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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Another disruptive technological innovation in flame retardant power batteries!

Another disruptive technological innovation in flame retardant power batteries!

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:84

The thermal runaway of power batteries, which can cause electric vehicles to catch fire or even explode, has always been a major concern for consumers, battery manufacturers, and vehicle manufacturers. In order to overcome this pain point and difficulty, the entire global new energy industry chain enterprises have been tirelessly conducting various attempts and research.

Recently, international giant companies announced the successful development of advanced plastic materials to prevent thermal runaway in batteries.

The world's longest heat resistance time

LG Chem (parent company of LG New Energy) announced on April 25th that the company has been continuously researching and developing since 2009, finally developing a special flame retardant material that can be applied to battery packs and has the world's best performance.

At present, LG Chem has completed the construction of a mass production system and will start full production from 2023 according to customer demand plans. At the same time, it is applying for patents in countries such as South Korea, the United States, and Europe, and plans to expand the application scope of materials to other industrial fields such as automobiles, starting from the supply of battery pack casings.

It can be inferred that LG Chemical's flame retardant material for batteries has been validated by its customers and is about to be mass-produced for commercial use.

Thermal runaway is the main cause of electric vehicle battery fires. Thermal runaway is a phenomenon where multiple factors exert pressure on the battery unit, resulting in heat generation. When the internal temperature of the battery rises to a certain level due to short circuits caused by overvoltage or overdischarge, flames will be generated, leading to a fire.

The new special flame retardant material developed by LG Chemical this time is a high functional engineering plastic with multiple material groups such as polyphenylene oxide (PPO), nylon resin polyamide (PA), and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). This material has excellent heat resistance. When applied to the casing of electric vehicle battery packs, it has a longer insulation time and better dimensional stability compared to ordinary flame retardant plastics. It does not deform even when temperature changes.

In addition, the test results of LG Chemical show that when a battery catches fire due to thermal runaway, even at temperatures as high as 1000 ℃, the material can delay the flame diffusion time by more than 400 seconds, which is currently the longest time in the world, and its flame retardant performance is more than 45 times higher than ordinary flame retardant plastics.

LG Chem claims that if the company's newly developed flame retardant materials are applied to the battery pack casing, it is expected to delay the combustion time and prevent the spread of flames when electric vehicle batteries catch fire, thereby buying more valuable time for driver evacuation and firefighting.

Or it may first improve its own battery safety issues

LG Chemical was founded in 1947 and is a subsidiary of LG Group, one of the three major groups in South Korea. Its business covers four major fields: petrochemicals, batteries, cutting-edge materials, and life sciences.

The battery business is independently operated by LG New Energy (LGES), a wholly-owned subsidiary that was spun off in December 2020.

According to South Korean market research firm SNE Research, LG New Energy's power battery shipment volume from January to February 2022 was 7.4GWh, a year-on-year increase of 37.6%, with a market share of 13.8%, second only to CATL and ranking second in the world.

As the world's second-largest power battery manufacturer, LG New Energy's batteries have repeatedly experienced safety accidents, involving energy storage batteries and electric vehicle batteries.

The latest accident involving energy storage batteries occurred on April 18th, when a storage battery facility in Arizona, USA caught fire and emitted smoke. The energy storage project has over 3200 lithium-ion batteries with a total energy storage capacity of 10MW/40MWh, which are sourced from LG Chem. The fire department has confirmed the existence of battery thermal runaway in the energy storage project, but the specific cause of the accident is still under investigation.

The situation of electric vehicle batteries is also not much better. The recall of electric vehicles equipped with LG new energy batteries due to fire risks has been ongoing for two years, involving about 440000 electric vehicles from major automakers, including Stellantis, Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai, and Mercedes Benz.

This year, LG New Energy may also reap the "big Easter egg" of electric vehicle batteries. On April 6th, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that they are investigating battery failure safety issues at LG New Energy and will write to LG New Energy, as well as other car companies that may purchase the same or similar battery cells from LG New Energy, to ensure that all defective batteries have been recalled by car manufacturers. This investigation involved a total of 138324 new energy vehicles.

The constant occurrence of fires and recalls has labeled LG New Energy's batteries as the most unreliable, leading to a decline in brand image and trust. But this does not hinder the rapid development of LG's new energy. In February of this year, it entered the energy storage system integration market and has also engaged in large-scale cooperation with affected customer car companies in various aspects before and after the accident.

If the high-performance flame retardant plastic material developed by LG Chemical successfully achieves mass production, it is likely to be first applied to batteries produced by LG New Energy, which is expected to improve its own battery safety issues to a certain extent and reverse the negative image of insecurity.