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2014 Archived Content

Innovations & Technologies to Improve Lithium Battery Safety from Cell to Systems Level

Innovations that increase energy storage for lithium-ion batteries enhance their reliability and degradation management. But higher-energy densities can also compromise lithium battery safety and thus require further research. The Fifth Annual Battery Safety conference addresses key safety challenges of lithium batteries and technologies for improvement. The conference gathers electrical engineers, cell manufacturers and safety officials to share cell-level research, systems-level safety analysis, research applications and cost reduction strategies with examples from industry, academia, government and the military.

Wednesday, November 12

3:30 pm Registration

4:15 Plenary Keynote Introduction

Thomas D. Gregory, Borealis Technology Solutions LLC

Lithium Battery Power & Battery Safety


4:25 Energy Storage: The Interplay between Performance, Cost and Safety

Ping LiuPing Liu, Ph.D., Program Director, ARPA-E, U.S. Department of Energy

Continuous cost reduction of energy storage systems is critical to realize mass adoption of electric vehicles. The leading approach of employing high specific energy batteries requires system level designs to ensure safety. The ARPA-E RANGE program takes an alternative approach, which develops inherently safer chemistries and architectures that may also serve structural functions on a vehicle to reduce system weight. This approach opens up the possibility of a variety of low-cost novel chemistries and designs.We will highlight a diverse set of technologies including aqueous, solid state, and flow batteries, as well as multifunctional designs. Finally, emerging trends and research needs will be discussed.

Plenary Featured Presentation

5:10 Enabling Future Technologies in Automotive Batteries - Challenges in Research and Application

Simon LuxSimon Lux, Ph.D., Advanced Battery Technology Engineer, BMW Group Technology Office USA

BMW shows strong commitment to sustainable mobility in not only its sub-brand dedicated to electric vehicles, BMW i, but also its intensive efforts in research on battery technology. The main challenge is the simultaneous fulfillment of all relevant parameters for vehicle applications: safety, lifetime, performance and cost. We outline the relationship between automotive, cell level and material property requirements for the development of next generation Li-ion batteries, showcasing examples of BMW efforts.

5:45 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

6:45 Close of Lithium Battery Power Conference

Thursday, November 13

7:15 am Registration

7:30 Breakfast Technology Workshop (Sponsorship Opportunity Available)
or Morning Coffee

Mitigating Risk for Mobile Safety

8:30 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

George A. KerchnerGeorge A. Kerchner, Executive Director, PRBA - The Rechargeable Battery Association

Keynote Presentation

8:40 Risks of Lithium Batteries in Air Transportation

Janet S. McLaughlinJanet S. McLaughlin, Deputy Director, Hazardous Materials Safety Program, Office of Security & Hazardous Materials Safety, Federal Aviation Administration

I present an update on the latest lithium battery research and testing information from the FAA Technical Center, as well as concerns about the risks of lithium batteries in air transportation.

9:30 Li-Ion Battery Safety: Mechanisms, Thermal Runaway and Integrity of Safety Testing

Brian Barnett, Ph.D., Vice President, TIAX, LLC


10:00 Li-Ion Polymer Intelli-Pack Battery for Mission and Safety Critical Aerospace Battery Applications

Edmund BurkeEdmund Burke, CEO, R&D, Space Information Laboratories

Li-ion and Li-ion polymer battery technology for aerospace applications requires attention to the battery management system incorporating cell protection, balancing and real-time monitoring. Real-time monitoring of individual cell voltage, state of health (SOH), battery current, state of charge (SOC) and temperature are critical to safeguard the battery before catastrophic safety issues. We cover safety and operational lessons learned for large-scale batteries for aerospace and other applications requiring high reliability, mission assurance and safety.

