Can LiFePO4 Batteries Catch Fire?

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Can LiFePO4 Batteries Catch Fire?

Can LiFePO4 Batteries Catch Fire? Jan. 04, 2024

Can LiFePO4 Batteries Catch Fire?

LiFePO4 batteries, also known as lithium iron phosphate batteries, have gained popularity in various applications due to their high energy density, long cycle life, and enhanced safety features. However, there have been concerns and misconceptions regarding the safety of lifepo4 lithium battery, particularly whether they can catch fire. In this article, we will debunk the myths and provide a comprehensive explanation of the safety features of LiFePO4 batteries.

Will lithium iron phosphate batteries catch fire?

LiFePO4 batteries are considered to be safer than other lithium batteries because they have a very stable chemistry and a very low rate of thermal runaway. The iron phosphate-oxide bond is stronger than the cobalt-oxide bond, so when the battery is overcharged or subject to physical damage, the phosphate-oxide bond remains structurally stable, whereas in other lithium chemistries, the bonds begin breaking down and releasing excessive heat, which eventually leads to thermal runaway. Lithium phosphate cells are incombustible, which is an important feature in the event of mishandling during charging or discharging.

However, it's important to note that lithium iron phosphate lifepo4 can still catch fire if they are not installed or used properly. In general, LiFePO4 batteries do not explode or ignite, but they are not absolute and can be dangerous in some extreme cases. Signs of thermal runaway in lifepo4 lithium battery include increased temperature, smoke or fumes, swelling or deformation, leakage, and fire or explosion. It's recommended to follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety guidelines when installing and using LiFePO4 batteries to ensure that they are safe and reliable.

 

How can I prevent LiFePO4 battery fires?

Here are some ways to prevent LiFePO4 battery fires:

1. Store batteries at safe temperatures: Store batteries at the correct temperature to prevent overheating. The ideal storage temperature for most lithium-ion batteries is between 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit (5-20 degrees Celsius).

2. Use a battery management system (BMS): A BMS can monitor the battery's temperature, voltage, and current, and prevent overcharging or over-discharging, which can lead to thermal runaway.

3. Use a flame retardant: Introducing a flame retardant can help prevent thermal runaway by slowing down or stopping the spread of fire.

4. Inspect batteries regularly: Visually inspect the batteries for damage or other dangerous conditions before operation. Look for signs of swelling, deformation, or leakage.

5. Keep batteries separate: Avoid storing lithium-ion batteries together and keep a distance of at least 2 feet between them. This reduces the chances of fires happening.

6. Use reputable manufacturers: Only buy batteries that are from reputable manufacturers.

7. Use the correct charger: Use the charger that came with the device or use one from a reputable supplier. Do not charge non-rechargeable batteries.

8. Stop using damaged batteries: Stop using lithium-ion batteries if you notice an odor, change in color, too much heat, change in shape, leaking, or odd noises.

It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety guidelines when installing and using LiFePO4 batteries to ensure that they are safe and reliable. If you notice any signs of thermal runaway, such as increased temperature, smoke or fumes, swelling or deformation, leakage, or fire or explosion, it's recommended to stop using the battery immediately and seek professional assistance.

 

What should I do if my LiFePO4 battery catches fire?

If your LiFePO4 battery catches fire, here are some steps you can take:

1. Evacuate the area: If possible, evacuate the area and call the fire department immediately.

2. Use a fire extinguisher: If you have a fire extinguisher, use it to try to put out the fire. For the best results, use a foam extinguisher, CO2, ABC dry chemical, powdered graphite, copper powder, or soda (sodium carbonate) as you would extinguish other combustible fires.

3. Let the battery burn out: If the fire cannot be extinguished, let the battery burn out in a controlled way. Prevent the fire from spreading by soaking the surrounding area with water.

4. Do not touch the battery: Do not touch the battery with your bare hands, as it may be hot and can cause burns.

5. Seek professional assistance: Seek professional assistance to dispose of the battery safely and properly.

It's important to note that LiFePO4 batteries are considered safer than other lithium batteries because they have a very stable chemistry and a very low rate of thermal runaway. However, it's still important to take precautions to prevent thermal runaway and ensure safe operation. If you notice any signs of thermal runaway, such as increased temperature, smoke or fumes, swelling or deformation, leakage, or fire or explosion, it's recommended to stop using the battery immediately and seek professional assistance.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, lithium iron phosphate lifepo4 are highly safe and do not catch fire under normal operating conditions. Their stable chemistry, thermal stability, built-in protection circuits, and robust physical design contribute to their enhanced safety features. By following proper handling and usage guidelines, you can enjoy the benefits of LiFePO4 batteries without compromising safety.

