Wärtsilä Energy, a Finnish energy storage technology company, announced that its grid-scale energy storage system, GridSolv Quantum, has completed UL 9540A unit-level testing for fire safety.
The rigorous testing for the grid-scale lithium-ion storage systems involved heating battery cells to induce thermal runaway within Wärtsilä’s storage module. Performing fire tests reveals critical information to the manufacturer, first responders and asset owners about how the battery system reacts in the unlikely event of a cell failure.
The GridSolv Quantum system passed all performance requirements for Outdoor Ground Mounted equipment per UL 9540A standards by proving that if cells go into thermal runaway, it would not spread to other modules or, in worst case, adjacent units.
The storage system also tested a Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) of below 25%, with no risk of deflagration in an explosion scenario. GridSolv showed no explosion hazards and no flaming occurred beyond the outer dimensions of storage system. Based on these safety milestones, Wärtsilä can now install GridSolv units less than ten feet from building lines and public places, per U.S. fire codes and standards.
The company received safety compliance and guidance from Intertek, Fire & Risk Alliance, Energy Safety Response Group and Energy Security Agency for the GridSolv fire and explosion risk testing.
“This milestone underscores our commitment to safety for our partners, customers, local safety officials, and local community members. We will continue to work closely with local fire services and first responders to ensure all safety precautions are met as we integrate ESSs globally,” said Darrell Furlong, director of energy storage product management and hardware engineering, Wärtsilä.
“These were some of the most manageable and low-hazard tests we have experienced to date,” said Dalan Zartman, chief pperations officer, Energy Security Agency. “It’s crucial that emergency services are involved in the testing of this kind of technology, and we congratulate Wärtsilä on passing the significant milestone.”
GridSolv Quantum is a fully integrated and modular storage system that solves many fundamental safety challenges such as thermal management, fire suppression, short circuit handling and interconnection communication. It achieved UL 9540 certification in April 2022.
An energy storage system (ESS) certified to UL 9540 is primarily comprised of a UL 1973-certified stationary battery that is evaluated for use with a power conversion system, such as a UL 1741-certified inverter, together as a system, according to a UL press statement.
Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum systems are composed of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are less prone to fire risk, adding an extra layer of safety, the company says. The GridSolv is rated at 1,490 kWh of nominal power capacity and is shipped in 15.2 ton storage containers, measuring 6.8 feet width by 10.4 feet length, and 8 feet height, according to a product data sheet.
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