Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More safety for cell phone batteries

14.04.2008
Lithium-ion batteries supply the power for cell phones and PDAs, and larger devices such as laptops, cordless screwdrivers and lawnmowers are becoming increasingly dependent on this power source.

The advantage of these power storage devices lies in their high energy density and voltage (up to four volts). In terms of safety, however, they have one disadvantage – the organic electrolytes are inflammable and can easily catch fire. This has already resulted in several fires and subsequent recall campaigns. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg have optimized the safety of these batteries.

“We have succeeded in replacing the inflammable organic electrolytes with a non-flammable polymer that retains its shape,” says ISC team leader Dr. Kai-Christian Möller. “This considerably enhances the safety of lithium-ion batteries. What’s more, because it is a solid substance, the electrolyte cannot leak out of the battery.” The polymer used by the researchers is derived from the Ormocer® group of substances – a compound with silicon-oxygen chains that form an inorganic structure to which organic side chains become attached. The big challenge is to ensure that the polymers will efficiently conduct the lithium ions that supply the power for the cell phone and the PDA. “Normally, the more solid a polymer is, the less conductive it becomes. But we had numerous parameters that we could adjust – for example, we can use coupling elements with two, three or four arms. As a result, we have more possibilities with Ormocer®s than with a single type of plastic,” says Möller.

A prototype of the new lithium-ion batteries already exists, and the researchers will be presenting it at Hannover Messe (Hall 13, Stand E20). However, between three and five years are likely to elapse before the battery will cross shop counters in laptop computers, PDAs and cordless screwdrivers, the expert believes. The conductivity of the polymer needs further improvement to enable the battery to deliver or store as much power as possible in as short a time as possible. Once this happens, though, it is quite realistic to expect this type of battery – in conjunction with a capacitor – to be able to compete with the lead batteries in cars.

Redox flow batteries store solar energy Solar cells can be seen on the roofs of more and more houses today. The energy supplied by the sun and the wind is also increasingly being used on a large scale – in wind turbines and solar parks. But the energy supplied by the sun and the wind does not usually correspond to power requirements: On sunny days the solar cells often deliver more electricity than is needed, while solar energy may be in short supply when the sky is overcast. The amount of energy harvested from wind turbines fluctuates in a similar way.

In private solar energy plants, the surplus energy is stored in lead batteries until it is needed. The drawback of these storage systems is that they can only survive a limited number of cycles and normally have to be replaced after three to five years. In wind and solar parks, the energy is conserved by pumped storage plants. These, too, have a disadvantage: They have a relatively low rate of efficiency, which means that a lot of energy is lost. What is more, they take up a great deal of space. Redox flow batteries offer an alternative to lead batteries and pumped storage plants: They have a comparable energy density, but their service life is nearly ten times as long as that of lead batteries. So far, however, they are quite expensive in relation to their performance and energy density.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal intend to change that situation in the years ahead: “We have developed the prototype of a redox flow battery that enables us to test various electrode materials, membranes and electrolytes as flexibly as possible,” reports ICT group leader Dr. Jens Tübke. “In this way, we can compare different redox systems in the same test set-up. This allows us to work out precisely what are the pros and cons of each system. It is not possible to compare the systems on the basis of existing documentation, as of course everyone measures them in a different test set-up.” The researchers will be presenting the test cell for the first time ever at the Hannover-Messe (Hall 13, Stand E20).

Monika Weiner | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/EN/press/pi/2008/april08.jsp

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Laser sensor LAH-G1 - optical distance sensors with measurement value display
15.08.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht Engineers find better way to detect nanoparticles
14.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>