How to Stop Lithium-Ion Laptop Battery fires :: Ditch Lithium Ion for Lithium Polymer

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  • Written on: December 8th, 2006

It is no secret that Lithium Ion batteries can be dangerous if they do not function properly. Investigators are still looking into the possibility of a Sony-based lithium-ion laptop battery causing the fire at the Nebraska Wesleyan fraternity house last month. While Lithium Ion is normally safe, no other power technology has historically offered the capacity and energy density that a lithium ion battery could. This lack of options is why almost all notebook PCs today come equipped with Lithium Ion batteries.

But a new kind of battery could be on the shelves by early 2009. The new battery is a revolutionary departure from the old concept of daisy chained battery cells contained in a plastic housing that can be removed from a device and replaced. The new battery type is called Lithium Polymer, and while it may sound like a new concept, this is not the gel-based battery’s first trip around the block.

Lithium polymer batteries were first proposed nine years ago, but technological limitations prevented the battery from catching on in notebook computer use. Now that is changing. Lithium polymer batteries offer some distinct advantages over Lithium Ion. Since the batteries are gel-based, the energy gel can be packed into nooks and crannies within the confines of laptop housings, which could allow notebooks to go even longer between charges.

Since the gel is not packed into the typical battery cylinders that we all have in our devices now, there is not risk of fire. Time will tell if these batteries take the place of Lithium Ion, or if some other fuel cell technology will take center stage.

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