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Research Highlights

Guide for Documentation and Validation of Energy Storage System Safety

New compliance guide helps ensure timely deployment of safe energy storage systems

September 2016
Guide for Documentation and Validation of Energy Storage System Safety

The sun isn’t always shining, but that has not deterred the continued application of intermittent renewable energy sources. Successfully storing the energy generated from solar panels, wind turbines, and other sources—including off peak power from the grid—is crucial, because when the wind stops blowing, consumers who are “off the grid” can lose power and/or certain ‘quality standards’ may not be satisfied for power to be usable on the grid. Energy storage systems (ESSs) can prevent that while providing other benefits, such decreased carbon dioxide emissions and a more secure grid.

The problem, however, is that many energy storage technologies coming to market are relatively new and, as such, are not specifically covered by safety-related codes and standards. Because codes and standards development generally lags technology development and deployment, it generally takes some time before specific criteria are available upon which to document and validate ESS safety. The newly released Energy Storage System Guide for Compliance with Safety Codes and Standards helps fill the gap by facilitating the documentation and validation of safety until current codes and standards can ‘catch up’ with the technology by providing the specific criteria applicable to newer ESSs. Most importantly, the guide provides a common and uniform basis for communication between those needing to document ESS safety and those responsible for validating a proposed ESS installation is safe.

The guide was prepared for DOE’s Energy Storage Systems Program—managed by Dr. Imre Gyuk—and developed in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories. It provides valuable safety-related information on ESS in the areas of:

  • Safety Compliance FAQ: presents answers to common questions associated with documenting and verifying compliance of ESS with current codes and standards.
  • Product & Component Review and Approval: overview of procedures for documenting or validating the safety of an ESS, either as a complete ‘product’ or as an assembly of various components.
  • Installation Review & Approval: overview of documenting and validating the safety of an ESS as installed in, on, or adjacent to buildings or facilities.
  • Applicable Standards: summary of the applicable national and international standards related to Energy Storage components and systems.
  • Template for ESS Review and Approval: template that can be used to facilitate documenting the safety of an ESS that is submitted for review or approval.

“This compliance guide helps bridge the gap between today’s ESS technology applications and current codes and standards, and as such supports efforts at DOE towards the timely deployment of safe ESSs throughout the nation”, said Vince Sprenkle, PNNL’s energy storage program lead. “As an enabling tool, the guide can continue to grow and address changes as technology evolves and codes and standards are defined and updated.”

For more information on PNNL’s energy storage research, visit our website.

PNNL Research Team: Dave Conover and Pam Cole

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