Bat­tery Fire Test­ing

Fires with Bat­ter­ies

Since their uti­liza­tion has increased rapid­ly in the recent years, fires with bat­ter­ies have become one of the major con­cerns in the fire safe­ty indus­try. Bat­tery packs are cur­rent­ly used in a num­ber of vehi­cle types, vary­ing from hov­er boards to deliv­ery trucks. At the same time, tech­nolo­gies like Lithi­um-Ion based bat­ter­ies have been noticed to be chal­leng­ing from the fire safe­ty point of view. This refers to burn­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics and com­bus­tion prod­ucts as well as the effect on fire­fight­ing tech­nolo­gies and man­u­al fire­fight­ing tac­tics.

The increased usage of bat­ter­ies has also affect­ed many indus­tries where bat­tery packs have become an essen­tial part of the prod­uct and cre­at­ing risk for the pro­duc­tion, stor­age or test­ing areas. In many cas­es, build­ing codes do not con­sid­er new risks caused by bat­tery stor­ages or charge sta­tions.

FTIR & Mea­sure­ment of HRR with Lithi­um-Ion Bat­ter­ies

IFAB is one of the few accred­it­ed test lab­o­ra­to­ries world­wide own­ing a robust and mobile FTIR (Fouri­er-trans­form Infrared Spec­troscopy) device for field appli­ca­tion, which is capa­ble of mea­sur­ing the com­bus­tion gas­es and prod­ucts of Lithi­um-Ion bat­tery fires. The spe­cial equip­ment is qual­i­fied for mea­sur­ing with ele­vat­ed tem­per­a­tures and can gauge con­cen­tra­tion lev­els that are typ­i­cal­ly pro­duced with trac­tion bat­ter­ies. Usu­al­ly, hydro­gen flu­o­ride (HF) is the biggest con­cern of fire safe­ty pro­fes­sion­als. Nonethe­less, there are many oth­er gas­es involved that are either cor­ro­sive, tox­ic or both.

More­over, IFAB is able to deter­mine the HRR (heat release rate) of the bat­tery packs using appro­pri­ate meth­ods.

Test Meth­ods – Auto­mo­bile

IFAB car­ries out fire tests accord­ing to stan­dards for the auto­mo­bile indus­try; for exam­ple GB/T 31467.3, Lithi­um-ion trac­tion bat­tery pack and sys­tem for elec­tric vehi­cles – Part 3: Safe­ty require­ments and test meth­ods • E/ECE/324/Rev.2/Add.99/Rev.2, Annex 8E, Fire Resis­tance.

Addi­tion­al­ly to the stan­dard­ized fire tests, IFAB car­ries out dif­fer­ent ad hoc tests. These can be relat­ed to the fire safe­ty of research & devel­op­ment areas or equip­ment like engine test stands or car bat­tery stor­ages. Ad hoc tests are always tai­lor-made for the indi­vid­ual risk.

Com­mon­ly, the health and safe­ty of per­son­nel work­ing close­ly with bat­ter­ies or elec­tric dri­ven vehi­cles is a major con­cern in the case of fire. IFAB offers con­sul­tan­cy for this top­ic.

Test Meth­ods – Rail

Cur­rent­ly, there are no stan­dard­ized test meth­ods for rail appli­ca­tions. How­ev­er, the use of Lithi­um-Ion bat­tery packs – for exam­ple as aux­il­iary sys­tems, trac­tion bat­ter­ies or in com­bi­na­tion with fuel cells – is becom­ing more com­mon.

IFAB is also well expe­ri­enced in car­ry­ing out fire tests using per­for­mance-based design meth­ods to define the best pos­si­ble fire mit­i­ga­tion meth­ods.

Test Meth­ods – Oth­ers

IFAB car­ried out sev­er­al fire tests with bat­ter­ies as ad hoc basis. These are usu­al­ly pred­i­cat­ed on per­for­mance-based fire safe­ty design being asso­ci­at­ed to the risks relat­ed to build­ings or tun­nel & metro (under­ground facil­i­ties). The tests are typ­i­cal­ly part of rec­og­niz­ing the fire risk, quan­ti­fy­ing the fire risk (HRR, smoke vol­ume & tox­i­c­i­ty) and/ or test­ing the per­for­mance of cho­sen fire­fight­ing tech­nolo­gies.

Research

IFAB has active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in the research of Lithi­um-Ion bat­tery fire safe­ty, e.g. dif­fer­ent mea­sure­ment meth­ods for bat­tery fires have been imple­ment­ed.

IFAB is cur­rent­ly work­ing for the SUVEREN research project, which focus­es on the safe­ty of new ener­gy car­ri­ers in under­ground spaces.