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Japanese government relaxes LIB storage regulations

The government of Japan has decided to launch a full-scale environmental improvement program to increase domestic production of lithium-ion batteries and other storage batteries for electric vehicles (EV), which are lagging behind China and South Korea.

 

The storage of electrolyte, a key component of lithium-ion batteries, which has been a bottleneck in the new construction of factories, is expected to be greatly eased in FY2023.

 

The Yomiuri Shimbun's evening edition on January 24 reported the news on its front page.

 

The current Fire Service Law defines electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries as a hazardous material (flammable liquid) because of the possibility of violent outbursts of flame in the event of a fire.

For indoor storage of 1,000 liters or more, the law requires that, in principle, storage warehouses must be less than 1,000 square meters in area, have eaves less than 6 meters high, and be built on a flat roof.

Due to these strict standards, only small warehouses can be set up in Japan, which has been a major obstacle to increasing production of lithium-ion batteries for EVs.

According to the same article, the United States and Germany, which are promoting the spread of EVs, have few regulations on the size of warehouses for storing Li-ion batteries. Instead, they stipulate the installation of sprinklers for fire extinguishing equipment on the condition that the company storing the storage batteries must be insured.

 

Against the backdrop of these overseas circumstances and others, a request was submitted to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to eliminate regulations on the area, eave height restrictions, and number of floors for storing electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries. In response, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency established a "Study Group on Fire Prevention Safety Measures for Lithium-Ion Batteries" in March 2022, and following a firefighting experiment conducted in December of the same year, the third meeting held on January 5 of this year showed the direction of the regulatory review.

 

Japan's share of the global market for automotive lithium-ion batteries topped the global market in 2015 at 51.7%, followed by China (27.4%) in second place and South Korea (14.4%) in third. Five years later, in 2020, China will be the leader with 37.4%, followed by South Korea in second place (36.1%), and Japan contented itself in third place with 21.1%.

 

 

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Michiharu Honda

He was raised in Musashino, Tokyo. He worked as a correspondent for the Yomiuri Shimbun from August 1997 to July 2002. Cambodia and Jakarta, Indonesia from August 1997 to July 2002. After that, he lived in Laos, Singapore, and Vietnam. He has lived in Southeast Asia for 10 years. Hobby is visiting historical sites.

From September 2022, he will be a senior researcher (part-time) at the Okinawa Peace Cooperation Center.

 

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