Mining electrification is growing rapidly, as many operators choose to switch to electrically-powered heavy vehicles and machinery to reduce carbon footprint and drive for a greener future.
With more and more EVs and HEVs present in and around mining sites, addressing their unique fire risks is increasingly important – especially as one of the most prominent risks for EVs and HEVs – thermal runaway – often can’t be effectively tackled with traditional fire detection and suppression solutions.
Understanding the electric risk…
Working with Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) on an EU-Funded project, Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection conducted extensive research and testing into lithium-ion (li-on) batteries – including how risks arise, and how to identify and suppress these risks as quickly as possible.
Li-ion batteries are present in almost all mining EVs, and these present totally different risk scenarios to the traditionally-used, diesel-powered vehicles and machinery.
When li-ion batteries fail – whether that’s through short-circuiting, overcharging, high temperature, overheating, mechanical failures or physical damage – it can cause thermal runaway and the release of a highly-flammable electrolyte, which makes suppression particularly challenging.
In thermal runaway, the battery can also emit toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide (CO), and it can also lead to large explosions.
SafEV – a new solution for electric vehicle fire protection
This research enabled a better understanding of how a breakdown occurs within the battery, and how it can be quickly detected and its arising risks mitigated effectively. In doing so, it uncovered how early detection is critical to bring a battery back to a safe state, stopping or delaying a potentially hazardous situation from developing.
Using key learnings from these findings, Dafo Vehicle developed SafEV – a new, comprehensive fire protection solution, specifically designed to address the risks associated with lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries.
- An early fire warning system, supported by spot cooling to reduce thermal runaway risk while localising and suppressing the fire
- Dafo’s suppression agent, Forrex EVTM, which has been adapted to meet the unique needs and characteristics of EVs and HEVs to provide effective cooling, slowing or halting any fire risk.
SafEV delivers to the mining market an entirely new product that didn’t exist until now – a system that offers real protection against battery fires, using a new suppression agent that’s specifically designed for this application.
What is SafEV and how is it applied?
SafEV is an early-warning detection solution using highly-sensitive CO-sensors to detect gas and heat. The system can be integrated within the vehicle’s Battery Management System (BMS) to receive information. These functions can be used in combination or separately.
SafEV can be applied outside the EV battery pack, or as an integrated part. It can offer both detection and suppression, depending on individual protection requirements.
To find out more about how SafEV can help to protect your electric mining vehicles and machinery, visit Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection via the company profile.