Friday, February 22, 2013

No. 688: Developing a material to prevent thermal runaway of a lithium-ion battery (February 22, 2013)

Tosoh, one of Japan’s leading chemical companies, developed a material to prevent a lithium-ion battery from growing abnormally high and exploding. Only a small amount of the new material is mixed with electrolyte to work. The company has already started the performance test with more than 10 domestic battery manufacturers, and it is ready to mass produce this new material for small amount. Because Boeing’s 787s are not allowed to fly because of battery trouble, Tosoh’s new material seems to attract attention as a solution.

The company launched two types of an inhibitor that prevents the fire and a flame resistance digestive that extinguishes the fire. Both are liquid, and the former is mixed with electrolyte at a concentration of 5% and the latter is mixed at concentration of 20%. The inhibitor suppresses abnormal resolution of electrolyte even if the temperature of a battery exceeds 80 degrees centigrade, and prevents combustible gas from generating and the pressure inside the battery from rising. The flame resistance digestive stops combustion, and the fire can be extinguished in less than five seconds even if the battery catches fire. At this moment, Tosoh can produce the inhibitor and flame resistance digestive for 10 tons per year each. It plans to increase the production capacity up to 1,000 tons per year with an investment of several hundred million yen to star mass production in 2014.    

Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Narita Airport

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