Lithium-Ion Battery Storage Regulations UK

Lithium-Ion batteries have become increasingly popular in their use over the last few years. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that they are light in weight compared to other energy storage solutions and they can easily be recharged to give an appliance a long-lasting shelf-life.

We now see lithium-ion batteries in use in a whole range of circumstances, including; mobile phones, computers, and other portable electronic devices, as well as electric cars, bikes, cordless power tools, and e-scooters.

However, Li-On batteries can be extremely hazardous and, for storage of large quantities of individual cells or packs of Li-On batteries, or in an R&D environment where the technology is being pushed to its limits, the biggest safety considerations are of electrical failure, explosion and fire.

Note: The definition of a “Pack” is multiple individual cells electrically connected together.

When Li-On batteries burn they produce hazardous and toxic chemicals and are virtually impossible to extinguish.  They require a safe and controlled environment to be held, and then brought, under control.  Not only that, but materials used to control or extinguish a fire then become contaminated waste and must be initially contained before proper subsequent disposal.

Requirements for Safe Storage of Lithium-ion Batteries

It might seem unusual to be talking about lithium-ion batteries in relation to storage containers, but there is a good reason for it: safety! Given their versatility, shipping containers are an especially suitable and versatile option for the safe and compliant storage of potentially hazard materials and the housing of industrial processes.

Specifically, S Jones` battery storage units provide a safe environment for storing Li-On batteries in a constant, controlled temperature to maximise life. Our solutions also have safety systems built in for monitoring the container`s internal environment, and will signal an alarm prior to critical failure.

This is not to be confused with an energy store container or UPS system, where packs of are subject to constant charging and discharging as part of an energy supply system.

Despite the importance of ensuring a safe environment for lithium battery packs and cells, no specific UK government advice referring to Li-On cells and packs has been published to date.

This is because our battery stores are a relatively new application designed to meet the needs of R&D and the general expansion in the use of Lithium battery cells and packs in a growing range of manufactured products. These include BEVs (battery electric vehicles) bikes and many other electrical goods.

There is however, general guidance published by the HSE relating to the safe use of both lead acid and lithium ion batteries.

Generally, and in addition to the above guidelines, there are several safety rules that should be followed when managing with lithium-ion batteries, including:

  • Trying to prevent any physical damage – impacts such as dropping, striking, or being struck
  • Protecting the batteries from exposure to high or low temperatures
  • Preventing over-charging and consequently reducing the risk of short circuits
  • Eliminating the use of lithium-ion batteries if they have been damaged in any way

Fire Resistant Containers

The above summary is why it is of utmost importance that lithium-ion batteries are stored in properly engineered and manufactured devices (such as the S Jones’ Li-On Battery Storage Unit) that are specifically able to contain chemicals, withstand initial conflagrations and extreme sustained heat whilst retaining full structural integrity.

Prevention is better than cure, and S Jones’ designed and manufactured Li-On Battery Storage Units are fitted with a range of internal environment monitoring technologies to provide early warnings of potential problems.

Our fire-resistant Li-On Battery Storage Containers are designed using 3D CAD to provide accurate and detailed visual representations of the final product.  A specialist team then brings the model to life to create a bespoke and effective fire-resistant container, perfect for storing your lithium-ion battery safely and securely.

To find out more about our Battery Storage container or other bespoke conversions for industrial applications, contact us directly or browse our conversions case studies.