‘Sam­sung SDI’s ESS is 100% fire­proof ’

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS - By Baek Byung-yeul [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

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.

Cour­tesy of Sam­sung SDI

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.

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