Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Lithium UPS Battery Gassing Off Concern

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    7

    Lithium UPS Battery Gassing Off Concern

    Are there any guidelines, precautions, or concerns about UPS Equipment with Lithium Batteries Gassing Off in an equipment room and causing health concerns or other dangers?

    Has anyone ever heard a report of one of these types of UPS batteries catching fire or other concerns as they have done in smaller devices?

    Thank you for your time and responses.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,571
    Unless I'm very mistaken, lithium cells don't outgas, so there's nothing to vent. Biggest problems are due to thermal runaway, when everything comes out (sometimes violently).

    Take a look at
    http://www.mpoweruk.com/lithium_failures.htm
    http://www.rechargebatteries.org/wp-...-Recharge-.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,629
    Quote Originally Posted by rgnkenpo View Post
    Are there any guidelines, precautions, or concerns about UPS Equipment with Lithium Batteries Gassing Off in an equipment room and causing health concerns or other dangers?

    Has anyone ever heard a report of one of these types of UPS batteries catching fire or other concerns as they have done in smaller devices?

    Thank you for your time and responses.
    Under normal use, there is no outgassing taking place in a Li-ion battery pack, as there is with vented lead-acid batteries (emitting hydrogen gas).

    When there is a thermal runaway of a Li-ion battery however, the gasses released as the electrolytes over heat can be toxic and even flammable. So basically the design should take extreme measures in ensuring that the batteries never get to that state. As a GENERAL RULE, responsible manufacturers will incorporate multiple layers of protection against this; so for example constant monitoring of the charging systems to avoid over charging, fuses that open and stop the batteries from discharging long before a thermal runaway takes place, other mechanical means of separating the batteries from the load and / or charging systems etc. etc. Whether or not YOUR system is coming from a responsible supplier is something only you can determine.

    One of the things that happened in the cases of the Samsung cell phone battery issues was in fact that they cut corners to improve their pricing in an effort to compete against Apple, and eventually they cut too many of the "safety valves" in the battery system, the final straw was the "separator", what I mentioned as the mechanical device intended to cut off the thermal runaway. When it needed to work, it didn't and the phones caught fire.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________
    Many people are shocked when they discover I am not a good electrician...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    7

    Thank you all around

    Thank you both very much for your replies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    New York, 40.7514,-73.9925
    Posts
    4,455
    I understand that NFPA and SFPE have not acknowledged any independent third party studies of fire suppression agents as being acceptable for a Li-ion battery storage room fire in the configuration typically used for a UPS.

    That's why my current recommendations for clients wanting li-ion for the UPS is a trailer outside, so if there is a thermal runaway condition, it will burn itself out, outside.
    Ron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    5,620
    Quote Originally Posted by ron View Post
    I understand that NFPA and SFPE have not acknowledged any independent third party studies of fire suppression agents as being acceptable for a Li-ion battery storage room fire in the configuration typically used for a UPS.

    That's why my current recommendations for clients wanting li-ion for the UPS is a trailer outside, so if there is a thermal runaway condition, it will burn itself out, outside.
    I'm sure that's one reason Tesla's design for grid-scale energy storage is basically freight containers stuffed with their standard battery packs. Need more capacity? Drop another module.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,629
    Quote Originally Posted by ron View Post
    I understand that NFPA and SFPE have not acknowledged any independent third party studies of fire suppression agents as being acceptable for a Li-ion battery storage room fire in the configuration typically used for a UPS.

    That's why my current recommendations for clients wanting li-ion for the UPS is a trailer outside, so if there is a thermal runaway condition, it will burn itself out, outside.
    Not a bad recommendation because from what I've seen, you are right. Nobody knows exactly how to fight a fire in a LI based battery system yet.

    I did some work with Bloom Energy a few years ago, and their "Bloom Box" technology is a hydrogen fuel cell technology that uses natural gas as the hydrogen source. They too have issues with fire suppression, i.e. what to recommend to Fire Marshals as the best way to approach a fire involving one of their units. So for now, all of their systems are always outdoors, separated from other buildings. The founder's original goal was to have every house use a Bloom Box the size of a refrigerator for their electricity and then also have de-centalized energy generation, but the fire fighting issues are still getting in the way.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________
    Many people are shocked when they discover I am not a good electrician...

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •