IDTechEx analysts have long warned that the leading lithium-ion battery manufacturers have been taking risks in their headlong redesigns to obtain higher energy and power density, lower cost per kWh and ironically better safety, for example from less-flammable and non-flammable electrolytes.
Dr Peter Harrop of IDTechEx says, "In industry you first stabilise your design before increasing production one hundredfold but the battery industry has been cutting corners. They are repeatedly changing anode, cathode, electrolyte and often format as well while massively scaling up. Electric vehicle, toy and phone battery fires are ongoing and although some incidents, such as burning aircraft and many hoverboards, are often blamed on poor battery management systems and even simply lack of a fuse, the circuitry would not be so critical if the cells were more trustworthy. There is no inherently safe lithium-ion cell or battery management system so the chemistry remains very, very important. We were not surprised by the Samsung phone battery fires and recall and we said it was not the end. Now, on cue, iPhone 8s are splitting apart either on arrival or after several days of use. The battery inside the phone is swelling, bending the front of the phone and separating it from the body of the device. So far, there have not been any fires — just ruined phones."
Many insights, action plans and options to render safe, reduce in size/risk and eliminate lithium-ion batteries will be revealed in the IDTechEx Show! conferences on Energy Storage Innovations, Electric Vehicles Everything is Changing and Energy Harvesting in Santa Clara, California from November 15-16. The IDTechEx Show! presents the latest emerging technologies at one event, with nine concurrent technologies and a single exhibition.
The day before and the day after the event there are 30 Masterclasses teaching these subjects and others and a deep look at the smart materials involved.
"As another service to the industry, we also have a new report, Battery Elimination in Electronics and Electrical Engineering 2018-2028", adds Harrop. However, he counsels that, although elimination or severe downsizing are sometimes possible and very useful, lithium-ion battery demand will continue to rocket for at least ten more years. See the IDTechEx Research report, Li-ion Batteries 2018-2028.