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Laurie Florence

Principal Engineer, Large Format Batteries, Fuel Cells and Capacitors

In your opinion, what are the biggest safety challenges for lithium-ion batteries?

In addition to what my colleagues have commented on, there are new lithium-ion cell and battery manufacturers getting involved in this expanding battery business.  Since lithium-ion cell manufacturing is a very complex process, inexperienced, smaller manufacturers may not have sufficient knowledge and sufficient manufacturing controls to build consistent quality cells.  System manufacturers may not be designing their systems to maintain cells within their safe-operating regions.

How are lithium-ion battery standards evolving?

With increased understanding of lithium-ion technology, standards have been evolving to better address the unique safety needs of lithium-ion cells and systems. The introduction of the operating region concepts into lithium-ion safety standards is an important addition.

Internal short circuit tests such as the BAJ FISC have been added to some standards to address this issue, and research continues to find an improved method for testing this issue. Additionally, there is quite a bit of work under way to develop standards for new applications such as energy storage and motive applications.  These standards are being developed with an understanding of lithium-ion safety issues, and more effort  is being given to addressing considerations such as internal short circuit, cell safety and reliable system design.

What further changes do you anticipate coming down the road related to safety standards and lithium-ion batteries?

There will be ongoing development of lithium-ion standards for new applications, and current standards will be revised as new lithium-ion technologies and understanding of safety issues improve. The industry continues to push the envelope with regard to improvements to lithium-ion battery performance, but also with a focus on the safety of those cells and batteries.  The notebook computer problems of 2006 were the result of pushing energy density without a similar effort to improve the safety of the cells.  I believe that the industry, at least those members active in standards development, is aware of this and knows the importance of increasing safety in designs in addition to increasing performance.

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