Published on September 12th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown2
Germany Launches €36M Research Project into Li-ion Battery Safety
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is going to contribute €19 million ($24 million) to the €36 million ($46 million) public-private research project intended to improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries for battery-electric (BEV) and hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV).
Financial private sector contributions to this project amounted to €17 million ($22 million).
This research initiative is to last three years, and will focus on new materials, semiconductor sensors, and test methods (this reminds me of a recent rapid test method that enabled a machine to invent a new type of lithium-ion battery).
The German government selected Safebatt as one of the nine lighthouse projects of Germany’s National Electric Mobility Platform. Safebatt (“active and passive measures for intrinsically safe lithium-ion batteries”) is intended to further the country’s position has a centre for industry, science, and technology, and to shift to more climate-friendly and cost-effective mobility.
The Safebatt project will investigate certain things such as how cell chemistry (particularly that of the cathode material and the electrolytes) can be optimized to increase the intrinsic safety of lithium-ion battery cells.
I should point out that lithium-ion battery safety has never been a real-life issue for electric vehicles. Rumors that they explode are in widespread circulation, but they are not true. Li-ion batteries can explode under unlikely circumstances of very severe damage, but no electric cars or their batteries have exploded during real-world crashes in the United States to date.
Li-ion batteries are also used in almost all portable electronics except cordless phones now — all laptops, all cellphones (including lithium polymer, because lithium polymer is li-ion), and all tablet PCs. They don’t explode either, despite being dropped down stairs, into water, being run over by vehicles, etc.
Efforts to improve safety, and particularly successful ones, do ease public discomfort about this topic, though.
Source: Green Car Congress
Photo Credit: NASA