Lithium Ion in Data Centers 2/3: Detection, Sprinklers, Suppression [Video]

Posted by Lee Kaiser on Oct 18, 2021 11:38:03 AM


Lithium IOn batteries in data center UPS Systems, Part 2: NFPA 855 requirements for fire detection, fire sprinklers, suppression, and using rack mounted UPS batteries in the data center.

This video continues explaining the NFPA 855 Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems and its requirements for lithium ion battery installation fire protection. [transcript available below]

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Lithium IOn batteries in data center UPS Systems:Detection, Sprinklers, Suppression, and Rack Mounted Batteries [Transcript]

NFPA 72 & 855 - Smoke and Fire Detection
Section 4.10 in the standard talks about smoke and fire detection. It says that smoke detection is required per NFPA 72 in any ESS areas in the buildings. It also says in 4.11 that fire control or suppression can be provided for fire control, which we know that to be sprinkler systems. Sprinkler systems must be installed at 0.3 GPM per square foot density. A lot of existing data centers don't have that level of water application today with their sprinkler systems. An alternative to that is to use a suppression system. And the standard says that alternative systems are allowed based on their testing with the ESS system that's being installed. And so there's a lot of work going on in this area right now because there's a lot of promising opportunities for fire extinguishing with clean agents. Even looking at other systems like water mist, and its promising attributes for fire suppression. Although none of those systems have made it into the standard today. So everyone needs to do their research before applying anything other than sprinklers to an ESS system.

NFPA 855 - Sprinkler System Water Supply
And then water supply: If you do have a sprinkler system, uh, there are some requirements in 855 that you have to use a permanent source of water for fire protection for all ESS installations. And that basically is because the fires that have happened in ESS systems today are typically pretty large-scale, long-duration events. And we require longer time of water flows for the fire department. So a permanent installation is what's required out of the standard.

NFPA 855 - Occupied Areas and Rack Mounted Batteries
There are some requirements for occupied areas where there's ESS systems in section 4.7. And it basically says that ESS has been able to be permitted in the same room as the equipment it supports. And this is an important point for data centers because some data centers are built without separate UPS systems. They use close coupled UPS systems where UPS's are installed in the rack with the IT equipment, with the server equipment that's there. And so this is a carve-out for data centers and it's allowed, but that means that the whole data center is subject to 855 rules for fire protection. It also says that ESS must be in a locked cabinet within the IT room to restrict access to the batteries. And so understand that if you've got batteries inside of your it racks, then now all those racks that have the batteries, they need to be locked up in that case.

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Topics: Data Center, Power Generation, Featured Article, MCFP, Nationwide, Lithium Ion Battery, Lee Kaiser

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