Investigators searching for the cause of a fire on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in London last week are looking at the battery in an emergency locator transmitter built by Honeywell International, a source told Reuters news agency.
That device is powered by a lithium manganese battery, a long-life battery that has been available for decades and used widely in domestic products such as digital cameras, walkie-talkies and pacemakers.
The following are some facts about these batteries:
- Lithium manganese dioxide batteries (LiMnO2) are disposable, or "primary" batteries, that have a shelf life of 10 years or more. They offer double the voltage and last at least two times longer than cheaper alkaline counterparts.
- They should not be confused with lithium-ion batteries, a powerful family of rechargeable batteries. These devices are used widely in smart phones, electric cars and in other parts of the 787 Dreamliner. In its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, General Motors uses a lithium-ion battery with a manganese chemistry.
- Lithium manganese battery cells come in a variety of shapes, including the cylindrical form often used in consumer products.
- About half of each cell is made up of manganese dioxide while lithium accounts for 3 to 4 percent, according to a fact sheet from Saft Groupe dated November 2012.