TIAX Announces Sensor Technology for Preventing Lithium-ion Battery Safety Incidents

January 10, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

TIAX LLC (TIAX) has introduced its lithium-ion battery safety sensor system for detecting and pre-empting short circuits inside a lithium-ion cell. Short circuits can lead to safety events such as explosions and fires. A key component of TIAX's lithium-ion battery safety sensor system is based on a proven sensing technology that TIAX has had in the market for many years in a different application.

This patent-pending technology employs sensors in combination with proprietary signal processing algorithms. It works for any lithium-ion battery chemistry. In lithium-ion cell packs it is effective over a wide range of temperatures and also in automotive duty cycles. It is low-cost and reliable. The system does not need changes in cell design, which makes it easy to incorporate it into battery systems.

"Safety incidents in lithium-ion batteries, while infrequent, can be hazardous for consumers and can result in expensive recalls. The primary cause of these safety incidents is short circuits inside cells, which are not present at the point of manufacture and which, to date, have been impossible to detect in the field," said Dr. Brian Barnett, vice-president at TIAX. "The use of our sensor system provides early warning of developing hazardous conditions due to internal shorts thus enabling a range of appropriate interventions," added Dr. Barnett.

"Lithium-ion battery technology has been a great boon to portable electronic devices such as smart phones and tablets, and to electric drive vehicles," said Dr. Kenan Sahin, President of TIAX. "Detecting internal shorts in lithium-ion cells before they lead to safety hazards has been elusive until now, and has been described as the 'holy grail' of lithium-ion battery safety enhancements. TIAX is very proud to have developed the breakthrough sensor system, that can enable effective measures to mitigate the until-now-unpredictable field failures and thus accelerate the expansion of this very critical industry by lessening the need for expensive hazard mitigation mechanisms and regulations."

TIAX is also developing an instrument incorporating this breakthrough sensor that will allow battery developers to design safer, longer lasting, lithium-ion battery packs. TIAX's work in lithium-ion battery safety was mostly self-funded, with additional funds provided through a competitively won multi-year award under DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program.