The NFPA is putting together a standard on energy storage systems (ESS), titled NFPA 855. The current ruleset is being examined by the NFPA 855 committee while they try to establish criteria for minimizing the hazards associated with energy storage systems. The new standards will greatly impact ESS operations, as future planned projects will need to adhere to them for NFPA’s support.
The standard provides guidance to energy storage system integrators and prioritizes safety. The NFPA is carefully inspecting battery failures and trying to understand the best approaches to minimizing the risks.
There are several energy storage types covered in this standard, including lithium-ion, flow, sodium beta, lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, nickel metal hydride battery systems, and other non-electrochemical energy storage methods.
Li-ion Tamer was chosen to speak in front of the NFPA 855 committee because of our innovative approaches that increase the safety of lithium-ion battery systems.
Li-ion Tamer was chosen to speak in front of the NFPA 855 committee because of our innovative approaches to increase the safety of lithium-ion battery systems. Committee members and other innovators invited to speak come from industry leaders such as NYFD, Tesla, DNV-GL and many others. The presentation can be viewed here.
The NFPA reached out to the public for comment on their current version of the NFPA 855 standard. Industry members were able to comment on the current version as well as add amendments or new rule suggestions. The committee reviews and discusses all input which concluded in early October.
The Li-ion Tamer presentation highlighted references and potential improvements to current gas detection standards. We also addressed how localization of gas detection can help not only battery system integrators, but first responders locate battery events before they begin to propagate.
DNV-GL recently released a report titled Considerations for ESS Fire Safety which can be found here at DNV-GL’s website. Included in the Li-ion Tamer presentation to the NFPA 855 committee were some key findings in this report. Namely, we emphasized the questions that first responders should ask when approaching a battery failure scene. These are discussed below:
Has on-site extinguishing already been triggered?
Understanding whether or not a clean agent or sprinkler system has been initiated is critical to understanding the volatility of the situation.
Is the system gassing?
The Li-ion Tamer AWARE can give information regarding whether or not a lithium-ion battery system is currently gassing and, better yet, can tell first responders precisely which battery racks have experienced gassing events.
Is the temperature of the system rising?
Understanding battery system temperatures is critical to understanding if the battery failure is still occurring and potentially propagating.
Are flames visible?
If the battery system has closed doors, do not open them unless absolutely
necessary or it has been determined that opening the doors will not introduce
new hazards. Forced entry is discouraged unless a prior access plan has been
Is there a site representative or subject matter expert available?
A site representative or subject matter expert will have the most knowledge about what is occurring inside of the system. They should have access to data generated by sensors within the system which should give them access to the temperature, voltage, or off-gassing status of the cells within the battery room of interest. They also will know the geometry of the room and hopefully, with the appropriate system design, understand where the failure began which will be greatly helpful to first responders.
Li-ion Tamer looks forward to collaborating with the NFPA 855 committee as they look to improve upon their standards for lithium-ion battery energy storage systems.
While li-ion battery events are rare, they do happen. By recognizing this, we can take the necessary steps to improve our battery safety, handling, and usage, making the world a safer place. If you need help getting started, contact our lithium ion battery safety experts at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free battery safety consultation.
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