Lithium batteries have “established themselves as a typical cause of fire loss”

Free data sheet with fire protection concepts for lithium batteries

Lithium batteries have “established themselves as a typical cause of fire loss”, confirm not only the researchers of IFS. // Together with other experts, VdS has now developed extinguishing system solutions for this relatively new technology. // Core insight: Water is the preferred extinguishing agent – the proven sprinkler technology can also be relied on here. 

Cologne/Germany, December 2nd, 2019: The current social mega-trends of digitalisation, interconnection and e-mobility require the use of more and more lithium batteries. These are found e.g. in mobile phones and notebooks. Their energy content is many times higher than that of conventional battery technologies – which maximises their destructive potential in the event of a fire. In addition, there is the risk of spontaneous combustion. The German Institute for Loss Prevention and Research (IFS) warns: Fires caused by lithium batteries have “established themselves as a typical cause of damage and loss”.

Therefore, a project group consisting of VdS engineers, insurers and further experts brought together the current international state of knowledge and derived proposals for solutions. These are summarised in a technical data sheet which Europe's largest institute for fire protection makes available free of charge. An essential finding: water is a suitable extinguishing agent here.

“The good news first: According to the current state of knowledge, the proven sprinkler technology can also be relied on in this new environment,” emphasises Frank Bieber, Head of Product Management at the VdS Technical Inspection Services. “In the event of a fire, strong cooling is essential, partly because an external extinguishing success does not automatically stop the chemical processes within the batteries. The data sheet also offers precise classification categories for storage – according to energy content, as the weight can vary greatly due to different housings. We have also analysed special fire hazards in production areas, underground car parks or other relevant locations, and developed risk-related protection concepts based on the worldwide proven VdS CEA 4001 standard.”

The new data sheet VdS 3856en, “Sprinkler protection of lithium batteries”, with important background information, hazard classifications and above all technical safety solution proposals is available free of charge at vds-shop.de/en.

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