Energy Storage System Fire Protection Options: Off Gas Detection

Posted by ORR Protection on Dec 31, 2020 9:15:00 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 2 of 5.

Video Transcript:

Then if the off gas event does take place, then what we typically see is an LEL detector event, and then the potential for an off gas or a exhausting of that off gas and the actual enclosure or the environment that you would be looking to have these battery systems installed in. So you would want to actually have a venting take place in that area, a recommended practice if you will. And this is ORR's recommended practice or recommended cycle, if you will, our circle of events. And then of course the VESDA, VESDA is very early smoke detection apparatus, or it's a air aspirating detector. And it has a very, very early detection methodology, and VESDA can actually sense that a smoke at the earliest stages in the industry. And so we would actually put VESDA as an example in a clean room, a clean room, we would be at 0.0015% obscuration, or it can go all the way up to 6% obscuration in a very, let's say, highly contaminated area. You would want to have a VESDA in that type of an area. So it all depends on the type of area that you would want to put a smoke detector type in, in a room. This VESDA detector can have a tolerance, according to the variance of the type of environment, you'd want to put it. So in this area, you would want the sensitivity of that smoke detector or the VESDA aspirating detection. We can look at that sensitivity based on that environment. So we would have VESDA maybe set an earlier to give you earlier warning if there was a smoke or a particulant that we wanted to pick up early. So that's the benefit of having VESDA installed there.

Then if it does propagate into a fire detection, because VESDA has numerous alarm levels and those alarm levels can go from fire one or from alert level to action level to fire one, maybe fire two, then we can actually use those as trigger mechanisms to even trigger some clean agent, maybe Novak 1230 is an awesome clean agent. It's an awesome fire suppression agent for this application. It's a very safe agent for an application like this. Another agent that's in the marketplace is FM 200. It can be another good clean agent for this same application. So it all depends on the application what agent may be best for this. Novak 1230 is a very good one because it has a wide range of suppression capabilities or the capabilities of the safety net of being able to show some of the capabilities of its wide breadth of occupiable spaces with its suppression capabilities.

Now we had some clients that have asked us to put in thermal detection in order to make sure that, Hey, if we're going to have a advanced suppression methodology of water mist technologies, and I'm gonna talk a little bit about water mist later. Water mist has some very unique properties and some very good characteristics of suppression and that DNV GL report that I showed earlier on the screen, it has some very good technology information in it. And we'll talk a little bit about water mist later. Deflagration and venting. The code N855 talks a little bit about the possibility of actually having venting in a what we would call a storage vessel or a storage pod, making sure that we have venting so that gas buildup doesn't create an explosive environment like we've seen on that previous slide, where that room actually over pressurized or needed to vent, if you would, it would, all that energy would go out one particular panel instead of the walls, of course, causing it.

Our overall goal is propagation design and that non propagation design would go all the way back to the battery management system, having the key to having the input that off gas detection that off gas detection is key to the element of making sure that if we had off gas detection at the earliest stage, notifying the battery management, shutting it down. If by chance that was happening at the earliest stages, we would be able to have a non propagation design. So our goal here is off gas detection, send it back to the battery management system, shut it down and prevent it from actually going into what we would call the circle of events. And I think we can show you a couple of solutions in that when we talk about the hierarchy of a lithium ion or the regulatory hierarchy of what takes place, I think there's a lot of things that we want to cover here.

I'll run through these pretty quick, but this is kind of how the structure is built up. This slide was actually presented at a at a event that I actually participated and it's the EEI convention. And I was at a convention with the EEI and that's the Edison Electric Institute. And they were actually showing this slide. And that was the UL that was presenting this and UL was sharing this. And they said that, you know, they test the modules or they test at the module level or the component level. They test the actual components of the batteries of UL 1741 and UL 1642 of the component of a lithium ion. So the battery itself, they're testing that battery itself. At the component level, they test that battery to make sure it works like it's supposed to. However, once they start putting all these batteries in this unit and this pod, if you will, or in this UPS and this data, the center, once they put it in that UPS unit, it changes the configuration.

It changes the environment. It changes the density of how many they're putting in there. Then UL 95, 40 is a different testing criteria. Then UL says, you know, you really need to test it because of the fuel density or the low density fire propagation risk changes. So you really need to have an evaluation of a UL 95, 48 done. And that's where the UL 95 48. And we're going to talk a little bit more about that in the next slide or two. And then once it gets past the system evaluation, as you see all those batteries in those modules, then you go out to the next level where eight 55 comes into play, as well as international certifications and for what we would call the installation of a system. And then, excuse me, then the next level is the NFPA one, then international fire codes and the IBC international building codes and so forth, then they are the overarching. So if we looked at this as an umbrella effect where the overarching coats was the IFC, the international fire code, or the IBC, or NFPA one was kind of overarching, all of these. And then the NFPA was kind of like at the system installation side, the next level down of yours, getting into them, you know, the next zooming in just a little bit.

And then when we got into the system of, within the sub components within that, that installation at the macro level, if you will, and that's the, where we would want to validate all of the system components, that's 95, 48. And then of course the sub components, if you will, into the true macro level, then that's when we're getting down to all these sub components, what does 95, 48? Well, 95, 48 is not a UL stamp. You know, all of us in America are, so used to that UL certificate or that you will label that's on so many things that we see in our homes and, and out and about where, you know, you, you purchase a, an extension cord or a light bulb or anything like that. And at least me I'm so, so proud to be able to look at that and say, ah, it's got that UL label on it.

I feel safe. I feel as if it's been tested, it's been through the rigorous evaluation. If you will, that you will actually always gives it. It's a sense of security. It's a sense of evaluation. And you will, in this particular application, they're doing a lot of testing, but they're not given their stamp of approval. They're just giving you the information. And that information is vital for people to make decisions off of. Now, it may not be a stamp of approval, but it's a stamp of information and it's a report that's vital for us to make informational decisions with. And as you say, I see on the screen, you'll see many, many things that are on this report that are vital for a lot of folks to be able to make decisions with, as an example, look at some of these, the thermal runaway propagation details.

So they take that information that the battery manufacturer gave them the battery module, and they said, all right, here's a battery module, go test it, go put it in thermal runaway, go do the full evaluation. And when you do tell us your report of how it actually reacts. So they did. And in doing so, they're able to give back to the consumer or to the purchaser or to the end-user all of the propagation information, the key elements of deflagration, the key elements of flaming the key elements of a fire spread all of this information on the left-hand side of the screen, you'll see that. So it's very important that we all look as data and it's the, it addresses fire concerns. It addresses environmental concerns and it's key strategies and tactics that we all need to be able to look at and evaluate and measure, and how we actually look at these battery systems being installed.

So it's key elements and key practices. Like I said, it's not a stamp of approval and UL will be the first to tell you that, but it's key information in order to make the right decisions whenever you're doing the install. So the last on the bottom, over there on the it'll say fire protection, integrated internal and external evaluations of fire protection strategies. That's key. I mean, so that way we can look at that and say, you know, what is the propagation? How does this thing react? What do we need to do in fire spread? How do we, how close together can these battery modules be? How far apart do they need to be separated? This is what that information is going to lend to us in order to make the right decisions. So it's very, very good data. And every, just about every manufacturer, every battery manufacturer that's out there today has provided this data.

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