 

Safety of Lithium-Ion batteries

Lithium-Ion refers to a family of Lithium-based battery technology. This family includes several sub-families or technologies, such as:

LCO: Lithium Cobalt Oxide

NCA: Nickel Cobalt Aluminium

NMC: Nickel Manganese Cobalt

LiFePO4 or LFP: Lithium Iron Phosphate

LTO: Lithium Titanate Oxide, etc…

Often, we can hear that a product is equipped with “Lithium-Ion” batteries, this does not really have any meaning on the technology used. However, out of habit, the technology referred to as Lithium_Ion is usually LCO, NCA or NMC

Each of these technologies has very different characteristics, particularly in terms of safety, which can be found in the table below.

Technology Pros / Cons Application field

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP-LiFePO4)

 

Excellent lifespan

High level of safety

Specific power

Abundant material : Iron + Phosphate

Slightly lower specific energy

Vehicle traction (EV)

Renewable energy storage

Stationary batteries

high power applications

UPS, back-up, etc.

Lithium-Cobalt-Oxyde (LCO)

 

Specific energy

Dangerous chemistry

Limited Lifespan

Rare material : Cobalt

Low power application

Power tools

Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium (NCA)

 

Specific energy

Specific power

Dangerous chemistry

Cost

Rare material : Cobalt

Electric Vehicles (TESLA)

Power tools, etc.

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)

 

Specific energy

Safety

Limited Lifespan

Rare material : Cobalt + Manganese

Embedded applications

Power tools, etc.

Powerwall (TESLA)

Thermal Runaway

One of the main causes of danger for lithium-ion cells is related to the phenomenon of thermal runaway. This is a heating reaction of the battery in use, caused by the nature of the materials used in the chemistry of the battery.

Thermal runaway is mainly caused by the solicitation of batteries under specific conditions, such as overload under adverse climatic conditions. The result of a thermal runaway of a cell depends on its level of charge and can lead in the worst case to an inflammation or even an explosion of the Lithium-Ion cell.

However, not all types of Lithium-Ion technology, due to their chemical composition, have the same sensitivity to this phenomenon.

The figure below shows the energy produced during an artificially induced thermal runaway

 

It can be seen that among the Lithium Ion technologies mentioned above, LCO and NCA are the most dangerous chemicals from a thermal runaway point of view with a temperature rise of about 470°C per minute.
The NMC chemistry emits about half the energy, with an increase of 200°C per minute, but this level of energy causes in all cases the internal combustion of materials and the ignition of the cell.

In addition, it can be seen that LiFePO4 – LFP technology is is slightly subject to thermal runaway phenomena, with a temperature rise of barely 1.5°C per minute.

With this very low level of energy released, the thermal runaway of the Lithium Iron Phosphate technology is intrinsically impossible in normal operation, and even almost impossible to artificially trigger.

Combined with a BMS, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LifePO4 – LFP) is currently the most secure Lithium-Ion technology on the market.

Mecanical Safety of Lithium-Ion Cells

Like thermal runaway, Lithium-ion cells have a different level of safety depending on the shocks or mechanical treatments they may undergo during their lifetime.

The nail penetration test is the most revealing way to qualify the safety of a cell technology.

The test presented below is performed by perforating a Lithium Ion NMC cell and a Lithium Ion LiFePO4 cell.

We find here the same extremely stable behavior of Lithium Iron Phosphate cells while the NMC cell ignites almost immediately.

For information, the LCO, NCA, or Lithium Polymer cells have a similar behavior to the NMC in a perforation test (immediate inflammation)

 

Stress Tests of Lithium Chemistries Lithium Polymer (LiPo) vs Lithium Titanate (LTO) vs Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) :

 

 

 

This article is the exclusive property of PowerTech Systems.
Reproduction prohibited without permission.

Do lithium iron phosphate batteries explode?

Do lithium iron phosphate batteries explode?

