FirePro Lithium Battery Fire Test

Conventional fire-extinguishing agents face a number of challenges in combating Lithium-ion battery fires.

Certain Manufacturers claim that they can extinguish lithium fires with water based systems, and others claim that they can achieve the same with other extinguishing methods. The reality is that some of the agents proposed by other manufacturers, could exacerbate the situation instead of providing actual fire suppression, due to the fact that Lithium forms a very explosive gas when combined with water.

A thorough testing of fire extinguishing scenarios involving Lithium-ion batteries took place in the Netherlands. The whole procedure was led by Robert G.C. Reijns (of FirePro Benelux) in the presence of clients, fire fighters and the Accredited Certification body, KIWA.

These tests involved a considerable number of real Lithium-ion battery fire scenarios. During these tests the capability and effectiveness of the FirePro Condensed Aerosol Fire Extinguishing Technology to suppress such fires, was assessed.

These tests have been recorded in a KIWA report and an official KIWA Declaration of Design Evaluation was issued.

The conclusions of this declaration are quoted below:
“A FirePro® condensed aerosol system is able to achieve suppression and control mode over a period of at least 30 minutes, after ignition of a single 1,9kWh Cleantron battery, with an actual aerosol density of 61 grams per cubic meter”

The investigation results confirmed that FirePro technology’s method of interrupting the chain of chemical reactions by binding the free radicals, offers an extremely effective and efficient way to extinguish a lithium-ion fire.

Case Study – Kokam

Dealer: Fire Safety Equipment Australia
Application: Electrical Rooms
Industry: Renewable Energy

Kokam Co. is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of rechargeable battery solutions. It currently holds over 150 patent listings and it was the first company to develop high capacity lithium-ion polymer batteries worldwide. With the rise of grid-connected renewable energy sources, Kokam’s Energy Storage Systems have been recognised as the most effective solution.

The Task
Design, supply, install and maintain tailor-made fire detection and suppression systems for the high voltage energy storage Power Conversion Systems (PCS) and Energy Storage Systems (ESS). PCS are electric power conversion systems located inside 40-foot mobile containers which can convert and/or distribute the surplus from similar size Energy Storage Systems (ESS) enclosures. The fire protection systems must be compact, reliable, long lasting and efficient. They must also be able to protect dissimilar combustible materials and thus classes of fire. The extinguishing system must be designed according to both local and internationally recognised standards and regulations.

These systems were installed at Newman (W.A.) and Ballarat(Vic).

Results & Implementation
FirePro total flooding fire suppression systems installed in both Power Conversion Systems (PCS) and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) to protect mission critical high-voltage electrical equipment offer peace of mind to operators in case of a fire emergency. With no piping required and no pressurised cylinders the systems were easily and quickly installed to protect the at-the-cutting-edge-of- technology Kokam equipment without posing a threat to personnel or the environment. In short FirePro then, has effectively reduced operational hazards and financial losses due to down times for all stakeholders.

Why FirePro?
The modularity and compactness of the FirePro fire extinguishing system were two of the decisive factors in its selection for the protection of the equipment within the 40-foot container enclosures. Also pivotal in equal measure of importance for the selection process were firstly the ability of the FirePro system to tackle A, B, C, F classes of fire – since the PCS equipment is different in nature to the ESS banks of D/C LiPo batteries and A/C power grid – and secondly the minimal maintenance costs required over its long lifetime. Lastly and completing the FP system’s contract clinching attributes were its UL listing its environmentally friendly nature.

Risks Involved & Consequences
The demand for electricity along with the need to stabilise power grids and the efficient use of renewable energy sources are ever increasing. Inevitably there is, in tandem, an increase in fire risks originating in electrical equipment due to some form of malfunctioning; this fact is corroborated by statistical data showing that besides human error electrical malfunctions are amongst the most common causes of fire. Failure to adequately protect against fire in these situations can cause serious damage and have dire consequences