Despite the impressive progress made in recent decades, the untapped potential of batteries still remains significant. This includes the development of new materials and chemical combinations. The ACIC battery lab is focused on tapping into these possibilities, in addition to running safety and durability tests, and finding solutions to long-standing battery challenges.
One challenge is thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is an unstoppable chain reaction in a battery that causes rapid overheating and can lead to fire. It is rare, but can happen to computers or phones. In 2016, millions of electronic devices had to be recalled after a battery fault caused units to overheat and explode. Although lithium ion is considered the most effective technology currently available for rechargeable batteries, the battery recalls are a reminder that it is not without safety concerns, which limits its use in aviation.
To develop new battery solutions that can be applied to commercial aviation, the ACIC team will collaborate with local partners in Shenzhen, including BYD, one of the world’s largest electric vehicle and battery makers. The team will also work closely with the Airbus Battery CoC, the TEIE team in Toulouse that develops new battery solutions for aerospace applications.
“Having a battery lab in China is the perfect complement to our electrical lab in Toulouse,” says Valéry Gineste, Head of TEIE. “The ACIC lab will focus on testing the latest cells and battery technologies to emerge from China, which will reduce time to market.”