As the world is transitioning into a clean energy era, the demand for Lithium batteries is high. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are a special type of Li-Battery that offers zero to no maintenance, longer lifespan, lightweight structure, and longer charge cycles. These advantages of lithium iron phosphate batteries make them one of the best long-term investments.

 

However, some news of lithium iron phosphate batteries exploding in the past few years can concern a new user. Do they explode? Is it safe to use lithium iron phosphate batteries? And what steps can we take to prevent it from happening?

 

In this article, we will mainly discuss the safety of lithium iron phosphate batteries and the suggestion to prevent explosions or fire.

 

The safety of lithium iron phosphate batteries

Lithium iron phosphate batteries are safer than many other energy storage solutions on the market due to their excellent chemical stability and good thermal performance. The lithium iron phosphate batteries are completely nontoxic and can be disposed of easily than many other battery solutions.

 

The design of the lithium iron phosphate batteries also makes them extremely safe to use in extreme temperatures.

The lithium iron phosphate batteries designed with:

Built-in safety fuse

Explosion-proof steel cover

Great over-temperature protection

Moreover, during the design phase of the lithium iron phosphate batteries, they go through:

Impact test

Overcharge test.

Short circuit test

Open circuit test

Temperature test

Drop test

Forced internal short circuit test

Low-pressure test.

Only after getting satisfactory results, the batteries go into mass production.

 

The reason for the existing dangerous

Although the lithium iron phosphate batteries are completely safe to use in normal uses, nothing is absolute when it comes to extreme cases.  Here are some of the reasons why there could be a chance of explosion.

 

Overcharging

Overcharging is always one of the biggest issues, regardless of the type of battery. If you keep the battery charged for a way longer than needed, the power source will force additional charge into the battery even when maximum voltage is reached. This situation will cause internal heat to produce. 

 

If the battery is kept insulated over the charged state for a long time, the temperature will rise, and heat energy will keep building up. As a result, the battery might catch fire.

 

The material of the battery

The preparation of the material also plays a significant role in the thermal and structural stability of the battery. As the lithium iron phosphate has internal iron oxide, the iron element in the battery must be a positive divalent. That is why the manufacturer must be extremely cautious during the sintering reaction.

 

The placement of the battery

The fault only goes to the designated area of charge. Whenever a battery is being charged up, it produces a small amount of heat. Therefore, we must make sure that the area is noncombustible. If the batteries are charged in an explosive area, even the smallest heat generation can cause the area to catch fire.

 

How to prevent the problem

The proper charger

The best course of action to keep your batteries from overcharging is using the proper charger. Depending upon your battery type and voltage rating, you should always have a proper charger from your manufacturer. The solution will prevent your batteries from overcharging, heat generation and always ensure a steady charging state.

 

The suitable temperature

Always keep your battery stored in a place with optimal temperature. The allowed temperature for your battery stage depends heavily on how long you plan on storing them. A good rule of thumb is to keep your lithium iron phosphate batteries stored in a place with 15 °C to 30 °C temperature.

 

In addition, make sure to charge your batteries when they cool off. After a heavy and long use session, your battery may generate some heat. It is always a good idea to avoid charging during that time.

 

A good battery management system(BMS)

If the battery pack consists of more than one lithium iron phosphate cell, the BMS monitor will stop charging at peak voltage.

 

Good quality BMS will not only stop overcharging but also charge up each cell separately. The BMS will detect which specific cell is providing inaccurate readings or malfunctioning. The function will prevent any explosion or fire.

 

A good manufacturer

Always use lithium iron phosphate batteries from a good manufacturer. The battery from a reliable manufacturer will ensure the pre-production tests are completed correctly.

 

For the best battery solution, make sure to check out nRuiT-Power. nRuiT-Power is a CATL authorized energy storage system integrator looking to provide the best lithium battery energy storage solution for the end-user.

 

How nRuit can help you

 

nRuiT battery storage manufacturer brings clean, safe, affordable energy for you. The advantages of the nRuiT lithium-ion battery are as follows long life, safe use, fast charging, high-temperature resistance, and large capacity.

 

Our residential energy storage system provides maximized self-consumption and stable emergency power backup. Power Porter is a battery energy storage system that perfectly suits households.

 

If you are looking for a professional and reliable battery storage manufacturer, contact us!

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