The Fire Isolator concept in the news in Italy
Fire Isolator Italy – With the growing number of electric car fires (lithium batteries), there is also growing awareness that fighting these types of car fires requires tactics other than water alone.
Even in Italy, where the number of electric cars on the road is growing rapidly, there is growing interest in our Fire Isolator concept for controlling and fighting electric car fires.
Electric car fire blanket: how Fire Isolator works.
From the Netherlands comes one of the most effective methods of extinguishing electric cars without large amounts of water: here’s how Fire Isolator works
Lithium-ion batteries pose a number of risks and difficulties of intervention that the world of First Responders increasingly faces with the growing number of vehicle fires in a wide variety of contexts. We, therefore, investigated to understand what extinguishing methods specialized companies have developed and tested today to extinguish or control a lithium battery vehicle fire. One of them is the so-called fire blanket, which together with other elements is part of the Fire Isolator method, the solution developed for rescue workers, car transporters, workshops, and all the most critical places where it is a priority to contain an electric vehicle fire in a short time. Fire blankets are also a popular solution in domestic settings: they smother the fire by preventing it from feeding oxygen. What makes the difference, however, are:
– the maximum temperature the fireproof fabric can withstand;
– the size of the fire to be controlled;
– the location where the flames break out.
These are the main reasons why the fire blanket alone is not effective if the fire has already affected the high-voltage battery. If an electric car battery catches fire, the cells will continue to burn according to an exothermic chain reaction, producing toxic gases. The risk is that as soon as the lid effect of the sheet is lost a huge amount of energy, which is only “compressed,” takes over. It is from these considerations that T-ISS, a company specializing in the production of maritime safety devices, developed and tested Fire Isolator. In the next paragraphs, we see in detail how it works.
FIRE ISOLATOR: HOW THE METHOD FOR EXTINGUISHING ELECTRIC CARS WORKS
The Felicity Ace fire with about 4,000 electric cars of the Volkswagen Group on board is a case in point, however, of a priority that does not only concern the maritime transport of electric vehicles. Fire Isolator is in fact a technique based on the synergy of several elements as a currently tested solution to control an electric car fire. In tests with the support of the Dutch, Danish, Korean, and Taiwanese fire departments, the company has demonstrated in real-world tests how the combination of different extinguishing methods provides the best results for extinguishing an electric car on a ship or in a parking lot. Fire Isolator involves the simultaneous use of:
– a fire blanket resistant to high temperatures;
– a Water Mist lance that produces very small water droplets;
– encapsulating aerosol that interrupts the chemical reactions taking place in the flames, helping to increase the effectiveness of the thermal blanket;
– thermal imaging camera to monitor temperature during and after the fire;
– appropriate training in handling and extinguishing vehicles with lithium batteries.
Explaining where the development of Fire Isolator came from is Jan Peter Verheuvel, T-ISS marketing manager. “Everyone knows the problem when a car with a lithium-ion battery burns out: it cannot be turned off easily. The only way to really put out the fire is to submerge the car underwater and cool it down.” “This is not possible on a ferry, in a parking lot, or on a busy road. That’s why we created Fire Isolator, which aims to isolate the fire and keep it under control until the ferry reaches a port. Or in the case of an electric vehicle fire in a parking lot, until the car can be safely removed and submerged in a container full of water.” Here are the steps involved in the Fire Isolator method also shown in tests conducted with firefighters from the Beredskab Fire Training Center in Denmark in March 2022 in the video below.
STEP 1: THE FIRE EXTINGUISHING BLANKET FIRE ISOLATOR
Firefighting personnel who intervene in the burning electric car start by covering the car with the VR0906Li high-temperature blanket, which is certified to resist flames according to ASMT standard D6413 and ISO EN 13501-1. This blanket was developed specifically for electric car fires because it can withstand up to 1600 °C peaks or continuous exposure to 1100 °C temperatures. It is a blanket that can be reused up to 6-7 times, according to the company, just wash it and store it in its case. The Fire Isolator blanket can also be applied to vehicles in the immediate vicinity of the fire to prevent heat damage.
STEP 2: THE FIRE ISOLATOR ENCAPSULATING AEROSOL
After applying the fire blanket, personnel operates a low-pressure extinguishing device inside the car and under the blanket. This is an aerosol based on solid microparticles that replace oxygen in the gap between the car and the fire blanket. Unlike fire extinguishers known as Halons (organohalogen compounds containing bromine, fluorine, and sometimes chlorine atoms), this solution proves to be more environmentally friendly, taking energy away from the flames without the use of large amounts of water, which instead carries with it the disadvantage of collection and disposal or removal from the fire scene. “In lithium battery car fires, we were able to knock down the flames until the temperature dropped to 200-300 °C,” Verheuvel explains.
STEP 3: KNOCKDOWN TOXIC GASES WITH A WATER MIST
The use of the lance that produces the water mist helps both to further drive away the heat as the droplets evaporate and to knock down the toxic gases escaping from the fire blanket. Unlike classic extinguishing methods that involve using water directly on the battery to cool it, in this case, the water supply is mainly used to seal the fire blanket on the car. The company explains that through cooperation with fire departments in South Korea and Taiwan, the method has been further refined. “Already spraying water mist on the blanket before the aerosol units are activated increases the sealing effect of the blanket and the effectiveness of the aerosol extinguishing agent,” Verheuvel explains. “We have received this feedback from the Korean and Taiwanese firefighters who have performed the tests, and this method has become a best practice.”
STEP 4: INFRARED CAMERA MONITORING
The use of a thermal imaging camera is critical from the earliest stages of firefighting because it helps monitor the progress of the fire and locate the hottest spots in the car. If after extinguishing the flames the temperature rises, then additional aerosol charges inside the car covered by the Fire Isolator sheet are planned, continuing to monitor.
“With Fire Isolator we have made it easier to manage fires involving lithium-ion batteries! There is a lot of interest in various industries, mainly fire crews, fire safety companies, and automobile carriers,” Verheuvel said. A solution that will also help transportation companies provide specific fire services, rather than banning electric cars from boarding, as on Havila ships.
Fire Isolator Italy – For more information, please contact us.