DGM Network

Since 1987 taking the danger out of dangerous goods

burning-batteryTransport of lithium batteries has become a "nightmare" in the latest years, considering the increasing number of incidents apparently caused by them. We must realise that there is still a high number of undeclared shipments of lithium batteries.

This article will feature two technological advances in fire containment: Fire Containment Covers (FCC) and Fire Resistant Containers (FRC). Would it be possible to use FCC or FRC to reduce the risk caused by lithium batteries? How do they work?



Fire Containment Covers (FCC)

FCCs are made of fire resistant fabric and are capable of containing a fire for up to six hours. An FCC constitutes a passive system which keeps a fire isolated from other cargo. The cover is comprised of a fire retardant fabric with a detachable pallet net. This two-way fire barrier prevents any fire from spreading and escalating. The localised threat is supressed through oxygen starvation.

However, they are not active suppression or detection systems, so they should be used in combination with other risk reduction systems.



Fire Resistant Containers (FRC)

FRCs are fire resistant composite panels also capable to contain a fire for up to 6 hours. In this case they can act both as passive and active systems, if they include devices to detect smoke or even to release a suppression agent.


Are they reliable in case of a fire caused by lithium batteries?

As far as we know, there is no standardized test method for lithium batteries fire testing. However, some tests have been conducted with quite different results (better for lithium ion fires using FCCs, not so good for lithium metal fires).

In conclusion, FCC and FRC seem to be an alternative to be considered in the future, but many more tests and investigations should be performed before they can be considered reliable for minimizing the risk of fires caused by lithium batteries.

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