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Fire fighting for Lithium Batteries.

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by McRat, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. McRat

    McRat Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2016
    I wonder what would happen if you tried to extinguish a lithium battery array with liquid nitrogen in a typical traffic accident situation?

    The fire engine of the future would have an N2 cryo tank on board that is charged at the station. Perhaps 50 gallons.

    When arriving at the scene, the firefighter dons full coverage gear and an O2 tank.

    Whether or not water or foam has been used already, the N2 team sprays the cabin or battery with all the N2 in the tank, then sprays water (mist setting) on top to insulate it. This is much colder than water, and if N2 contacts cells at all, it stops them from burning. They can't generate enough ions for heat. They would warm slowly and lose their charge before even reaching their operating temperature.

    While it would help battery fires, it would also suppress liquid hydrocarbon fires. Only 'fumes' actually ignite, liquids don't. Once you gel fuel, it doesn't burn easily if at all. It must first get warm enough to vaporize to burn. It would plug up any liquid fuel in lines and tubes by gelling it.

    Non-toxic, not insanely expensive, evaporates cleanly. Water will be frozen, which will make controlling runoff of toxic chemicals easier. And it's not a GHG. BTW - CO2 is fairly lethal even in low concentrations.
    • Like x 1
  2. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Nitrogen is great for tires (I never have to adjust pressures even with 50deg temp changes), slaughterhouses, and now executions, OKlahoma OK:
    Inert gas asphyxiation | Wikiwand
  3. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
    Does Aqueous Vermiculite Dispersion (AVD) work? I see a few Europe companies selling it. Here are some websites:

    AVD FIRE - AVD Systems
    Fire Champion - 9 Litre Extinguisher

    They distribute everywhere in the world EXCEPT USA. Why not USA? Does it work? What's wrong with it?

    Here is some text from the first link above about what it is:

    Aqueous Vermiculite Dispersion (AVD) fire extinguishing agent is a new, revolutionary technology that has key benefits over existing solutions utilising fixed and portable delivery techniques.

    AVD is an aqueous dispersion of chemically exfoliated Vermiculite is applied in the form of a mist.

    Vermiculite is the name given to a group of hydrated laminar aluminium-iron- magnesium silicates. Raw vermiculite consists of thin, flat flakes containing microscopic layers of water.

    The chemical exfoliation of vermiculite produces microscopic, individual platelets that are freely suspended in water, which yields a stable aqueous dispersion of vermiculite.​

    And here is more text from the first link about its effect:

    • We have done many trials on Lithium-ion and Lithium polymer batteries.
      Battery Type Chemistry Description
      LFP LiFePO4 Lithium Iron Phosphate
      NMC Li (Ni0.45Mn0.45Co0.10)O2 Nickel Manganese Cobalt
      NMC/LCO Blended LiCoO2 and Li (Ni0.50Mn0.25Co0.25) O2 Lithium Cobalt NMC Blend
      NCA Lix (Ni0.80Co0.15Al0.05) O2 Nickel cobalt Alumina
      LCO LiCoO2 Lithium Cobalt Oxide

    • AVD has been 3rd party performance tested against a set performance criteria and certified at ZSW, see downloads for the relevant document.
    • AVD is practically effective when applied in a form of a mist.
      The vermiculite particles within the mist are deposited on the surface of the burning fuel to create a film over the top of the fire. The film instantly dries and because the high aspect ratio platelet particles overlap and bind together, they produce a non-flammable oxygen barrier between the fuel and the atmosphere. This process has a cooling effect on the fuel source and as the AVD platelets begin to build up the fire is brought brought under control.
    • AVD encapsulates the fuel source and insulates the cells preventing further thermal runaway; this prevents the propagation of the fire.
    • AVD is suitable for application for both portable extinguishers and fixed systems.
    • The system can be designed to suit the specific requirements of the location and application.
    • Dielectric Test approved in line with BS EN 3-7: 2004 + A1: 2007 ( download here for certificate).
    Does Tesla have access to any of that? Do any fire companies have access to it? Have they done tests and proper assessments? What were the results? What do they prefer? What does USA know that the rest of the world doesn't about what is superior to AVD? Do we have industrial capacity for a superior solution that the rest of the world does not?
  4. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
    #4 Ulmo, Feb 16, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    That seems like a highly superior option to AVD. What is the cost comparison and effectiveness comparison between the two? Do you have samples of it being used?

