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Moroccan Scientist Develops Breakthrough in Battery Technology

By Cindy Basah

Rabat – Moroccan scientist Rachid Yazami has developed a microchip to monitor the health of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Users are already notified when a battery is overheating. This warning often comes after the battery has already been damaged, causing device failure.

Yazami’s chip can be inserted into most batteries, making it usable for cell phones and other small devices. It could also have commercial uses, such as car batteries and airplanes. One malfunction in these devices could be disastrous.

“Usually big battery packs have hundreds of cells or more bundled together to power the vehicle or aircraft. If there is a chemical fire caused by a single failed battery, it could cause fires in nearby batteries, leading to an explosion” said Yazami in a Nanyang University press release.

This technology will also have practical uses, as it allows batteries to charge faster.

Typically, lithium-ion battery devices are charged slowly at a low-voltage to avoid any damage. However, if this chip is added to a device such as a cell phone, it can be charged at a higher voltage, because the user would be alerted of any battery failure.

This technology, which took over five years to develop, is expected to be available for commercial use by the end of 2016.

“My vision for the future is that every battery will have this chip, which will in turn reduce the risk of battery fires” said Yazami.

Yazami, a researcher at the Nanyang Technological University, is an award-winning specialist in thermodynamics. He won the 2014 Draper Prize for Engineering for his role in the development of the lithium-ion battery, one of the most widely used batteries.

He has published over 200 scientific papers and holds over 50 patents on his work.

Edited by Timothy Filla

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