The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 crisis last year highlighted safety issues with lithium-ion batteries, which led to improved battery mechanisms and overall research in battery technology. Scientists, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and Oak Ridge Associated Universities, have created a water-based electrolyte battery, which is safer than current lithium-ion batteries. The most commonly used lithium-ion batteries generally explode due to the charging and release of electrolytes as they travel from one electrode to another, since the organic materials they are made of are highly flammable. These materials also form a "solid electrolyte interphase" (SEI) layer inside the battery which carries ions from one electrode to another. The new battery uses a protective layer with high-concentration of salt, which preserves the electrodes and thereby lets the battery hold more energy.
Smartphone batteries can be a risky proposition and no company knows this better than the tech giant Samsung since its Note 7 scandal last year. Following that, the tech company has increasingly invested in battery related research and has come out with a solution -- solid state batteries. "Our technological level to produce a solid-state battery for smartphones will be mature enough in one to two years. However, it depends on Samsung Electronics whether it will be used for phones," a Samsung SDI executive told Korea Herald Friday, on the condition of anonymity. The executive further stated that LG was also working on the technology.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. Although flying a drone might sound like the biggest risk in operating one, dealing with the batteries is potentially more explosive. At the 100 hospital emergency rooms that report electronics-related injury cases to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200 incidents (PDF) involving drone batteries, stemming from fire, smoke, and explosions, were recorded between 2012 and 2017. Not every drone-battery incident results in an injury, but each pilot and expert I interviewed had a story about an exploding or fiery lithium battery going off especially after it had repeatedly crashed to the ground inside a drone.
HP has announced a massive recall of laptop batteries amid fears they could overheat and explode. The company is recalling an additional 101,000 batteries in laptops sold between March 2013 through October 2016. The batteries are in laptop brands including HP, Compaq, ProBook, Envy, Compaq Presario and Pavilion laptops, and battery packs sold separately are also affected. The company is recalling an additional 101,000 batteries in laptops sold between March 2013 through October 2016. The batteries are in laptop brands including HP, Compaq, ProBook, Envy, Compaq Presario and Pavilion laptops, and battery packs sold separately are also affected.
Battery technology might be working in the background on many of our devices, but it is essential to their functioning as well as that of electric cars and even solar panel systems. But, the current lithium-ion batteries do not carry a high amount of charge and are even a safety risk since they are prone to leaking. The alternative lies in solid-state batteries, which use solid-electrolytes instead of liquid electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have been developed by John Goodenough, who was the co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery. "Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted.