Cambridge EnerTech’s

Lithium-Ion Battery Consumer Safety

Science, Strategies, and Standards

October 23, 2019


Lithium-ion battery (LIB) technologies and applications are rapidly evolving with expanding uses by consumers – from cell phone and medical devices, to electric vehicles and stationary solar storage, to name a few. Fires or explosions caused by these batteries are uncommon, but the consequences can be devastating. Designing LIB safety is difficult but not impossible. Scientific findings from pre- and post-investigations can help guide safety standards. Cambridge EnerTech’s Lithium-Ion Battery Consumer Safety meeting convenes forensic scientists, fire-safety investigators, regulatory authorities, OEMs, and battery manufacturers to facilitate dynamic discussions of integrating LIBs safely into our mobile society.

Wednesday, OCTOBER 23

7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee


8:00 Chairperson’s Remarks

George A. Kerchner, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Wiley Rein LLP

8:05 Fundamental Investigations Toward Safe Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems

Amy Marschilok, PhD, University Instructional Specialist, Research Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering & Research Professor, Chemistry, Stony Brook University; Joint Appointee, Brookhaven National Laboratory

As applications for energy storage increase in complexity and diversity, the demands on the battery continue to grow. Consumer electronics demand lightweight batteries which can remain safe under disparate use and abuse conditions. Vehicle technology demands high-power batteries which can charge rapidly yet function reliably under extended use. Safety considerations are paramount for grid level storage, particularly when deployed in crowded locations. Fundamental investigations toward safe electrochemical energy storage systems will be highlighted in this presentation, with emphasis on complementary ex-situ, in-situ and operando characterization approaches to understand energy storage material/composite degradation modes and relationship to cell level safety.

8:35 Safety of Next Generation of Batteries

Grigorii Soloveichik, DSc, Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) supports development of advanced high energy density batteries for fast growing automotive applications and grid-scale energy storage with emphasis on safety. In comparison with incumbent Li-ion batteries, increased safety is achieved by replacing flammable electrolytes with either non-flammable aqueous or solid (ceramic or polymer) electrolytes or by cell engineering. Trade-off between energy density, safety, manufacturability, and battery cost will be discussed.

9:05 Energy Density vs. Safety – Can We Improve Both?

Brian Sisk, PhD, Vice President, Cell Product Development, A123 Systems

Lithium-ion batteries have long been a winner in energy density thanks to innovation in materials research. However, these increases in energy density have also pushed the envelope in terms of safety. In this presentation, I will present a path to an inherently safe battery technology that breaks the tradeoff between energy density and safety. This battery technology, known as solid polymer electrolyte, suppresses thermal runaway by eliminating the flammable material. By making it impossible for lithium-ion batteries to burn, we can provide a future of safe, high-energy batteries.

9:35 Advanced Li-Ion Technology and Beyond at Saft

Joong Sun Park, PhD, Solid State Technical Manager, Saft America

Saft has successfully applied Li-ion electrochemistry to defense, space, and commercial applications which require very high power and safety. Saft is entering a new, dramatic growth stage including expansion into new markets and applications. Saft continues to develop new and safe electrochemistry including advanced LTO, Mn-phosphate, and solid-state. Recent advancements will be shown.

10:05 Grand Opening Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


10:45 Educating Consumers on Lithium-Ion Battery Safety: Cradle to Grave

George A. Kerchner, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Wiley Rein LLP

11:15PANEL DISCUSSION: Which Is More Difficult? Engineering a Safer LIB Battery or Educating the Consumer on Its Use?

Lithium-ion battery (LIB) technologies and applications are rapidly evolving and their use by consumers is widening. Higher energy plus increased use leads to higher risk. During this panel experts discuss where the “energy” should be applied: engineering or education?

Topics to be Discussed:

  • Engineering stable electrochemistries
  • Engineering reliant battery management systems
  • Educating integrators in the consumer electronics market
  • Educating consumers on use
  • Experiences with high energy density

Moderator: George A. Kerchner, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Wiley Rein LLP

Panelists to be Announced

11:45 Sponsored Presentation (Opportunity Available)

12:15 pm Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

12:45 Session Break


1:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

Kevin Fok, Director, Operations, LG Chem Michigan, Inc.

