Scientists solve burning issue

Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have discovered a way to produce lithium-ion batteries without using flammable material.

  • E-Mail
By  Cleona Godinho Published  April 13, 2008

Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have discovered a way to produce lithium-ion batteries without using flammable material.

"We have succeeded in replacing the inflammable organic electrolytes with a non-flammable polymer that retains its shape," stated ISC team leader Dr. Kai-Christian Möller. "This considerably enhances the safety of lithium-ion batteries. What's more, because it is a solid substance, the electrolyte cannot leak out of the battery."

Over the past few years, overheating of lithium-ion batteries and flaming notebooks (as a result of manufacturing defects) have been a serious issue for both tech users and manufacturers alike.

In August of last year, Nokia recalled 46 million of its Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries after warning customers they could overheat when recharging. The global recall reportedly cost the firm US $172 million.

Meanwhile, in October 2006 Sony recalled around 3.5 million notebook batteries as part of the global replacement plan for its defective lithium-ion battery packs.

Other big names affected by battery recalls in recent years include Apple, HP, Dell and Toshiba.

Although the German team has a working prototype, they reckon it will be three to five years before the new batteries will be seen in laptops and mobile phones. The researchers reveal they still need to tweak the conductivity of the non-flammable polymer, so that the batteries can store and supply adequate power.

The team will showcase its new discovery at Germany's industrial tradeshow, Hannover Messe next week.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code