Sea Technology

JUL 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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www.sea-technology.com July 2018 | ST 7 SEA TECHNOLOGY® I N C L U D I N G U N D E RS EA TEC H N O L O G Y The Industry's Recognized Authority for Design, Engineering and Application of Equipment and Services in the Global Ocean Community Charles H. Bussmann Founder and Publisher 1924-1999 publisher C. Amos Bussmann managing editor Aileen Torres-Bennett assistant editor/ Amelia Jaycen online news producer production manager Russell S. Conward assistant design/ Joshua Ortega website manager advertising Susan M. Ingle Owen service manager ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES: HEADQUARTERS C. Amos Bussmann 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 304 Arlington, VA 22203-1553 Tel: (703) 524-3136 • FAX: (703) 841-0852 e-mail: seatechads@sea-technology.com NORTH AMERICA, EAST COAST MJ McDuffee Director of Business Development Tel: 772-485-0333 mobile e-mail: m-j@comcast.net NORTH AMERICA, WEST COAST John Sabo Barbara Sabo Gregory Sabo John Sabo Associates 447 Herondo St. #305 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 Tel: (310) 374-2301 e-mail: bsabo@jsaboassoc.com EUROPE John Gold John F. Gold & Associates "Highview" 18a Aultone Way Sutton, Surrey, SM1 3LE, England Phone/FAX Nat'l: 020-8641-7717 Int'l: +44-20-8641-7717 e-mail: johnfgold@gmail.com Sea Technology back issues available on microform. Contact: NA Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 998, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-0998 1-800-420-6272 COMPASS PUBLICATIONS, INC. 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 304 Arlington, VA 22203-1553 Tel: (703) 524-3136 FAX: (703) 841-0852 oceanbiz@sea-technology.com www.sea-technology.com publishers of: Sea Technology Commercial Fisheries News Fish Farming News Commercial Marine Directory Fish Farmers Phone Book/Directory Sea Technology Buyers Guide/Directory Sea Tech e-News Celebrating more than 54 years of serving the global ocean community - Since 1963 - editorial Grant Brown, VP Marketing, PBES Safety Concerns for Hybrid, Electric Ships E ach year there are more and more hybrid or fully electric ships navigating waters worldwide. All modern commercial vessels may soon have some form of energy storage on board. These ships range in type from ferries transporting thousands of people daily to offshore supply vessels that maintain safety in critical oil rig oper- ations. The ships increasingly rely on lithium-energy storage as their power source, with modern designs containing more than 1,000 individual modules (batteries). The technology has proven itself reliable and powerful, however, safety concerns linger and should be an utmost consideration for this new technology. Not all battery systems are equipped with the same safety systems. Testing and certification for battery systems aboard ships has increased, but room remains to raise the bar higher. One of the biggest risks for batteries is thermal runaway. Thermal runaway occurs if the lithium-ion cells used in marine batteries are subjected to me- chanical abuse, suffer from internal manufacturing defects, or operate over or under the correct voltage or temperature. Heat is generated within the lithi- um-ion cells and causes a reaction between the cathode material and electro- lyte. This can result in the cells' temperature increasing until they vent toxic and flammable gases. If ignition occurs, these gases can be a fire hazard. Currently, there are many battery solutions on the market that use an air-cooling system to try to maintain safe internal temperatures. The effective- ness is questionable, and the reliance on a thin-layer, fire-resistant separator between cells only reduces the fire risk from thermal runaway—it does not prevent it. It is far more sensible to take all reasonable precautions to elimi- nate thermal runaway from occurring in the first place. Liquid cooling is the only safety system currently tested and proven to pre- vent thermal runaway. Liquid cooling prevents batteries from entering thermal runaway by simply extracting more heat than the cells can produce. Similar to an engine block of an automobile, a low-pressure, high-volume closed loop of chilled water is circulated through the battery. Taken a step further, coolant can be circulated through the alloy core of the battery, around each individu- al cell, enabling removal of more thermal energy than the cells can produce when in an overcharge or damage scenario. In comparison, forced-air cooling only cools the external surfaces of the module and is ineffective at eliminating hot spots in the cells. An air-cooled battery requires around 3,500 times more air-flow volume than water-flow volume to achieve the same heat removal. Effective internal thermal barriers are an essential part of lithium-battery safety systems. In the event of a damaged cell within a module, dangerous gases can be released. It's important for every supplier to create safe venting for battery systems to reduce risk of a secondary explosion. Given the rapid uptake of the use of large-format lithium-ion batteries in commercial marine vessels, energy storage system safety is lacking. Current standards leave significant potential for hazardous situations to arise that could lead to loss of life and great environmental cost. It is the responsibility of industry and regulators to do everything possible to ensure a major incident does not occur. Unfortunately, the majority of the industry has responded to price pressure from owners and operators by re- ducing costs and, subsequently, safety systems to meet the bare minimum of requirements. The industry should take steps to guard against the consequenc- es of inaction. ST

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