Technology: Audi patents a fire extinguishing system integrated with lithium batteries
Audi could soon present a lithium battery with integrated fire protection system. Here are the advances from some patents registered in the USA. One of the critical issues related to lithium batteries with which the fire brigade must deal with is the management of thermal runaway. The exothermic reaction that occurs inside the battery requires enormous quantities of water when it propagates from one cell to the other and then to the other modules that make up a battery. As emerged from the Conference on the Safety of Lithium Batteries, which was also attended by the director of SicurAUTO.it, research on extinguishing agents, a specific standard and the contribution of manufacturers and producers can make the difference. Audi, for example, could adopt two fire protection solutions integrated into the batteries of the upcoming electric Audi e-tron.
Audi patents two fire fighting solutions for lithium-ion battery
The Audi patent of two solutions fire protection for lithium batteries would appear to respond to the escalation of electric car fires around the world. The German manufacturer has patented two solutions, both filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which should minimise the consequences of a thermal runaway, preventing fire. The first patented battery control solution can identify and isolate individual battery cells, based on information gathered by cell-mounted sensors. This system can detect whether a cell is functioning within its safe temperature- and output range, and if there is a fire risk, switch off the individual cell or cells.
The second patent functions as the next step in fire prevention. If the cell cut off is not sufficient and the battery control system detects a fire risk, it will flood the battery pack’s interior with a flame-extinguishing agent before a fire can start.
“If the onboard fire extinguisher runs out, a possible supplementary feed line from an external extinguisher reservoir may make it easier for fire fighters to control a potential fire.”
Will Audi electric cars have an integrated extinguisher?
In the event of an electric car fire caused by thermal runaway, the solution currently mostly used by the fire brigade is to cool the battery to lower the temperature inside it with enormous quantities of water. The Audi fire protection solution instead integrates the extinguishing agent directly into the lithium battery. The extinguishing agent would serve to subtract oxygen inside the module where the cell that could go into thermal runaway is located. That’s not all. Because since the beginnings of electric cars, we have always wondered, “Manufacturers do not provide easy access to the fire brigade’s water hose as the Fireman Access on the Renault ZOE? “ In reality, the solution provided to the fire brigade would originally be a battery ventilation outlet, in which the fire brigade can also insert the extinguishing nozzle by introducing water from inside the passenger compartment more easily than from the underbody (see photo taken from a presentation of Igor JOVET Architecte Batterie de Traction).
Audi electric car batteries with attack for fire fighters
The patent of the Audi battery fire extinguishing system also provides an entrance to which the fire brigade could connect an external fire extinguisher, if the integrated one is not sufficient. This solution was also proposed by Kurt Vollmacher, inventor of rescue sheets and promoter of the adoption of one ISO standard for all manufacturers. In a post on Linkedin, Vollmacher launches this question, “How much easier would it be for the fire brigade to turn off the lithium ion batteries if there was a standardised attack?”. The idea that in the image it may have been inspiring and we hope that other manufacturers besides Audi are also working with their suppliers on similar solutions.
Sources: Italy 24 News, Carbuzz