• 4 minutes England Running Out of Water?
  • 7 minutes Trump to Make Allies Pay More to Host US Bases
  • 10 minutes U.S. Shale Output may Start Dropping Next Year
  • 14 minutes Washington Eyes Crackdown On OPEC
  • 1 hour One Last Warning For The U.S. Shale Patch
  • 8 hours Russian Effect: U.S. May Soon Pause Preparations For Delivering F-35s To Turkey
  • 5 hours Chile Tests Floating Solar Farm
  • 15 hours Poll: Will Renewables Save the World?
  • 15 hours China's Expansion: Italy Leads Europe Into China’s Embrace
  • 15 hours New Rebate For EVs in Canada
  • 6 hours Trump Tariffs On China Working
  • 9 hours Trump sells out his base to please Wallstreet and Oil industry
  • 6 hours Biomass, Ethanol No Longer Green
  • 1 day Oil-sands recovery by solvents has started on a trial basis; first loads now shipped.
  • 24 hours Boeing Faces Safety Questions After Second 737 Crash In Five Months
  • 18 hours The Political Debacle: Brexit delayed
  • 13 hours 3 Pipes: EPIC 900K, CACTUS II 670K, GREY OAKS 800K
  • 9 hours Read: OPEC THREATENED TO KILL US SHALE
Alt Text

“Perfect Storm” Drives Oil Prices Higher

Oil prices have risen far…

Alt Text

Why OPEC’s Decision To Delay Makes Sense

OPEC’s decision to maintain the…

Alt Text

A Paradigm Shift In The Permian

As Wall Street sours on…

Robert Rapier

Robert Rapier

More Info

Trending Discussions

Could This NASA Innovation Save The EV Industry?

I don’t really drive enough to make an electric vehicle (EV) a compelling value proposition, but if my commute was a bit longer it is something I would seriously consider.

However, there is one aspect of EVs that makes me a little nervous. Although rare, lithium-ion batteries can fail, resulting in a fire. This fire can spread to other cells, and can ultimately explode in a thermal runaway. This slight risk would probably cause me to think twice about charging an EV in my garage at night.

There are potential solutions to this problem. Last year I wrote about A Battery That Could Change The World, which was a story about the development of a solid-state lithium battery that won’t catch fire if damaged.

However, today’s lithium-ion batteries aren’t going away anytime soon. So, one company has developed a potential solution to the fires that can be spawned from lithium-ion battery failures.

California-based KULR Technology, in partnership with NASA, has developed a product to stop lithium-ion battery packs from exploding in thermal runaway.

NASA is interested in this problem because of the potential for a catastrophic failure in space. A runaway thermal event from these batteries may be a low-probability event, but on a spacecraft or in a spacesuit, the consequences could be devastating. Related: The Winners And Losers Of The Latest Commodity Rally

The solution that has been developed involves the placement of a vaporizing thermal capacitor next to the individual cells. If a cell fails and the temperature starts to climb rapidly, the heat will be dissipated in the thermal capacitor. You can think of it as analogous to an electrical fuse that will fail to stop a surge of electrical current.

In addition to the thermal capacitor, which they call the HYDRA thermal runaway shield (TRS), each cell also contains a flame arrestor to block the fire from reaching surrounding cells. This solution prevents adjacent cells from rising above 100°C. This is important, because at temperatures above 130°C, the chance for a short in adjacent cells rises substantially.

You can see a demonstration of some early NASA tests with the TRS. In this video, a failure is triggered in a single cell in a 50-cell pack. You can see the explosion at the 2:40 mark in the video. The temperature of the triggered cell reportedly rose above 1000°C, but neighboring cells all remained below 100°C.

There is certainly a need to get a better handle on understanding the root cause of these failures, because the number of these batteries in applications is growing exponentially. Even one failure in a billion is unacceptably high when there are billions of these cells in use.

As these battery packs become more powerful — and because of the potential for high-consequence incidents like a fire on an airplane — the need for fire suppression will grow. The long-range solution may be a new type of battery, but the solution developed by KULR and NASA could greatly enhance the safety of existing lithium-ion battery packs.

By Robert Rapier

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News