Fires allegedly caused by the lithium-ion batteries in Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Tesla Model S vehicles have sparked concern about the future of these technologies. Researchers now say they have designed a new model of nonflammable lithium-ion battery that is as effective as what is already in use.
Current lithium-ion batteries use a polymer-based electrolyte made of an alkyl carbonate. Tests of a different electrolyte called a perfluoropolyether (PFPE), which is similar in structure to the alkyl carbonate, showed that the PFPE is more stable at temperatures above 200° Celsius. The results suggest that the electrolyte could be used in the large lithium-ion batteries of planes and cars without the risk of fire, scientists suggest February 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.