Lithium ion batteries hazard and use assessment

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: “Lithium Ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment - Phase III” (PDF)
Author: R. Thomas Long Jr and Andrew Blum
Date of issue: November 2016

This report is part of a multi-phase research program sponsored largely by the Foundation’s Property Insurance Research Group (PIRG) to develop guidance for the protection of lithium ion batteries in storage. 

The first two phases of this project addressed a hazard assessment and a large scale flammability characterization, with the initial report completed in 2011 and a follow-up report completed in 2013. The latter of these two earlier efforts provided useful information on the performance of packaged small format batteries in storage. This indicated that a practical sprinkler protection solution, similar to that used for other common stored commodities, will be effective. 

In order to confirm this finding, a third and final phase of the test program was conducted and the results are addressed by this report. This consisted of large scale testing (8-24 pallet loads) to ensure that the proposed sprinkler system will be effective in controlling this specific fire hazard. 

You can also download an associated FM Global technical report, “Development of Protection Recommendations for Li-ion Battery Bulk Storage: Sprinklered Fire Test. Videos from three fire tests, which were part of the research, can be viewed on YouTube.

Previous reports

Phase II

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Lithium Ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment Phase IIB - Flammability Characterization of Li-ion Batteries for Storage Protection” (PDF)
Author: R. Thomas Long Jr., Jason A. Sutula, Michael J. Kahn - Exponent, Inc.
Date of issue: April 2013 

This report presents the results of Phase II of the project which is a comparative flammability characterization of common lithium ion batteries to standard commodities in storage.

A recent push to include lithium ion battery storage in NFPA 13 prompted this study. It included tests of batteries and comparable general stored commodities in cartons when exposed to an ignition source. Kathleen Almand, the executive director of the Foundation, explains the rationale behind the tests as well as the testing procedures and the encouraging conclusions.

Phase I

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Lithium-Ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment(PDF)
Author: Celina Mikolajczak, P.E., Michael Kahn, Ph.D., Kevin White, Ph.D., and Richard Thomas Long, P.E., Exponents Failure Analysis Associates, Inc.
Date of issue: July 2011

The first phase of the project, described in this report, is a literature review of battery technology, failure modes and events, usage, codes and standards, and a hazard assessment during the life cycle of storage and distribution. It lays out a research approach toward evaluating appropriate facility fire protection strategies.