RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

WHAT IS A LITHIUM-ION BATTERY?
A Li-ion battery, or Li-ion accumulator, consists of two electrodes (cathode and anode) and an electrolyte that ensures the ion exchange of the system.
During the discharge (use) of the battery, ions move from the anode to the cathode. During charging, the reverse occurs. These two electrodes are insulated by a separator to prevent a short circuit.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH THESE BATTERIES?
Of the 50 potential accidental scenarios identified by INERIS (Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques) during the various stages of the battery life cycle, 12 were considered critical. They concern in particular the storage, recharging and use stages. The most problematic outcome of these risks concerns battery fire (or metal fire). This is a significant risk because the fire caused by lithium-ion batteries cannot be extinguished in a conventional way, as the battery itself generates the oxygen molecules and heat needed for combustion. It can only be extinguished with the help of special powders, all in a confined environment (with the risk of the powder losing its effectiveness).

HOW DO THESE BATTERY FIRES ORIGINATE?

By thermal runaway due to overcharging or exposure to excessive temperatures
A battery usually delivers the chemically stored energy on discharge as electrical energy. However, not all of the energy may be delivered as electrical energy, but may cause overheating that can be as much as 7 to 11 times the electrically stored energy. Given the structure of the battery, the reaction itself becomes stronger and causes critical overheating. The materials of the battery also release bound oxygen, which further fuels the fire.
By full discharge
The full discharge associated with not using the battery for too long periods can damage the battery. If the battery is then exposed to temperatures that are too cold, this can cause a change in the physical and chemical properties of the electrolyte liquid and lead to the formation of flammable gas. The absence of the liquid breaks down the protection of the battery, leading to a short circuit or fire.
By mechanical damage
Shocks or misuse can damage the internal structure of the battery and lead to deterioration of the battery separator, leading to a short circuit or fire.

HOW TO STORE THEM SAFELY?
Storage recommendations depend on the size and power of the battery:
Low power lithium batteries (less than 100 Wh per battery)
Those are the small batteries contained in mobile phones or computers, for example, no special safety requirements apply here, as long as all the manufacturer’s instructions and safety locations are followed.
For larger quantities stored (volume over 7 m3) the guidelines for medium capacity lithium batteries applies.

Medium capacity lithium batteries (approx. 100 Wh per battery and 12 kg gross per battery)
Batteries in this category are used in electric bicycles, electric scooters or similar small vehicles. They should be stored in separate fire-resistant enclosures (e.g. a fireproof room or safety cabinet).
They should not be stored with other products and this area should be constantly monitored.
For larger quantities stored (area occupied at 60 m2 ) the guidelines for high power lithium batteries applies.
High capacity lithium batteries (more than 100 Wh per battery and 12 kg gross per battery)
Batteries in this category are mainly used in electric cars and large stand-alone appliances.
The recommendations for the storage of medium power batteries should form the basis for consideration. However, safeguards should be put in place on a case-by-case basis after consideration.

  • If the storage space is large, fire protection must be adapted.
  • If the use of sprinklers is allowed, it should be as localized as possible and it is recommended that the batteries are separated and stored in a confined environment to prevent a fire outbreak.

105 MINUTES SECURITY CABINETS FOR LITHIUM-ION BATTERY STORAGE

To ensure the safety of people and goods, we have created a safety storage solution for Lithium-ion batteries. Indeed, lithium-ion batteries have the particularity to present many risks of which the most known and the most frequent is the thermal runaway may be caused by a rise of temperature of the environment, a shock or a problem of assembly of the cabinet.
The consequence is that the battery can ignite dangerously and cause a fire.
Based on our experience and our know-how on the EN14470-1 105 minutes European standard fire-proof cabinets, we offer several models of different sizes that can meet the widest variety of storage needs. These cabinets can be equipped as needed, with perforated shelves (with high load capacity – 100kg per level) and Containment sumps in the lower part of the cabinet to prevent possible electrolyte leakage damages from the battery. There is also the possibility to recharge batteries stored via the rack power strips.
The exceptional fire resistance of our cabinets (105 minutes under the European test) guarantees maximum safety. However, it is possible to further secure the storage by adding optional solutions such as:

  • The internal safety extinguisher in the special lithium-ion battery cabinet (ref. EX100LI or EX200LI)
  • Or the safety set including the extinguisher, an audible and visual alarm, the smoke detector, the control box and a cable pass-through in the upper part of the cabinet PINTOLI ref. (VIG190 or VIG290).

