7 On Your Side speaks with Cal engineer on making lithium batteries safer

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- It wasn't that long ago when we began getting reports of commercial airlines banning Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones from flights. Samsung announced a worldwide recall of the Galaxy Note 7, following reports that the troubled phones could catch fire.

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney speaks with University of California, Berkeley chemical engineer Nitash Balsara on the subject of lithium batteries and safety.

Michael Finney: Can we make them safer?
Nitash Balsara: That's the goal of my research to place this flammable electrolyte with something safer.
Finney: To replace it with something different?

Balsara: Yes.
Finney: So what are you looking at?
Balsara: I'm looking at plastics. I'm looking at hybrids of plastics and other glass like solids, things that don't blow up, things that don't combust. Ideally, one would like a material that does just as well, but doesn't catch fire. We are very very far from such a material, but we do have materials that don't catch fire and we are trying to see what kind of batteries might be made using those materials.

Balsara is working with the Lawrence Berkeley lab on his battery project. We'll be hearing a lot more about this in the future.
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