Lithium-ion batteries are becoming the prevalent energy storage technology. Incidents involving BESS systems present unique challenges and risks to first responders.
As a battery suffers abuse, the electrolyte inside will vaporize, pressurize the battery and vent. When the separator fails, the battery will short-circuit, produce smoke and then ignite. First responders must be able to identify the stage of battery failure and take appropriate offensive or defensive action.
Once smoke generation occurs, the battery has failed and thermal runaway is underway. As thermal runaway occurs, you should anticipate ignition, flammable gas explosion and propagation to other battery banks.
You should expect a BESS incident to have a long duration, potential re-ignition and the need for a high-volume water supply.