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Volta bets on space technology for battery storage fire prevention – Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Energy storage developer Volta Energy Products last week announced a three-year deployment order with San Diego-based KULR Technology Group to apply KULR’s thermal safety solutions — initially designed for space missions — to energy storage.
  • KULR’s passive propagation resistant (PPR) solution suite — designed to stop lithium-ion battery failures from spiraling out of control without external fire suppression — has been used on NASA missions. The system prevents cell-to-cell thermal runaway and contains any fire and debris inside a battery pack protection, turning the system off to prevent any spread in damage. 
  • The partnership between KULR and Volta parent company Viridi Parente marks the first application of PPR for energy storage and will see Volta deploy up to 1,000 new storage units with the safety technology. Viridi Parente CEO Jon Williams said the “failsafe system” can make energy storage safer and less expensive for a variety of residential and business uses by limiting the need for external fire suppression tools.

Dive Insight:

Although lithium-ion batteries are the dominant energy storage technology on the market because of their cost and availability of materials, they do carry safety risks. One of the biggest concerns is thermal runaway, where a cell in a lithium-ion battery pack overheats and causes a chain reaction of other overheated cells, resulting in a fire or explosion. While any number of factors can contribute to a cell overheating, experts say that preventing those failures from escalating is key for safety. 

“For large battery packs, one fault or disturbance can propagate into a much larger effect,” said Ken Boyce, senior director of principal engineering of Energy and Industrial Automation for the safety science firm UL. “Energy storage is super important for us to get right and battery safety is a critical aspect of that. It’s good to see innovation broadly in terms of advancing the safe use of battery technology.”

The safety concerns were brought into sharp relief in 2019, when an explosion at Arizona Public Service’s McMicken battery plant injured four emergency responders and forced state regulators to reconsider safety rules for the growing storage industry. More recently, a fire broke out at Australia’s Victorian Big Battery storage project, built with Tesla Megapack …….

Source: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/volta-bets-on-space-technology-for-battery-storage-fire-prevention/611833/

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