Stranded Energy—The Battery Issue Threatening Fire Departments
Feb 7, 2020
Powerful batteries are everywhere these days from cars to home energy storage systems, and even lawnmowers. When those batteries are damaged, large amounts of energy can be trapped inside with no good way of removing it, causing reigniting fires and possible electrocution. With the number of batteries worldwide expected to rise dramatically in the near future, first responders are looking for practical ways of dealing with the stranded energy issue before it's too late.
Hazard Assessment of
Lithium Ion Battery Energy
Andrew F. Blum, P.E., CFEI
R. Thomas Long Jr., P.E., CFEI
In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the deployment of lithium ion batteries in
energy storage systems (ESS). Many ESS are being deployed in urban areas both in high rise
structures and single- and multi-family residences. Local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs)
along with the ESS integrators and installers are challenged by the lack of clear direction on fire
protection and suppression in these installations. Without a recognized hazard assessment made
available to standards developers, AHJs, emergency responders, and industry, guidance on safe
installation of these systems will lack a technical basis
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SK batteries to become more ethical
Feb 4, 2020 - 13:05
SK Innovation, an energy solution affiliate of SK Group, said Tuesday it has joined the Responsible Minerals Initiative to facilitate ethical sourcing of minerals for its battery production.
RMI is a global association established in 2008 that monitors the ethical sourcing of minerals mined in conflict regions including cobalt, a key ingredient for lithium-ion batteries, which are parts for mobile devices and electric vehicles.
Other members include Samsung Electronics, Apple and Tesla.
The membership will allow the energy and chemical company to establish a stronger system for sourcing minerals free from environmental and human rights issues like child labor, the company said.
The company will perform an external due diligence that follows RMI standards on its long-term cobalt supply deal with Glencore, the world’s biggest supplier of cobalt, it added. The six-year deal signed last December supplies SK Innovation with up to 30,000 metric tons of cobalt from 2020 to 2025.
“SK Innovation will voluntarily and preemptively create social values in all stages of batteries including the sourcing of raw materials, production, supply and recycling of them,” said the head of the company’s public relations office.
Firms protest ministry’s battery defect blame for ESS fires
February 06, 2020
A joint panel of electric engineering experts at public and private institutions under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy concluded on Thursday that four out of five energy storage systems of Korean battery makers caught fire last year due to defects in the battery cells.
The five ESS sites that caught fire last year involved the battery systems built by LG Chem and Samsung SDI across the country. Both companies refuted the ministry panel’s findings immediately.
The panel concluded that except for one in Hadong, South Gyeongsang Province, battery defects caused the fires at four other ESS sites.
Faulty batteries blamed for ESS fires:
15:43 February 06, 2020
(ATTN: ADDS response from battery makers in paras 10-18)
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEJONG, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- An expert panel said Thursday malfunctions in batteries are mainly to blame for a recent series of fires in energy storage systems (ESS).
An investigation panel of experts concluded after a four-month probe that faulty batteries rising to abnormally high temperatures were mostly responsible for the five fires that occurred from August to October last year.
Three of the cases were caused by ESS equipment produced by LG Chem Ltd, with Samsung SDI Co. being responsible for the other two.
The ESS refers to the procedures of saving energy in a large-scale battery for efficient distribution of power. For example, it can save energy during night hours to be utilized during daytime, when demand for power is high.
Expert panel blames electric shocks for energy storage system fires
By Kim Kwang-tae
June 11, 2019
SEJONG, June 11 (Yonhap) -- Electric shocks are mainly to blame for a series of fires in energy storage systems (ESS), an expert panel said Tuesday, prompting the government to strengthen safety measures of major components of ESS products.
The panel said that DC contactors can explode when a battery system is hit by an electric shock, caused by either overvoltage or overcurrent.
The panel also said dry bands can occur in battery modules in ESS products installed in mountains or near seas, which can damage insulation and cause fires.
The finding came after the panel carried out a five-month investigation into 23 fires that broke out in ESS equipment produced by local firms, including LG Chem Ltd. and Samsung SDI Co. The fires occurred from August 2017 through May this year.
Battery Energy Storage Systems - (BESS)
BU-705a: Battery Recycling as a Business
Batteries are expensive and have a relatively short life span. As discarded batteries grow by the tonnage, entrepreneurs are enticed to start a business in recycling. With an annual world market (2015) of $33 billion, lead acid is the most common battery in use. This is followed by Li-ion at $16.6 billion, NiMH at $2 billion and NiCd at $1 billion. All other chemistries only make up $1 billion. Table 1 lists the material cost per ton to build these batteries.
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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - 855
Energy Storage Systems (ESS)
Energy Storage Systems (ESS) utilizing lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are the primary infrastructure for wind turbine farms, solar farms, and peak shaving facilities where the electrical grid is overburdened and cannot support the peak demands.
Although Li-ion batteries are the prime concern regarding BESS, NFPA 855 code will also cover lead-acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, sodium batteries and flow batteries. The code covers energy storage whether electro-chemical or electro-mechanical energy storage.
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