rss
111

The new standard that could kill the home battery storage market

Print Friendly

The battery storage industry is warning that the market for lithium-ion battery installations could be killed even before it has taken off if proposed new Australian standards do not fall in line with international installation guidelines.

sonnen ads

Definitely not allowed in Australia under new standards.

As we reported last month, the draft from Standards Australia will effectively ban lithium-ion battery storage inside homes and garages after declaring it to be a category 1 fire risk. It will mean any installations will need to be built in a concrete bunker, making it impossible for many homes and costly for others.

The proposals have been described as a massive case of over-reach, even by groups whose members form part of the standards advisory committee. Some have suggested that the standards process – which normally takes several years – has been rushed.

Most of all, they point out that the new standards do not reflect international practice, nor are they based on any known threat. Home battery storage systems would be banned, while lithium-ion batteries for laptops, mobile phones and other devices, electric vehicles, and gas bottles are not.

Glen Morris, from the Australian Storage Council, says even the prospect of these new rules could see a dent in the market, just as it begins to take off with the release of the new Tesla Powerwalls, and new models and products from the likes of LG Chem, Sonnenbatterie, BYD and many others.

tesla powerwall 2

He says that if the new drafts are actually enacted, it would have a devastating impact on the industry. This, in turn, has major implications for Australia’s energy future.

The CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator have both pointed to the crucial role that battery storage installed in homes and businesses can play in a future grid ever more dependent on renewable energy sources.

But if these standards are unchanged, that market – estimated by the CSIRO at up to 85GWh by 2040 – and others as crucial to help businesses avoid soaring demand charges, will simply fail to materialise.

The main issue is that all lithium batteries are classed as Fire Hazard Class 1 and the principal clause that is causing the problem is 4.5.3.

Clause 4.5.3 says:

The installation requirements for battery types shown as fire hazard level 1 in Table 3.1, are as follows:
(a) Shall not be installed inside a domestic dwelling.
(b) Shall not be installed within 1 m of any access/egress area.
(c) Shall not be installed under any part of a domestic dwelling.

That means they can’t be installed inside any building on a domestic residence and if outside they must not be less than 1m from a structure, and must be in a huge 3m x 2m + eaves fire shelter.

Morris, one of many who sits on the committee, says he was surprised by the formal issue of the draft guidelines, given that there were future meetings and discussions. “It is being rushed, but I’m not sure how or why. There has been very little stakeholder engagement.”

He is urging the industry to respond to the drafts on the Standard Australia website. Submissions are due by August 15. This call is expected to be taken up with gusto by the solar and storage industry and consumer associations.

The industry has already made its views known, describing the proposals as ridiculous and extreme. Some of the biggest battery storage manufacturers in the world, LG Chem and Sonnenbatterie, describe the new proposals as over-kill.

Morris says the issue can possibly be addressed by allowing an exemption to those battery storage products that fit into international standards.

The European standard, known as IEC 62619:2017, sets out in detail the operating requirements of battery storage devices, but does not go to the extreme of banning them outright from homes and buildings.

The US standard, which is similar to IEC 62619, cannot be adopted by Standards Australia because there is no commercial arrangement between the two organisations.

  

Share this:

  • David Mitchell

    I assume that if enacted, this would be a boon for RedFlow and other no-Li battery manufacturers?

    • solarguy

      Don’t count on anything,

  • John Saint-Smith

    So it’s legal to carry a Li-ion battery in your pocket, but not keep one in your house?

    • solarguy

      Yep, makes all the sense in the world don’t it..

  • matt bounds

    Can’t help wondering if Standards Australia is at the beck and call of industry or government bodies that are hostile to renewable energy. I’d love to know, what’s the justification for standards being rushed when the stakes are so high? Is someone being threatened or bribed to push the standards through so quickly without stakeholder engagement? And if so, by whom? Is it possible that someone at Standards Australia been appointed to a key role with the express purpose of obstructing progress in renewable technology? What’s your take on that Giles?

    • solarguy

      You just answered your question.

  • Mark Roest

    If this is being rushed, and would gut the industry, we need to ask, whose ox would be gored if it is defeated? Fossil fuels, and centralized power generation and distribution, of course! Plus internal combustion-powered vehicles; if the provision goes through, battery electric cars would be hampered in their rollout, because it would not be as easy to charge them whenever you want, with the cheapest electricity available at any time of day. You would have to accept the prices in effect when you want to charge, or pay the higher price for a battery installation.

