NFPA releases a new energy storage system standard to inform others about potential fire hazards

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TEMECULA – To help provide answers to different stakeholders interested in energy storage system technologies, National Fire Protection Association has released NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, the first comprehensive collection of criteria for the fire protection of energy storage system installations. The standard provides requirements based on the technology used in energy storage system, the setting where the technology is being installed, the size and separation of energy storage system installations and the fire suppression and control systems that are in place.

Per industry expert Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewable, global deployment of energy storage system will expand 13 times in size until 2024, with the greatest growth occurring in the United States and China. Certain energy storage system technologies can pack a lot of energy in a small envelope, which makes these technologies useful but also increases fire and life safety hazards such as the release of toxic/flammable gases, stranded energy and increased fire intensity. These potential threats are driving the need for first responders and those that design, build, maintain and inspect facilities to become educated and proactive about energy storage system safety.

“NFPA 855 is the culmination of several years of extensive consideration and dialogue at technical committee meetings, educational sessions and workshops attended by a broad spectrum of professionals,” Christian Dubay, P.E., vice president and chief engineer, said. “Understanding how to safely use energy storage system is important to many different segments that NFPA serves – designers, engineers, builders, manufacturers, enforcers, responders and policy makers.”

“While energy storage systems provide countless benefits and applications, the technologies do not come without risk. NFPA 855 aims to mitigate risk and ensure that all installations are done in a way that takes fire and life safety into consideration,” Brian O’Connor, P.E., NFPA staff liaison for NFPA 855, said.

In addition to looking at where the technology is located, how it is separated from other components and the suppression systems in place, NFPA 855 considers the ventilation, detection, signage, listings and emergency operations associated with energy storage system. Current editions of the association’s safety storage also contain extensive requirements for energy storage system fire safety.

The effort to develop NFPA 855 began in 2016 as energy storage system technology usage began to soar due to consumer, business and government interest. More than 600 public inputs and 800 public comments were received during the development process. NFPA has been informing audiences for years about energy storage system via relevant research, the world’s first online training for the fire service, a fact sheet for policy makers and NFPA Journal content. To learn more about energy storage systems, visit www.NFPA.org/ESS.

For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

Submitted by National Fire Protection Association.