Technology group Wärtsilä achieved an important energy storage system (ESS) safety milestone last week. Its GridSolv Quantum technology successfully completed UL 9540A unit-level testing. Wärtsilä’s fire safety partners and stakeholders – including Intertek, Fire & Risk Alliance, Energy Safety Response Group and Energy Security Agency – oversaw the testing.
Fire safety is a major priority for the energy storage industry, and Wärtsilä’s ESS underwent rigorous testing that involves intentionally heating a cell to induce thermal runaway. Performing these tests reveals important information to the manufacturer, first responders and asset owner about how the system will react in the highly unlikely event of a cell failure.
“Wärtsilä achieved the best possible outcome from these tests. There was no external flaming observed, the concentration of gases was manageable and the scenario did not become hazardous. This is as good as it gets from a results standpoint,” said Noah Ryder, PhD, P.E., Managing Partner, Fire & Risk Alliance.
GridSolv Quantum is a fully integrated modular and compact ESS that offers the lowest life cycle costs, fastest deployment times, highest quality control and maximum flexibility. By design, GridSolv Quantum solves many fundamental safety challenges such as thermal management, fire suppression, short circuit handling and interconnection communication. Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum utilizes CATL Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are less prone to fire risk, adding an extra layer of safety.
Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum technology passed all performance requirements for Outdoor Ground Mounted equipment per UL 9540A by proving that, if battery cells within a module go into thermal runaway, it would not spread to other modules or, in worst case, other adjacent units.
“This was a successful, benign UL 9540A test,” said Nick Warner, Principal, Energy Safety Response Group.
“These were some of the most manageable and low-hazard tests we have experienced to date. 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,” said Dalan Zartman, Chief Operations Officer, Energy Security Agency.
Overall, the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) of the ESS remained below 25%, with no risk of deflagration. No explosion hazards were exhibited by the product, and no flaming occurred beyond the outer dimensions of the ESS. Wärtsilä can now install units less than ten feet away from building lines and public ways per current fire codes and standards.
“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 at Wärtsilä, who also noted Wärtsilä’s 100% safety record with GridSolv Quantum technology. “We’re committed to remaining at the cutting-edge of product development, without sacrificing safety as a top priority.”
A Wärtsilä customer who attended the testing stated the following: “The testing indicates Wärtsilä is pursuing a high level of thoroughness and taking the necessary precautions when it comes to safety. They have an excellent, friendly technical team. These factors provide us with a high degree of confidence in their technology.”
— Solar Builder magazine
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