Sam­sung SDI takes proac­tive mea­sures against ESS fires

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS - By Jun Ji-hye [email protected]­re­

Sam­sung SDI has been tak­ing proac­tive steps to stop fires at en­ergy stor­age sys­tem (ESS) sites in a bid to re­store the ESS in­dus­try, which has been hit by a se­ries of fires over the past few years, the com­pany said Mon­day.

The elec­tric ve­hi­cle bat­tery maker said its ex­ec­u­tives plan to come up with a set of en­hanced safety mea­sures to dis­pel wor­ries over ESS safety, though its bat­ter­ies have not been found to be a ma­jor cause of fires.

The mea­sures in­clude the ap­pli­ca­tion of a spe­cial fire ex­tin­guish­ing sys­tem for ESSs.

The com­pany said it de­vel­oped a new sys­tem de­signed to halt the fire’s progress even after an ig­ni­tion is caused by un­ex­pected fac­tors.

The firm will ap­ply the sys­tem to its new prod­ucts, while shoul­der­ing the en­tire cost, es­ti­mated at about 200 bil­lion won ($170 mil­lion), to ap­ply it to ex­ist­ing ESS fa­cil­i­ties.

“We will swiftly ap­ply the spe­cial fire ex­tin­guish­ing sys­tem to all ESS sites in Korea that use our ESS cells and mod­ules,” Lim Young-ho, an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent who heads the au­to­mo­tive & ESS busi­ness unit at Sam­sung SDI, said dur­ing a me­dia brief­ing in Seoul. “We will con­tinue to re­dou­ble our ef­forts to de­velop safe and re­li­able ESSs.”

The firm claimed it ap­plied its core tech­nolo­gies in de­vel­op­ing the spe­cial fire ex­tin­guish­ing sys­tem made of ad­vanced chem­i­cals and fire block­ing ma­te­ri­als ca­pa­ble of ex­tin­guish­ing flames quickly even if one bat­tery cell catches fire.

The na­tion’s ESS pro­duc­ers in­clud­ing Sam­sung SDI and LG Chem have been hit hard by a se­ries of fires that have de­stroyed more than 20 ESSs na­tion­wide since 2017.

A civil­ian-gov­ern­ment com­mit­tee, which car­ried out a month­s­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dents, an­nounced its find­ings in June, but failed to un­earth the ex­act cause of the fires, only say­ing there might have been “com­plex causes.”

After this an­nounce­ment, three more fire in­ci­dents have oc­curred at ESS sites, mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion worse.

An ESS is a large stack of recharge­able bat­ter­ies. It is of­ten used for stor­ing cheap off-peak elec­tric­ity or cou­pled with so­lar, wind or other in­ter­mit­tent power gen­er­a­tors for ef­fi­cient dis­tri­bu­tion of power.

Sam­sung SDI has al­ready been work­ing to in­stall safety de­vices, de­signed to pro­tect bat­ter­ies from elec­tri­cal im­pact, and sen­sors de­signed to de­tect any ex­ter­nal shock to the bat­ter­ies dur­ing ship­ping, in a bid to pre­vent ESS fires.

“As a global com­pany, we have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of tak­ing proac­tive mea­sures re­gard­less of the cause of fires,” Sam­sung SDI CEO Jun Young-hyun said. “We hope our mea­sures will con­trib­ute to restor­ing trust in the ESS in­dus­try.”


Lim Young-ho, an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent who heads the au­to­mo­tive & ESS busi­ness unit at Sam­sung SDI, speaks dur­ing a me­dia brief­ing in Seoul, Mon­day.

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