10:30 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

11:15 The Main Cause of Li-Ion Safety and Internal Shorts

Zhengming (John) ZhangZhengming (John) Zhang, Ph.D., CTO, Celgard, LLC and Chairman, IEEE Cell Subgroup P1625

I address eight different internal shortings and their mechanisms, shorting and thermal runaway. I also discuss the contributions of the anode, cathode and electrolyte; prevention/prediction of these shortings; new trends of Li-ion batteries and the contributions of a ceramic-coated separator for Li-ion.

11:45 Noncompliance and Enforcement of the International Lithium Battery Air Transport Regulations

George A. KerchnerGeorge A. Kerchner, Executive Director, PRBA - The Rechargeable Battery Association

The lack of enforcement of the lithium battery dangerous goods transport regulations and noncompliant shippers of lithium batteries are significant safety issues that require immediate attention by the international community. This is particularly true in light of the ongoing work by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel to restrict the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on aircraft.

Pyrophobic Systems12:15 pm A Fail-Safe Packing Solution for the Storage, Logistics and Operational Use of Batteries

Tim Riley, International Business Development, Pyrophobic Systems Ltd. 

Pyrophobic battery housing provides a chamber dimensioned to hold one or more batteries with venting passageways. The battery housing material can expand sufficiently to drive gas out of the chamber through the venting passageway and seal it off to block the chain reactions in the event of a thermal runaway.

12:30 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

Safety Considerations for Stationary Energy Storage

1:45 Chairperson’s Remarks

Elham Sahraei EsfahaniElham Sahraei Esfahani, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Impact and Crashworthiness Lab and Co-Director, Battery Modeling Consortium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1:50 Navigating Safety Standards for Stationary Batteries

Laurie B. FlorenceLaurie B. Florence, Principal Engineer, Large Format Batteries, Fuel Cells and Capacitors, Commercial and Industrial: EP&C, UL LLC

The amount and scope of safety standards for stationary batteries can be overwhelming. Manufacturers must take standard criteria into consideration in the early design phase to ensure market compliance, but it can be difficult to understand which standards are applicable. We make sense of the complex standards environment for batteries with helpful illustrations and guides, and provide an early look into the upcoming UL 9540 Safety Standard for Energy Storage.

2:20 Engineering Systems Theory Applied to Stationary Energy Storage Safety

David M. RosewaterDavid M. Rosewater, Energy Storage Test Engineer, Energy Storage Technologies and Systems, Sandia National Laboratories

Cutting-edge advances in safety engineering have significant implications for stationary energy storage systems. The application of a set of newly developed safety engineering techniques based on Systems-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes (STAMP) could give engineers the insight they need to make their designs safer. We introduce systems thinking and the safety engineering techniques STPA and CAST applied to stationary energy storage systems.

2:50 Thermal Runaway Risk of Li-ion Batteries: Introduction to Battery Calorimetry

Graham Hibbert, Sales Manager, HEL Inc.

3:05 Supporting Deployment of Safe Energy Storage Systems through Codes and Standards

DaveConoverDave Conover, Senior Technical Advisor, Energy and Environmental Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The timely and successful development and deployment of safe stationary energy storage systems is dependent in part on the guidance provided in codes, standards and regulations (CSR). The presentation focuses on the efforts of the DOE Office of Electricity, Energy Storage Systems Program activities in support of the deployment of safe stationary energy storage systems through documentation of system safety in relation to current CSR and the updating of those CSR to more specifically cover the wide range of energy storage technology and system applications.

3:20 Refreshment Break, Last Chance for Exhibit and Poster Viewing

Preventative Designs and Predictive Models

4:00 Can Cell-to-Cell Thermal Runaway Propagation in Lithium-Ion Modules Be Prevented?

Judith JeevarajanJudith Jeevarajan, Ph.D., Battery Group Lead, Power Systems Branch, NASA Johnson Space Center

Recent incidents in the commercial aircraft industry have prompted standards working groups to look into the current requirements for the design of safe lithium-ion batteries. One outcome is a new requirement that calls for the prevention of cell-to-cell thermal runaway in the event that an unpredictable fault takes one cell into thermal runaway. Accordingly, recent studies at NASA-JSC and the NASA engineering safety committee have focused on building safe designs that would meet this requirement. Test results and questions on how practical these designs are for large batteries will be discussed.

