The fire and explosion hazards presented by lithium-ion batteries have been well documented. Principles of chemical process safety can be adapted to assess and mitigate these hazards.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are increasingly being used in large-scale battery energy storage systems (BESSs). Li-ion batteries contain flammable electrolytes and have high energy densities, which present unique fire and explosion hazards. Principles of chemical process safety can be adapted to assess and mitigate the hazards of BESSs. For example, process hazard analysis (PHA) methodologies can be used to perform a hazard mitigation analysis (HMA). A variety of methods used to assess chemical reactivity and fire and explosion hazards of chemicals can be adapted to assess batteries.
This article summarizes methods that have been developed to characterize the self-heating and flammability properties of cells and batteries of varying scales. Measured properties include thermal-runaway onset temperature, vent-gas composition, heat-release rate, maximum overpressure, rate of pressure rise, flammability limits, and limiting oxidant concentration. These measurements are used to design fire and explosion mitigation systems for BESS installations.
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