Japanese experts claim the li-ion battery technology is inherently dangerous and that manufacturers must work on replacing the technology with a safer alternative:
“Battery companies are still learning because the technology is young, but there is a fundamental flaw with the way lithium-ion batteries are currently designed and if the companies genuinely care about safety, they need to completely change their production methods. A lithium-ion battery is quite a dangerous little box of energy,” Professor Wakihara said.
Last year Japanese companies produced around 60 per cent of the two billion lithium-ion batteries sold worldwide. Machines such as multi-function mobile phones, digital cameras and laptops equipped with processors large enough to cope with Microsoft’s new Vista program place huge demands on the batteries. According to Professor Wakihara, the risks of not adopting an alternative technology are rising constantly because of the demands that modern devices in a “mobile device culture” place on their power source.
“Efforts have been mainly devoted to miniaturisation and boosting power output,” Professor Tatsumi said.
The academics’ concerns emerged after a series of safety problems at the world’s three biggest battery manufacturers – Sony, Sanyo and, most recently, Matsushita (Panasonic), which has recalled 46 million mobile phone batteries made for Nokia after a handful of them burst into flames.