Under an umbrella of several national and international projects, researchers from CMT- Motores Termicos at the Univesitat Politecnica de Valencia are working to improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries, which are currently most used in electric vehicles.
The future of the automotive sector to a large extent depends on the massive use of lithium-ion batteries, pointed out one of the researchers. This is despite some current problems that may affect safety, one of them being thermal stability.
In fact, lithium ion batteries are not safe under certain conditions. This is due to the phenomenon of thermal runaway, which can lead the battery to catch fire that further carries risk to the occupants of the vehicle.
Importantly, the thermal energy that is released during the process is approximately 5.4 times the electrical energy contained in the battery, and thus this requires extreme precautions to be taken.
Meanwhile, thermal instability of batteries can occur under high demand conditions, during fast charging for example. If the thermal stability is not managed well, it can go into thermal runaway and initiate a fire. In light of this, a German city has already banned the parking of electric cars in underground garages.
Furthermore, to reduce the risk of thermal instability, the team of researchers are currently working on two national and two European projects. The objective is to better understand the problems associated with thermal runaway of lithium-ion batteries – the ones that are currently used and the ones that will reach the market in future in next 15 years.
In order to understand this, the researchers are applying results of more than 40 years of work undertaken on combustion engines that affects lithium-ion batteries.