical current. This unique process empowers lithium-ion batteries to be highly efficient and versatile power sources for a diverse range of applications.

Lithium-Ion batteries - NMC

Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxides, or NMC, are batteries with cathode built of lithium, manganese and cobalt oxide. These rechargeable powerhouses have emerged as the preferred option for a wide range of applications.

Because of their extended cycle life and high energy density (the capacity to store a considerable amount of energy compared to their size and weight), NMC batteries are a preferred energy source (they store up to 150/200 Wh/kg). This is especially important for portable gadgets that demand a lot of energy to run for an extended period of time, such as mobile phones, laptops, and other electronic devices.

Aside from the large quantity of energy stored in NMC batteries, another attribute distinguishes them from other battery technologies: a long-life cycle. Before their performance starts decreasing considerably, NMC batteries can tolerate 500-1 000 cycles. Because of their strength, they are perfect for use in vehicles and digital gadgets that demand regular charging and discharging.

Because lithium-ion batteries contain flammable electrolytes, they must always be handled carefully to avoid battery damage. Otherwise, there is a risk of explosion and fire.

Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide Batteries


– Lithium, manganese, cobalt oxide


– Graphite

Specific energy (Energy Density)

– 150/200 Wh/kg

Nominal Voltage

– 3,6V

Charge rates

– From 0,7 C up to 1,0 C (higher charges can damage the battery)

Discharge rate

– 1C


– 500-1000 cycles

Shelf life

– Around 300 days

Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries - LFP

LFP, also called LiFePO4 batteries, are a form of lithium-ion battery in which iron phosphate is used as the cathode material. This unique combination has various benefits that have led to its rising popularity. In comparison to other batteries, they can withstand 1000-10,000 life cycles without degradation in performance. This makes LiFePO4 batteries ideal for applications that necessitate frequent charging and discharging (for example, electric vehicles that require daily charging).

In recent years, LFP batteries have experienced a surge in popularity, mainly owing to their outstanding safety features. These batteries exhibit remarkable resistance to thermal runaway, a critical condition that can lead to uncontrolled heating, fires, and explosions in other battery types. This exceptional safety profile makes LFP batteries an ideal option for applications where safety is of utmost importance, such energy storage systems. 

The inherent safety of LFP batteries lies in their ability to remain cool even during overcharging or overheating. The phosphate cathode’s unique properties prevent it from burning or bursting under such circumstances, ensuring a reliable and secure operation. As a result, LFP batteries are gaining significant traction as a preferred choice for applications that demand the highest level of safety assurance.

At the same time, lithium iron phosphate batteries have an extremely low self-discharge rate. This implies that the batteries can hold a charge for an extended amount of time while not in use and do not need to be recharged often. The LFP batteries have a shelf life of 350 days. As a result, they are ideal for backup power systems and for infrequently used equipment.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 Batteries)


– Iron phosphate


– Graphite

Specific energy (Energy Density)

– 90/120 Wh/kg

Nominal Voltage

– 3,20V or 3,30V

Charge rates

– 1C

Discharge rate

– 1-25C


– 1000-10 000 cycles

Shelf life

– 350 days

NMC vs LFP - which is best?

NMC or LFP may be selected based on a variety of criteria, depending on the particular needs of a given application. NMC batteries have a higher nominal voltage ranging from 3,6 V to 3,7 V per cell. LFP batteries, on the other hand, have a lower nominal voltage ranging from 3,2 V to 3,3 V per cell. This determines the battery´s compatibility with devices and applications. Medical applications, hybrid cars and electric vehicles are all in demand of high voltage batteries that do not require continual recharging.

Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are frequently used for applications that value safety, longevity, and performance in high-temperature conditions. They are less prone to catch fire or explode due to their better thermal stability. Energy storage systems, backup power systems, and electric forklifts are examples of applications where battery safety is critical for disposal.

Choosing Between NMC and LFP for a Greener Solution.

Many sectors have decided to invest heavily in sustainability. They want to select solutions that place a lesser strain on nature and its resources. So, while deciding between Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries and Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, various things must be examined if the organization wants a complete solution for its product.


LFP batteries use iron phosphate as the cathode material, which is more abundant and accessible than cobalt, which is used in NMC batteries. Mining's environmental effect is decreasing as iron phosphate becomes increasingly available.


LFP batteries are the greenest type of battery since they have less impact on the environment in comparison to other chemistries. They are entirely recyclable and therefore a good choice for those who seek a greener solution for their projects.


NMC batteries may also be recycled in order to recover important components and reduce environmental effects. However, the cobalt in NMC batteries is difficult to extract and recycle properly.

Is LFP better then NMC?

When selecting batteries for industrial applications, there are always issues about which chemistry is most suited to the performance. In some cases, LFP batteries are better than comparable NMC batteries. As we said previously, they have a long longevity, are safe to use and are environmentally friendly.

However, certain applications demand a lot of energy for a longer running duration, which is why many sectors opt for NMC as a primary energy source. Because the benefits of each battery type differ it is critical to have a specialized team selecting what attributes will influence the choice of the batteries.

LFP or NMC - guidance

Are you finding it difficult to determine the best energy solution for your application? Whether you’re exploring alternative chemistries or have a unique innovative idea, we understand the importance of making the right choice.

At Sparq, we have a dedicated team of skilled engineers and product specialists who excel in finding the perfect solution for a wide range of application areas. From medical applications to agricultural and energy storage systems, we are here to provide expert answers to your questions.

Let’s connect and delve deeper into your requirements for a fruitful discussion! Our team is ready to assist you in making the optimal decision for your specific needs.

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