|One of the ways you can be certain your battery is meeting industry safety and performance standards is by checking to see if the battery is UL Listed.
Energy storage systems (ESS) are gaining traction as the answer to a number of challenges facing availability and reliability in today’s energy market. ESS, particularly those using battery technologies, help mitigate the variable availability of renewable sources such as PV or wind power. ESS is a source of reliable power during peak usage times and can assist with load management, power fluctuations, and other grid-related functions. ESS is used for utility, commercial/industrial, and residential applications.
It’s important to know that not all lithium-ion batteries are created equal. There are a lot of factors that go into creating a battery that is high-performing, long-lasting, and most importantly, safe.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) evaluates parameters such as the battery’s chemistry, manufacturing process, and testing protocols, to help establish which batteries are the safest.
To better understand why UL Listing is important, we’ll explore below:
● Why quality matters with Server Rack Lithium Battery packs
● How UL Listing contributes to the safety standards in the battery industry
● What it means to be UL Listed
● Names you should look for when choosing a lithium-ion battery to provide energy storage for your home
Why Quality Matters
No matter which type of battery you purchase, it’s important to ensure that a product has been third-party tested to confirm its quality, especially when safety is paramount.
For example, BSLBATT’s Rack Lithium Battery packs are China’s first UL 1973-listed lithium-ion battery packs for energy storage. This means that batteries used in utility, commercial/industrial, and residential applications meet safety standards and are simulated abuse tested according to the manufacturer’s requirements. Charge and discharge parameters according to UL.
Why does this matter when it comes to quality? Testing to the UL standard covers several areas, including electrical, mechanical, and environmental requirements. UL will also regularly inspect the battery pack factory to ensure quality standards remain high and continue to be made so that they meet the same critical safety components as when first evaluated.
It’s also important to note that when independent experts examine the quality standards of battery packs or their components, it can impact the industry’s acceptance of new cutting-edge new lithium battery technology.
Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, which have been used in utility, commercial/industrial, and residential applications for decades, this new technology is cleaner, safer, more efficient, and longer lasting.
Other benefits that showcase the quality of lithium-ion batteries include:
● Tested for 7,000 deep discharge cycles to 80% DoD
● Sustained power throughout discharge cycle – leading to as much as 50% energy savings when compared to a lead-acid battery
● Made from a stable lithium-ion chemical composition that is sealed within the battery, so there is no risk of spills
● An internal battery management system that balances the cells and regulates temperatures
● Fully charge and discharge this battery daily for over 15 years without issue.
● Reliable and rigorously tested, with a 99% operating efficiency.
Over the years BSLBATT Company designed and installed thousands of stand-alone power systems using quality components. Each solar system is unique and should be tailored to your needs and geographic location.
How UL Benefits Safety Standards
Underwriters Laboratories was established more than 100 years ago. It’s considered a worldwide leader in product safety testing and certification, across multiple industries and product types.
Here’s what the organization does:
● Tests for safety through comprehensive procedures.
● Requires that its standards are met before certification is granted.
● Sends out a local UL field representative at least four times per year to ensure products are built in accordance with UL requirements.
● To further safety standards in the battery manufacturing industry, Underwriters Laboratories also offers custom testing to meet design-specific needs, as well as help workforces implement training that enhances safety and risk management.
Overview of Server Rack Lithium Battery Safety Testing – UL 1973
UL 1973, Batteries for Use in Light Electric Rail (LER) and Stationary Applications (UL 1973), is a safety standard for stationary batteries for energy storage applications that is not specific to any one battery technology or chemistry and can apply to Li-ion battery ESSs, as well as ESSs using other battery chemistry.
UL 1973 contains a series of construction parameters, including requirements for nonmetallic materials, metallic parts resisting corrosion, enclosures, wiring and terminals, electrical spacing and separation of circuits, insulation and protective grounding, protective circuits and controls, cooling/thermal management, electrolyte containment, battery cell construction, and system safety analyses.
UL 1973 also outlines a series of safety performance tests for Energy storage solutions, including electrical tests such as an overcharge test, short circuit test, over-discharge protection test, temperature and operating limits check test, imbalanced charging test, dielectric voltage test, continuity test, failure of cooling/thermal stability system test, and working voltage measurements. In addition, UL 1973 requires testing of electrical components; including a locked-rotor test for low voltage direct current (DC) fans/motors in secondary circuits, input, leakage current, a strain relief test, and a push-back relief test.
Designations To Look For
Two of the most well-known designations of UL awards are “UL Listed” and “UL Recognized.” When you’re looking at lithium-ion batteries, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
Batteries with a UL Listing have been tested to meet nationally-recognized safety standards. They have been tested as complete final products, though complete components suitable for factory installation also can earn this designation.
An example of a UL Listed product would be a complete lithium-ion battery pack that has adhered to UL standard requirements and has undergone a rigorous testing process.
A UL Recognized mark, on the other hand, focuses on components that are intended to be installed in another device, system, or end product. They are not a final product. They also must be factory installed and may have restricted performance capabilities that limit their use.
When looking at lithium-ion batteries, in particular, this mark restricts which Inverter the battery is compatible with, and further testing of the end product is required to obtain a full UL Listing.
It’s important to note this designation only focuses on a component but does not mean the overall product has been UL Listed.
While the above two designations are most widely known, there are multiple variations for UL’s Listing service depending on the country. Some Listings are for use in the United States, while other countries carry different safety requirements that may differ from U.S. standards.
What It Means To Be UL Listed
Products with a UL Listing have been tested to meet nationally-recognized safety standards. They have been tested as complete final products and found to be free from reasonably foreseeable risk of fire, electric shock, and other hazards.
For battery manufacturers that are UL Certified, agree to a specific list of guidelines and continued monitoring. A company must agree to rigorous examinations and regular site visits so a UL representative can ensure the company is maintaining compliance with the organization’s safety standards.
Lithium-ion batteries are undergoing a paradigm shift not only in the consumer sector but also in the energy storage sector. The numerous benefits of using rack lithium batteries in your home or business make them an attractive option for utility, commercial/industrial, and residential applications.
As with any new technology, however, questions about safety arise. It’s informative and helpful having a trusted independent third-party entity such as UL conduct extensive product testing and certification. Manufacturers getting UL Listings for their products provides end users with confidence that the safety of their employees and operations is prioritized.
Understanding what the UL designations mean and why they are important is crucial to ensuring the lithium-ion battery you choose has been rigorously tested, so your equipment runs efficiently and safely.
Not all lithium-ion batteries are created equal. Checking to see if a battery is UL Listed is the best way to ensure it meets industry safety and performance standards … allowing you to prioritize the safety of your workers and the efficiency of your user.
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