The European Union has released a definitive paper on the future of marine lithium batteries in large ships. This poses the question ‘Can a lithium-ion battery fire be put out on a vessel?’ We are dedicating a series of posts to this fundamental question of great importance to the green movement.
The Threats Facing Ship Captains in Deep Waters
Landlubbers might be tempted to place sinking to the bottom of the ocean at the top of the list. However, a fire at sea can be even more deadly in the absence of immediate medical support. Since both fumes and flames can kill.
Ships usually use seawater to extinguish fires on board but this does not work on chemical fires. Hence, the marine industry needs a new solution before it installs giant marine lithium batteries. Inland, things are moving at a faster pace, with talk of no more new boat licenses for combustion engines. Legislation may turn around the inland water mind-set. However, this will be more difficult in semi-regulated deep sea waters.
Can Marine Lithium Batteries Still Play a Meaningful Marine Role?
The question is at the core of the European report we are curating. Inshore marine combustion emissions are tiny when compared to the huge diesels propelling giant commercial vessels. We have to reduce or ideally eliminate lithium dangers, before the latter will accept change.
Inshore, the European Union is gradually eliminating combustion engines from inland waterways. Because there, recreational users see the point of voyaging silently without affecting water quality, or causing noise and air pollution. Setting the problem of large marine vessels aside, the world has made significant progress with land transport. Here we think of electric drive trains for passenger cars, goods vehicles, trams, and buses.
The European Union thinks liquefied petroleum gas may be the preferred intermediate-term solution to reduce deep-sea marine emissions. We continue with our analysis under the battery technical tab in a few days’ time.
Preview Image: Container Ships Passing