Fire Wire is a quarterly fire suppression newsletter about 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid for specifying engineers, architects, and anyone working in special hazards fire protection.
As sustainable, variable generation power sources – such as wind and solar – become more widespread, it’s essential to capture the energy generated at peak times for use later. Battery energy storage systems are an increasingly popular set of solutions for storing and then releasing this electricity back into the grid. Common battery energy storage methods include:
Developed in the 19th century, lead-acid batteries are commonly used in backup power supplies for telecommunications centers and for grid energy storage. From a fire suppression perspective, they pose some risk for Class C fires, and depending on the type they may require hydrogen venting systems.
Lithium-ion batteries are a more modern technology, and energy storage systems using lithium-ion batteries are increasingly common. There are a wide variety of configurations of these battery energy storage systems, and more are coming to market regularly. Common components include the battery cells themselves combined into an overall battery pack and governed using a battery management system that controls charge and discharge across the cells. These batteries face risks both from external Class A, B or C fires and from thermal runaway in the battery cells.
These risks are important for system owners to manage and address. Current important standards and guidelines governing battery fire protection include NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, and the UL 9540A Test Method - Testing the fire safety hazards associated with propagating thermal runaway within battery systems. It is important to note that a test method is not a standard. System manufacturers may test their systems or subsystems according to UL 9540A and compare results with portions of NFPA 855. They are solely responsible for ensuring that any claim regarding the ability of a system to prevent a cascading lithium-ion battery thermal runaway event is true and accurate.
Join us for the fall and winter webinars from 3M! Register for them at the links below, or bookmark our webinar hub to keep up to date on the latest online training news:
“Implementing the fire suppression system configuration using 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid has had a more positive effect on fleet health than we projected,” says Michael Randel, SME - Engine Test Stand and Noise Suppressor Team, U.S. Air Force Support Equipment and Vehicles Program Office. “The most notable thing is how smoothly everything has gone.”
After a successful fire extinguishing demonstration, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has been working to transition its 86 hush houses - very large buildings designed to enable aircraft, their engines and other equipment to be tested to their limits on the ground – from aging halon-based systems to modern clean agent systems using 3M™ Novec™ 1230 fluid.
The USAF reports that a significant positive impact of these updates has been to directly increase operator safety and mission capability. Age, data limitations, performance limitations, and lack of depot maintenance had required the old halon systems to operate under waivers to protect operator safety, and each waiver increased the workload for operators and fire departments with resulting mission and operational impacts.
Do you have aging halon, CO2 or other agent systems that are creating inefficiencies in your operations? Explore whether modernizing your fire suppression and extinguishing solutions could streamline your operations and increase your capabilities – read the case study (PDF, 411 KB) for more.
Fact. The U.S. EPA is working to finalize its proposed rule for “Phasedown of Hydrofluorocarbons: Establishing the Allowance Allocation and Trading Program Under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act.” The EPA published a proposed rule on May 19, 2021, hosted a 45 day comment period, and is scheduled to complete rulemaking by September 23, 2021 (PDF, 2.2 MB).
Immediately following the completed rulemaking process, by October 1, the agency is expected to issue production and consumption allowances for 2022, guided by the finalized rule and by the phasedown schedule in the AIM Act. The Act’s statutory target is a 10% phase down in 2022, compared to a 2011-2013 baseline. A broad range of hydroflurocarbons are expected to be affected, including many HFCs used in fire suppression. Non HFC-based agents, such as inert gases and 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid, will not be affected by this rule and their production and consumption will not be restricted under the AIM Act.
This timing will provide industry with some time to understand the final rule prior to the beginning of the phasedown on January 1, 2022. The Winter 2021 issue of Fire Wire will also provide additional commentary on the final rule and the expected impacts, to help prepare for the transition.