Mining Contract: Safety Enhancing Technologies for Usage of Multi-Cell Battery Power Systems in Underground Equipment
Safety regarding underground battery systems needs to be improved in two areas: prevention of failure, and efficient and safe cleanup when failure does occur. A more thorough understanding of the technology and the interplay of its constituent parts will offer an opportunity for improvement.
Contract Status & Impact
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Thermal runaway of battery systems and their resulting failure remain issues in underground mining operations. With a better understanding of batteries' constituent parts and their respective emissions and particulate matter, safety advancements are possible in both preventing failure, and in safely and efficiently cleaning up after a failure occurs.
The main issues in working with underground battery systems are lack of reliable, early prediction and feedback of impending thermal runaway-like failures, and availability of emission information for safe firefighting, handling, and cleanup after an incident.
Using model-based and sensing technologies to estimate lithium plating damage or early venting will allow safe removal of a vehicle from service for preventive maintenance before a failure happens. A deeper awareness and classification of various emissions and particulate matter will allow first responders to have proper PPE and procedures for efficient and safe cleanup.
While good evidence is present at the component level for robust functionality, to date there has been no integration of these technologies at the module/pack level to demonstrate and quantify the enhanced factor of safety.