STANFORD (KCBS) – Researchers at Stanford University may be on the way to solving the issue of explosions and fires associated with lithium-ion batteries.

The batteries have been blamed for a growing number of injuries to people using a wide variety of devices, from e-cigarettes, to laptops, cellphones and hoverboards.

Austin Sendek, a Stanford doctoral candidate, said the problem lies in the use of liquid components in the batteries.

“We wanted to try to find solid materials that could do the same jobs as those liquids because solids are much more stable,” Sendek told KCBS. “They tend not to vaporize or to blow up.”

It’s the needle in a haystack problem with lithium containing components numbering into the tens of thousands.

How could they possibly test all of them? The answer says Sendek in the journal Energy and Environmental Science is a speedy new computer algorithm using artificial intelligence that’s reduced the component list to just 21 components.

“The next work that comes out of our labs will be, I think, actual devices, or really in-depth computer simulations done with these materials. We’ve already begun that process and found some really interesting things so far,” Sendek said.