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Wärtsilä ESS fire safety testing showed battery smoke is no worse than other smoke

Technology group Wärtsilä has completed UL 9540A fire safety testing of its GridSolv Quantum energy storage system (ESS).
Overseen by Wärtsilä’s fire safety partners and stakeholders – including Fire & Risk Alliance (FRA), Energy Safety Response Group, and Energy Security Agency – the testing was completed at a facility in Piqua, Ohio, and run by the Energy Safety Response Group.
Under the test conditions, a fire was ignited within a ventilated unit and was allowed to free-burn for more than eight hours. The results showed that a fire would remain contained within the initiating unit, doors would remain closed and the fire would not result in unit-to-unit propagation.
As part of the testing, FRA captured plume gas data to assess the potential environmental impact of the smoke emitted by an ESS fire. FRA’s analysis concluded that the smoke from an ESS fire is no worse in terms of environmental impact than fires involving normal consumer products.
“Wärtsilä’s bespoke testing is the ideal way to demonstrate that a fire will not propagate between ESS enclosures or from string to string. This outcome illustrates that with minimal or no response from the fire service or other responders, a fully involved fire is unlikely to spread beyond the initiating unit,” said Noah Ryder, PhD, Managing Partner, Fire & Risk Alliance.
“As the risks posed by energy storage systems are better understood by AHJs, the desire to incorporate even more data into the safety analysis requires greater scale and evolution in testing. Test results such as those from large-scale fire tests help inform this process, which overall allows for better analysis and satisfaction of code requirements,” said Nick Warner, Principal, Energy Safety Response Group. “In the case of Wärtsilä, once the system was fully involved [fully on fire], the risk to neighboring units was minimal and could be managed by a well-trained fire department with proper planning and support.”
Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum is a fully integrated modular and compact ESS. It achieved UL 9540 certification in April 2022 and completed UL 9540A unit-level performance testing in February 2023. Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum uses lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries.
News item from Wärtsilä

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