Li-ion Tamer Roars Into Gigafactory Protection Field

Gigafactories are specialized ultra-large volume production facilities for manufacturing lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cells used for EVs and battery energy storage systems (BESS). The name is reflective of the capacity of the plant to build battery cells measured in gigawatts (GW) annually.  While the term gigafactory was born only 10 years ago these facilities are becoming increasingly common in our electrified industrial landscape. These large, complex buildings represent unique safety challenges throughout the manufacturing processes of batteries, partly due to the chemical nature of the Li-ion battery cells. The demand for EVs is giving rise to more gigafactories and manufacturing jobs.

Gigafactories, while presenting a huge opportunity around the world to expand manufacturing of EVs, also present a significant safety challenge. However, almost as quickly as the gigafactories are being built around the world, new technologies are coming online to keep the factories and their workers safer than ever. Two of those technologies are available through Honeywell and Xtralis channels and work to provide early detection of dangers in these vast manufacturing facilities. The first system provides the earliest high-sensitivity detection of smoke for early intervention, allowing for safe evacuation and a high likelihood of business continuity. The system’s design flexibility provides coverage in environmentally challenging areas while still preserving aesthetics and allowing for concealed detection.

Li-ion Tamer, the other system, detects electrolyte solvent vapors, which are released if a lithium-ion battery cell is damaged or beginning to fail. If the abuse continues, smoke and heat follow shortly thereafter. The period between off-gas release and smoke beginning can range from seconds to minutes depending on a variety of factors and typically precedes other early warning signs, including cell voltage and temperature excursions, by minutes. Li-ion Tamer detects the off-gas and provides the earliest warning, thus helping to avoid catastrophic events. Once the cell is built and sealed, we can play the role of a defect detector that would indicate if any “sealed” batteries have released gases. More than fourteen years of research and development have gone into the system and the results have been more than promising. In testing situations, there were no responses from any of the conventional gas detectors during the electrolyte vapor event or prior to thermal runaway. The Li-ion Tamer system provided between nine- and 25-minutes warning of a thermal runaway event.

Currently, Li-ion Tamer is being used in gigafactories to provide advanced detection in cell formation areas as well as during charge/discharge processes. As more and more gigafactories continue to be built around the globe, Nexceris will continue to provide thought leadership, leading-edge technology, and a safety-first mindset.