Scientists are researching ways to make lithium-ion batteries work longer and safer. If the research is successful, we could see an improvement in the battery life of the new hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) in the next decade.
As we all know, with the advancement of technology, someday soon battery will be fully powering the hybrid electric hydrogen fuel vehicles. Current hybrid vehicles use nickel-metal hydride batteries, but a safe lithium-ion battery will be a much better option for the hybrids.
A lithium-ion battery even though stands as the lowest cost battery system battery, has four times the energy density of lead-acid batteries and two to three times the energy density of nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries.
There is a program that finances the research to help develop the battery system and find a low cost solution using lithium-ion battery. Their main goal is to focus on developing the hydrogen-powered electric vehicles to help free the U.S. from dependence on foreign oil supplies.
A lot of scientists are involved in the program, each researching different aspects of making hybrid electric-hydrogen vehicles a reality.
The team wants to develop a battery that has a graceful failure - meaning that if it's damaged, it won't cause other problems and understand how batteries fail and why they fail."
The technical goal is to comprehend mechanisms that lead to poor abuse tolerance, including heat- and gas-generating reactions. Understanding the chemical response to abuse can point the way to better battery materials.
Solving the issues stated above can only come as a result of improvement of cell materials, cell design, and good engineering.
The first phase is starting to understand the mechanisms that control cell response, including effects of the anode and cathode, electrolyte breakdown, and battery additives.
The second phase is accelerated life test, involving a method to predict lithium-ion battery life.
Based on those two phases in the research, one phase generates life prediction from accelerated degradation test data, while the other relates life prediction to changes in battery materials. The main goal is to be able to measure the battery life independently without the help of battery manufacturers.
While there has been some progress in making batteries more tolerant to abusive conditions, scientists hope it won't be long before these batteries will be used in gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles so we will be able to notice the change in the future with the electric-hydrogen fuel cell powered hybrid vehicles of the future.