Eco Tech: Li-ion batteries to get safe and cheap with a change in their chemistry

lithium ion battery

Eco Factor: Batteries used in electric cars to get safe with the addition of special molecules in electrolyte.

Li-ion batteries may have given the world of electronics and electric cars what they always longed for. However, the technology isn’t fail-proof as we regularly hear laptop and cellphone batteries overheating and causing damage. Overheating in a lithium-ion battery is a result of excessive charging of one or more cells, which ends in increasing the voltage and the temperature of the battery causing them to fail.

Federal researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory believe that the addition of a gram of specially made molecules and make these batteries completely safe and make them cheap as well. The researchers have discovered that they could make a molecule based on boron and fluorine and add a tiny amount of it to each cell to control charging. When the cell exceeds the safe voltage level, the molecule picks up electrons and prevents the cell from overheating.

Since only a small amount of this molecule is needed, which the researchers think to be about 2% of the overall weight of the electrolyte, the system can be integrated without increasing the cost of the battery. Presently, the control systems used to limit charging, make us as much as 20% of the battery’s cost and the electronics are prone to failing. The use of the molecule will enable battery manufacturers to roll out low-cost batteries that are completely safe as well.

Via: NYTimes

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