Fire Protection of Li-ion Batteries,

08 July 2019 by Robert Thilthorpe, FIA Technical Manager

Members of FIA are aware of the rapidly increasing use of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries in a wide range of applications from mobile phones, to Energy Storage Systems and electric vehicles.
A Special Interest Group (SIG) has been set up to pool knowledge and information on the use, fire hazards, and fire protection of Li-ion batteries, and to provide guidance on their fire safety and fire protection. Whilst everyone is aware of this type of battery, and some fires involving these batteries, little seems to be known about the specific fire hazards associated with them. The SIG has now had two meetings. The first meeting shared the findings from literature searches with additional input from The Faraday Project which is a government funded research project on batteries.
The second meeting, attended by HSE, looked at the fire safety issues and the contents for a guidance document.
Li-ion battery cells present a unique fire challenge in that they can exhibit ‘thermal runaway’ and thermal propagation from cell to cell.
The SIG is keen to acquire, from FIA members and other interested parties, any information or experience of lithium ion battery fires and firefighting to augment our data base to improve the quality of the guidance to be provided.
The point of contact for this information within FIA is Robert Thilthorpe.