Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are starting to play a critical role in the development of microgrid systems, the integration of renewable energy, and by improving the utilization and efficiency of such hybrid systems. They have rapidly gained popularity in commercial, industrial, and residential applications. Different technologies are currently used to store energy:
- Pumped hydro storage (hydroelectric power)
- Compressed air energy storage
ESS designs vary greatly depending on the technology used. Over the last few years, Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery-powered ESS have attracted significant interest due to their high energy density, voltage performance, and long-life cycle. Two common aspects among the different technologies are the need for an adequate understanding of the hazards involved and appropriate measures to ensure safety. NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, provides requirements for mitigating hazards related to the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of ESS, not only powered by Li-ion technology but also for any ESS that exceeds the energy capacity threshold listed in the standard.
ESS powered by solutions such as Lead-Acid Battery, Sodium Nickel Chloride Battery, Solid State Battery, Iron-air Battery, and Flow Batteries are also required to be designed, installed, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 855. Several of these technologies are new, and risk and mitigation analyses need to be conducted in order to appropriately evaluate the fire and toxic hazards related to these ESS.
Information related to the equipment, its installation, and testing data is paramount to determine the degree of safety offered by the ESS when subjected to different failure modes. Hazard Mitigation Analyses and NFPA 855 Compliance Reviews conducted by the design team, a third-party, or the AHJ offer comprehensive evaluations of the level of safety of ESS installations.