Currently there is great interest from both private and public stakeholders to implement large energy storage systems combined with renewable intermittent energy sources in order to maximize the utilization of the produced electricity. Energy storage can also contribute to peak shaving by storing energy from the grid in low demand periods and provide extra electricity during high demand. Particularly Li-ion batteries (LiB) have gained market shares in recent years. However, LiBs also bring cause for concern with their fire and explosion risk. Although thermal events with LiBs are rare, the consequences can be fatal if a large battery system goes into thermal runaway. And there is too little knowledge on how these large battery energy storage systems (BESS) can be implemented in a safe and practical way in both small and large buildings. In SafeBESS we intend to close this knowledge gap by going deeply into the matter of battery fires, how to handle them and how to make sure it is safe to implement these into our energy systems. This we will do by performing fire experiments on actual battery cells and modules and measuring temperatures, heat generation and gas evolution from these batteries. By numerical simulations we can extend the data from small cells and up to large systems without having to perform costly and dangerous experiments. Experimental testing will also be performed on construction materials to reveal weaknesses and strengths in current building materials. All the gathered data in addition to a mapping of all existing information and data will form the basis for a set of guidelines and recommendations for best practice with regards to safe implementation of BESS in buildings. The information gained may also form the basis for new regulations and laws concerning such installations.
There is a fast-growing market for stationary energy storage due to i.e. increasing implementation of intermittent energy sources such as wind and PV. Li-ion batteries (LiB), both new and used, are foreseen to cover a large part of this market. With the implementation of large LiB systems comes a whole new set of technical and safety considerations that must be taken into account. In order to address the challenges encountered with placing LiB in or near buildings, it is necessary with a multidisciplinary approach. It is vital to first understand how a battery energy storage system (BESS) will behave in the event of a fire, which is challenging due to costly and hazardous experiments. SafeBESS will therefore choose a combination of experimental investigations and numerical simulations to gain the necessary knowledge related to heat, fire and gas propagation. Full-scale fire experiments will be performed on battery cells and modules, including fire suppression experiments. The data obtained will be used to build models and simulate what would happen in larger battery systems. Simulations will also include fire in a battery room and fire suppression simulations.
It is also important to understand how the toxic and corrosive chemicals produced during a battery fire affect the materials and construction surrounding the battery to establish whether specific requirements should be advised for battery rooms. Here, it is planned to perform extensive materials testing which will provide valuable input to the risk and vulnerability assessments as well as establishing guidelines for choice of materials used in battery rooms.
All the information gained through experiments and numerical simulations will be gathered to provide guidelines for risk and vulnerability assessments related to installation of large-scale BESS. This information will be of great value to a large variety of stakeholders including both public authorities and private industry partners.