4:30 Calibration of a Homogenized Jellyroll Model through Micro-Mechanical Tests

Elham Sahraei EsfahaniElham Sahraei Esfahani, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Impact and Crashworthiness Lab and Co-Director, Battery Modeling Consortium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Electric vehicle Li-ion batteries are strongly protected with surrounding housing material. Still, a severe crash may cause local deformation to the battery pack and cells. Our lab has developed homogenized finite element models to predict amount of deformation to the battery cell during impact. We present tests performed at electrode/separator scale to characterize tensile properties of the jellyroll’s homogenized representative volume element. An anisotropic cell model calibrated from these results successfully predicted damage during local deformation of a small pouch cell.

Characteristics of State of Charge

5:00 A Methodology for Studying the Effect of Overcharge on the Safety of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Cher Ming TanCher Ming Tan, Ph.D., Professor and Chairperson, Electronic Engineering, Chang Gung University and former Principal Investigator, Energy Storage System, TUM Create Pte, Ltd.

A good understanding of the influence of overcharge conditions on the electrochemical behavior of the cells is needed to produce a safe cell and enhance its maximum runtime during operation. An electrochemistry-based electrical (ECBE) model developed by us can provide information on the kinetic of electrochemistry in LiB due to overcharging, and thus provide information of the effect of overcharge on kinetic mechanisms of electrochemical behavior in real time.

5:30 Safety Aspects of Aging Effects in Lithium-Ion Batteries

Alvin WuAlvin Wu, Research Engineer, Corporate Research, Underwriters Laboratories Taiwan Co., Ltd.

With upgrades, lithium-ion battery technologies have extended from portable to stationary, industrial, motive and aviation use. Their long cycle and calendar life have brought more safety concerns due to inevitable aging effects under long-term usage. We address safety concerns of lithium-ion batteries in long-term applications, key aging effects and potential mechanisms, explored via thermal stability, polarization, construction integrity and shifts in safety operation windows, and provide test and analysis examples.

5:50 Lithium-Ion Batteries in Aviation: Boston and Takamatsu 787 Boeing Dreamliner Battery Failure Investigations

Robert Swaim, National Resource Specialist, Aerospace Engineering Investigator, National Transportation Safety Board

Mike Bauer, Aerospace Engineering Investigator, National Transportation Safety Board

Alvin Wu, Research Engineer, Corporate Research, Underwriters Laboratories Taiwan Co., Ltd.

Lead NTSB investigators Robert Swaim and Mike Bauer present their study into the recent battery failure incidents in Boston and Takamatsu on the 787 Boeing Dreamliner. Alvin Wu continues with the details of cell-level test results that were completed for these investigations. The lessons learned and the future use and safety of lithium-ion batteries will be discussed.

6:45 Close of Day

Friday, November 14

8:30 Battery Breakout Discussion Groups with Continental Breakfast

Grab a cup of coffee and join a discussion group. These are moderated discussions with brainstorming and interactive problem solving, allowing conference participants from diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and experiences and develop future collaborations around a focused topic.

Session will conclude with brief reports from each discussion group.

Table 1: Stationary Batteries and Grid-Tied Energy Storage Applications and Challenges

Rich ByczekRich Byczek, Global Technical Lead, Electric Vehicles and Energy Storage, Intertek

  • What chemistries are being used for different applications (UPS, peak shaving, frequency regulation, etc.)?
  • Second life for EV or other batteries: What are the issues with trying to reuse batteries for grid-tied applications, or do we need new technology?
  • How are batteries/energy storage being integrated with new and old PV and wind installations?
  • What is the viability of V2G/V2X (vehicle-to-grid, -home, etc.) with existing and new EVs?
  • End of life: Transformers are used 2X expected life; will this be acceptable with large format batteries?

