Early detection of failing automotive batteries using gas sensors

Christiane Essl*, Lauritz Seifert, Michael Rabe, Anton Fuchs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Safety for automotive lithium-ion battery (LIB) applications is of crucial importance, especially for electric vehicle applications using batteries with high capacity and high energy density. In case of a defect inside or outside the cell, serious safety risks are possible including extensive heat generation, toxic and flammable gas generation, and consequently fire and explosion. New regulations (GB 38031-2020) require a warning for passengers at least five minutes before serious incidents. This regulation can hardly be fulfilled with state-of-the-art battery monitoring. In this study, gases produced during battery failure before and during a thermal runaway (TR) are investigated in detail and the use of different gas sensors as early detectors of battery incidents is tested and proposed. The response of several commercially available gas sensors is tested in four battery failure cases: unwanted electrolysis of voltage carrying parts, electrolyte vapor, first venting of the cell and the TR. The experiments show that battery failure detection with gas sensors is possible but depends highly on the failure case. The chosen gas sensor can detect H2 produced by unwanted electrolysis and electrolyte vapor and gases produced by degassing of state-of-the-art LIBs. The results may contribute significantly to failure detection and improvement of battery safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Battery safety
  • Failure detection
  • Gas analysis
  • Gas sensors
  • Lithium-ion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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