Do you use lithium-ion batteries in your business?
If you do it is important to ensure that you store them safely.
The correct storage means better protection from thermal runaway, fire and toxic gas emissions.
Your storage should maintain a constant temperature, protect against moisture, offer safe charging and protect against mechanical damage.
Regulations are not keeping up with the safety needs for safe lithium battery storage. However, insurance companies are quickly realising how critical this is.
We’re here to help you navigate the requirements for safe lithium-ion battery storage.
We have listed below 6 important considerations when buying storage for lithium or lithium-ion batteries.
Ordinary fire rated cabinets are designed to withstand fires that start on the outside. These cabinets will not withstand a fire with lithium-ion batteries that is started from within. This is an important distinction. You should ensure all storage cabinets for lithium-ion batteries is fire rated for fires starting from inside the cabinet. Without this the protection is inadequate. The cabinet must be able to withstand an internal fire for at least 90 minutes, it must be tested approved to SS-EN-1363-1 for internal fire.
To avoid thermal runaway, and subsequent fire risk, it is vital that lithium-ion batteries are stored and charged in the correct conditions. Hot air should be vented constantly to avoid overheating. Integrated ventilation is particularly important as it removes any heated air generated. The gases from thermal runaway and lithium-ion fires are highly toxic.
If the storage cabinet is likely to be used as a charging station it should be specifically built for this purpose and include all the critical safety measures that are needed for this from the outset. It can be more expensive and dangerous to connect charging facilities yourself at a later stage. A purpose-built lithium-ion cabinet has high-specification features including metal-encased and grounded electrical outlets. The socket strip should be ready for use and mounted on the rear wall of the cabinet.
Lithium-ion battery powered bikes, tools and other electronics are often used during the day and charged at night. This explains why most fires occur at night. Make sure you have a cabinet that has a proper alarm system that is wired with electronic controls including a potential-free alarm contact for building control. There are different types of alarm modules where alarm indication can either be via an overall alarm system and/or via SMS. A special fire suppression system inhibits the development of the fire and gives those in the surroundings time to react and take action.
Place the cabinet near an exit so that it can be easily moved outside in case of a fire inside the cabinet. Purpose built lithium-ion battery storage cabinets are heavy, about 500 kg, so make sure you have a cabinet with an integrated base so that you can evacuate the cabinet with a forklift, both in case of a fire but also if the cabinet needs to be moved for other reasons. If you have a cabinet without a base, which is directly on the ground, you cannot evacuate or move the cabinet without a great deal of difficulty.
The market is currently exploding with battery cabinets and sometimes suppliers are moving too fast. Therefore, it is important to carefully check what certificates are available and how long the cabinet can actually withstand a fire. Ask verification questions of suppliers so that you are fully protected. To be sure, request documentation and certificates of tests and approvals carried out.
As a global company, DENIOS has been working for several years to get a comprehensive picture of how different countries, insurance companies and authorities view lithium-ion batteries in particular. Based on the patterns they see, recommendations are then made to prevent the problems, rather than waiting for incidents to occur with tightened legal requirements as a result. As a result of this work, DENIOS is the first to have a certified secure storage solution.
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