LiveBIG Staff, September 19, 2016

Electric cars? power woes, the Boeing Dreamliner?s battery issues and the tendency of hoverboards to catch fire are all related events. At least, that?s the view of some engineers at Ohio State.

And a new technology they?ve developed just might be a fix for all three problems.

OSU?s Vishnu-Baba Sundaresan, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and doctoral student Travis Hery describe the advancement in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

It?s a plastic membrane they believe could lead to the development of a liquid electrolyte that can be recharged or replenished like traditional gas-based vehicles.

?For everyday commuting, the electrolyte can be simply regenerated by plugging it into a power outlet overnight or while parked at the garage. For long road trips, you could empty out the used electrolyte and refill the battery to get the kind of long driving range we are accustomed to with internal combustion engines,? Sundaresan said.

The self-discharge between the anode and cathode sections of lithium-ion batteries can cause everything from loss of energy to an excess of heat, leading to the kind of fires witnessed in so-called hoverboards or the Dreamliner.

The membrane would control the flow of ions in the electrolyte-based battery, reducing discharge and accidental fires. Of the fires, the Lantern says:

The phenomenon is called thermal runaway, and there are very few ways to shut it down once it starts. But Sundaresan and Hery believe their membrane, when used with a specially designed electronic control unit, can shut down charge transport and prevent thermal runaway at its onset.

With the creation of the membrane accomplished, developing the battery is the next step in the research.