Batteries are ever-present for recyclers, although processing them can cause a range of problems including fires. Austrian firm Lindner Recyclingtech has developed a solution.
‘The worst-case scenario is for a damaged battery to end up in the fuel storage bunker, where it could cause a devastating fire,’ Lindner declares. Even if the battery burns itself out and doesn’t cause an explosion, the resulting temperatures are an enormous problem due to the fuel’s ignition point of 319 – 460 C.
That’s why Lindner’s innovative Fire Prevention System features optical sensors that constantly monitor the temperature on conveyor belts and automatically trigger a water sprinkling system to cool overheated particles in the material stream.
‘Thanks to the very early detection of these particles, most hazards are identified at the start of a thermal reaction keeping the required amount of water low,’ the company explains.
Each unit has a control sensor detecting objects that cannot be cooled, such as lithium-ion batteries where the thermal runaway has already been initiated.
‘This triggers an alarm, stopping the conveyor belt under an active cooling nozzle so the hazard can be manually removed,’ the company says. Depending on the application, the threshold value can be set for an individual unit. To counteract a delayed reaction within the energy cells, extra sensor pairs can be installed depending on the size of the facility.
One of the first companies to try out this new system is Mayer Recycling in Upper Styria, Austria. Data collected over the last year demonstrates the benefits of such sophisticated technology with Lindner reporting an average of more than 350 overheated particles detected in the material stream per month.
Approximately 10% was still too hot for further processing, triggering the alarm and allowing the pieces to be manually removed.
Of the materials removed, around 70% were batteries undergoing chemical reaction while the remainder included metal particles that had become too hot after shredding.
Lindner’s fire prevention system is designed as a space-saving plug-and-go solution to be integrated within existing facilities. A heated box version is suitable for cold environments.
Would you like to share any interesting developments or article ideas with us? Don't hesitate to contact us.