With the present growth of the energy storage industry, NFPA is actively engaged in a number of diverse initiatives including standards development, training, and research projects aimed at promoting the continued safe and sustainable expansion of this renewable technology.
- Better Batteries: As energy storage systems (ESS) evolve and as NFPA considers a new standard for ESS safety, research continues in an effort to improve the materials, design, and methodologies that underlie this rapidly expanding technology. (NFPA Journal®, January/February 2017)
- Code Solution: The Federal government looks to NFPA for expertise on energy storage systems. (NFPA Journal®, July/August 2016)
- Decentralization Revolution: As electrical generation and transmission becomes less utility-centric, the NEC keeps pace with a host of new provisions focused on emerging technologies. (NFPA Journal®, May/June 2016)
- Power to Spare: As energy storage systems revolutionize power management, enforcers and responders tackle a host of emerging safety questions. (NFPA Journal®, January/February 2016)
- The Lithium-ion Conundrum: Ignition and reignition issues with the batteries in electric vehicles are also concerns for energy storage systems. (NFPA Journal®, January/February 2016)
- The New New Technology: responder safety and the emergency of energy storage systems. (NFPA Journal®, March/April 2015)
NFPA Standards that address Energy Storage Systems
Research on Energy Storage Systems
Reports: Lithium ion batteries hazard and use assessment Phase I (2011), Phase II (2013), Phase III (2016). From the Fire Protection Research Foundation
Report: Hazard Assessment of Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage Systems (February 2016) From the Fire Protection Research Foundation
In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the deployment of lithium ion batteries in energy storage systems (ESS). Many ESS are being deployed in urban areas both in high rise structures and single- and multi-family residences. Local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) along with the ESS integrators and installers are challenged by the lack of clear direction on fire protection and suppression in these installations. Without a recognized hazard assessment made available to standards developers, AHJs, emergency responders, and industry, guidance on safe installation of these systems will lack a technical basis.
Workshop: Energy Storage Systems and the Built Environment (November 2015)
The application of electrical energy storage systems (ESS) using technologies such as bulk lithium-ion batteries and flow batteries has proliferated in recent years. The intended deployment of ESS in the built environment is focused on occupancies from high-rise structures to single- and multi-family residences. Local Authorities Having Jurisdictions and emergency responders, along with ESS integrators, installers, insurers and others, are challenged by the lack of clear direction on the overall hazard and optimum approaches to address the hazard, including appropriate built-in fire protection measures and emergency responder strategies and tactics.
Report: Emergency Response to Incident Involving Electric Vehicle Battery Hazards (July 2013). From the Fire Protection Research Foundation
Free online training for the U.S. fire service
To help the fire service handle the unique challenges presented by these new technologies, NFPA has developed the Energy Storage System Safety Training Course. In approximately four hours, this self-paced, online program effectively trains students through engaging videos, animations, simulations, and review exercises. Topics in this free online training include:
- an introduction to energy storage system concepts including ESS applications, types, and terminology.
- basic electrical theory
- an introduction to battery energy storage systems (including Lead Acid, Lithium Ion, Sodium Sulfur, and Flow Batteries)
- failure modes and hazards
- pre-incident planning
- emergency response procedures, and more.
Fire service: Interested in hosting an ESS training at your facility? Please contact us!
As the world continues its shift towards renewable energy generation, including high powered energy storage systems, the U.S. fire service needs to be prepared for the new hazards these systems may pose. Watch this series of five videos on energy storage systems.
Also see: NFPA’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Safety Training program helps first and second responders prepare for the growing number of electric, hybrid, fuel cell and gaseous fuel vehicles on U.S. roads today and in the years ahead.