The collection of five patented technologies is intended to be a drop-in additive for lithium-ion batteries. It’s designed to prevent explosions and fire from impact by altering the electrolyte from liquid to solid.
In a lithium-ion battery, a separator, typically a thin piece of plastic, keeps the two electrodes apart. If the battery is damaged and the plastic layer fails, the electrodes can come into contact and cause the liquid electrolyte to catch fire. ORNL’s Safe Impact Resistant Electrolyte (SAFIRE) solidifies under the impact, preventing contact between electrodes. According to ORNL, the technology can significantly reduce vehicle weight and increase range by removing the need for heavy protective shielding around the battery.
“Improving battery technology is critical to building a clean energy future for our country,” said Susan Hubbard, ORNL Deputy for Science and Technology. “This technology has implications for several industries, ultimately making battery systems safer, more efficient and more stable.”