Insight

Electric batteries and their risks

7 May 2024
Insight

Electric batteries and their risks

an electric battery

In 2020, renewable energy made up 43.1% of the UK’s overall electricity generation. 


Zero-carbon power in Britain’s electricity generation has grown from less than 20% in 2010 to almost 50% in 2021.
It’s clear that renewable energy is only getting bigger, and with that, so are electrical batteries. From companies like Tesla, Intel and Apple who use renewable energy to power their organisations to companies like Panasonic, Livent and Ganfeng Lithium who champion the manufacturing of electric batteries and lithium, the future of electric batteries seems to hold a lot of promise.  


It’s difficult to predict the exact direction for the future of electric batteries and their capabilities, the only thing we do know is that supply and demand for them, as well as other renewable energy sources will only increase. We seem to regularly be presented with new challenges, threats and capability issues of current technology we have access to, as well as a lack of standardised processes for battery storage that ensure complete safety. However, the world is moving fast, and with it, so does our technology. For example, years ago, it would take weeks to service wind turbines and carry out maintenance checks, now, with the help of drones and new ways to study renewable energy sources, it takes a mere few hours. With new technology giving us new insights into these energy sources, we now have more intel into how things can go wrong with renewable energy sources like electric batteries. 


Battery Storage 


Despite electric batteries rising capability, with the view to evolve even further and possess the ability to harness huge amounts of power, we must remain vigilant when assessing the threats that come with storing electric batteries. Threats that a lot of companies can overlook. Storing batteries always comes with the risk of setting off a chain reaction. Lithium works on a specific reaction, meaning there is a lot of room for things to go wrong, if one battery explodes, it can lead to a thermal runway. Thermal runways are virtually impossible to stop, it’s a case of waiting for the explosion to carry out, try to contain the explosion and put measures in place to ensure they do not affect other batteries within the storage vicinity. This is where we can help, providing researched, careful expertise to advise how best to create a safe storage solution for your business and assets.   


Electrical & Mechanical Abuse 


Electrical abuse is another risk to battery storage. Energy storage systems usually come with a set temperature (or temperature range) that comes from the manufacturer. Working outside these ranges can result in batteries prematurely aging, much like today’s smartphones and laptops etc. The premature aging of the batteries can result in the batteries systems failing entirely, resulting in fires and explosions. Electrical abuse is also a result of overcharging batteries, charging them too quickly or if the battery is externally short-circuited.
Other risks associated with electrical battery storage includes mechanical abuse. This is when a battery is physically damaged through being dropped, mishandled, penetrated or crushed. Batteries are also compromised when internal faults occur through inadequate design or when they are made with low-quality materials. Environmental damage also poses a risk to battery storage, from something as big as extreme temperatures and natural disasters, to more common environmental risks such as rodent damage.


With our knowledge of the energy sector we can help provide you with insurance solutions that protect you from these various scenarios, as well as advise you on various hidden risks and threats and how best to cover them.


For more information on our services and to see if we can help protect your assets, visit www.vistainsurance.co.uk