Latest 2018 International Building Code Requires Energy Storage Systems To Have Thermal Runaway Containment

As renewable energy becomes more common, it is apparent that lithium battery powered energy storage systems present a significant fire threat. In response, the 2018 International Building Code requires an energy storage system to be able to contain a runaway lithium battery cascading event.

Several energy storage companies are UL tested and certified in accordance with UL 9540, but do not have a runaway containment certification.

Just recently, UL modified UL 9540 to include runaway containment, noted as UL 9540a. Energy storage manufacturers can now test in accordance with UL 9540a to be certified for runaway containment and achieve 2018 building code compliance.

Beyond this, it is widely anticipated UL 2580 and UL 1973 will also include UL 9540a, to test electric vehicles and repurposed batteries for use in energy storage systems. It is also expected that NFPA 855 will also include UL 9540a. To round out safety certification testing requirements, lithium battery packs should also exhibit resistance to an external fire, such as presented by a Class A fire. PyroPhobic System’s Lithium Prevent™ offers a passive, intumescent composite module that has been proven to contain a runaway event to a single point and will protect lithium batteries from an external fire.

PyroPhobic Systems, Ltd. is an innovative material science company with unique, proprietary composite intumescent, fire resistant, thermoplastic technologies to form durable fire resistant battery pack components, and performance packaging solutions.

About the author: Timothy Riley provides PyroPhobic System’s International Business Development since 2008. To learn more about Lithium Prevent please contact triley@pyrophobic.com.

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