US industrial hazard prevention company Fike Corporation has developed a solution to cool and halt cascading thermal runaway.
The patented solution has been internally tested at Fike’s remote testing facility in Blue Springs Missouri and validated by third party testing organisations, including the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) which revealed that Fike blue suppressed thermal runaway within 5 minutes in a UL9540A test.
Current methods of addressing lithium battery fires involve applications of water and other chemical agents to quench the battery but these cannot stop the root cause of thermal runaway to adjacent battery cells, which often continue to burn and off-gas for an extended period of time and may even reignite and explode hours or even days later.
The Fike blue liquid solution is piped from a cylinder to the site of a thermal event and submerses the cells within the module, absorbing the intense exothermic heat without breaking down, due to a boiling point of more than 400°C. It uses exponentially less liquid than the water required by sprinklers or firefighters, resulting in less runoff into the surrounding environment. The liquid may be stored for at least 5 years at 25°C without formation of precipitates or sediment. It is far less conductive than water and has never shorted the cells. It also does not fall under the family of polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), many of which are currently under investigation around the world.
Omri Tayyara, the Director of Mechanical Engineering at Jule who observed the CSA’s testing of Fike blue, noted that, within 10 minutes of beginning the process, the liquid cooled their internal module temperatures from several hundred degrees celsius and prevented cascading thermal runaway.
This breakthrough could be a major player to increase battery energy storage systems’ safety and is more environmentally sustainable than the current alternatives.