Tests conducted by Sterling PlanB have indicated the company’s energy storage systems (ESS) can function without dedicated battery rooms
In March, the engineering team at Sterling PlanB conducted an A60 fire ‘survivability’ test of the BBU battery module, certified by LabTest Certification.
The test examined the direct exposure of the company’s battery module to a 950°C fire and results indicate the module can be successfully managed by its thermal management system.
As a result of the effectiveness of its liquid cooling system, the BBU was able to withstand the heat level for 60 minutes and remain operable to cool the battery and prevent charged cells from entering thermal runaway – a chain reaction which represents a major fire risk for lithium-ion batteries.
The A60 test examines risks such as a fire in the machinery space adjacent to the lithium energy storage system, and the potential for a battery to contribute its considerable energy to the intensity of an existing fire.
Sterling PlanB chief executive Brent Perry said “When it comes to any type of propulsion system, the safety of the vessel and its crew is the single most important concern. However, in 2021, we’re still seeing uncontrolled battery fires on board type-approved passenger vessels. This isn’t just unconscionable, it’s avoidable. If a generator fails and causes a fire, for example, a nearby battery could go into thermal runaway due to the extremely high temperatures that would surround it, increasing the intensity of the fire and posing an explosion risk."
The company said the result demonstrates it is possible to build a battery that is in effect its own battery room with A60-rated protection from any fire in the machinery space and has the potential to increase flexibility, reduce costs and set new standards for lithium safety.
Mr Perry said “This testing proves it’s possible to create batteries that can survive fires on board without contributing their energy to an external fire, and that can prevent thermal runaway. This is a huge leap forward for battery technology. We believe that every ship – no matter its size – can benefit from energy storage to save fuel, reduce emissions, and increase performance. This brings that reality one step closer.”
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