New extinguishing system for burning batteries in electric vehicles

Rosenbauer has launched a new extinguishing system for burning traction batteries in electric vehicles. The system can be used to safely and efficiently extinguish lithium-ion based high-voltage batteries. It enables direct cooling of the battery modules, or the cells within the modules, and thus a quick stop to the propagation of the thermal runaway of the cells.

The safety of the firefighter was the top priority during the solution’s development, which, as it is activated from a safe distance, limits the time the firefighter is in the vicinity of the burning vehicle to a very short time. The extinguishing system applies the water exactly where it is needed: to cool the cells and modules in the battery housing. Extinguishing thus takes place in a very resource-efficient way and reduces the spread of flue gases to a minimum.

The system comprises two main components, an extinguishing unit and a control unit, which are connected to each other with hoses. The extinguishing unit is positioned on the battery and, if necessary, supported on the car body or other points. The preferred position is between the road and the vehicle when the vehicle is on all four wheels. It is also possible to use the system via the interior and luggage compartment, or from the top – in the case of vehicles lying on their sides or on the roof.

The system is activated via the control unit, at a sufficient distance from the vehicle (approximately 8m). The piercing nozzle is driven into the battery with a force of several tonnes and the water is discharged directly into the battery through the perforated nozzle. The water fills the battery housing completely and thus ensures efficient cooling. The water supply of a normal tank fire fighting vehicle/ fire fighting and rescue vehicle is sufficient to ensure successful extinguishing. A normal pressure pump is sufficient for the supply of water.

After the battery has been cooled to the point where the cell temperature is in a safe range, the vehicle is ready for transport. The extinguishing unit can remain in the battery during transport (and at the quarantine site). This allows water to be quickly pumped into the battery housing at any time, regardless of whether the vehicle is being transported with a roll-off container dumper or on a tow truck with a fire blanket.

The system has been tested in numerous fire tests by Rosenbauer, with a wide variety of battery designs (pouch, prismatic and round cells) in different vehicle platforms. In addition, industrial, professional, and volunteer fire departments across Europe have been testing the system for months with their operational tactics, operational technology and crews, demonstrating that it is compatible with existing resources and tactics.

Patrick Looß, Head of the Securitas Fire & Safety site fire department c/o Porsche Leipzig, said, “We were very pleased to be able to develop and test the extinguishing system together with Rosenbauer and to be involved in its improvement and further development. The extinguishing system is currently one of the best and most innovative of its kind to contain the spread of battery fires. Operation is very user-friendly and effective. From my point of view, the system is a must-have for every fire department. We are proud to have such a close working relationship with Rosenbauer and look forward to tackling new projects together in the future.”

The new Rosenbauer battery extinguishing system can be ordered now and will be delivered at the beginning of next year.