Form is successfully submitted. Thank you!
With the recent advancements in technology and improvements in battery design and performance, there has been an increased risk of fire and incidents of fire outbreaks. While batteries have become an essential part of our daily lives, powering devices such as smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles, the potential for fire remains a concern.
Battery safety has become a crucial issue in our increasingly technology-driven world. Lithium-ion batteries, which are widely used in consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy storage systems, have a risk of overheating, catching fire, or exploding if they are not properly charged or handled.
Shameless link here, but we pride ourselves on making sure we get you compliant, but also offer the full service package – not just giving you a list of things to do yourself
Hydrogen In Batteries
Regardless of the size and type of battery, including small phone batteries or large UPS or car batteries, there is a potential risk of fire and, in some cases, the generation of hydrogen that can accumulate and pose an explosion hazard. It is important to be aware of and understand these risks to ensure the safe use, handling, and storage of batteries.
Hydrogen can form as a result of an internal chemical reaction in a battery, such as during overcharging or over-discharging. When the battery voltage exceeds a certain level, it can cause the breakdown of the electrolyte solution in the battery, leading to the release of hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen gas can escape into the atmosphere through various routes, such as through the battery casing, vents, or vents built into the battery management system. The pressure build-up inside the battery can cause the hydrogen to escape, especially if the battery casing or vents are damaged or not properly sealed.
In addition, high temperatures or the presence of an ignition source, such as a spark or open flame, can increase the risk of hydrogen escape and potential ignition. When hydrogen accumulates in a confined space, it can create a potentially explosive atmosphere.
here are several types of industries or working environments where large battery charging processes take place that can result in hydrogen formation and present an explosion risk. Some examples include:
- Multiple Forklift Truck / Pump Truck charging bank units
- Electric vehicle manufacturing and charging stations
- Renewable energy storage systems, such as wind and solar farms
- Data centres and server farms
- Industrial battery storage systems, such as in mines and ports
- Battery manufacturing and recycling facilities
- Power plants and electrical substations
- UPS systems and backup power systems for critical infrastructure
- Military and aerospace applications
In these working environments, it is important to assess the risk of hydrogen formation and potential explosion through a DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) Assessment. A DSEAR Assessment helps identify and assess the potential hazards associated with the use, handling, and storage of batteries, as well as the steps necessary to mitigate those hazards and ensure a safe working environment. The assessment covers all aspects of the battery system, including the charging process, storage, and handling, to identify any potential sources of ignition and hydrogen generation.
If you fall into this category, and need a DSEAR Assessment, this blog can be very useful
How Can A Battery Cause Fire?
The risk of fire in batteries is largely caused by overcharging, over-discharging, and thermal runaway. Overcharging occurs when a battery is charged beyond its maximum capacity, which can cause the battery to heat up, leading to thermal runaway. Over-discharging occurs when the battery is depleted beyond its minimum voltage, which can also cause thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is a dangerous process in which the temperature of the battery rapidly increases, leading to thermal degradation and a potential fire.
To reduce the risk of fire in batteries, it is important to use proper charging techniques and equipment. It is recommended to use a dedicated battery charger that is specifically designed for the type of battery you are charging, as different types of batteries require different charging voltages and currents. Additionally, it is important to use the correct charging cable and to ensure that the battery is placed in a safe location while it is being charged, away from flammable materials.
Another important factor to consider when charging batteries is the environment. High temperatures can accelerate the rate of thermal degradation and increase the risk of fire. Batteries should not be charged in direct sunlight or in hot environments, such as in a car on a sunny day. It is also important to monitor the temperature of the battery while it is being charged, and to stop charging if the temperature becomes too high.
In addition to proper charging techniques, it is important to handle batteries with care and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and disposal. Batteries should not be punctured, disassembled, or exposed to extreme temperatures, as this can increase the risk of thermal runaway. If a battery shows signs of overheating, swelling, or leakage, it should be handled with care and disposed of properly.
In conclusion, proper charging and handling of batteries is essential for ensuring battery safety and reducing the risk of fire. By using the correct equipment and techniques, monitoring the temperature of the battery, and handling the battery with care, you can help to keep yourself and your property safe. If you have any concerns about battery safety, it is always best to consult with a professional or the manufacturer.
Steps To Prevent And Be Prepared For Battery Fires:
- Use dedicated and appropriate battery charger
- Keep batteries away from flammable materials while charging
- Avoid charging in hot or direct sunlight environments
- Monitor battery temperature during charging
- Handle batteries with care and follow manufacturer’s instructions
- Dispose of damaged or overheating batteries properly
- Have a fire extinguisher or fire suppression system available in case of fire.
- Charge batteries only when needed
- Do not overcharge or over-discharge batteries
- Charge batteries at room temperature
- Avoid charging overnight or for extended periods
- Unplug the charger once charging is complete
Please get in touch if you need simple, straightforward advice, or indeed if you want to know more about what is involved with these assessments – Contact Us – Orbis Environmental and Safety