How is Electrification Affecting the Onboard Fire Safety? - An investigation on ships using lithium-ion batteries for ship propulsion

Examensarbete på grundnivå
Allerth, Dennis
Niklasson, André
The shipping industry is in an era of change as shipowners move away from fossil fuels toward more environmentally friendly energy carriers. One of these energy carriers is the lithium-ion battery, which provides great GHG-reduction and energy efficiency. However, using lithiumion batteries comes with a great concern, namely the fire hazard. A lithium-ion battery fire behaves differently from an ordinary fire, due to them producing their own oxygen, and creating explosive and toxic off-gases. This can make them difficult to handle. Despite this, the international convention of the safety of lives at sea proposes no specific regulations regarding the fire safety onboard ships using lithium-ion batteries for their propulsion. This study investigates how different ships in Scandinavia have adapted in forms of fire safety, due to them using lithium-ion batteries for propulsion. Also, it investigates the general feelings about their capabilities of handling a lithium-ion battery fire. The study is based on qualitative interviews with six different respondents in close proximity to Gothenburg. Not too surprising, the ships have adapted in similar manners as far as the regulations stretch. It is when regulations become more general that different adaptations present themselves. Some of the respondents’ solutions to battery fire safety would be greatly beneficial to other ships, which points to a necessity of sharing their knowledge until regulatory works become more complete. Also, clear regulations cannot be set until there is sufficient operational experience, which further presses on the importance of sharing experiences and innovations between ships and shipowners. The respondents’ feelings about their capabilities to handle a lithium-ion battery fire relates more to their knowledge regarding lithium-ion batteries, rather than which systems and methods they use onboard. The authors found it important that the information received from the manufacturers during the battery installation is properly passed down to the rest of the crew, as this will be the only information source to the ship specific system. However, it should be combined with relevant theoretical knowledge. It is important to keep the theoretical knowledge up to date, as this is still a new technology under rapid development.
Battery , Ship , Fire , Propulsion , Electrification , Safety , Lithium-ion
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