Fire Hazards of Energy Storage Systems and
Lithium Ion Batteries
--Unseen Dangers and How to Address Them
San Marcos Activity Center
501 E. Hopkins, San Marcos, TX
Program: Energy storage systems (ESS) are showing up everywhere... from small buildings to high-rise buildings to data centers to single family homes. These systems introduce an entirely new realm of fire-safety concerns that was entirely unknown and unregulated just a few years ago. And, they can create huge challenges for designers, code officials, firefighters and occupants, who may have no idea of the dangers that may lurk inside of a box or cabinet filled with lithium ion batteries or other new energy storage technologies, such as electrical capacitor systems. An additional complication may be the use of energy storage system as companions to photovoltaic panels.
Similarly, there are significant hazards associated with new battery storage and collection, storage and disposal of used lithium ion batteries, which may retain a significant charge and may be damaged or defective when put into the collection and recycle stream. How do you protect buildings with this type of storage? What is the basis for designing the fire sprinkler system that's supposed to protect the commodity, the building, occupants and firefighters.
Lithium ion batteries are dense energy storage devices that contain enormous amounts of electrochemical energy in a very small space. They work exceptionally well under normal circumstances, but manufacturing or installation defects, fire exposures and other abnormal conditions can initiate thermal runaway reactions, with fires that cannot be extinguished. Making matters worse, the fire intensity can far exceed the basis of fire ratings assigned by standardized fire tests for building assemblies, such as ASTM E119. Imagine a fire exposure that might be worse than a flammable liquid in a high-rise occupancy coming from a fuel source that can't be extinguished...
In this seminar, attendees will receive an overview of the energy storage systems and batteries and the hazards that they pose. Plus, a review of historic and new code requirements will be presented, including provisions that have been added to the 2018 International codes (IFC, IBC and IRC), 2018 NFPA 1 fire code, and 2017 National Electric Code. The program will also provide a primer on what's coming in the 2021 ICC and NFPA codes, including the new 2020 NFPA 855 Standard on Energy Storage Systems.
Presenter: Robert Davidson is the Managing Partner of Davidson Code Concepts, LLC, Mr. Davidson has more than thirty years of experience in both the volunteer and career fire service as well as law enforcement, emergency management and EMS. With over 25 years as a code enforcer, he retired as Fire Marshal in charge of the Fire Safety Division of the South Brunswick Township Code Enforcement Department, with responsibilities including enforcement of the NJ Uniform Fire Code and managing the Office of Emergency Management.
He has experience teaching a variety of subjects involving health, safety and code enforcement for the International Association of Fire Fighters; the International Code Council; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; The NJ University of Medicine and Dentistry; Middlesex County College, Middlesex County NJ Fire Academy, University of North Carolina School of Architecture, Charlotte Campus and University of Texas-Arlington Campus. He has been a speaker at numerous NFPA World Safety Conferences as well as at state and regional code official conferences.
Mr. Davidson gained national recognition as the Chair of the International Code Council’s International Fire Code Development Committee. In September of 2006, he was the recipient of the International Code Council’s annual ‘ICC Fire Service Award,’ and in 2011 he was awarded with an ICC Honorary Membership.
Mr. Davidson now specializes in regulations for renewable energy, including energy storage systems and photovoltaic roof systems; the use of hydrogen as a fuel; and biomass to ethanol conversions. His current and former clients in these areas include Tesla, Toyota USA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Oakridge National Laboratory.
Registration Fee (includes lunch and refreshments):
Prepaid Online - Member: $25
Prepaid Online - Non-member: $35
At Door - Member/Non-Member: $50
Registration and networking: 9:00-9:30
Program Part 1: 9:30-12:00
Program Part 2: 12:45-3:30
RSVP DEADLINE IS 5:00 P.M. on May 3, 2019. Space is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.