Fortunately, lithium battery fires are rather rare, but the consequences can
be dramatic. The objective of this article is not to dramatize but to become aware of the
risk and to be able to prepare to reduce it and to intervene if necessary.
New uses and new risks
Lithium-ion batteries are increasingly present in our daily lives: telephones, computers, scooters, bicycles, cars… With the development of these technologies and these different uses, the risks are increasing, and in particular the risk of fire.
In the event of shock, overcharging, overheating or faulty design, these batteries may
ignite and cause a fire. When one of these factors becomes critical, the electrolyte contained in the battery cell is subjected to a chemical reaction which generates flammable and toxic gases. Upon encountering the internal heat which has become sufficiently high, the battery ignites and the fire starts. Moreover, many products using these batteries are not designed to reduce the risks and can even be an accelerator in the development of the fire.
Outdoors, the best solution is most often to let it burn and call the fire brigade. However, indoors and in many other cases, it is necessary to be able to intervene quickly to reduce the risk of propagation and extinguish the fire.
These new risks must also be integrated into an overall risk management plan in the companies exposed to them. Staff training and action and intervention plans must be adapted to these new technologies.
The intrinsic safety of a back battery is ensured by the Battery Management Systems (BMS). The main role of this BMS is to maintain the battery pack under the electrical and thermal conditions compatible with its safe range of use. It is also an essential contributor to the continuity of service of the application it powers. However, in many applications, continuity of service is essential for safety.
Specifically designed fire extinguishers
It is with this in mind that Eurofeu has developed a range of extinguishers with a special agent: AVD, a formula developed from Vermiculite, a natural mineral… This extinguishing agent encapsulates the fuel source and isolates the battery cells in order to stop thermal runaway: this prevents the spread of fire. In addition, vermiculite is environmentally friendly and non-toxic to people and property.
The Lith-ex range is offered from 1 liter to 9 liters . Depending on the environment in which the risk may occur, a risk study will make it possible to define the appropriate means to be put in place.
LauguiConcept is a distributor of Eurofeu brand extinguishers.
Since 1981, the Eurofeu Group has been manufacturing a complete range of fire extinguishers “Origin France
Permanent and auxiliary pressure guarantee which covers all the risks encountered, whatever
whatever the activity of the company.
REAL FIRE TEST: Electric vehicle fires / case of Li-ion and LMP batteries