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Lithium-Ion Cells Prevented from Overheating with New Material

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Lithium-Ion Cells Prevented from Overheating with New Material

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April 08, 2010
By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor

A laptop computer battery maker and a couple dozen other battery manufacturers in Taiwan will start developing products using a new safety material intended to keep lithium-ion cells from overheating when damaged.

IDG News Service is reporting that The Industrial Technology Research Institute (News - Alert) 'has developed the polymer STOBA (self-terminated oligomers with hyper-branched architecture) after a high-profile laptop battery recall in 2006 in which 9.6 million Sony batteries were recalled due to an overheating hazard that had caused some laptops to catch fire.'


STOBA keeps damaged batteries from overheating, 'thereby avoiding meltdowns or fires,' IDG says.

In related news, ZDNet UK is reporting that Hitachi (News - Alert)has created a prototype of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery cell 'with tweaks that promise to double the working life of the battery to more than 10 years,' adding that the new technology will be aimed first at industrial batteries for electric vehicles and wind farms.

Hitachi says it had 'developed a new composite oxide material -- a lithium-manganese spinel (LiMn204) -- for the battery's cathode, which improves its resistance to attack by acids in the electrolyte, a major lifetime determinant,' ZDNet notes: 'It also reduced the build up of crystal deposits within the electrolyte, something that also shortens a battery's life.'

Lithium-ion technology is generally considered safe, but damage and production defects can lead to fires, IDG says: 'Battery technology similar to STOBA is now being used in hybrid vehicles and electric cars.'

The Korea Times reported recently that Samsung (News - Alert)SDI, a South Korea-based maker of batteries, 'plans to become the world's top producer of lithium-ion batteries, a market that appears to be ripe for an explosion.'

Samsung SDI already has landed some major deals with global automakers, the Korea Times says, 'which are increasing their efforts toward the low-emission cars of the future, and another big deal is in the pipelines, company officials say, although declining to reveal the name of the carmaker.'

ITRI is a publicly-funded Taiwanese research center. Alex Peng, deputy general director of the material and chemical research laboratories at ITRI,  told IDG that special STOBA-based products will be available late this year, after the third quarter, in products such as batteries for electric bicycles.


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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