Lithium ion battery fire and safety risks

By Ronald Butler posted 07-16-2012 05:44 PM

Have we as an industry properly considered the fire and safety risks of lithium ion and other battery technologies? The National Fire Protection Association along with the Fire Protection Research Foundation is actively developing standardized approaches to the storage, distribution, cycle life, fire suppression, emergency response training, and use of lithium and lithium ion battery chemistries.

The main risk is fire resulting from battery failure. Simply put, any of the reasons for failure listed above may cause the battery to go into “Thermal Runaway”. Thermal runaway is the “rapid self-heating of a cell derived from the exothermic chemical reaction of the highly oxidizing positive electrode and the highly reducing negative electrode; it can occur with batteries of almost any chemistry.In other words, the batteries release their energy in a violent manner, one that often involves fire and or explosion.

There have been a number of cases world wide that involve lithium technologies and fire and explosion. These instances have resulted in catastrophic loss of property and even life. The threat is real. no longer can one ship an electronic device (with or without a lithium or ion battery) internationally through the USPS. Devices containing lithium (primary/non-rechargeable) can NOT accompany a passenger on an airplane! Startling!

These batteries are everywhere! Hospitals (equipment), general business, airports, shopping malls, etc. We should consider training, processes, and fire suppressed storage systems.

View this Laptop Fire Test

Lets talk  and be well,