The project was concluded in late 2019, and includes the Norwegian, Danish and US maritime authorities, battery manufacturers, system integrators, suppliers of fire extinguishing systems, shipyards and shipowners.
Concerning the increased interest in Lithium-ion batteries, many are the concerns following due to the complexity of the systems and the lack of regulations or marine standards on the topic, resulting to accidents.
Referring to the project, Henrik Helgesen, Project Manager of the JDP and Senior Consultant at DNV GL stated
This project invited players from the entire value chain to examine relevant safety aspects of marine batteries. It was the ideal setting to develop common guidelines and build trust in the community, and to promote the adoption of batteries on vessels.
The project examined what happens when lithium-ion battery cells are overheated to the point of failure, so-called thermal runaway, and evaluated several common methods of minimizing harm from these events. One main conclusion was that ventilation alone is not enough to prevent an explosion if a large number of battery modules, 4,000 amp hours or more, fail in the same compartment at once.
Moreover, the partners created a risk model enabling component failure numbers to be used in identifying the most important safety barriers needed in an installation.
Sverre Eriksen, Senior Principal Engineer, Electrical Systems at DNV GL, highlights that class societies can use project results to upgrade their own offerings
This project has strengthened our verification of the safety principles in class rules. The findings should enable us to provide even better prescriptive guidelines and clearer rules. Now I look forward to larger-scale fire extinguishing tests, to follow up and provide more answers to the questions generated during the project.