The Great Laptop Battery Recall of 2006 had everyone paranoid that their MacBooks or ThinkPads could catch fire and cause havoc at any moment. Although that string of incidents appears to be over, the most commonly-found batteries can still catch fire under the right conditions. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Germany hope to eliminate that concern, though, by developing lithium-ion batteries with no flammable materials. Although a prototype has already been made, the battery probably won't reach consumers for another 3 to 5 years.
"We have succeeded in replacing the inflammable organic electrolytes with a non-flammable polymer that retains its shape," ISC team leader Dr. Kai-Christian MÃ¶ller said in a statement. "This considerably enhances the safety of lithium-ion batteries. What's more, because it is a solid substance, the electrolyte cannot leak out of the battery."