Table 2: Thermal Runaway Propagation within a Large-Format Li-Ion Battery Module

Xuning FengXuning Feng, Research Scientist, U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center-Clean Vehicles Consortium (CERC-CVC), Tsinghua University and University of Michigan

  • Can thermal runaway be eliminated through stringent compulsory tests?
  • What are the initiation mechanisms for thermal runaway of single cells?
  • How does the initiation transform into thermal runaway propagation (the propagation mechanism)?
  • How can one inhibit thermal runaway propagation through design, manufacturing and real-time control/monitoring?
  • What are the trade-offs between thermal insulation (for safety) and thermal dissipation (for efficiency and uniformity) in thermal management?

Table 3: Safety in Lithium Ion Batteries: State of the Art in Separators

Brian MorinBrian Morin, Ph.D., President and COO, Dreamweaver International, Inc.

  • What's wrong with current separators, and how do they inhibit safety?
  • What solutions are being tried to improve them? Here we will discuss:
    • Ceramic and high-temperature coatings
    • Ceramic and high-temperature fillers
    • High-temperature polymer fiber separators
  • How much improvement can be expected from advanced solutions?

Table 4: Managing Cascading Failures – Pack or Cell?

John WarnerJohn Warner, D.M., Director, Marketing and Applications Engineering, XALT Energy

  • One of the biggest challenges with Li-ion battery safety is the cascading cell failure. What are the methods of managing these failures?
  • Where should cascading failures be managed: at the cell, module or pack level?
  • Are there new technologies that are available today that could help resolve this failure mode?

Table 5: Li-Ion Battery Safety: Prediction, Prevention, Levels and Legalities

Zhengming (John) ZhangZhengming (John) Zhang, Ph.D., CTO, Celgard, LLC and Chairman, IEEE Cell Subgroup P1625

  • How do you define battery safety? What levels of battery safety must be considered to comprehensively advance research in this area?
  • What are the most reliable and useful measures of battery safety? How do abuse tests relate to improving battery safety?
  • What are the best methods for predicting battery safety behavior and preventing battery safety hazards?
  • What are the most pressing legal issues associated with battery safety and batteries in CE and EDV?

10:00 Coffee Break

Multiscale Modeling: Simulation, Computation and Analytical Tools

10:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

Judith JeevarajanJudith Jeevarajan, Ph.D., Battery Group Lead, Power Systems Branch, NASA Johnson Space Center

10:35 Smart Battery Health Software for Improved Safety, Reliability and Mobility

MohammadRezvaniMohammad Rezvani, Research Scientist, NSF I/UCRC Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems (IMS), University of Cincinnati

The developed “smart battery technologies” can predict the battery degradation and prevent potential safety issues for improved reliability. In addition, the Watchdog Agent can make the battery with self-aware capabilities to monitor its health for optimized resilience.

11:05 Model-Based Prediction Augmented with Sensing Techniques for Battery Management Systems

Anna G. StefanopoulouAnna G. Stefanopoulou, Ph.D., Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and Director, Automotive Research Center, University of Michigan

Real-time estimation of internal battery states using validated physics-based models is critical for predicting and controlling the complex electrochemical, thermal and mechanical behavior of lithium-ion batteries. We highlight efforts to maintain individual cell-SOC observability under cell-cluster voltage measurements. We summarize advances in inner-cell temperature estimation and associated monitoring of cell aging. We finally show how to enhance SOC and power management with pack bulk force measurements utilizing the observed cell signature during Li intercalation and thermal expansion.

