Faroese Invent New Method of Extinguishing Lithium Battery Fires

Discharging car deck of RoPax ferry Norröna (file photo).

With notoriously frightening prospects of lithium-ion batteries of electric vehicles catching fire under certain conditions, ferry operators are increasingly looking for ways to improve fire safety as more and more car owners switch to EVs. In Norway, for example, some ferry operators have opted to ban EVs from boarding their ferries over fire safety concerns. 

The Faroese, meanwhile, appear to have found a new way to quench such virtually unstoppable fires, using some mix of salty brine as extinguishing fluid. According to news reports, Smyril Line, the Faroese owner and operator of RoPax ferry Norröna, has successfully tested such a method.

Carried out in Port of Tórshavn on April 17th, the probe involved a method based on brine as a cooling and extinguishing agent, and turned out a success, with an EV lithium-ion battery fire extinguished in just under one hour from the start of the test run.

Tórshavn fire chief Heini Østerø told broadcaster KvF that the crew of Smyril Line’s cruise ferry can now feel safer since they have become better equipped to deal with any potential fire in an EV aboard the ferry.

Tummas Justinussen, chairman of the board of Smyril Line, said the idea of the new cooling and extinguishing agent was inspired from the brine freezing of crabs.

This new fire extinguishing method for EV lithium battery fires has been patented, Mr. Justinussen noted, with several companies already having shown interest in it.

The Norröna will thus allow EVs on board, however under a specific reporting requirement in connection with car ticket bookings, we’re told.