Review - Thermal Safety Management in Li-Ion Batteries: Current Issues and Perspectives


Approaches for thermal management of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries do not always keep pace with advances in energy storage and power delivering capabilities. Root-cause analysis and empirical evidence indicate that thermal runaway (TR) in cells and cell-to-cell thermal propagation are due to adverse changes in physical and chemical characteristics internal to the cell. However, industry widely uses battery management systems (BMS) originally designed for aqueous-based batteries to manage Li-ion batteries. Even the "best" BMS that monitor both voltage and outside-surface temperature of each cell are not capable of preventing TR or TR propagation, because voltage and surface-mounted temperature sensors do not track fast-emerging adverse events inside a cell. Most BMS typically include a few thermistors mounted on select cells to monitor their surface temperature. Technology to track intra-cell changes that are TR precursors is becoming available. Simultaneously, the complex pathways resulting in cell-to-cell TR propagation are being successfully modelled and mapped. Innovative solutions to prevent TR and thermal propagation are being advanced. These include modern BMS for rapid monitoring the internal health of each individual cell and physical as well as chemical methods to reduce the deleterious effects of rapid cell-to-cell heat and material transport in case of TR.