Safe Concerns Can Be Addressed With Proper Manufacturing and Safe storage for Lithium Batteries
Early in December, one of the world’s manufacturers issued a recall for several home solar battery storage systems due to potential fire hazards. There have reportedly been four fires involving these battery systems, including an explosion due to an energy storage facility that resulted in numerous injuries and personnel evacuation.
The battery units’ cells run the risk of overheating and catching fire, according to the recall notice. Following several fires involving a world brand of solar goods, there is now a recall.
Nowadays, some homeowners will ask for battery backup options more frequently as part of their home solar power installations and devices. Concerns regarding fire hazards are projected to increase as solar energy is more widely used.
Are these worries valid?
That depends on the battery storage option you select and how it was created. Several people in the industry claim that if the battery is installed by manufacturer instructions, the chance of a fire is virtually nonexistent.
Even if the battery is mounted incorrectly, the risk of fire can be virtually eliminated with solar battery storage units provided they are manufactured by best practices.
Even if there is extremely little chance of a fire, picture yourself as a homeowner who has just watched a video of a house fire that was linked to a solar battery. Instead of making meaningless promises, the industry must rise to this challenge with safer products.
Generally, we know that chemistry, the battery pack is made up, and the manufacturing procedure itself will be the three fundamental factors in manufacturing that cause the danger of fire.
Characteristics of the battery
When making the battery, the manufacturer decides which battery chemistry is ideal for a particular purpose. Usually speaking, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (also known as NMC) and lithium iron phosphate are the two energy storage compounds that are most frequently used (we call LFP).
NMC chemistry for energy storing has significant advantages for the automotive sector. NMC is the battery of preference for cars due to its higher voltage and higher energy density.
LFP chemistry provides the finest solar energy storage for residential use. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, which can catch fire or erupt as a result of overheating during charging, lithium-iron phosphate batteries are especially resilient to overcharging and over-discharging.
Because the changed cathode chemistry will significantly increase the thermal runaway threshold by over 100°F compared to NMC, there will be significant safety variations between the two chemistries. NMC has a much higher risk of setting fire than iron phosphate. On the other hand, normal working circumstances will lead to a more stable internal temperature when LFP runs consistently.
Designing a battery cell should take efficiency and safety into account in addition to chemistry. All other structural variables, including separation, high voltage, and thermal runaway, are equally important.
The construction of the battery pack must make use of the proper electrical parts and have enough built-in backups. You can make sure the system is operational and capable of handling variations in power usage trends by doing this.
Also, a battery management system that keeps track of the temperature, voltage, and input/output power is crucial to synchronizing the operation of the entire system and removing the possibility of fire.
A solar battery storage unit may take more current and higher voltage without posing a fire risk if the proper thermal material is used. It is possible to well manage the internal temperature of the battery pack by using a high-heat conductive material for example, we know that aluminum, can be transferred heat four to five times better than other materials.
The environment and manufacturing process must also be strictly regulated. The dish will be ruined if the incorrect components are used, added in the incorrect order, and combined. At the production facility, highly automated processes and complete traceability are essential. To guarantee the security of each solar battery, the manufacturing process must be exact, uniform, and quality-checked at every stage.
However, concerns about fire safety will be projected to increase, the reason is that families prioritize environmentally friendly energy use and increasingly rely on solar battery storage as a source of backup power in the market. Researching battery options and being aware of the factors that increase the risk of fire are important for both installers and homeowners. The industry can also take initiatives to design and produce battery systems that increase consumer trust in solar energy storage.
Lithium battery storage in a secure manner
Lithium-ion battery technology is a relatively new development. Yet, since their inception in the early 1990s, they have been gradually replacing traditional technology. Lithium-based batteries have a tiny form factor and high performance. They are being used in more and more autos and other equipment due to their advantages.
Although this technology has advantages, it also poses risks to your safety. When handled incorrectly, lithium-ion batteries pose a very big risk. Lithium-ion battery explosions and fires can be fatal, resulting in expensive damage and, in the worst-case scenario, loss of life.
