‘Samsung SDI’s ESS is 100% fireproof ’
ULSAN — Samsung SDI demonstrated its fire extinguishing system for energy storage systems (ESS) at its lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in this southeastern industrial city Wednesday, in an effort to revive the beleaguered ESS industry, hit by a series of fires over the past few years.
ESSs, which are mainly used to save electrical power for later use, are essential for renewable energy whose production and supply fluctuate due to changes in the external environment.
However, the country’s ESS makers including Samsung SDI had hit a snag as their products were ravaged by a series of fires.
To address the issue, the company recently announced it will invest 200 billion won ($170 million) to beef up safety.
It also developed a new fire extinguishing system and will install it on all upcoming ESSs and at 1,000 existing ESS operation sites nationwide at its own expense.
The company said the newly developed fire extinguishing system is made of advanced chemicals and fire-resistant material that can prevent and quench fires quickly, stopping them from spreading.
At the factory, the company conducted a “nail test” on two battery cells — one equipped with its new fire extinguishing system while the other was not.
The test, in which an iron nail is driven into the battery cells to create an ignition spark, showed the fire prevention measures were effective.
The new “system on a cell” started to work right after ignition was detected and put out the fire, while another with no fire extinguishing system was quickly consumed by fire.
Samsung SDI CEO Jun Younghyun said the company decided to come up with the safety measures to improve the local ESS industry.
“As an ESS manufacturer, we aim to lead the global ESS market based on the performance we have had in Korea. However it is regretful that we had unexpected fires in ESSs over the past years,” he said.
“By improving safety, we will try to restore the local ESS ecosystem as soon as possible so that Korean ESS manufacturers can lead the global market again.”
The CEO added it will take some time to fully install the new fire extinguishing system in the company’s existing ESSs. “We estimate it could take about seven to eight months to install the new system. We will try to complete the procedure as soon as possible,” Jun said.
Samsung SDI also showcased how lithium-ion battery cells are produced after going through the battery electrode process, cell assembly process and forming process.
The company runs three battery manufacturing lines 24 hours a day, operating three shifts a day.
The Ulsan plant had been a production base of display panels ranging from cathode ray tubes to plasma display panels from 1970 to 2015.
Samsung SDI CEO Jun Young-hyun, second from right, and Senior Vice President Heo Eun-gi, next to the CEO, explain fire extinguishing system for energy storage system at the company’s battery production plant in Ulsan, Wednesday.