Technology group Wärtsilä has passed a significant milestone in ensuring the safety of its energy storage system (ESS), GridSolv Quantum, by successfully completing UL 9540A unit-level testing.
Fire safety is a major priority for the energy storage industry and Wärtsilä’s ESSs are designed to meet stringent safety and quality standards. The rigorous testing involved intentionally heating a cell to induce thermal runaway within a Wärtsilä ESS module. 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. These test results solidify Wärtsilä’s position as a market leader in the manufacturing of safe, compliant battery systems.
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. 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. Due to these industry-leading results, Wärtsilä can now install units less than ten feet away from building lines and public ways per current fire codes and standards.
“This milestone underscores our commitment to safety for our partners, customers, local safety officials, and local community members. 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. “With Wärtsilä’s 100% safety record for our GridSolv Quantum technology, we’re leading the industry by example and demonstrating our commitment to furthering safety standards. We’re committed to remaining at the cutting-edge of product development, without sacrificing safety as a top priority.”
Wärtsilä’s fire safety partners and stakeholders – including Intertek, Fire & Risk Alliance, Energy Safety Response Group and Energy Security Agency – oversaw the testing. Wärtsilä works closely with these groups to ensure it is completing the latest, most rigorous testing available to manufacturers.
“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.
“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.
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.”
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. It achieved UL 9540 certification in April 2022. Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum utilises CATL Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are less prone to fire risk, adding an extra layer of safety.