Lithium-ion Battery Safety

Intertek Lithium Battery Testing ShockLithium-ion batteries are the technology of choice for everything from electric vehicles to stationary backup power. The batteries are attractive because they contain a great amount of energy in a very small package. Due to this high energy density, they have to be managed for safe operation and long life.

At Beckett Energy Systems, safety is in our DNA. Beckett Energy’s parent, RW Beckett has been designing and manufacturing home heating equipment and primary safety controls for over 75 years. We’ve taken the same approach on safety and “Engineered Power” with our lithium-ion battery products and controls. With each energy storage application, Beckett Energy works with our customers to recommend a configuration (series and parallel combinations) of our modules and external components (contactors, relays, fans) sized to ensure the safe operation and long life of the Li-ion battery pack.

Battery Management System

Intertek Lithium Battery Testing VibrationSafe operation of lithium batteries begins with a battery management system (software and electronics) designed and configured specifically for the battery pack. Beckett Energy’s proprietary battery management system / controller is designed to optimize the performance and versatility of the 24Vdc lithium-ion battery module, as well as provide communication and control functions. Review the specifications of the model 84BMS / Controller.

Cell Selection

Lithium-ion batteries come in many types of chemistries and form factors. Care should be taken to choose a cell provider that has incorporated safety features within its battery design, such as internal CIDs (current interrupt device), shut down separators, and venting systems. Additionally, cells should be UL1642, UN38.3 and IEC 62133 certified.  Finally, the cell should come from a reliable, high quality manufacturer.  Beckett Energy partners with such cell companies for constructing our advanced li-ion modules.

Testing and Qualification

High energy density lithium batteries assembled into even greater energy density packs have been extensively tested by Beckett in order to demonstrate safe operation. Our product development process includes short circuit, overcharge, and ESD protection, among others; and a thorough safety review of FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis) is conducted. Beckett’s module is designed to IEC 62133, 61508, and 60812 standards.

Design

Additional safety features are incorporated into the design of the module, of which patents have been applied for. The electronic protection boards within the module measure the voltage and temperature of each cell and report it to the BMS. In addition, there is 100A fuse protection within each module. Also, the arrangement of the cells within the module is designed for maximum passive airflow cooling, and to deflect venting of a cell to a neighboring cell should a rupture occur.

Shipping

To be commercially shipped, all lithium cells, batteries and battery systems must pass and comply with the UN38.3 Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria. This testing criteria have been adopted by international regulatory agencies including IATA (International Air Transport Association), IMO (International Maritime Organization and the US DOT (Department of Transportation). These tests involve extensive thermal cycling, vibration, shocking and short circuiting of the battery module. Beckett’s lithium-ion battery module has passed all of these tests.

When considering your choice of design, please make sure you ask all the questions to feel confident about the safety of the system. Call or email Beckett to review your concerns.

Please note: All safety instruction and product warning information should be adhered to and are listed in the “Operating Manual for Advanced Battery Storage Units” part number 61906.