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(LEAD) Samsung SDI unveils safety measures to tackle ESS fires

10:48 October 14, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS quote in 3rd para; UPDATES info in 5th para)

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- Samsung SDI Co., a major electric vehicle battery maker in South Korea, on Monday unveiled safety measures to tackle fires in energy storage systems (ESS) that have been plaguing the industry.

Samsung SDI said it has developed a special fire extinguishing system for ESS and will apply it to existing ESS operation sites on its own expense. Its new system is made of special chemicals and fire blocking materials that can extinguish flames quickly even if one battery cell is caught on fire, it claimed.

"It will be applied to some 1,000 ESS sites that use our ESS cells and modules," Kwon Young-no, Samsung SDI's chief financial officer, said at a press briefing. "We estimate that it will cost between 150 billion won (US$126 million) and 200 billion won."

The company has been implementing safety measures since ESS fire incidents begin breaking out, such as installing safety equipment to protect batteries from outside electrical impact and sensors that can detect problems, it added.

Such measures will be completed within this month, according to the company.

The move came as the local ESS industry has been suffering from many fire incidents over the past few years.

According to industry data, 26 ESS fire cases have been reported in South Korea since August 2017, prompting the government to launch an investigation and force companies to suspend ESS operations.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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