Originally Posted by nat_ster
I use Li-on battery's everyday. My hand tools, shaver, cell phone, flashlight, ect.
No way I would use any other battery chemistry.
No other battery chemistry is anywhere close to as safe as Li-on.
It's not the safest battery, I know because I burnt few lithium batteries while experimenting with charger that I designed using SOC algorithm developed by the biggest chipset manufacturer in the US. Actually, it was their engineering evaluation kit, not my charger. Simply put, this device allows chipset to communicate with external device such as PC, so that designer don't need xtalk device the read the memory, closely monitoring the parameters stored. Ideally, it's so fanatic, they claimed their chipset will predict stored energy within something like 90% accuracy, something every system designer are dying to have in their system, but it just burnt my battery in the end. I would love to have my battery system able to continually monitor battery's SOC without complication of adding new device. Charger Controller have no business telling the SOC, and it's completely flawed marketing scheme because batteries will be charged from multiple source, not just from solar panel.
Lithium is known to start mysterious fire, and due to high density of energy cell, it's very difficult to control flames once battery is on fire. It's fire is so intense, it burnt the solid metal desk and the black dust that penetrated my lab space for days if not for weeks, just unbelievable. Metal will not melt unless it's exposed to extreme high temperature, and the lithium chew my desk's metal surface like a pancake. If I recall my incident, it's like burning a highly explosive chemical like gun powder, you get the idea.
You cannot not compare 1AH lithium battery commonly used on portable devices to lithium battery with thousand times higher capacity in vehicle application.
When Boeing company had to ground all new 787 airplanes for month, taking heavy loses, I can understand why they were so scared to death by lithium battery incidents in Japan. If I understand it correctly, Boeing tried lithium pack for plane's auxiliary power system traditionally used by engaging APU generator, because it save fuel consumption by reducing planes's weight, same reason why bus converter are trying to achieve, no other valid reason to use solar power in a bus conversion, in my opinion. Of course, once in a while, people will try different thing without a reason other than bragging right. Hey, its your money you're wasting. I'm not in a position to criticize your choice but strongly recommend looking into solar system with no bias, use your own head to justify other than someone else telling you how cool it is to have a solar system. Realistically speaking, you're NOT saving our planet by reducing couple of gallons of fuel consumption. Solar manufacturing plant itself is known to create a lot more toxic air, if you want to be technical.
Back to lithium incident in Japan, they (FAA & Boeing) determined the cause of fire to be the impurities from manufacturing process, but then the vendor is known for high QA program, far exceeding that of Toyota plant. It's easy to blame on commonly accepted cause, been used for ages. I'm not so convinced that impurities will start a fire, knowing how lithium cell generates energy. It's like a pandora box, no one really want to know, from my perspective.
From my experience working with Boeing, they're very conservative toward adopting technology, rarely incorporates new thing unless management is completely assured its safety, and the lithium has embarrassed them like never before.