Energy Storage System Fire Protection: NFPA 855

Posted by ORR Protection on Jan 7, 2021 9:51:00 AM

During the MCFP Virtual Conference series, Rick Reynolds, Vice President of Engineering and Training at ORR Protection Systems, discusses Energy Storage System Fire Protection Options. Part 4 of 5.

Video Transcript:

They have a cocktail of sauces within those that once it actually vents off, Li-ion Tamer is able to actually sense that, and it's a cocktail of sauces. It's not an LEL event. It's a cocktail of sauces. Li-ion Tamer has the technology to, if you will, pick up that scent. And when it picks up that scent, then it's able to record that. When it does, it sends a signal to the battery management system and the battery management system immediately shuts down, either the load trips off the load, or it actually shuts down the battery charging circuit. And it's very successful. Ever since they've been deployed either from the military standpoint all the way through to the commercial standpoint, they've never had a continual thermal runaway post. And so it's a very good success story. And it's a good product. Now in doing that, they have always kind of cornered the market if you will, but this is a technology as the lithium ion train is running so fast.

Now they're starting to commercialize this product a lot more. And so in doing so, Honeywell is actually, they have worked with Nexceris. Now Honeywell global is actually marketing this product with mixers. And so now it's a Honeywell Nexceris partnership. And so that's, that's how that product is actually coming to market is through the Honeywell Nexceris, as a partner with them on this product as well. And we're selling a lot of those right now to a lot of offgassing. But this off gas is very important to take into consideration. Whenever you're looking at this. This chart, I've seen this chart numerous, numerous times. When I went up to the lab and I was able to witness this, I seen this. And actually, I think we were at about 11 minutes on the test that I witnessed, that it actually happened before the actual off gas event took place.

And then in the actual, in Korea, where they're building a lot of the batteries, they actually had so many fires within that environment that they were looking at, how do we prevent these? Now they're installing,, Li-ion Tamer on all of their battery plants there. And they actually said that this is called the golden time or the golden hour if you will. And that's because they're able to detect it and shut it down prior to, and they're not having any fires over there now because they're able to detect it, but before they go into thermal runaway, if you will. So it's very important as you evaluate these. And as you step through these to take into consideration off gas technology, because it's not smoke, it's key to know that we had air sampling within this space as well. It didn't pick it up because it's an off gas. It's a cocktail of gasses coming off of that battery. And I'm going to show you that in a video just a second.

So it's an off gas of battery gas that is not smoke, but it's actually not LEL, but it's actually a cocktail of off gas that, that Li-ion Tamer technology has the capabilities. Here's one of their sensors right here. It's just a little kind of an off gas sensor. It kind of looks like just a catalyst, if you will, it's connected via cat. 5 or cat. 6 cabling. And it goes back to a controller, if you will. So very, very industrialized military grade type of application. So but you would actually put one of those on each one of the racks or however the configuration is, that's how that configuration would work, but very, very important.

Now, as you can see on this one, once the actual Li-ion Tamer detected it on this example, they actually, the event took place. It actually read the event and then once they actually tripped it off and they dropped the load, then you can see that propagation stopped, and the mitigation or the actual overcharging stopped, then they were able to stop, so thermal runaway did not happen. That's a perfect example of their successes of what people are seeing. So this is a good story, this is an awesome example of technology working and it doing what it's supposed to do. And I think these are the successes that we're starting to see as technologies being developed in order to prevent these types of things happening out into the marketplace.

Now I talked about off gas, and I talked about what that cocktail looks like. Take a look at this slide. Now, this slide was presented at that UL. UL presented this slide at that EEI conference I was at. And if you look at this, this is pre flaming on the left-hand side, and then post flaming on the right-hand side on that. Look at the amount of, and this is one module, and that module is in Iraq, and some racks have a lot more than others, but that module is probably a 19 inch rack, if you will, and so that's only one module off gas. Look at the amount of explosive gas that is available just from that one propagation. I will tell you once you see that, I think that's a game changer. Those that are in the industry or in the fire protection industry that's with us this looking at this, you will see that, oh my goodness, this is a game changer.

So once you start looking at some of these numbers and you start understanding the amount of contaminant, the amount of explosive gases that are here, oh my goodness. So we've got to catch this early. And as soon as it starts off gas and we immediately got to shut it down because what'll happen is if it propagates to this module, then it propagates to the next module. And then the next one, next thing, you know, you're building up to an explosive in a very, very volatile environment. So the goal is to shut that down. So now I said that I was going to share. This is a standard, what we would call lithium ion battery. This is an 18650. This is just an example of an off gas event. All right. So if you watch right in this area right here, you're going to see an off gas event take place. Okay. It's an invisible it's kind of invisible, but you'll see a little bit of sparkles come off right here.

So I want to show this, so listen right now and you'll see it about right. There it was and, you see just a little bit of gray smoke. I'll do it one more time. Here is about right now. There, it is just a little bit, you can't see much of it. I'll do it one more time so I can see it right there. All right, right there. And that's one cell. You see how much energy is coming out of that one cell. So that off gas event is happening.

So now this next slide, I'm going to show you this. This is amazing. Okay. This is kind of the example that I said my wheels were turning and, and like I said, I've been in fire protection a long time. Been at ORR for 30, been in fire protection in another five years. But this is the example of that same cell. Okay. 18650 cell, same wrapping around it. Thermally heating it up. So this same cell, we took and we heated it up.

Now there are some modules that have hundreds of these in it. But you take a DEWALT portable drill, a lithium ion portable drill. I think if I'm not mistaken, there's seven or eight of those in a DEWALT portable drill. So think about one of those going on. Think about if you accidentally hit it with a hammer or the intensity of it. Think about one of those packs, that 63 amp power pack that we're, that we've seen on that previous slide. The intensity of it, there's a lot of energy there think about that, but I think, you know, seeing the intensity of that one module.

So I think that really, really just needs to show that. So again, the hierarchy is very key here. We're going to talk a little bit about the suppression side. We talked about detection and here's some of the key points of NFPA 855. Like I said, it's a new code. It was developed in August, it was actually adopted and sent out in August of 2019. The key element there was 2019. And I think that even though it was brand new, the key thing to understand is the adoption rate is very, very strong and a lot of cities and a lot of municipalities are starting to adopt it a lot faster. And one of the key factors is there's probably more fire code officials on the actual standard than there are any other standard. So the adoption rate is very, very quick and very fast out in the industry.

Large scale fire testing must be done. Shall matter of fact, in our codes, there's two words that are key should and shall. Should, as a recommendation shall is a actual code requirement. So those are very, very important words. So and some of the key other key points in NFPA 855 is the actual, when you start looking at the actual chapters and you start looking at some of the actual information when you start looking at, in the body and in the standard, some of these elements, when you start building a room or you start changing that room from a lead acid room to a lithium ion room, these are the general practice things. And that have to be taken into consideration. And what we don't want to do is just arbitrarily think, well, it was a room before it can be a battery room tomorrow, and that's not the case because there's some characteristics of it.

Lithium ion that have to be taken into consideration that may need to change that room may need to change the development of that. So review that with your fire, with your fire protection expert, review that with your actual authority, having jurisdiction. Review UL 9540A, review that with the battery manufacturer, that, that UPS guy that's coming in to tell you those, make sure that everybody's on the same page.

Topics: Featured Article, Featured Blog, MCFP

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