battery safety
Image credit: DNV

Engineering firm DNV has partnered with a consortium of Dutch emergency services and municipalities responsible for public safety to establish a new test lab for energy storage battery systems.

The test lab, being developed in partnership with the Twente Safety Region, will be located at the consortium’s safety campus in the eastern parts of the Netherlands. The new Battery Safety Lab is intended to stimulate the future safe development of battery systems. Safety testing on complete battery systems for grid-connected storage and electric/hybrid ships will be conducted at the test lab. In addition to commercial and R&D testing and certification of systems entering the market, the lab will perform destructive testing to perform root cause analysis in finding out why and how battery systems fail.

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The two parties will start constructing the test lab in the third quarter of 2021 for the first tests to be conducted in the second quarter of 2022. The lab will offer design evaluation, fire propagation, and fire suppression testing to validate manufacturers’ claims, as well as certification against the IEC standard released in 2020.

Data to be generated from the test lab will be used by emergency services to develop new, improved protocols for dealing with fires and other incidents resulting from battery system failures.

The aim behind the launch of the test lab is to accelerate the energy transition, which requires standardised battery technologies. Although there are already developed standards for safe operations of individual battery cells, there are big challenges in integrating them into a safe overall system – as evidenced by the number of large fires at grid-scale energy storage systems in the last two years. With energy storage expected to play a key role in enabling the use of renewable energy to meet baseload power, there is a need to ensure the safe operation of battery systems. The global market for energy storage is expected to grow 55-65% per year for the next five years, according to a statement.

Prajeev Rasiah, Executive Vice President & Regional Manager Northern Europe of DNV’s business area Energy Systems, said: “Safe battery systems are essential for a successful transition to a decarbonised energy future and for meeting global emissions targets. Energy storage is a key enabler for unlocking the potential of renewable energy. But from conversations with our customers, we see there is a great deal of uncertainty in the industry. The new Battery Safety Lab will combine our own track record in testing and certification with the first-hand expertise on fire safety of local fire departments and the Twente Safety Campus to create a unique resource for gathering the information needed and for validating potential commercial solutions. Together with our existing facilities for testing energy storage components, it will play a key role minimizing risk and enabling a safe market entry for energy storage systems.”