Fire prevention for energy systems

Issue 6 2023 Fire & Safety

With the significant push towards renewable energy, such as wind and solar, the demand for battery energy storage systems (BESS) has grown exponentially.

Most BESS utilise lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, bringing particular fire risks. There are many stories of laptop and cell phone lithium-ion batteries catching fire, and on a larger scale, there were 23 BESS fires in South Korea alone between 2017 and 2019, resulting in losses valued at $32 million.

As a result, there is a rapidly evolving regulatory environment to address these risks. One of the leading regulatory authorities in the USA, Underwriter Laboratory (UL), developed UL 9540A to address ‘Thermal Runaway Fire Propagation in Battery Energy Storage Systems’. Already there have been four iterations of the standard since 2014.

Most authorities will agree that there are two main windows of opportunity to implement fire protection measures for BESS. The first and most critical is the detection of off gas (battery electrolyte vapours), which typically occurs 11-12 minutes before smoke is generated. Li-ion Tamer GEN 3 from Xtralis is designed to monitor Lithium-ion batteries of all chemistries and to detect any off-gases to provide an early warning to BESS system providers. When the Li-ion Tamer GEN 3 alerts to the presence of an off gas, it can activate several mitigating actions. Perhaps the most important is shutting down power to the affected cell(s). Additionally, the gas detection equipment can:

• Activate a ventilation system within the BESS enclosure to remove flammable gases and heat.

• Activate local and remote alarms.

• Provide an early warning for operators to take additional measures.

If preventative measures are unsuccessful and a damaged lithium-ion battery ignites, fire suppression measures must be implemented to contain the resulting fire and minimise the potential for propagation to other battery cells within the BESS.

Stat-X condensed aerosol fire suppression is the fire suppression system of choice of several lithium-ion battery OEMs and leading global BESS integrators, having undergone rigorous private and commercial testing in line with UL and NFPA standards. The tests concluded that the Stat-X agent successfully extinguished single and double-cell battery fires and prevented a re-flash of the fire due to its residual nature.

It is also important to note that condensed aerosol fire suppression agents have no global warming or ozone depletion properties. They do not harm sensitive equipment and require limited clean up after discharge. The agents are rated for normally occupied areas.

Technoswitch believes the combination of Li-ion Tamer and Stat-X offers an ideal detection and containment solution for BESS fires.


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Fidelity SecureFire steps into critical fire response space
News Fire & Safety
With the majority of fire stations around the country being crippled by a lack of resources to offer effective responses, Fidelity Fire Solutions has launched its own ‘first responder’ model, Fidelity SecureFire.

Long-distance connectivity with Simplex ES Net Life Safety
Johnson Controls Global Products Fire & Safety Products
ES Net Network Bridge allows fire alarm system data to be transmitted across distant buildings via a customer’s existing network infrastructure, improving system-wide monitoring and control in facilities and campuses where life safety networks are often widely dispersed.

Elvey Group and Technoswitch part ways
Elvey Security Technologies Fire & Safety News
The Elvey Group (a division of the Hudaco Group of Companies) is relinquishing its distributorship of the Technoswitch brand, following Hudaco’s acquisition of Brigit Fire.

From one month to 10 minutes
Dahua Technology South Africa Fire & Safety
Dahua has integrated technology with the inspection mode of the photovoltaic power station in order to create a robust system that can monitor the fire situation in the power plant and its surrounding areas 24/7.

Protecting poultry processing plant
Technoswitch Fire Detection & Suppression Fire & Safety
Grain Field Chickens, based in Reitz in the Orange Free State Province, features all the typical fire detection challenges one would expect to encounter in a food processing facility.

Fire risks in solar panel installations
Technoswitch Fire Detection & Suppression Fire & Safety
Installed global solar capacity doubled in three years from 2018, and the expectation is that in the next three years, it will more than double. In South Africa, the year-on-year growth from 2021 to 2022 was 24,90%.

Smart firefighting
Fire & Safety IT infrastructure
By integrating smart radios, innovative wireless technologies, fusion field networks, and IoT sensors, firefighters can respond faster and coordinate better during emergencies, protecting lives, property, and their own safety.

Compliant with the National Building Regulations?
Fire & Safety
Over the past few years, there has been a surge in building fires, increasing the risk for loss of life and damage to structures and property.

Make sure your alternative power solutions are not a fire hazard
Fire & Safety
While alternative heating and energy devices fulfil a crucial role in the current energy crisis, Fidelity Fire Solutions reminds users that such devices can pose a risk if not installed, stored and used properly.

New FireClass Essential Panel
Johnson Controls Global Products Fire & Safety Products
Part of the complete FireClass conventional fire detection portfolio from Johnson Controls, the new conventional panel is easy to use out of the box, helping to reduce lifecycle costs, and meets EN54-2, EN54-4 approvals.