Lithium-ion fire fears spark recall of 433,000 solar LED umbrellas in US, Canada
From pv magazine Global
A joint recall with Health Canada, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (US CPSC) and SunVilla Corp. has been issued for all 10-foot solar LED market umbrellas. The umbrellas have LED lights on the arms of the umbrella that are powered by a lithium-ion battery charged with a small solar panel.
The recall was issued after reports of batteries overheating and causing fires in the United States and Canada. In three reported incidents, the solar panels caught fire while charging via the AC adapter indoors.
Lithium-ion batteries have been known to cause fires in the past. Last year, LG Energy Solution Michigan issued a recall for its RESU 10H batteries in the US market that affected about 10,000 storage systems.
“The home batteries can overheat, posing a risk of fire and emission of harmful smoke,” the manufacturer said at the time.
Battery manufacturers are increasingly turning to less hazardous solutions. After its recall, LG transitioned from nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) battery chemistry to lithium iron phosphate in its future products.
Briggs & Stratton’s SimpliPHI Energy Storage System uses lithium-ferro-phosphate chemistry, which does not use cobalt, a metal associated with health hazards, and a key culprit in battery fires. And a new Canadian company, Salient Energy, developed a zinc-ion battery, which is a water-based chemistry that the company says eliminates the risk of fire, making the batteries more applicable for residential energy storage.
The umbrellas affected by the recall are made in China by SunVilla and sold at Costco in the United States and Canada. Consumers can return them to any Costco Warehouse for a full refund. SunVilla and Costco are also attempting to contact known purchasers.
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