Safer lithium-ion batteries reduce risk of fires on hybrid vessels

Electric ferry batteries. Credit: SPBES

A technology to reduce the risk of overheating in lithium-ion batteries, typically used in hybrid vessels, has been developed by SPBES Energy Solutions, an energy storage systems provider.

SPBES’s CellCoolTM cooling system uses a liquid to remove the heat generated from the batteries at such at a speed that reduces the likelihood of thermal runaways, and in turn fires onboard, occurring. The system was developed in cooperation with classification societies and flag states.

Thermal runaways in batteries is when the rate of internal heat generation exceeds the rate at which it can be expelled, causing the temperature to increase and resulting in electric fires or explosions.

Each battery cell is encased in its own cooling channel, so the cell is uniformly cooled. This also protects against cell aging shortening the lifespan of the battery onboard leading to costly replacements.

SPBES has also engineered a contactor inside the battery module to isolate the voltage from battery terminals. Combined battery voltages, when installed, can be between 700 volts direct current (VDC) to 1500VDC but when the batteries are not in use the system ensures the voltage will be below 100VDC.This reduces the chances of unintentional shorts to the circuit and avoids damage to the system from overheating.