Among all limitations of traditional lithium-ion energy storage, flammability is probably the most dangerous. A team of scientists now claim to have developed a heat-resistant technology, which can work safely even under boiling water and still deliver the required energy density.
The so-called ‘boiling battery‘ is a product developed by a team from the Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL). The technology was first presented to the public during the Display Innovation 2014 event held last week in Yokohama City, Japan. During an impressive demonstration, the makers showed how their development not only works in a vat of boiling water (hence the name), but it can also resist temperatures as high as 300 degrees Celsius.
The key is hidden in the specially developed ionic liquid put in the electrolyte, which is used as a solvent. The function of the secret ingredient is to stabilize the heat and keep the system working, but while other ionic liquids decrease the efficiency of the energy storage devices, this one does not.
If the battery makes it to the market, this might well be the first technology of this kind, which does not set on fire, providing the ultimate safety for all next-generation electronic gadgets and electric vehicles.
The biggest question that remains unanswered, however, is whether this new technology can be produced cheaper than let’s say the dual carbon batteries, which do not generate any heat at all. Yes, these can still set on fire, but only if there is heat coming from the outside.
It has been quite some time now that scientists and engineers are working hard to make improvements on current Li-ion batteries. But will this be the future of energy storage, or is there a whole new thing, that is entirely different and is just being cooked in someone’s lab as we speak? That remains to be seen.
Image (c) SEL