There are four types of usage, depending on your needs

  • Simple battery storage: Cabinet equipped with perforated shelves and a Containment sump.
  • Storage and charging of batteries: Cabinet equipped with perforated shelves, a Containment sump and electrical outlet racks
    + PEXTBALI (max. 4 cables from 4 to 15 mm).
  • Simple battery storage + advanced protection system: Cabinet equipped with perforated shelves with a Containment sump + optional advanced protection system (either a fire extinguisher or a security set including visual and sound alarm, control box, automatic smoke detector, fire extinguisher and cable pass-through).
  • Storage and charging of batteries + advanced protection system: Cabinet equipped with perforated shelves, a Containment sump and electrical outlet racks + optional advanced protection system (either a fire extinguisher or a security set including visual and sound alarm, control box, automatic smoke detector, fire extinguisher and cable pass-through).

Any polluting liquid must be stored in tanks having a retention capacity of at least 50% of the volume of that liquid, as well as the retention capacity for flammable or combustible liquids contained in movable containers less than or equal to 250 L must be at least 800 L.

The containment sump must be of controlled tightness and must resist the physiochemical properties of the material it contains. Their storage is governed by chemical incompatibilities and the established safety rules put in place.

In the event of a fire, the cabinets must not be moved except by the fire department

OUR CABINETS ARE SUITABLE FOR STORING AND RECHARGING LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES INCLUDED IN THE FOLLOWING EQUIPMENT (NON-EXHAUSTIVE LIST):

  • electric bicycles
  • chainsaws, hedge trimmers and lawn mowers
  • drones
  • scooters and mopeds
  • electric scooters
  • forklifts

CONFORMITY

  • Proven fire resistance of 105 minutes, according to the ISO 834 curve as per the EN 14470-1 standard
  • Standardized warning labels in accordance to ISO 3864 and ISO 7010, as well as the European directive 92/58/EEC.

CONSTRUCTION

  • Steel construction and double thermal insulation triple wall.
  • Outer walls in 12/10th steel and white RAL 9010 epoxy painting.
  • Thermal insulation panels limiting thermal bridges
  • Melamine interior panels.

EQUIPMENTS

  • Thermodilating door seals.
  •  Doors with automatic closing.
  • Key closing.
  • Ventilation holes with ventilation outlet Ø 100 mm for possible connection.
  • Ventilation ducts with hot-melt system to isolate the contents of the cabinet in case of fire.
  • Fixing point for earthing link.

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

  • Perforated shelves with a load capacity of 100 kg (ref. E34LI and E35LI)
  • Removable Containment sump at the bottom (ref. B148 and B235)
  • Automatic fire extinguisher at 79°C by special lithium thermal bulb (ref. EX100LI or EX200LI)
  • Rack of 9 electrical outlets for recharging batteries (ref. PRISELI)
  • Drilling in the lower part for cable passage with fire-resistant cable gland (Ref. PEXTBALI)
  •  Set of security and alarm including visual and audible alarm, control box, automatic smoke detector, fire extinguisher and cable pass-through (Ref. VIG190 or VIG290).

VENTILATION

All cabinet models have ventilation holes, allowing them to be connected to a ventilation system. Forced ventilation is strongly recommended to prevent internal heat build-up or stagnation of vapors in the event of electrolyte liquid leakage. The latter can be connected either to an external outlet or to a ventilation or filtration box.