New Invention Could Prevent Lithium Ion Battery Fires

Over the past few years, we've seen a number of recalls involving faulty batteries that can overheat and cause a fire. Now there's a new technology called Stoba that could be on the market as soon as the first quarter of next year that could help prevent lithium-ion batteries from catching fire or exploding in devices such as laptops and mobile phones. Stoba was developed at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan's national research organization.

When lithium-ion batteries develop internal shorts, it doesn't take long before they can heat up to as much as 932 degrees Fahrenheit, making them likely to catch fire or explode. Stoba works to prevent a fire or explosion by sitting between the positive and negative sides of the battery. If the battery reaches 266 degrees Fahrenheit, Stoba transforms from a porous material to a film and shuts down the reaction.

Battery makers in Taiwan are currently testing Stoba. Manufacturing for Stoba-equipped cells has increased and shipments are expected in the first quarter of 2010. It's expected that Stoba will only add 2-3% to the cost of manufacture.