Fire Protection Research Foundation releases report on lithium-ion batteries

Published on May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013 – The Fire Protection Research Foundation (Foundation) has released a report on a study of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. The Foundation, an affiliate of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and its affiliated Property Insurance Research Group (PIRG) requested a study of the flammability of Li-ion batteries in bulk storage to inform the development of sprinkler protection criteria.

Video: Kathleen Almand, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation provides an overview of the project.

The study was conducted in collaboration with commercial and industrial insurer FM Global and contained two test series conducted at their research facility. The first evaluated the free burn fire growth patterns of three types of common Li-ion batteries stored in cardboard cartons with an external ignition scenario. The second evaluated the performance of sprinklers in protecting analogous commodities. Videos from three fire tests, which were part of the research, can be viewed on YouTube.

“We have learned through this project that cartoned Li-ion batteries burn similarly when compared to other cartoned commodities in the early stages of fire growth. This is valuable information in understanding how to protect this commodity in storage facilities.” said Kathleen Almand, P.E., executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation. “Precluding battery involvement in the fire prior to sprinkler actuation makes us optimistic that water-based suppression systems, similar to those that are typically recommended for a variety of storage scenarios, is a viable option for Li-ion battery storage.”

The Foundation’s report, “Li-ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment Phase IIB: Flammability Characterization of Li-ion Batteries for Storage Protection” is a summary of the companion detailed testing report by FM Global.

About the Fire Protection Research Foundation
The Fire Protection Research Foundation plans, manages, and communicates research on a broad range of fire safety issues in collaboration with scientists and laboratories around the world. The Foundation is an affiliate of NFPA.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

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