Innovating in Energy Storage – Securing Lithium
fuelcellmaterials’ parent company, Nexceris, is constantly innovating and striving to develop new technology to impact the energy and energy storage markets. One of the innovations it has been working tirelessly on is a safety system for lithium ion batteries, which we will cover in this post. No, we aren’t talking about fuel cells today, but we are very excited to share this new technology with you and hope you find it interesting.
Impacts of Lithium Ion Battery Failures
We’re not here to promote the idea that lithium ion batteries burst into flames all the time because we all know that’s not true. But, with heavy media coverage on those instances when lithium ion batteries do explode, we have all been able to see how dangerous and devastating a battery failure can be. It can happen to the best of us, even NASA, as shown to the right. Luckily no one was hurt in that explosion, but we’re pretty sure that robot didn’t make it.
What if, instead of losing all the materials, components, time, and work that went into that robot, the researchers were alerted of the impending lithium ion battery failure with enough time to prevent it? The only loss they would have sustained is the battery and the time it took to replace it. Well, Nexceris developed a system that does just that, which you can see demonstrated in the video above.
Preventing Lithium Ion Battery Failures
Lithium ion battery reliability and safety is generally considered a function of the entirety of the cell, pack, system design, and manufacture. Nexceris’ approach uses early detection of off-gassing to prevent failure, which is capable of providing early warning of thermal runaway ahead of conventional means of voltage and temperature monitoring.
Early Detection of Failure
- Early detection of failure through ppm level sensing
- Exothermic cell reactions leads to gas generation
- Heated electrolyte can both vaporize and decompose
- Gas pressure builds in cells
- Gas detection provides unique indicator of state of the cell
This early warning, given at the initial sign of failure, allows for action to be taken that prevents the cell from developing to the point at which thermal runaway cannot be stopped.