Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) can pose certain hazards, including the risk of off-gas release. Off-gassing occurs when gasses are released from the battery cells due to overheating or other malfunctions, which can result in the release of potentially hazardous amounts of gasses such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane. The off-gas detection system is an important safety consideration when installing BESS.
Key points to consider for BESS off-gas detection system installations:
- Types of off-gas or gasses present: Identify the types of gasses that can be released from the battery cells and determine the most appropriate detection methods for each gas. A list of the off-gasses is typically found in the UL9540A testing document.
- Location of off-gas sensors: The optimal locations for off-gas detection sensors should be based on the layout of the battery storage system, the type of off-gasses present, and the airflow within the off-gassing plume.
- Sensor calibration: Ensure that off-gas detection sensors are calibrated properly to detect the correct type and concentration of gas.
- Alarm system: An alarm notification system that provides both audible and visual alerts to notify personnel when gas concentrations exceed safe levels.
- Backup power: Ensures the gas sensors are properly powered by a reliable source and provided a two-hour minimum battery backup system.
- Response plan: Develop a response plan that outlines the steps to take in the event of off-gas detection, including evacuation procedures, emergency shut-off mechanisms, and notification protocols.
- Maintenance and testing: Develop a maintenance and testing plan per the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that off-gas detection sensors are functioning properly and that the alarm system is operational.
By implementing effective off-gas detection measures, BESS operators can minimize the risks associated with battery off-gassing and ensure the safety of personnel and the surrounding environment.