In this manual, we examine lithium-ion batteries’ possible risks in-depth and offer helpful advice on how to store them safely.
How lithium-ion batteries function
It can be quite beneficial to understand how lithium batteries function to assess the potential risks linked with them. Lithium can be found in both its pure and bonded forms in a wide range of battery types.
Also, the anode and cathode, the positive and negative electrodes, are present in and basis of every lithium battery. There is an ion-conducting electrolyte in between them. This guarantees the movement of lithium ions during the charging and discharging processes between the electrodes. Another crucial component of the apparatus is the separator. Removing the anode’s and cathode’s direct contact avoids a short circuit.
During the discharging process, lithium ions and electrons are discharged from the anode side. While moving across the external circuit, electrons perform electrical work. The lithium ions move simultaneously from the separator and electrolyte fluid to the cathode.
Are Lithium-Iron batteries safe?
Furthermore, contamination or manufacturing flaws may present a safety issue. Any circumstance, whether it be a deep discharge, fire, or chemical reaction, poses a risk to the environment, businesses, and employees.
Typical problems with lithium-ion batteries include:
Dangerous for fires due to thermal runaway
There is a chance of thermal runaway if cells overheat. Many other factors, including thermal loads, mechanical damage, or manufacturing flaws, can cause thermal runaways. This exothermic process has the potential to ignite the lithium that has been stored, igniting the fire and generating its oxygen.
The electrolyte solution is vaporized by intense heat, which produces more heat and flammable gases. The battery will catch fire if a gas ignites when its ignition temperature is surpassed. A destructive domino effect can result from thermal propagation.
A deep discharge creates a fire hazard
Long periods of inactivity can cause lithium-ion batteries to drain. The electrolyte liquid’s decomposition may produce gases that are easily ignited. Deeply depleted lithium-ion batteries cannot be recharged because there is not enough electrolyte fluid to properly convert the energy that is given. A short circuit or fire may occur as a result of deep discharge.
Mechanical deformation causes a fire hazard
Lithium-ion batteries are constantly susceptible to damage when being handled. Examples include falling on hard ground or colliding with moving automobiles. If the outcome is cell deformation, the battery may catch fire from internal short-circuiting. In a few instances, it is conceivable that particles that are unintentionally introduced into the cell during manufacturing may eventually cause internal cell harm. Internal short circuits are also possible here.
Lithium-ion battery fire suppression
A lithium-ion battery produces oxygen when it burns. Class D fires, which are identified by the presence of burning metals, can only be put out with specialized suppression powders and granules.
Stocking appropriate amounts of suppression granules or powder are advised as a precautionary step. Granules placed above the fire load displace the oxygen and separate it from the fuel. The granules melt at a specific temperature just like glass. The granules cool the flames by absorbing heat in the form of melting energy. Above the fire load, an impenetrable envelope also forms. Effectively preventing a reaction with oxygen.
There are other risks associated with lithium batteries besides the potential for fire. Hazardous compounds like hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acids could be released from inside the cell if there is a reaction. This could manifest as vapor, which could harm workers when they come into contact with it or breathe it in.
Since there is no single legislation, many businesses are faced with a quandary regarding the storage of lithium-ion batteries. Depending on the specific situation, safety measures can be done to prevent and restrict the damage. In general, as the energy stored by lithium batteries increases and as the quantity of batteries increases, the potential risk linked with them rises.
When handling or transporting lithium-ion batteries, keep the following in mind:
Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines (technical product datasheets)
Defend the battery poles against short circuits.
Defend against mechanical bending
Avoid prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures or heat sources (including direct sunlight)
If there is no automatic extinguishing equipment installed, make sure there is structural or geographical separation (minimum 2.5 m) from other combustible items.
Make certain that defective batteries are removed right away from the production and storage facilities (keep them at a safe distance or in a fire-rated area until you can dispose of them).
Maworld Power is a professional manufacturer of Lithium-Iron Batteries, we’re happy to advise you!Welcome to your inquiry!