SEATTLE - The lithium-ion batteries that overheated and smoked on two Boeing 787 Dreamliners, one actually emitting flames back in January, have been in the news for months. And the 787 fleet remains grounded.
But the reality is that lithium based battery technology is all around us...and now it's even in our electric cars and hybrids...and has found its way onto boats and ships, as well as planes.
The National Transportation Safety Board held a forum today to better understand the risks from traveling with the lithium ion batteries that are used in cell phones and computers, to the use of bigger and bigger lithium batteries and battery packs in all forms of transportation.
"They are potent." said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman at the start of today's forum. "Providing three times the power of older battery technologies and are smaller and lighter."
While the battery technology saw its first uses in the early 1990s, two decade's later Hersman says there's still a lot that's not understood about their potential hazards.
"We've seen the consequences of not fully understanding and properly managing this technology." Hersman said.
Later this month, the NTSB will hold hearings specifically on the first Boeing battery meltdown on January 7th in Boston.