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Thread: Lithium ion batteries in external fires

  1. #1
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    Lithium ion batteries in external fires

    Considering the number of bushfires currently occurring in Australia, does anybody know of any research related to how (abandoned) electric vehicles (EV) behave when they are caught in similar bushfires or grass fires?

    Please note: this post is not about EV accident fires, EV recharging fires or comparisons between EV and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in accidents.

    What I would like to know if there is any published scientific research on the debris/fire/toxic gas fields created by EV's in various fire conditions.

    The only things I have found remotely associated with this issue are in an Australian CSIRO Lithium Ion (L-Ion) battery recycling PDF that recommended L-Ion batteries not be placed in incinerators and the Wikipedia page on L-Ion batteries which says they can be safely destroyed in incinerators (that capture all the toxic gasses generated during the process).

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    I'm not sure if these are exactly what you are looking for

    From the NFPA (National Fire Protection Assoc.) - “Best Practices for Emergency Response to Incidents Involving Electric Vehicles Battery Hazards: A Report on Full-Scale Testing Results”
    Introduction
    Fires involving cars, trucks and other highway vehicles are a common concern for emergency responders. Fire Service personnel are accustomed to responding to conventional vehicle fires, and generally receive training on the hazards associated with vehicle subsystems (e.g., air bag initiators, seat belt pre-tensioners, etc). For vehicle fires, and in particular fires involving electric drive vehicles, a key question for emergency responders is: “what is different with electric drive vehicles and what tactical adjustments are required?”

    The overall goal of this project is to conduct a research program to develop the technical basis for best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents, with consideration for certain details including: suppression methods and agents; personal protective equipment (PPE); and clean-up/overhaul operations. A key component of this project goal is to conduct full-scale testing of large format Li-ion batteries used in these vehicles. This report summarizes these tests, and includes discussion on the key findings relating to best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents.
    The full report consists of five 5MB PDF files at that link.

    Comparison of the Fire Consequences of an Electric Vehicle and an Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle.
    ABSTRACT
    Since energy storage systems represent key new technologies in the development of electric vehicles (EV), risks pertaining to them have to be examined closely. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries powering EV contain highly energetic active materials and flammable organic electrolytes, which raise safety questions, different to conventional cars. In case of EV fire, concerns remain about batteries fire behavior, about their impact on the fire growth, about their fire-induced potential toxicity, especially in confined spaces and underground car parks and about their reaction with water in case of firemen intervention. Fire tests were therefore achieved for two French car manufacturers on two battery units, on a full battery pack, on an EV and on an analogous internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Thermal and toxic threat parameters governing the fire risk were quantified. For this purpose, the heat release rate and the effective heat of combustion were determined to qualify the thermal impact whereas the main emitted gases governing the toxic potency of the fire effluents were measured. Fire consequences of an EV and the corresponding ICE vehicle were compared. This paper aims at presenting the main results of these fire tests.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I'm not sure if these are exactly what you are looking for.
    Thanks Shaula, that's an excellent starting point.

    While seemingly comprehensive the 2013 US tests were a bit confusing as the the US paper quotes the Heat Release Rate (HRR) used in the 2012 French paper directly in MW (whole vehicle, Li-ion & ICE vehicles of similar weights, first quote below), while their own HRR measurements are for the Li-ion battery packs alone (in a car shaped box with a dash and seats) and use kW in their sole unsuppressed HRR test (second quote below). Also the US paper mixes up things further (first quote, second and third statements below) with regards to the whole of car test data available.

    2.3 The maximum HRR was similar for both vehicles, 4.2 MW for the EDV and 4.8 MW for the ICE vehicle.
    ...
    The peak HRR of the EDV was found to be approximately three times greater than that of the ICE vehicle; however, given that the EDV and ICE were not identical, it is unclear if the peak HRRs can be directly compared.
    ...
    It was noted that while the peak HRR was greater, the total energy released for the EDV was approximately 50% more than the ICE vehicle tested, but 15% less than that of a luxury ICE sedan.
    6.1.1.2 The maximum HRR measured during testing was approximately 700 kW, at test time 17 minutes and 30 seconds (about 3 minutes prior to the burners being turned OFF), as summarized in Table 7. Removing the 400 kW propane burners, the peak heat release the battery attributed to the fire was only approximately 300 kW.
    It seems like there is no real data for whole of vehicle comparisons across the board for brand new EV and ICE vehicles, let alone for all common types of vehicles of different ages.

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    There seems to be very little interests in whole of EV testing, particularly in colder climates and especially by the largest EV manufacturers, since the French tests reported in 2012 but there also appears to be some environmental concerns from other EV manufacturers, possibly due to the higher energy densities of Li-ion batteries developed since 2012.

    https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-riva...s-performance/
    For one, the company intends to make sure that its first EV, the MX-30 SUV, will feel familiar to drivers, and it intends to accomplish this by intentionally tuning the vehicle to be less “frenetic” than other electric cars.

    This, of course, will result in the MX-30 having performance that is not up to par with other premium electric cars like the Tesla Model Y and the Jaguar I-PACE. But this is not all that is quite strange with Mazda’s EV strategy. The company has also stated that it will not produce vehicles with large battery packs because they are allegedly worse for the environment.

    Explaining his point to Autocar, Kunz cited a Japanese University’s study which claimed that a 95 kWh battery pack was less environmentally favorable than Mazda’s Skyactiv diesel engine. Thus, Mazda intends to utilize a rather small 35 kWh battery because it makes more sense environmentally, at least according to Kunz.
    https://www.economist.com/graphic-de...-battery-power

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    Thanks Shaula, that's an excellent starting point.
    ...
    Credit where due, that was Swift.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Credit where due, that was Swift.
    You are correct Jim, my apologies Swift.

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