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New Energy In The Battery Infrastructure

Laurie Florence

Over the past several years, there has been a significant effort to address energy storage system (ESS) safety especially those systems that utilize batteries as their source of energy. New technologies that do not have a long history of use in the built infrastructure are being utilized. Based on this, there is concern from regulators, fire marshals, electrical inspectors, building owners and other industry stakeholders with the safety of these systems and how to best integrate them into facilities. Development of product safety standards and product installation standards, and updating of building codes to address these concerns have been ongoing. This work has culminated in the publication of UL 9540 to evaluate the safety of energy storage systems as well as the ongoing development of the NFPA 855 standard for energy storage system installation; publication of Article 706 and updates to Article 480 of the NEC; updates to NFPA 1 and the ICC IFC fire codes, which are having an impact on the industry. Included in the fire codes and installation standard are exceptions that require large scale fire testing. UL 9540A is a new test method that UL developed to address this large-scale fire testing for energy storage systems. UL 1974 is a UL standard under development to address the process for determining the safety of used batteries for repurposing in applications such as energy storage. All of this work will have a direct impact on the industry, and it is important to know what to expect when trying to site these systems.

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