I think the conclusion everyone is making skewed by recent news. Why does everyone think the decision is wrong? Do we know all the design requirements or risks? In the near future I think Li-ion battery thermal runaways will be as commonplace as boilers blowing up.
"Japan Airlines said it halted a scheduled 787 Dreamliner flight on Sunday after engineers detected a faulty pressure sensor in one of its newly reinforced lithium-ion batteries, replacing the aircraft with an older 767"
what about this? the problem is not only with the technology, the main problem is outmarch for profit: it makes companies blind. Where are the maintenance quality controllers? I the additional quality control too expensive? Are the risks to low?
"The fault which affected the Tokyo-Beijing flight on Sunday was caused by tape that had been mistakenly left over the pressure sensor when Boeing engineers installed the new batteries, Japan Airlines said in a press release. No fault occurred in the battery, the airline said"
tekochip, I was pleased to read that you were not too seriously injured following your experience with a lithium battery. As you rightly point out lithium is very volatile and batteries based on this chemistry should be treated with extreme caution. For those interested here are a few statistics involving lithium based batteries technology.
Sanyo recalled 1.3 million cellphone batteries in 2006 on concerns those batteries could overheat or catch fire.
Nokia offered toreplace 46 million cellphone batteries manufactured by Matsushitain 2007due to overheating risks.
Hewlett-Packard recalled 70,000 lithium-ion batteries in 2009, 54,000 in 2010, more than 162,000 in 2011 that were used in HP and Compaq notebook / laptop computers, over concerns they posed "fire hazards to consumers."
There are also a number of incidents involving the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles suffering from thermal runaway and catching fire. And as Amclaussen rightly points out the Radio Modeling fraternity have suffered a large number of incidents due to the battery packs used in electric powered models combusting.
As a research scientist and having an interest in lithium-ion battery technology I have spent several years developing a solution to make these batteries a much safer technology. This has resulted in a low cost system that is able to prevent thermal Runaway and combustion before it occurs.
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