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Use of UL Standards in NFPA 855 - 2019

Randy Schubert

Richard Kluge

Numerous existing and emerging fire codes which address battery energy storage systems reference UL standards as an essential element of installation safety. The most commonly referenced UL standards need to be correctly understood and applied to ensure cost effective compliance. For instance, UL9540, Standard for Energy Storage Systems and Equipment, applies at the system level to a broad class of energy storage systems. For energy storage systems that utilize batteries, UL9540 requires compliance to UL 1973, Standard for Batteries for Use in Stationary, Vehicle Auxiliary Power and Light Electric Rail (LER) Applications. But UL 1973 is not applicable to lead acid batteries. Lead acid batteries are addressed in UL standard 1989, Standard for Standby Batteries, which is not cross referenced by UL 9540. In addition, for a UPS system, the applicable UL standard is UL 1778, Uninterruptible Power Systems. UL 1778 is also not referenced by UL 9540 nor vice-versa. UL 1778 does reference UL 1989, but not UL 1973. This paper provides an overview of the complex web of UL safety standards as applied to batteries and provides a useful flow chart that can be used to determine which standards should be applied based on battery chemistry and installation application.

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