Innovative Safety Products Combat Battery Thermal Runaway

American-Made Transportation and Storage Solutions Keep Lithium-Ion Battery Fires Contained

PACT® Thermo ShieldTM, created by Packaging And Crating Technologies in Watertown, CT controls dangerous lithium battery fires. Image courtesy of PACT.

Batteries power daily and crucial operations of a wide range of industries, households and the government. Cars and trucks, data centers, forklifts, renewable energy storage and electronic devices increasingly rely on batteries. While there are many benefits of lithium-ion batteries, there are also dangers.

Thermal runaway is a phenomenon in which the lithium-ion cell enters an uncontrollable, self-heating state caused by exceptionally high temperatures, shaking or puncturing. Thermal runaway can result in the ejection of toxic gas, shrapnel and/or particulates, as well as smoke and fire. The fire generates intense heat while emitting huge amounts of gas and smoke as they burn for hours, sometimes days. Fluoride gas is also released, a serious toxic threat to the environment and human beings.

“It’s extremely difficult for firefighters to extinguish lithium-ion battery flames, so the fires usually have to smolder out on their own after many hours, emitting lethal fumes and gases,” said Rodger Mort, President of Packaging and Crating Technologies (PACT®) LLC in Connecticut that solely produces fire suppressant products. “We have designed protective wraps and extinguishers that can contain both the fire and residual smoke to prevent a larger catastrophe.”

Mort shares the following tips from the International Association of Fire Fighters to prevent lithium-ion battery fires:

  • When buying a device, make sure it’s certified. Do some research on the laboratory that has tested the product. Reputable companies usually get their devices certified by an independent and trusted testing agency. Non-certified devices may not have gone through any quality checks, which raises the chances of having faulty or damaged batteries.
  • Keep batteries separate from each other. Avoid storing lithium-ion batteries together and keep a distance of at least 2 feet between them. This reduces the chances of fires happening. Store the batteries away from anything that can catch fire easily, like flammable materials.
  • Be careful when charging lithium-ion batteries. They can be more dangerous when they’re connected to a power source, so use caution. Don’t charge the batteries overnight or when they can’t be monitored. It’s also important to plug devices directly into a wall socket using the charger that came with them. Don’t use extension cords, power strips, or chargers meant for other devices.
  • When storing devices, choose a safe location. Don’t block doors or hallways and keep them away from exits. Store the products or batteries in an open area where the temperature is comfortable, and avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, moisture, or extreme weather conditions.
  • Know how to spot a malfunctioning battery. If a battery begins to swell, smoke, or spark call 911 and evacuate from the location of the battery or product.

For true safety, these batteries should be stored or transported with PACT® Thermo ShieldTM, a lightweight, specially-coated, fire-suppressant paper that is wrapped around each battery cell to mitigate thermal runaway. In the event that a battery does explode, Thermo Sheild immediately cools the internal environment of the package, while limiting oxygen around the payload. This process prevents the thermal runaway from spreading to other areas of the package. It has passed the proposed testing standards of the SAE International for safety in shipping lithium-ion batteries via land, sea and air.

Mort notes that PACT® Thermo Shield TM also provides an eco-friendly way to ship or transport products safely to a battery recycler. The company recently unveiled a smaller product, the On The Go Green Security sleeve, to safely transport and store recyclable smaller devices such as cell phones, pagers, smartwatches and A-D batteries.

For thermal runaways fires that are not contained, PACT and Fireproof Solutions, Inc collaborated to create Lion-X fire extinguisher, the world’s first specialized fire extinguishing agent that instantly contains and destroys these deadly fires. The pre-mixed, water-based solution quenches lithium-ion fires upwards of 1,600 F degrees within 30 seconds, while eliminating the release of toxic gases into the environment. When sprayed from an automatic or manual nozzle, PACT Lion-X sticks to 3-D shapes, overhead and vertical surfaces, and easily penetrates into small crevices. Further, the solution is designed to be used without personal protective equipment (PPE) and its powder-like residue is safe to wash and flush into sewers.

“Safety for first responders, transportation companies and the general public has always been the driving force of our company and we know PACT Lion-X will be a life-saving game-changer for everyone, says Dennis Rediker, CEO of Fireproof Solutions, Inc. “Additionally, when the fire is completely snuffed out, PACT Lion-X only leaves behind a fine powder residue, which continues to cool surfaces and is easily washed off with a wet cloth or paper towel. Its flexibility and universality are revolutionary.”

For more information about PACT® and its innovative product line or to see a live demo, visit: https://www.pactthermoshield.com/.

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