UL White Paper Examines Safety Issues of Lithium-Ion BatteriesNovember 03, 2010 by Jeff Shepard
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a world leader in safety testing and certification released the first in a series of white papers that review evolving battery technology. This paper explores many of the issues and opportunities associated with the new technology as well as current and recommended safety standards to address changes in the technology and use.
Lithium-ion battery technologies have evolved over the last two decades, with batteries now offering longer cycle life and improved reliability for products in the areas of consumer electronics, medical devices, industrial equipment and automotive applications. In the newly released white paper, entitled "Safety Issues for Lithium-Ion Batteries," UL explains the need for risk assessment as part of the product design and development process to identify and address root causes of safety issues. UL currently conducts risk assessments on the lithium batteries it tests and those assessments used in developing effective standards.
"It is critical that safety standards maintain relevance and support safe use of lithium-ion batteries as they become more prevalent and usage expands in new ways," said Carlos Correia, Vice President, UL High-Tech Division. "UL is dedicating significant resources to translating battery safety research into safety standards and this position paper is one example of that commitment."
Risk assessment and commitment to research, led UL to determine internal short circuits as a probable cause for recent, well-publicized safety incidents related to lithium batteries in use. UL, in partnership with key battery research facilities including Argonne National Laboratories and NASA, is working to better understand the causes of internal short circuits and develop new tests to help manufacturers design better, safer batteries.