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Stay Compliant: Energy Storage Systems (ESS) & Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) Battery Storage

Energy storage system for lithium-ion batteries powers a wind turbine application

Energy storage must constantly embrace new technologies and renewable energy sourcesā€”as well as the potential safety hazards that may arise. Make sure you stay compliant with industry regulations and standards of development based on the latest research. Review energy storage system requirements and learn how to store lithium-ion batteries to minimize fire risks.

What are Energy Storage Systems (ESS)?

Energy storage systems are essential for operating a range of power systems, such as watches and computers to huge amounts of energy generated by pumped water. They not only ensure a continual energy supply but also improve system reliability as a backup energy source in the case of primary energy failure.

Electro-chemical or battery ESS comprise the majority of new installations around the world. Examples of energy storage systems include1:

  • Batteries
  • Flow batteries
  • Fuel cells
  • Pumped storage hydropower
  • Flywheels
  • Pressurized gas storage systems
  • Molten salt
  • Superconducting magnetic storage systems

Stay Compliant with Energy Storage Systems & Battery Storage

In response to ESS innovations and potential hazards, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed the NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Energy Storage Systems. The NFPA 855 considers energy storage system technologies, locations, size and separation, fire suppression and control, and utility and telecom application.

Ensure that you take proper safeguards to stay compliant with NFPA 855 standards for energy storage systems and battery storage.

Hazards & Risks of Li-ion Batteries with Energy Storage Systems (ESS)

New technology allows more energy to be stored in less space. Innovative approaches to power storage increase energy density as well the possibility for fire and safety hazards.

Class B fires, called thermal runaways, are a potential thermal heat transfer hazard with energy storage systems and lithium battery storage. In the case of thermal runaway, damaged batteries can reignite hours or days later, posing imminent danger to ESS, nearby property and the lives of first responders. Compliance with regulations can greatly reduce lithium-ion battery hazards.

Requirements for Energy Storage Systems & NFPA 855 Regulations

Key sections of the NFPA 855 regulation cover the following topics for energy storage systems and lithium-ion battery storage requirements2:

  • Scope

    NFPA 855 regulations apply differently, depending on ESS sizes, technologies and capacities. According to NFPA.org, the standard applies to lead acid battery ESS with a combined capacity of 70 KWh (kilowatt-hour) or more, while ESS using lithium-ion batteries requires a threshold of 20 KWh for NFPA 855 to apply.

  • Location

    There are greater risks for indoor ESS locations than outdoor ESS locations. Indoor, non-dedicated use buildings require fire-rate separation from nearby occupancies in the form of a 1ā€“2-hour fire-rated wall. If the ESS is outdoors, it must be at least 100 feet away from other buildings and walkways.

    Learn more about NFPA 855 installation requirements for ESS locations.

  • Size and separation

    To prevent fires in ESS, NFPA 855 requires three feet of separation between every 50 KWh grouping of batteries. This rule also applies to the walls in the room.

  • Fire suppression and control

    Water is an effective extinguishing agent for most ESS fires, including lithium-ion battery ESS. To assist in fire suppression and control, NFPA 855 recommends installation of a sprinkler system in an energy storage system utilizing Li-ion batteries.

  • Utility and telecom application

    Statements through NFPA 855 permit utility or telecommunications facilities to not comply with certain ESS and battery storage requirements because they serve as critical infrastructure and are already regulated by several bodies.

Stay Compliant with Polystarā€™s Fire-rated Storage Building Solution

Stay compliant when there is a potential fire risk with the right containment solution. The latest NFPA 855 regulation requires a 1ā€“2-hour fire-rated separation wall for non-dedicated use buildings. Customize Polystar Containmentā€™s chemical and hazmat storage building with a two-hour fire rating, mechanical ventilation, dry chemical fire suppression and more.


Contact us to develop a containment solution that meets your battery storage and ESS needs.



1 https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/energy-storage-system

2 https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/NFPA-Journal/2019/May-June-2019/Features/Energy-Storage-Systems

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