Fire Protection Solution for Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems


Nobel Fire Systems (‘Nobel’), the leading UK independent in special risk fire protection, announces the launch of its 3-stage world class fire protection solution for lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (BESS), incorporating prevention, containment, and backup cooling measures to deal with the threat of a lithium-ion BESS fire.

Stage 1 – Prevention Li-ion Tamer® off-gas detection and early warning alert

Nobel has recently been appointed by Xtralis, a Honeywell company, to be a UK distributor of Li-ion Tamer®, the leading lithium-on battery rack monitoring system designed to provide an alert to ‘off-gas’ events that occur early in the failure mode of lithium-ion batteries, well in advance of smoke detection and traditional flammable gas detection. When the Li-ion Tamer® sensors detect off-gas, the system immediately and automatically communicates with the BESS battery management system (BMS) to shut down the affected battery stacks to help prevent thermal runaway.
In the majority of lithium-ion battery off-gassing events, Li-ion Tamer® should prevent the need for any further fire protection measures.

Stage 2 – Containment Stat-X® condensed aerosol fire suppression

Notwithstanding successful deployment of the Li-ion Tamer® system and shutdown of power by the BMS, there is no guarantee the affected batteries will not continue to rise in temperature to the point of so called ‘thermal runaway’, a risk inherent to lithium-ion batteries, which is a self-perpetuating chain reaction where excessive heat keeps creating more heat, potentially spreading from one battery cell to the next and creating a fire condition.

In the event of thermal runaway, smoke will be detected, triggering the containment stage of the Nobel fire protection solution; that is, deployment of the Stat-X® condensed aerosol fire suppression system for rapid knockdown of the nascent fire with a view to avoiding propagation. Nobel is the exclusive UK & Ireland distributor of Stat-X®, a UL-listed product that is now the fire suppression system of choice of several lithium-ion battery OEMs and leading global BESS integrators.

Stage 3 – Cooling backup Watermist deluge

Nobel believes Li-ion Tamer® + Stat-X® represent best-in-class prevention and containment measures, together providing robust BESS fire protection. However, the very nature of Lithium-ion batteries means there is a certain element of randomness to how any given battery cell reacts once it has been damaged, be it the nature or extent of off-gassing, temperature increase, fire condition, or propagation from cell to cell. There is also the potential for explosion if left unchecked.

Also, lithium-ion battery fires are at risk of ‘re-flash’, minutes, hours or even days later having seemingly been put out. As such, Nobel recommends a back-up Cooling option in the event of fire propagation, specifically a Watermist system with deluge misting nozzles located internally within the BESS. The system can be linked directly to a water supply such as a dedicated tank, alternatively a fire brigade pumping-in breech can be installed externally on the BESS container.

Note: Nobel has installed fire protection in several lithium-ion battery energy storage systems, most prominently a 41MW grid-scale in-building facility in the West Midlands on behalf of leading BESS integrator, GE.
For more information on the Nobel 3-Stage Fire Protection Solution for Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems, visit Battery Energy Storage Systems.

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