The subject of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries took on urgent new meaning following two thermal runaway incidents with lithium-ion batteries installed in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. A lot of information—and misinformation—surrounds lithium-ion technology, and experts from all over are weighing in with their opinions.
Electric vehicle battery
Sometime in 2011 (we can’t be sure when), an airport worker hooked up an energized ground-power unit to a Cessna Citation CJ4 (525C), according to the FAA. The CJ4 was the first business jet certified with a lithium-ion main-ship battery.
Concorde Battery (Stand 2404) is exhibiting its range of improved lead-acid aircraft batteries. Although lead-acid is old battery technology, having been invented in 1859, it may be soon the only one available for aviation use. According to Concorde executives, nickel-cadmium batteries could be banned to protect worker health and lithium-ion models seem too hazardous for airborne applications.
The FAA has issued Special Conditions for the Cessna 680 Sovereign, for which Cessna proposes to use rechargeable lithium-ion main batteries and APU start batteries. According to the FAA, lithium-ion batteries differ significantly from the nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) and lead-acid rechargeable batteries currently approved.
Lithium batteries, as used in cellphones, laptops and other electronic equipment, have been in the news recently, as airlines have severely limited their carriage on aircraft due to the hazard of fire. So it might not seem an opportune time to begin marketing a lithium battery designed to replace nicad and lead-acid aircraft batteries.