11:35 Toward Predictive Crash Modeling of Automotive Batteries

John TurnerJohn Turner, Ph.D., Group Leader, Computational Engineering and Energy Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

We report on efforts to simulate a battery’s electrochemical, thermal and structural responses under mechanical impact conditions. Under the DOE/EERE Computer Aided Engineering for Batteries (CAEBAT) project, ORNL has developed the Virtual Integrated Battery Environment (VIBE), a transient coupled-physics simulation environment for batteries. VIBE has now been extended to couple impact mechanics with other physics, and the model is being correlated with existing mechanical test data from ORNL and others.

12:05 pm Destructive Testing of Lithium Ion Cells

Paul R. McGillPaul R. McGill, Electrical Engineer, Development Engineering, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Thermal runaway of a Li-ion battery inside an underwater vehicle’s pressure housing presents a serious risk. To understand the effects of battery failure, we built an instrumented test chamber to heat Li-ion 18650 cells to destruction and to measure the volume and temperature of the evolved gases. Our testing showed that these cells don’t always fail in the expected way, and that failure can easily propagate from cell to cell.

12:35 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

Multiscale Modeling: Simulation, Computation and Analytical Tools (cont’d)

1:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

Mitch Jacoby, Ph.D., Senior Correspondent, Chemical & Engineering News, American Chemical Society


1:35 Optimum Design of Battery Pack against Ground Impact

Tomasz WierzbickiTomasz Wierzbicki, Ph.D., Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Recent accidents causing fires in Tesla Model S drew industry attention to the danger posed on electric cars from road debris. Encouraged by the earlier reconstruction of the Tesla accidents, published in the opened literature, various structural arrangements are discussed on the design of the battery packs and their integration with the vehicle body.

2:05 Life Cycle Management of High-Voltage Battery Packs

Dirk SpiersDirk Spiers, Director, ATC New Technologies

Almost all advanced battery systems right now are designed with assumptions and based on simulated testing. Our unique approach consists of “exit interviews” of packs coming back out of the field. What kind of failure modes do we see, are backs safe and what can we learn from these “old” packs?


2:35 Advances in Battery Management System Fault Detection for Improved Safety

MichaelAzarianMichael H. Azarian, Ph.D., Assistant Research Scientist, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, University of Maryland

Battery management systems are critical to safe operation of lithium-ion batteries. They can estimate the internal state of the battery, detect anomalies and implement failure mitigation strategies. Primarily, fault detection focuses on detecting short circuits post-occurrence through voltage, current and temperature measurements. But this detection can be too late to prevent thermal runaway. We identify precursors to lithium-ion battery failure as a result of externally applied mechanical loads and internal gas generation.

3:05 Technologies for Detection and Intervention of Internal Short Circuits in Li-Ion Batteries

Brian Barnett, Ph.D., Vice President, TIAX, LLC

CAMX Power has developed two distinct, non-invasive, chemistry-agnostic technologies for the detection of internal shorts in Li-ion batteries. These technologies have the sensitivity to detect developing internal shorts at levels far below the point at which a thermal runaway may occur. CAMX Power has also identified and tested approaches to intervene and suppress thermal runaway once such shorts are detected. These technologies and approaches will be discussed in this presentation.

3:35 Closing Panel Discussion

Lithium-ion batteries contain more energy per unit of weight than conventional batteries, which contributes to their success but also to safety concerns. The same properties that result in high energy density also pose potential hazards if the energy is released at a fast, uncontrolled rate. This panel discusses safety evaluation technologies and methods for monitoring li-ion batteries, from cells to systems and from mobile to stationary.

Moderator: Mitch Jacoby, Ph.D., American Chemical Society


Panelists: Brian Barnett, Ph.D., TIAX, LLC

Rich ByczekRich Byczek, Intertek

Judith JeevarajanJudith Jeevarajan, Ph.D., NASA Johnson Space Center

MichaelAzarianMichael H. Azarian, Ph.D., University of Maryland

Tomasz WierzbickiTomasz Wierzbicki, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dirk SpiersDirk Spiers, ATC New Technologies







4:30 Close of Battery Safety Conference

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