Battery Safety R&D and its Role in Technology Development
Dr. Joshua Lamb, Principal Member Advanced Power Sources R&D • Sandia National Laboratories

Energy storage systems represent a significant investment in resources, but also require the acceptance of the inherent risk of stored energy. Catastrophic failure of systems can release the stored energy in unexpected ways, which will be true regardless of the energy storage technology used. Many technologies however have been in use for enough time that the risks and hazards involved are well documented. Grid-scale electrochemical energy storage, however, is a relatively new application that requires storing electrical energy in concentrated battery systems. Many of these battery systems are using new technologies where the hazards are not particularly well understood, and a well-publicized failure can lead not only to significant economic damages but also a loss in confidence in the underlying technology. This presentation gives an overview of the currently understood safety issues with battery systems for large stationary applications. An overview of common tests showing the potential consequences of battery failure will be discussed. Also discussed will be technologies that have shown potential for development in stationary systems but are not well evaluated by battery safety tests. This talk will outline the role of battery safety R&D in the rapid adoption of new technologies.

Dr. Joshua Lamb is currently a Principal Member of the Technical Staff with the Advanced Power Sources R&D organization at Sandia National Laboratories. He primarily oversees the Battery Safety and Abuse Testing Laboratory (BATLab) team, and the Battery Safety and Reliability thrust of the DOE Office of Electricity Energy Storage Program. Battery safety science at Sandia focuses on the development of inherently safe lithium-ion batteries by understanding the consequences and mechanisms of failure, developing cradle-to-grave battery testing, and developing new materials for use in battery systems. Joshua earned his Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering in 2008 and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2002 from the University of Nevada. Since joining Sandia in 2011, Joshua’s research interests include advanced techniques for determining the stability of lithium-ion batteries and the development of advanced battery abuse and safety tests.

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