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Carlsbad company nearing fix for igniting lithium ion batteries

Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 21:22:52-04

CARLSBAD, Calif. — A North County company says it's closing in on the technology to keep lithium-ion batteries from igniting.

In the last year, the rechargeable batteries have caught fire in Teslas, E-cigarettes, and smartphones. The incidents led to an emergency ban by the Federal Aviation Administration prohibiting shipping the batteries on passenger planes.

"The issue has always been there, but now I think because lithium is so prevalent, we're seeing increased cases," said Jenna King, chief executive of Carlsbad-based Amionix.

Kings said the industry has largely focused on protecting the battery from the outside, such as through cooling systems and protective layers. She said the batteries ignite due to an overcharge situation or internal short-circuit.

Amionix instead is developing what it's calling SafeCore, essentially a circuit breaker on the inside to keep the battery from igniting.

"If your battery management fails, or it's never even active because it's an internal short within the cell, our technology is going to protect you," King said.

King said Amionix is now working with companies across industries to make sure their product works with their technologies. She declined to specify the companies but said they are well-known.

She hopes to have the safety product in consumers' hands by next year, noting that it's inexpensive to manufacture and therefore should have a negligible impact on consumer prices.