    Here they discuss using nitrogen to extinguish fires, either from reducing concentrations of oxygen or from saturating with liquid nitrogen, and some of the potential dangers from saysayers:

    Could nitrogen be used to fight fires? | Naked Science Forum

    A much more normal conversation about it from much more normal people:

    Liquid Nitrogen used to fight fires? [Archive] - Straight Dope Message Board

    Why is it all the modern people act sheepish and dumb, whereas people on the Internet 15 or more years ago were great?

    While searching, I found this description of Halon, which is now banned, but I used to hear was everywhere in industrial facilities:

    Why Halon Fire Suppression Systems Were Banned - Facilities Management Insights
  5. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
    #5 Ulmo, Feb 16, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    More interesting Lithium battery fire fighting tech:

    Fireproof Lithium-Ion Batteries That Harden When Hit

    A promotion video of AVD on car fire:

    That was in 2014, so apparently, this has been known for a while; presumably, it's been assessed well in the last half decade. What's the result?

    In the above video, you cannot see the aftermath of waiting for the pack to reignite, etc., such as when the pack is still partially enclosed but still damaged.

    Annnnd ... here's showing it versus "Class D" fire extinguishing material, including a "20 minutes after" portion, also promotionally:


    Lots of companies responding to this concern in the UK, but nowhere else:

    Battery Safety Solutions

    Why UK? What's so special about them but not USA? Did we look at it earlier and divert for some reason?

    Finally, some discussion on AVD:

    New Lith EX fire-extinguisher for Lithium (polymer) - RC Groups

    Hey! This very important quote from above reveals the "buckets of wet sand" very cheap method, maybe effective? Any other tests of "buckets of wet sand"?? I'd love to know if "buckets of wet sand" is effective at Lipo fires, of various types (Tesla car battery, personal battery for lamps, etc.).

    So lots of wet sand which wraps itself around the LiPo and contains the release of flammable material, tends to filter and smother the gaseous components and most importantly lowers the temperature of both the burning battery and the emitted gasses makes a lot of sense. The LithEX extinguisher may be more effective than others and would have a use in situations where buckets of wet sand just aren't an option, but we normally have the luxury of using that technique while charging packs in our hobby and the mess it creates is not a big issue in the context of the risk.
    Thinking of work sites where I usually work, would buckets of wet dirt work too? Sand has a better capability of getting into crevices and forming to the existing format of the material it is applying to, especially important for things containing batteries, but sometimes wet dirt mud is more available. You might have to tool the mud around the object being smothered, and after sufficient mud applied, raise the material being smothered up above the ground onto a platform of mud to then be topped by more tooled mud, in order to protect the floor from being burned, in places where the floor could be hurt (most floors; due to the danger of doing that, maybe accept the floor damage for less burnable floors like concrete, but go through the effort for wood floors in wood buildings).

    Thinking of Tesla and car battery fires, "buckets of wet sand" has some difficulties: getting past the car enclosures to apply the wet sand surrounding the battery, and having sufficient wet sand. However, it seems like a very useful technique for storing the fire-damaged battery and car once removed from the scene of the accident to prevent flare-ups that happen hours and days after, such as properly equipped towing yards for such a task. Any tests of "wet sand" as a step in this process? Other ideas: having a dump truck full of sand at each fire department for this to dump onto car fires, with proper fire protection on the dumping portion of the trucks; fire-resistant backhoes to tool that wet sand around the cars; firefighters could mix the water into the not-yet-wet sand in the dump truck before or during dumping it.

    Reading further, we see a totally typical Baby Boomer useless no information naysayer saying this with no backup or reason:
    Screen Shot 2019-02-16 at 08.32.20.png
    No text after that comment in the discussion even touched on that statement.

    Stupid guessing game. I hate the guessing game. Mr. Backwards (Reverse, whatever) should have said WHY. I searched the Great Propaganda Encyclopedia (Wikipedia) and found this statement there:

    Asbestos contamination[edit]
    Although not all vermiculite contains asbestos, some products were made with vermiculite that contained asbestos until the early 1990s.[7] Vermiculite mines throughout the world are now regularly tested for it and are supposed to sell products that contain no asbestos. The former vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana, did have tremolite asbestos as well as winchiteand richterite (both fibrous amphiboles)—in fact, it was formed underground through essentially the same geologic processes as the contaminants.

    Pure vermiculite does not contain asbestos and is non-toxic. Impure vermiculite may contain, apart from asbestos, also minor diopside or remnants of the precursor minerals biotite or phlogopite.​

    So, "pure vermiculite does not contain asbestos and is non-toxic"; how easy is that to make? How does that relate to AVD extinguishers?

    I found a site that says it will ship an AVD fire extinguisher to a US address.

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