A Safety Venting System for Energy Storage System Enclosures
Energy storage systems with cabinet-type enclosures can be advantageous in industry because they allow for maximum battery capacity and smaller footprints, while still providing easy access to the interior space. However, the cabinets leave little room for the traditionally used exhaust fans, which vent flammable gases that can result from failed cells and lead to explosion.
“No one likes the idea of being the one to open the door on a suspicious battery," says Scott Gibson, Generation Division of Snohomish PUD.
Scientists at PNNL developed this patent-pending, deflagration-prevention system for cabinet-style battery enclosures. IntelliVent is designed to intelligently open cabinet doors to vent the cabinet interior at the first sign of explosion risk. This functionality provides passive dilution of accumulated flammable gases, minimizing the potential for catastrophic explosion and reducing the risk of personnel injury.
The deflagration-prevention system combines automatically controlled door locks with a smart controller that manages signals from fire safety inputs, such as smoke, heat, or gas detectors. The system can cause all doors to automatically open simultaneously and immediately when necessary to help ensure personnel and facilities are safe. Beyond the door locks and controller, the system can include inputs from a fire alarm panel, door sensors, smoke and heat detectors, and mechanisms to open the doors automatically or manually. Requirements in NFPA 855 and the International Fire Code now necessitate explosion mitigation measures for cabinets. IntelliVent is the first system of its kind designed to address these requirement.
Minimizing Explosion Risk
This simple, affordable solution to a challenging safety problem can be widely deployed for crafting new energy storage system installations as well as safely retrofitting existing systems. It is applicable to those industries that use batteries in a contained area, including the large residential, commercial, and utility sectors.
- Enables fire fighters to safely access cabinet interior in case of battery failure
- Minimizes explosion risk in cabinet-type enclosures
- Protects nearby building structures, equipment, and personnel from sudden explosions
- Helps meet industry codes and standards
- Supports widespread acceptance of new installations as well as retrofit needs