GridSolv Quantum, Wärtsilä‘s energy storage system (ESS), is now compliant with the NFPA 69 Standard. Key to this designation was testing a new fire alarm system that Wärtsilä says is the most advanced on the market.
Thermal runaway is a top concern in the long-duration, stationary ESS space, but newer, more rigorous testing and safety standards are lowering risks. The NFPA 69 Standard sets the safety requirements for explosion prevention systems. In addition, Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum is also certified to UL 9540 (Eurofins MET Labs in April 2022 and CSA in March 2023), and it met UL 9540A unit-level performance requirements in February 2023. The Finnish company has spent almost 9,000 work hours on fire safety testing, analysis and reporting.
Wärtsilä is the first ESS vendor to comply with this NFPA 69 Standard. To do so, Wärtsilä undertook extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of different gas dispersion models and verified the modelling with real-life tests.
The testing went beyond requirements set by the Standard by performing 25 tests between December 2022 and May 2023, including using the peak release rate and gas composition that would realistically be emitted by a thermal runaway event.
During the tests, Fire and Risk Alliance (FRA) observed that the ESS actively exhausted all flammable gas in the enclosure, kept the lower explosive limit under 25% and successfully prevented deflagration and explosion. The results of the testing demonstrate that Wärtsilä’s ventilation systems will work as expected to provide an active means of protection in the event of flammable gas release.
Fire Alarm Innovation | In addition to this testing, Wärtsilä released an Addressable Fire Alarm System, which can be customized to meet the specific needs of each site. The new modules offer a wide range of data output, allowing customized notifications and controls to provide first responders and facility managers with valuable information.
The detectors can be individually monitored to improve the speed and accuracy of the response. It can also annunciate a gas alarm and automatically activate the gas ventilation system. The first systems are expected to be delivered before the end of 2023.
“This analysis and testing not only meets the NFPA 69 standard, but it goes even further by demonstrating the system’s effectiveness in a wide range of release conditions,” said Noah Ryder, PhD, Managing Partner, Fire & Risk Alliance. “By combining the ventilation system with the addressable detection system, Wärtsilä can provide fire services with detailed information about the cell and environment within the ESS, enabling them to make informed decisions.”
— Solar Builder magazine