Sterling PlanB Completes Next Round of ESS Fire Testing

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  • Sterling PlanB successfully completes third round of A60 fire testing.
  • Testing verifies potential for Energy Storage System (ESS) to function safely without a dedicated battery room, surviving temperatures as high as 950ºC.
  • Test was attended by Lloyd’s Register and Transport Canada.

Leading maritime and industrial energy storage solutions experts, Sterling PlanB has successfully completed a second, more stringent round of A60 fire testing of its proprietary Energy Storage Systems (ESS), further enhancing the safety standards of marine battery technology, reports the company website.

A60 fire survivability test

Sterling PlanB has now conclusively demonstrated that direct exposure of its battery module to a 950°C fire can be successfully managed by its unique thermal management system – passing the A60 fire survivability test thanks to the effectiveness of its unique liquid cooling system.

The company says the A60 test demonstrates that a battery room fire-fighting system is not required with its Energy Storage System (ESS), and that batteries can be placed in or near any manned or passenger space without introducing any additional fire or escape risk.

The A60 test examines risks such as a fire in the machinery space adjacent to the lithium energy storage system, and the potential for a battery to contribute its energy to the intensity of an existing fire.

Flexibility for maritime ESS

Sterling Plan B notes that this is an important step ‘in unlocking greater design flexibility for maritime ESS.’ Reducing the need for a battery room significantly minimises the space on board needed to safely install an ESS.

As space is at a premium on all commercial vessels, and offshore installations such as oil rigs, the company sees new possibilities for owners and operators looking to commission newbuilds with or retrofit an ESS. It also reduces the cost of installation ‘significantly’.

The test and the post-test dissection was attended by Lloyd’s Register and Transport Canada.

Design exceeding minimum standards

Brent Perry, CEO of Sterling PlanB commented: ‘Simply put, there is no excuse for an uncontrolled fire on board a battery with an ESS, as these tests show. We cannot, as an industry, accept a race to the bottom on costs at the expense of safety.’

He also said, ‘Battery manufacturers need to join all other maritime suppliers and up their game with regard to safety. They need to focus on designs that far exceed minimum design standards and not just reduce the risk of battery fire, they need to strive to eliminate it.’

The test assessed the effect of fire on a whole battery unit of 24 fully charged cells, verifying that the system can withstand a prescribed heat level for a defined period of 60 minutes and remain operable to cool the battery and prevent charged cells from entering thermal runaway.

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Source: Sterling PlanB

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