Health & Safety
Why we avoid the risks of lithium-ion-batteries
Jan 16 2024
Years ago, GfG decided against the use of lithium-ion batteries in its portable gas detection devices despite their obvious advantages in terms of battery life. With more and more evidence of these dangers surfacing recently, we feel like we - once again - need to explain why we made this decision.
The dangers of lithium-ion-batteries
While the benefits of Li-ion-batteries are clear (high energy density, low self-discharge rate, low weight etc.) and warrant their popularity among many manufacturers, there is one major drawback to their usage: they can be a severe safety hazard. Unlike other types of rechargeable batteries, Li-ion batteries pose the inherent risk of spontaneous combustion, caused by the “thermal runway” phenomenon. This can result in dangerous explosions and a consequent release of toxic fumes. A look at the news of last year will reveal several incidents of this kind, from car batteries exploding to two children dying in a house fire caused by an e-bike battery.
While lithium batteries are not fundamentally unsafe, their devastating effects in case of failure should not be dismissed. There are also two significant problems with their presumed safety: Li-ion batteries can be damaged – be it from changes in temperature, improper handling (such as long charging times) or even storing them in unfavorable conditions. They also may not immediately show signs of being damaged and instead appear fine for a few days or even weeks, until they spontaneously combust, causing explosions. But the battery itself doesn’t even have to explode to pose a severe risk: a damaged battery heating up can be enough to act as an ignition source in Ex zones, endangering everybody in the vicinity.
GfG’s approach to safety in electrical devices
As a manufacturer of gas detection devices, GfG is more aware of explosion hazards than many others. It would be a worst-case scenario if somebody took one of our portable gas detectors into a potentially explosive area, only for the device that was supposed to protect them from explosion dangers to act as an ignition source itself. That’s why we have made the conscious decision to not use any lithium-ion-batteries in any of our devices.
We urge every user of gas detection instruments as well as those considering to buy their first gas detector to take this aspect into account when deciding on a brand. This becomes even more important if you are planning to employ them in Ex zones, as you are actively carrying a potential ignition source with you if your gas detector runs on a Li-ion battery.
GfG uses reliable and durable nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries instead. While their up to 130 hours of potential runtime may not compare to that of Li-ion batteries, the security and peace of mind that comes with choosing the safe version more than makes up for it.
If you are looking for a reliable and safe portable gas detector or fixed gas detection system, please contact one of our experts for a free consultation.
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