Samsung SDI takes proactive measures against ESS fires
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.