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LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES: TOO HOT TO HANDLE?


Superyacht fire - lithium-ion battery fire - polaris-yacht-supply

Lithium-ion (also known as Li-ion) batteries are used across the superyacht industry from electrically power water toys like e-foils to the latest electric superyacht tenders, e-scooters, mobile phones and more. However, Li-ion batteries pose a potentially dangerous risk to all those onboard including the superyacht itself.



lithium-ion battery fire -polaris-yacht-supply

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

Due to the large energy storage capacity-to-weight and size ratio, li-ion batteries are extremely volatile under stress. Stress to an Li-ion battery can be caused by accidental damage, misuse or incorrect charging. The tell tale signs that a Li-ion battery is going to fail include the battery appearing to swell or bulge as well a the battery being too hot to touch. Once an Li-ion battery fails, the cells usually start to give off a toxic smoke, often before flames are visible, leading to Thermal Runaway.


Lithium-ion battery thermal runaway - polaris-yacht-supply

WHAT IS THERMAL RUNAWAY?

Thermal Runaway is the chemical process when the Li-Ion battery cells enter an uncontrollable, self-heating state. This self-heating states produces heat and flammable toxic chemical gases extremely quickly. Battery cell temperatures rise extremely fast (milliseconds) causing exceptionally high temperatures over 400°c. Once Thermal Runaway has begun, there is no way of extinguishing the Li-ion battery other than with an AVD fire extinguisher.


The flammable toxic chemical gases include but are not limited to:

FLAMMABLE TOXIC GASES

DANGERS

​Carbon Monoxide (CO)

​Colourless, odourless and can kill.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

​Colourless, odourless and can lead to death by suffocation.

Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)

Corrosive, colourless gas that causes severe corrosion of the skin, airways, eyes and could lead to pulmonary edema.

Hydrogen Chloride (HCI)

​Slightly yellowish gas with a pungent odour. Can irritate the skin, eyes, throat and larynx. Forms Hydrochloric acid upon contact with atmospheric water vapour.

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

​Severely irritates the respiratory system and increases risks of coughing and choking.

Hydrocarbons such as Ethane, Methane, Butane & Hydrogen Cyanide

​Serious toxicity and death caused through inhalation, ingestion or aspiration.


EXTINGUISHING A LI-ION BATTERY FIRE?

If the time comes when you need to extinguish a Li-Ion battery fire, you cannot use water, foam or powder as these offer the similar effects to using water on an oil fire! You must use an AVD fire extinguisher. Without and AVD extinguisher or Li-ion suppression kit onboard, your only hope is to abandon ship!


An AVD fire extinguisher contains Aqueous Vermiculite Dispersion, a revolutionary extinguishing agent that is designed to stop Li-ion battery fires quickly. AVD is both chemically and physically inert, whilst also being non-toxic to both aquatic and plant life.


AVD fire extinguisher eco-friendly, polaris-yacht-supply

PRODUCT TESTING?

As AVD fire extinguishers are so new to the world of firefighting, regulations across the UK, EU and USA have been very slow to catch on. Currently, there no regulations for testing AVD fire extinguishers on Li-ion battery fires for the USA, UK or EU. However, our manufacturer has completed rigorous in-house and independent testing for the AVD agent to ensure the fire extinguishers are suitable for Li-ion battery fires. Testing reports are available on request.

They are certified for Class A fires and are kitemarked approved and MED approved for these.


AVD fire extinguisher - polaris-yacht-supply

WHERE CAN I GET AN AVD EXTINGUISHER FROM?

Polaris Yacht Supply have recently announced a new partnership with the leading manufacturer of AVD and Li-ion Fire Suppression Systems for their Superyacht Safety range. AVD fire extinguishers are available in a variety of sizes to cope with an array of Li-ion battery capacities. If you have any type of electrically powered water toy onboard like a e-foils, or electric scooters or any amount of Li-ion batteries onboard (including mobile phones/ tablets in crew and guest cabins), we highly recommend installing our AVD fire extinguishers or a Li-ion Fire Suppression System to protect the safety and lives of all those onboard.


Please contact us for further information and pricing.







Any guidance, advice, recommendation, suggestions in this article are from Polaris Yacht Supply Ltd. Polaris Yacht Supply Ltd cannot be held liable for any damages caused by, using or interpreting any information written in this article.






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