Urban Electric Power batteries achieve key fire safety certification


Urban Electric Power, the energy storage startup utilizing a similar alkaline battery composition to that found in AA and other household batteries, has completed a critical UL testing standard for fire safety, further proving the technology’s safety and reliability.

An independent testing laboratory heated a zinc manganese-dioxide cell from Urban Electric Power to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and subjected it to to abuse tests consistent with UL 9540A standard for thermal runaway fire propagation in battery energy storage systems. It found that “thermal runaway was not achieved,” a single time across all tests.

The same battery cells also passed testing to the UL 1973 standard earlier in the year, approving batteries for use in stationary applications such as for capturing power from PV solar and wind turbine, uninterruptible power supplies, etc.

Urban Electric’s modular batteries can provide backup electricity for personal use, may be installed in a home garage or basement, grouped as part of a commercial microgrid, or installed en masse at grid scale by an electric utility or independent power provider.

The company is currently taking part in a large-scale demonstration project of its battery technology at a San Diego State University data center that was in need of a specific backup power solution. The center’s previous backup provided about 15 minutes of power, but the center needed two hours. The data center also required the storage to be entirely safe for indoor operation and available at a small form factor, since space was limited.

Urban Electric’s chemistry served as a suitable solution, as it allowed the center to achieve 2 MWh of storage indoors, using the existing racking and inverters already in place from the previous system. The battery had virtually no risk of fire or toxic leaks, and at a lower cost per kilowatt-hour than the center’s owners paid for their previous lead acid battery system.

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