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Science Technology

'No Fire Risk' With New Lithium Batteries (bbc.com) 49

Lithium-ion batteries that are resistant to exploding or catching fire have been developed by scientists. From a report: The devices produced sufficient energy for use in household electronics, but did not ignite -- even when punctured repeatedly with a nail. The batteries use a water-salt solution as their electrolyte, removing the risks carried by some non-aqueous commercial models. The research is published in the journal Joule. "In the past, if you wanted high energy, you would choose a non-aqueous lithium-ion battery, but you would have to compromise on safety. If you preferred safety, you could use an aqueous battery such as nickel/metal hydride, but you would have to settle for lower energy," said co-author Kang Xu, from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL). "Now, we are showing that you can simultaneously have access to both high energy and high safety."

'No Fire Risk' With New Lithium Batteries

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  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday September 07, 2017 @04:16PM (#55155231) Journal

    About three weeks back we had a report on a breakthrough that could result in rechargeable zinc-air batteries, built of cheap materials. Rechargeable zinc-air would trounce lithium-ion on energy density (for applications exposed to air, at least) because you don't have to carry the oxidizer around. Main detail to be worked out is cycle lifetime.

    Now we have a breakthrough that could result in non fire-prone lithium-ion batteries - again if the (unstated) details work out. This could be a drop-in replacement, perhaps with a tweak of the charge control chip's parameters.

    I wonder when, if, and which might make it to market.

    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday September 07, 2017 @04:19PM (#55155241) Journal

      About three weeks back we had a report on a breakthrough that could result in rechargeable zinc-air batteries, built of cheap materials.

      Forgot the link [slashdot.org].

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't even care about the dangers of lithium ion batteries and throw them away in the normal trash. I would dispose of them "properly", but apparently my city and the waste management around here don't give a shit because there is absolutely no accessible information as to where to dispose of them and waste management never picks up their phone.

    • >Main detail to be worked out is cycle lifetime. Yeah, that's kind of a big detail to work out.
    • Every three weeks we get a breakthrough in battery technology reported, but all we ever see are incremental improvements in the same technology we keep using.

      I'm not holding my breath.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm not holding my breath.

        I hope not. After a few minutes, it'll get unpleasant.

      • Every three weeks we get a breakthrough in battery technology reported, but all we ever see are incremental improvements in the same technology we keep using.

        But that's not true, although the changes do come relatively slowly. We've seen portable computers go from Alkalines to NiCD to NiMH to LiIon, that's four different battery technologies which have had their respective days powering portables. I've got examples here within arm's reach (one aside) which run on each of them; I've got a TRS-80 model 100, a GRiDPad 1910, a GRiDPad 2390 (you can run it on any of the middle kinds of battery, but nicds don't work very well and nimhs work fine) and of course various

      • by Alioth ( 221270 )

        This isn't a breakthrough, it's an incremental improvement.

        Most of the reports of new battery technologies are also useful - but incremental - improvements. You've probably only been seeing one actual report of an actual breakthrough once a decade. Don't let the breathless press releases fool you.

    • by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Thursday September 07, 2017 @05:05PM (#55155555)

      I wonder when, if, and which might make it to market.

      It takes years to go from "we did it once or twice in a lab" to "commercial product is ready to ship". At best.

      Engineering work takes time, especially when the product is targeting an established market.

    • With all the battery advances, it would be nice to see at least 3-4 types of batteries, with the chemistry optimal for each application:

      1: Lead-acid battery replacements. Goal is for inexpensive technology to allow these to go below 50% SoC without permanent damage. Some research is done with graphite supercaps, to allow deeper discharge without damage, be as stated by another, I'll believe it once it hits Amazon.

      2: Very high energy density. Cell phones are not getting any more thrifty with battery lif

      • With all the battery advances, it would be nice to see at least 3-4 types of batteries, with the chemistry optimal for each application:

        We kinda have that already.

  • what does this mean for me, my laptop and the mail gun I brought on board?

  • Was working on some designs for a rechargeable sprinkler system to extinguish fires caused by these battery packs.

  • Isn't this the 800th time we've seen someone claiming this? Maybe stop giving this topic press until someone starts building a factory.
    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      Maybe you should stop reading articles posted to science.slashdot.org, because none of those will be about things being built in a factory.

  • I'll put it in my Galaxy Note 7
  • Nothing is perfect. There are no WaterPROOF phones, but WaterRESISTANT phones, it will be Fire RESISTANT not Fire PROOF. Title says "No Fire Risk" at all? Small or little fire risk.
  • The problem I have with battery technology development is that it doesn't make it to the average consumer for years because one industry controls it for the first few years. Lithium Sulfur looks great. 2 to 4 times the energy density of Lipo. But I won't be able to buy packs for my quadcopter until the automotive industry is done using it.

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