Lithium ion batteries not necessarily unsafe, safety investigator says
Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Council, said she did not want to \"flatly\" rule out the possibility of using lithium-ion batteries to power aircraft systems, although it is clear that, in the wake of last month\'s battery fire on air Japan flight 787, which was parked at Boston Logan International Airport, the safeguards failed.
\"It is clear that what we have seen in the Boston 787 battery fire shows that some of the risks have not been alleviated or resolved,\" Hersman said in an interview with reporters . \".
The fire was not \"the brand new battery we saw on a brand new plane\", she said \".
There are still a few weeks before the reason for January is determined.
The battery caught fire, Hersman said.
Investigators are also investigating the special conditions that the Federal Aviation Administration requires Boeing to meet in order to use lithium-ion batteries to power 78 7\'s electrical system, she said. A government-
The Industry Advisory Committee, which works closely with the FAA, released the lithium battery test standards used in aircraft operations, months after the agency approved a separate test system for 78 7 batteries.
\"What happened was that when the aircraft was certified, it was basically locked in the criteria that existed at the time,\" Hersman said . \".
Usually, more stringent standards will appear later, but will not apply to already-
Approved aircraft design.
\"These are the issues that we are constantly looking at in our investigations, and I am sure we will focus on the battery,\" she said . \".
Hersman said investigators have been working closely with the FAA to review the agency\'s ongoing approval of the 78 7 flight certification.
The FAA issued the certificate on August 2011.
\"We are evaluating the assessments that have been made, whether they are accurate, whether they are being complied with, and whether more needs to be done,\" she said . \".
\"I think it is important to really understand what the risks are and whether they are effectively mitigated before this aircraft returns to the air.
\"787 is the first passenger plane to use lithium batteries widely.
Aircraft manufacturers believe that lithium batteries are an important way to save fuel costs. they are lighter than other batteries of the same size and can store more energy.
The Airbus A350, which is expected to go public next year, will also use lithium-ion batteries widely.
Manufacturers also want to transform existing aircraft to replace other types of batteries with lithium ion.
However, if the lithium battery is damaged, if there is a manufacturing defect, or if it is exposed to an overheated environment, it is more likely to short-circuit and cause a fire than other batteries.