Lithium-ion battery problems solved by new technology
A new technology may be able to help prevent fires or other hazardous malfunctions with lithium-ion batteries. This new tech could be available as early as spring 2010.
The technology is dubbed Stoba, and it took five years to develop by the lead research organization of Taiwan at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Stoba sits between the positive and negative sides of a battery, functioning as a porous material under normal conditions. However, once a Stoba battery hits 266 degrees Fahrenheit, the material transforms into a non-porous film that cuts off battery functions and prevents over-heating or explosion.
“We have introduced a totally new material to the battery,” senior researcher Alex Peng told Reuters while speaking about the lithium-ion battery.
There has been concern related to mid-air fire caused by battery hazards, the Taiwanese government noted.
Asian battery makers are now testing Stoba in small quantities, with the additional price of the technology only adding two or three percent to manufacturing costs. Taiwanese battery manufacturers expect to see products ready in Q1 2010.
Peng plans to offer Stoba directly to manufacturers, and may find potential clients in Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Acer, Sony, Dell, and other consumer electronics companies.
The ITRI has been prevalent in international research the past few years, with 151 start-up companies launched by its employees. The research organization has almost 6,000 employees and more than 9,000 patents in several countries.
Lithium-ion safety hazards were catapulted into news headlines recently after several cases of fires or explosions were caused by faulty batteries in laptops or MP3 players. Many companies have issued product recalls for particularly hazardous batteries that were provided to consumers.
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