Not all Lithium ion batteries are fire hazards

Recently both hover boards and Samsung Galaxy 7 phones have been in the news for lithium-iion battery fires.  Are lithium-ion batteries safe?


Lithium-ion batteries have many different characteristics. There are two main chemistries, LFP or NCA.  The battery cell size can vary from less than 3Ah to over 50Ah.  The total battery capacity is 8000 times different between a cell phone and an electric car. The cooling technology and intelligent charging technology have great impact on the safety of the battery.


When buying a product that contains a lithium-ion battery, get the manufacturers warranty spelled out, and get copies of all quality and reliability information. Check product reviews for any problems. And, stick with companies that have proven expertise in building products with these batteries, to avoid any nasty surprises.

Photovoltaic silicon yo-yo

Solar photovoltaic (PV) polysilicon suppliers have suffered rapidly dropping plant utilization rates during 2012, as reported by Solarbuzz.

The industry typically reports 90% utilization. Current usage has fallen below 70%.

With high fixed costs, factory utilization is a key driver of product cost and profitability.

Near term, this means PV cell and module makers are trimming inventories and limiting production output. Long term contracts are being renegotiated and/or supply timelines pushed out.

In the medium term, this may mean a hiccup in turning on silicon availability once demand growth returns to the industry, just like a free wheeling yo-yo that hesitates before it rises.