International commercial property insurer FM Global has released new fire protection guidelines to combat increased incidences of energy storage system fires.
The US-based insurer said the guidelines are needed because lithium-ion battery-based systems are under growing scrutiny after being involved in fires in South Korea and the US.
FM Global said the guidelines are the result of a series of “small- to large-scale fire tests” it conducted on battery storage systems in commercial applications, such as manufacturing, office-building power generation and utility use.
“These systems hold enormous promise for clean energy while raising new protection challenges,” said Benjamin Ditch, senior lead research engineer at FM Global.
“Our research shows that ESS deployments can be made safe through the combination of automatic sprinklers and careful ESS rack spacing.”
FM Global said key findings of the research indicated:
- Sprinklers are effective in delaying or preventing fire spreading to adjacent racks.
- Separation between ESS and other combustibles “is essential to effective fire protection”.
- A fire watch should be present “until all potentially damaged ESS equipment containing lithium-ion batteries is removed from the area following a fire”. This is because lithium-ion battery fires “are known to reignite any time from minutes to days after the initial event”.
Details of the tests including videos are to be made available on line.
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