Lithium Batteries – What you need to know

The uses of ALL Batteries in buildings is governed by several Codes in Japan. This includes Lead Acid VRLA batteries and Li-ion Batteries.

While the Fire Marshal is familiar with Lead Acid VRLA batteries, their experience with Li-ion batteries is very limited and in many cases zero.

If you are considering installing Li-ion batteries inside your servers or in your server rack or as the UPS batteries, you should first consult with your Design Engineers to understand what application and approval requirements are for such batteries. There are also limitations on the volume of electrolyte that can be stored in a building and this too must be verified with your design team. Stored means; in use, in storage as spares, in the recycle room waiting for disposal pick up.

In general you will need to provide test results done in Japan for drop tests and heat tests. You will need to provide SDS information. The fire point of the battery is a key element in the approval process and this should be obtained without exception. How the battery is contained needs to be described in details with images and drawings.

Japanese manufacturers such as Panasonic / Sanyo have data sets ready for submission to the local fire marshal. These are in Japanese and this is definitely an advantage.

Overseas manufacturers may not have all the required papers and you should allow time for the several meetings that need to be held with the local Fire Marshal. Meetings drag on and you need to be patient. Getting irritated at the slow pace does not win any points.

The fact that the batteries have been installed in other countries is not of any interest to the Japanese fire department. You will need to satisfy local requirements in all cases.

The earlier you start discussions the better as this will take time and patience.

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