Exxon-Mobil Corporation, US's largest refiner and one of the world's largest oil companies has been carrying out research in technologies that can improve Lithium-ion batteries - the mainstay of many hybrid car propulsion systems. Exxon scientists are basically developing a plastic film separator that serves as a major component in Li-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries are lighter than the commonly used Li-metal hydride batteries, but Li-ion batteries have overheating problems that have been causing explosions in laptop batteries. Anyhow, once the heating issue is resolved, the market for Li-ion should pick up and that is where Exxon's focus happens to be.
If the R&D into alternative technologies by companies like Exxon grow to be a sizeable part of their R&D then that augurs well for "green technology".
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Guess Who Hopes to Help Power New Hybrid Cars - WSJ.com