Report: Cold weather contributed to 787 battery fires last year

An ANA Boeing 787 sits on the tarmac at Haneda airport in Tokyo in January 2013, after a battery on the jet overheated, triggering a worldwide grounding of the Dreamliner fleet.

Cold weather played a part in the meltdown of a lithium ion battery that caused a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner to make an emergency landing in Japan last year, the Japanese newspaper Asahi reported Friday, according to Reuters news agency.

The battery meltdown on the ANA Holdings Inc.-owned plane prompted authorities to ground the global fleet of Dreamliners for more than three months.

It followed an incident less than two weeks earlier at Boston Airport when a battery on a parked Japan Airlines 787 overheated and emitted white gases.

Low temperatures can cause a lithium ion battery to deteriorate, resulting in the risk of a short circuit, Kyodo News reported separately.

A Boeing spokesman declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation.

The Japan Transport Safety Board plans to release a final report on its findings as early as September, the Asahi report said. The newspaper based its report on conclusions of local investigators.

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Boeing won approval for Dreamliner flights to resume in the spring of 2013 after it redesigned the battery compartment to isolate thermal events and vent hot gases outside the aircraft.

The Dreamliner is Boeing's state-of-the-art plane, built with carbon-fiber composite materials and a powerful electrical system to reduce weight and improve the jet's fuel efficiency.

Boeing makes parts for and assembles the 787 in North Charleston. It also assembles the Dreamliner in Everett, Wash., the hub of the Chicago-based aerospace company's airplane-making operations.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or