Tech UPTechnologyA system of sensors reduces the risk of battery...

A system of sensors reduces the risk of battery explosion

Just a few weeks ago we learned that a group of scientists had managed to develop a radioactive diamond battery capable of lasting, according to the manufacturer, around 28,000 years, neither more nor less.

However, while scientists continue to work on the development of new battery models, today we continue to use the lithium-ion battery , which can pose a risk when it reaches a critical temperature, since the liquid electrolyte present in its lower It can vaporize and release flammable and toxic gases, including methane, propylene, carbon monoxide, or hydrogen. This is what is known as thermal runaway .

We recently learned that scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a sensor system that could prevent dangerous conditions from developing in outdoor battery packs .

Christened IntelliVent , it is designed to be installed in battery cabinets, which are becoming very common for stationary grid energy storage.

This system would be able to respond to smoke, gas, or heat alarms in the battery cabinet and automatically open the cabinet doors to prevent the accumulation of highly flammable gases . In this way, the technology would reduce the risk of explosions in battery installations , which could damage property or endanger the lives of people nearby.

For example, both firefighters and public service personnel tend to be at particularly high risk in such dangerous situations.

Recently there have been several fires in battery storage facilities in Liverpool, England, which have become clear examples of the dangers that these types of fires can present.

Already in April 2019, a similar incident occurred in Arizona, specifically in an energy storage facility, which ended up leaving four firefighters injured, two of them seriously. A year later, in September 2020, Liverpool fire crews were called in after an explosion occurred at a 20 MW battery storage plant.

And, as experts warn, there are many similar battery cabinets in operation today that, sooner or later, could end up experiencing exactly the same failures.

According to experts, “depending on the size of the cell, these gases can come out in a very high volume, and also very quickly, so they can cause a fire or even an explosion.”

To develop it, its designers came up with a versatile system that could work with a wide variety of sensors. In addition, they developed an early warning system that allows dangerous gases to be safely expelled , thus pursuing the aim of reducing the risk of explosions.

They install and test this new system in Everett, Washington

In Everett, Washington, a new Arlington Micro-Grid and Clean Power Center has been installed, which has become the first to install safety technology when a 1.2 MW battery is upgraded with this system, becoming also one of the first projects in energy storage at the grid level.

Since renewable energy is part of our future, but it is not always available, it is necessary to find a way to store it. Thus, during normal operating conditions, the battery discharges energy from the solar array to the grid.

But when a natural disaster strikes, both the battery and the solar panel will be disconnected from the main electrical grid for emergency power supply. In this way, the microgrid will keep a backup data center and a support office running in the event of an outage.

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