Yacht fires have claimed the headlines recently, but companies are working hard to help mitigate those fire risks potentially arising from Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.
Xtralis’s Li-ion Tamer Rack Monitoring System can be added to any location where Li-ion batteries are stored, and it alerts to the initial venting of electrolyte solvent vapors (off-gassing) that happens early when Li-ion batteries fail, well before thermal runaway and other smoke and gas detection.
“Li-ion Tamer provides very early warning from 5 to 30 minutes notice of a faulty single cell in a Li-ion battery pack/module prior to thermal runaway beginning,” says Michael Pavluk, executive vice president of Frankentek, Xtralis’s marine partner. “It differs from other sensors that are passively waiting for battery temperature to increase to an unsafe, unrecoverable range or waiting for gas or smoke to make it to the sensor, which is too late in the process.”
“Li-ion Tamer provides very early warning from 5 to 30 minutes notice of a faulty single cell in a Li-ion battery pack/module prior to thermal runaway beginning,” says Michael Pavluk.
An independent safety layer, each sensing node uses “advanced algorithms, making it acutely sensitive.” The system indicates which individual sensor sensed an off-gas, and clients can customize the size and location of the Li-ion Tamer system. The system reacts to both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted before thermal runaway, and those gases released at thermal runaway. These off-gas events are the earliest indicator of battery issues and the system’s early detection allows plenty of time to initiate containment measures.
“We can immediately shut off charging with the goal of keeping the li-ion battery cool and alerting crew to begin their removal process according to Li-ion battery training and [get] ready for potential fire suppression,” Pavluk says.
The node does not require calibration, is compatible with all Li-ion battery chemistries, has a lifetime comparable to all Li-ion batteries, and also monitors temperature and humidity. It is sensitive enough to register a single cell failure without electrical or mechanical cell contact. The two-part system — sensors sensitive to electrolyte compounds and the controller — is easily installed and can be added to multiple locations on board.
“Certainly, we suggest Li-ion Tamer monitoring any area that may have a Li-ion battery, including tablets or remote-controlled devices, but if it is not possible to do so, we suggest every yacht to be prepared with the proper additive to the fire extinguishing or suppression system,” Pavluk says. “Seawater deluge or spray does not cool the battery module fast enough, nor do foams, and standard fire extinguishers get over everything requiring massive clean-up. We recommend a non-toxic biodegradable solution that can put flames out, plus cool a battery in thermal runaway and then be vacuumed up, leaving zero percent residue.”