A Lithium-Ion Battery That Works Even When It’s on Fire

Maria J. Danford

Again in the early 1990s, when local firefighters been given a contact from Moli Energy, they realized precisely wherever to head: the company’s battery warehouse. The Vancouver-based mostly organization was the to start with to mass make rechargeable lithium-metal batteries. But the batteries experienced a horrible pattern of exploding, which ultimately led to a large remember that bankrupted the organization.

Thirty yrs have passed, but today’s lithium-ion batteries are nonetheless wont to blow up. One perpetrator is the liquid electrolyte, a typically flammable organic and natural solvent that facilitates the move of ions in between a battery’s electrodes. Changing this combustible materials with a strong, some argue, could make safer batteries. 

The reality, on the other hand, is never as very simple. Strong-state electrolytes, although unquestionably fewer flammable than their liquid counterparts, are not totally immune to fires either. But that could now alter, many thanks to new engineering developed by a crew led by Yi Cui, a elements scientist at Stanford College. 

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