Sungrow conducts unprecedented fire test on utility-scale battery array

Sungrow battery burn test storage

In a first-of-its-kind test, Sungrow demonstrated the safety of its PowerTitan energy storage system. The company intentionally lit a full-size 20-ft standalone PowerTitan BESS on fire to ensure it could successfully contain “thermal runaway” without it spreading to other BESS units.

The test featured four of Sungrow’s PowerTitan 2.752 MWh integrated battery energy storage systems –- not just a small cabinet with a few batteries inside. And in a first for the industry, the large-scale burn test was livestreamed to a group of key stakeholders, including subject matter experts, owners’ engineers, and fire protection consultants. 

“This elevates our commitment to industry safety and transparency in commerce to a level few have achieved,” said Hank Wang, president of Sungrow Americas. 

Sungrow livestreamed the burn test, which was conducted on May 23 at a third-party lab in Puyang, Henan Province, China. The company simulated a real energy storage plant scenario, and purposely set a complete PowerTitan on fire without any external fire control measures to see whether thermal runaway would spread to adjacent BESS units –- and to assess its impact on other equipment. This test checked PowerTitan’s fire safety capability at both the BLOCK and station control levels. 

During the test, explosion relief panels at the top activated automatically, venting the fire upward without spreading to adjacent battery cabins and energy storage units. The top exhaust and venting design and fire-resistance bulkheads helped PowerTitan1.0 energy storage system successfully pass this “real fire test,” achieving the expected objectives. 

Sungrow’s test team, certification team, procurement team and safety team worked under severe weather conditions to ensure the test was completed as scheduled and successfully passed. 

“Too often, renewable energy skeptics raise fire safety concerns, even though batteries are overwhelmingly safe. These criticisms slow the adoption of such technologies,” said Bryce Laber, manager, ESS product engineering at Sungrow USA. “At this stage, we are the only energy storage system supplier to execute a test with the complete machine of 10 MWh and successfully pass, with unprecedented industry-firsts and transparency.”

In addition, Sungrow’s PowerTitan series of battery energy storage systems minimize the chance of a fire occurring by using liquid cooling, which prevents dust and humidity from entering the system. The systems effectively suppress thermal runaway propagation through rapid arc shutdown, self-sealing coolant loop connectors, inter-rack fusing protection, and advanced temperature management, which limits battery cell variations to 2.5 degrees Celsius.

“By ensuring the highest safety standards, Sungrow’s technology abates safety concerns and helps encourage the adoption of utility-scale storage systems throughout the energy industry,” Wang said.

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