Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection has built a fire protection system which addresses and mitigates the new fire hazards associated with Li-ion batteries
“With the rapid introduction of electric and hybrid electric vehicles in public transport, there are new challenges because they present completely different risk scenarios,” said Anders Gulliksson of Dafo Vehicle, coordinator of the EU-funded Li-IonFire (Automated e-vehicle Lithium Ion Battery Early Warning and Fire Suppression System) project.
“When the commonly used Li-ion batteries fail through short circuiting, overcharging, high temperatures, mechanical damage and overheating, this might cause thermal runaway and the release of a flammable electrolyte, which makes fire extinguishing very difficult. In addition to the dramatic fire scenario with the rapid increase in heat, there are a lot of potentially toxic gases being emitted”.
The project partners, including Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection and Sweden’s RISE Research Institutes, explored various techniques to detect potential battery failures as early as possible and take immediate action to halt, or delay, a potentially dangerous situation.
The partners studied the different fire risks associated with battery spaces, including specific risks when charging, and after-crash handling procedures for electric vehicles and batteries.
They also investigated to what extent fixed and integrated fire suppression systems, which are widely used to protect engine compartments on heavy vehicles, can be applied to vehicles powered by Li-ion batteries, and how they should be designed.
The project team has successfully validated and demonstrated an electric and hybrid electric vehicle fire protection system. The new system provides an early fire alarm and spot cooling system to prevent heat runaway while localising and suppressing fire.
Li-IonFire will be available from 1 September 2020.