Energy Storage Solutions

Energy Storage Systems (ESS) utilizing lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are the primary infrastructure for wind turbine farms, solar farms, and peak shaving facilities where the electrical grid is overburdened and cannot support the peak demands. Although Li-ion batteries are the prime concern regarding ESS, NFPA 855 code will also cover lead-acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, sodium batteries and flow batteries. The code covers energy storage whether electro-chemical or electro-mechanical energy storage.

Hazard

The use of Li-ion Batteries can create the potential for a fire protection hazard known as thermal runaway. If your fire protection design is for as a Class C fire, you may not be prepared for this catastrophic threat.

Thermal runaway, a Class B Fire, is not the same as an electrical or Class C Fire. This fire hazard is a thermal heat transfer issue because there is a disconnection from the power source, which permits more current, thus the risk of fire is not eliminated. Damaged batteries can reignite hours or days later due to thermal runaway.

As concentration levels for a Class B fires are different than that of the Class C fires, chemical suppression alone will not stop thermal runaway. Suppression will extinguish a Class C fire inside the ESS container or building and will stop an electrolyte fire from off-gassing of the batteries but not thermal runaway. Which are you prepared for?

Risk

Risk should be evaluated based on the upcoming NFPA 855 code.

  • Can you support a catastrophic fire event such as thermal runaway? Without the proper safeguards, the complete loss of assets can happen.
  • If the facility is in a remote location or if it is a dedicated use building or a container, each may have a different fire hazard approach based on the risk.
  • Should your design include gas detection, chemical suppression, water-based suppression?
  • How does the Local AHJ fit into the discussion?
  • Is life safety a factor? Yes, there is a possible risk for first responders because current is still being released.

Solution

ASSI provides suppression systems for battery rooms as well as specialized battery detection systems. As technology is constantly changing and fire suppression and detection evolves, ASSI will continue to offer the latest systems available to protect your lives and property. ASSI has the design experience, the technical understanding, and can provide the proper equipment for a turnkey solution based on the acceptance of your level of risk. We can analyze your risk, understand the upcoming NFPA 855 Code, and develop a solution that best suits your needs. We can also provide support in educating the local and state authorities.

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