1:35 Need for Safer Standards and Regulations of Lithium-Ion Battery

Bhavya Kotak, MEng, Research Associate, Safe Electromobility, University of Applied Science Ingolstadt

The application of Lithium-Ion Battery (LIB) is rapidly evolving from electronics like mobile phones to energy storage systems and electric vehicles. However, LIB is experiencing a significant number of fires and explosions due to various reasons such as mechanical abuse, overcharging, short circuit, and design and manufacturing flaws. Therefore, it is vital to increase the safety of LIB consumers and hence, necessary to enhance the standards to make them more reliable.

2:05 Mechanical Response of Lithium-Ion Batteries to External Abusive Loads

Elham Sahraei, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director, Electric Vehicle Safety Lab (EVSL), Temple University

Li-ion batteries have found applications in air, ground, and sea vessels due to their high power and energy density, long cycle life, and low self-discharge rates. However, they contain hazardous materials and can go to thermal runaway or, in extreme cases, explode from mechanical failure due to a crash or mishandling. In this research, we investigated effects of mechanical deformation on Lithium-ion Battery Cells at different temperatures.

2:35 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

3:15 The Scalability of Accelerating Rate Calorimetry (ARC) with State of Charge and Capacity

Joshua Lamb, PhD, Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Power Sources R&D, Sandia National Laboratories

This work examines the results of accelerating rate calorimetry testing on different lithium-ion cathode chemistries (LCO, NCA, NMC, LFP), different formats (18650, pouch, large format cylindrical), and states of charge to understand how ARC results are impacted by both energy density and total energy. Also studied is how thermal runaway is impacted by energy in general, looking at both the total energy release during thermal runaway as well as the peak heating rates observed.

3:45Ensuring Large-Scale Energy Storage Safety

Roger Lin, Vice President, Marketing, NEC Energy Solutions

As the presence of large-scale lithium-ion energy storage systems in the electric power grid begins to grow, proper design and operation protocols are needed for ensuring safe and reliable operation. This presentation will share NEC’s best practices in the areas of product design and system integration with the entire industry to help ensure all energy storage systems meet safety requirements and minimize hazard to acceptable levels, and contribute to the creation of standards that ensure energy storage will be a ubiquitous, integral, and safe part of the power sector.

4:15 PANEL DISCUSSION: Energy Storage Systems: Codes and Standards

Codes and standards are continuing to be developed and implemented for energy storage systems. This panel discussion covers the latest developments in codes and standards for energy storage systems.

Topics to be Discussed:

  • Recent developments in codes
  • and standards
  • Stakeholder perspectives
  • Next steps

Moderator: Kevin Fok, Director, Operations, LG Chem Michigan, Inc.


Adam Barowy, MS, Research Engineer I, Fire Research & Development, UL LLC

Matthew Paiss, Standards Representative, International Association of Fire Fighters

Additional Panelists to be Announced

4:45 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

5:30 Dinner Workshop Registration

6:00 Close of Lithium-Ion Battery Consumer Safety

6:009:00 Dinner Workshop*

W2: Too Hot to Handle: Key Differences in Thermal Runaway Behavior and Failure Analysis of High Voltage Li-Ion Cells

Matthew Glazer, PhD, PE, Managing Engineer, Materials and Corrosion Engineering Practice, Exponent

As higher voltage Li-ion cells become more prevalent in the market, a clearer understanding of these cells’ post thermal runaway signatures is needed for effective failure analysis of events that occur during testing or in the field. In this talk, I will compare the thermal runaway behavior and post thermal runaway electrode morphology between 4.2V and 4.35V lithium-ion cells using both non-destructive and destructive techniques, and key lessons will be discussed to inform investigations of failed cells in the field.

*Separate registration required.

* The program is subject to change without notice, due to unforeseen reason.

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