BMSs are now increasingly supported at the battery string level to secure the string and are generally referred to as rack BMSs.

FREMONT, CA: The demand for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) is growing increasingly worldwide and is expected to cross up to 1TWh by 2025. This rise is driven by the ever-expanding use and adoption of renewables and by the drive for decarbonization. With this development, there is a need to guarantee the safety and reliability of such networks.

BESS System Components

The BESS device's basic building block is the battery cell and module; Li-ion technology is usually used for power grid storage due to its high-power capacity, maturity, availability, and prevalence. Li-ion BESS systems include cell, module, and string-level Battery Management Systems (BMSs). Cell BMSs are critical for defense against issues such as overvoltage, overcurrent, imbalance, and overheating.

Each battery module is also fitted with its own BMS aggregate system, which controls its overall protection and health and protects it from overvoltage, overcurrent, and overheating. It also offers valuable information to consumers and technicians, such as the State of Health (SOH), State of Charge (SOC), and charge/discharge voltages and currents. Each module is also fitted with a short circuit safety fuse.

BMSs are now increasingly supported at the battery string level to secure the string and are generally referred to as rack BMSs. Other BESS components offer additional levels of security. For example, power conversion equipment like DC-DC converters and inverters offer additional short-circuit protection and enable the battery system to be disconnected to perform upstream maintenance.

Additional subsystems, including medium voltage transformers, switchgear, purpose-built enclosures/containers, and unit controllers, also make a vital contribution to ensuring device protection. Leading-edge BESS combines all of these subsystems into a single container to minimize costs, boost security and provide a high-performance, secure storage commodity. Although early BESS systems appeared to be AC-coupled, the trend is now toward DC-coupling as space is co-located with solar and wind generators.

Prevalent Dangers and Protection Considerations

As for all industrial machinery, there are some common dangers and safety concerns involved with BESS systems. Although the ones associated with Li-ion batteries are easily the most important, many other hazards still need consideration. This instance can occur over the entire working cycle of the system, from assembly to loading, commissioning, energization, service, and repair.

There is often a possibility that staff or equipment will collapse during the battery module construction, meaning that suitable tools such as forklifts, PPE, and, where appropriate, safety belts should be used. Organizations can also use PPE to shield workers' hands from pinches or injuries during construction and repair.

If Li-ion batteries are inadvertently exposed to high temperatures or fail due to electrical/mechanical issues or short circuits, extreme heat is produced inside the battery module. If unprotected, this will lead to thermal leakage and release of flammable gases, deflagration of the battery, and, finally, fire and catastrophic failure.

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