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back to article Li-Ion battery design 'flawed'

It won't come as much of a surprise to Sony, but the present design of lithium-ion cell batteries that power our consumer electronics is flawed, according to Japanese researchers. The startling announcement has been made by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which claims that such batteries must be redesigned to avoid further …

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Anonymous Coward

2.5Volts is not power

The volt is a unit of electrical potential.

The static build up on a man-made fibre can have many thousands of volts of potential but thanks to the microscopic level of charge it has very little power so does little damage and probably won't light a bulb.

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Bronze badge

Err...

Didn't they just describe Lithium-ion Polymer (LiPo) batteries?

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on Paper battery

It's weak and so far, needs quite some work to be more than a research project. As far as I know, it can pump out only miniscule ammount of charge. Without actual stronger amperage, it is of no use, especially for things like a laptop.

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Anonymous Coward

Or.....

It could just be a grammatical error: "that can pump out around 2.5 volts AND enough power to illuminate a small light."

Admittedly you can't technically pump a voltage, but we are not going to be that picky are we? hmm? Oh we are! ok then! :-)

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Anonymous Coward

This isn't anything new or startling

Lithium batteries and their inherent instability have been known about for almost 100 years, there's absolutely nothing new or shocking about research which confirms this. Look them up on Google, you'll find plenty of sources (not just wikipedia) all about this topic.

This article is a bit like saying "amazing new report reveals fuel to be inherently explosive" or "electric appliances found to carry inherent risk of electrocution" or even "pope found to be inherently catholic".

Lithium Ion carries a risk, but it's clearly an extremely tiny risk as there are 1000 million mobile phones sold every year and only about 1000 reported incidents per year. This works out as a risk of 0.000001% per year that your phone battery will do something nasty. You're several million times more likely to develop a fatal illness such as cancer than to be harmed by exploding phone batteries.

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Re: This isn't anything new or startling

Yes, this isn't anything new. And the % chances are very small. However, you suddenly developing cancer won't cause a plane to crash like an exploding battery and the resulting fire.

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Bronze badge

RE: Err...

"Didn't they just describe Lithium-ion Polymer (LiPo) batteries?"

There are two distinct types of rechargable lithium batteries, Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) and Lithium-Polymer (LiPo). LiPo batteries are generally more resiliant to misuse, I have a 12Ah 26v LiPo battery on my electric bike and during one of the test phases the company went through to make sure it's relatively safe (on top of the protection circuitry) was to drive a nail right through each of the 7 'cells', the battery didn't melt or burst into flames but continued to output power.

However I wouldn't want to drive a nail through a Li-Ion battery, high ampage or not...

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Right then...

If the poobahs at TiT (Tokyo Institute of Technology) have pronounced mainstream Li-ion batteries dangerous then we should quickly discard such technology (in an environmentally friendly way) and move to a solid polymer electrolyte as soon as it is available. In the meantime we can use inherently safe lemon batteries or perhaps potato batteries to tide us over the development/manufacturing time.

While lemon/potato batteries are a bit bulkier than common Li-ion they can be made at home and are extremely recyclable.

http://latteier.com/potato/

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Silver badge

Slight correction

Lithium batteries have not been known for "a hundred years", but barely half that. Since Mr. Anon quoted Wikipedia, this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_ion_battery) states clearly that the first lithium ion battery design was made available in the 1960s, and (quoted) "the first commercial lithium ion battery was released by Sony in 1991".

Lithium metal batteries have been in existence for quite a while longer, but I doubt there is any inherent instability in them, otherwise they would probably not be used in pacemakers.

The battery itself has, of course, a long history that goes back to Mr. Volta in the year 1800 (http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-2.htm). It is nothing short of astonishing to read that the fuel cell was invented in 1839, the lead-acid battery in 1859, and the nickel-cadmium that we all know in 1899.

Battery technology that is still used today was invented more than a century ago, but the most recent lithium technology is a refinement that is a lot younger than the rest of the field.

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Anonymous Coward

I have some doubts...

So, if I understand you correctly, paper batteries may be better than Li-ion because Li-ion batteries sometimes catch fire. Hmmm...

This may be a silly question, but where is your evidence that paper batteries *can't* burn?

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Not 0.000001%

1000 in 1000million is 0.0001%

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Anonymous Coward

any possibility

of weaponising lithium ion batteries I mean beside putting them in craptops and sending them on flights around the world, oh wait!

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