    Since that implies a logical possibility, and the potential actors in such a scenario are not especially known for putting ethics in front of advantage, it would be wise to have a fallback plan in place — no, two plans.

    Plan A would be to fight like hell, politically and otherwise. Part of the fight could involve shining a spotlight on the motivations of the players on the opposing side. Another part could be demanding testing under fair, rational conditions and standards, of newer variations of the lithium battery which are much more resistant to fire than early versions. Some lithium batteries should be in a class 2 or lower risk category; you can find them and choose them. One way that could simultaneously score political points would be to hold a national competition, with every technology that is not a class 1 fire risk being declared a winner, and getting lots of publicity about its other advantages, and its performance-to-cost ratio.

    Should Plan A fail to ensure that sufficient battery capacity can be installed without the added expense of the regulation’s provisions, it will be time to leapfrog beyond dependence on lithium-ion chemistry. For example, saline chemistry electrolyte could be used as a fire extinguisher. Some very interesting new battery technologies are on the horizon, and a few are fireproof and nontoxic. One benefit of being fireproof is that the battery does not have to be de-rated from its ultimate potential performance to reduce the risk of fire, as lithium does.

    With a little judicious encouragement, you could be seeing volume production and availability of fireproof batteries within18 to 24 months.

    • Tom

      As far as “fight like hell” goes – I wonder if some sort of class action could be launched against “Standards Australia” for damages arising from a bullshit decision.

      Any body with responsibility must surely also have accountability? And even if they don’t think they do, I’m sure a good lawyer could find out that, yes, they actually do.

      If anyone’s launching a class action against Standards Australia for this, please let me know and I’ll kick in. Giles, you’ve got my email address.

      • neroden

        Yes. Standards Australia can be sued over this. Their action is illegal. I’m not in Australia, but it’s time for people to get lawyers and sue them to prevent the promulgation of a groundless “standard” with no rational basis.

        • Discus

          reading from green bible..what about home damage from faulty solar installs. what about high voltage damage to others around your big green installs as your trying to replace grid others are left paying for as cant afford your expensive world?

  • tonyk

    I agree things shouldn’t be rushed and stakeholders must be properly included.
    And lest you think I am anti I have a solar system with batteries at my place.

    Having sold electrically powered devices to the ordinary public for years I can assure you some
    1, won’t read any instructions.
    2, will use any horizontal surface as a shelf for cardboard, paint thinners, rags etc. etc.

    If we put a couple of million battery systems into ordinary punters houses a small number will fail and even smaller number of buildings will catch fire. And eventually some people (& children) will get killed.
    So…..think of the Grenfell towers disaster.
    One theory about Grenfell is a fridge on the 4th floor caught fire. How afraid are you of your fridge?

    • Barri Mundee

      Surely installation by accredited installers can be mandated?

      • neroden

        Yeah. Installation by accredited installers makes sense. Design standards for battery packs makes sense.

        This complete BULLSHIT draft standard has no rational basis and is simply illegal

    • Catprog

      So to use your fridge analogy. Should fridges be installed outside of the home so they don’t cause a fire?

      • tonyk

        Its not such a simple question re fridges. The fridge that caught fire in the Grenfell Tower almost certainly had foam that was blown with R32, a hydrocarbon foaming agent, and R600 (butane) refrigerant. Both introduced after the ozone layer destroyed by non-flammable Freon. Which was introduced in the 40s because it prevented fires.

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/23/hotpoint-tells-customers-to-check-fridge-freezers-after-grenfell-tower-fire

        Try telling the relatives of the Grenfell Tower victims that we are all better off because Freon banned. There are clear safety standards for cladding in OZ & UK. Cladding shouldn’t have been there. But it was. Same goes for fridge. Shouldn’t have caught fire. But it did. Same will happen with battery systems. I have some empathy with the people setting the standards. I wouldn’t want to be the one telling the relatives victims after the event you thought their concerns were baseless.

        Most battery systems being imported in to OZ now are only rated for 40C ambient and have had much less testing for fire & electrical failures than cars have had crash testing.

        • Malcolm Scott

          I went to an industry presentation a few days ago. 60 deg was the upper temperature operating envelope of the two volume suppliers in the market.

          • tonyk

            Interesting.
            60C is the temp of the individual cell itself or the max ambient
            for the entire battery assembly package?

          • Malcolm Scott

            I don’t have the specs in front of me, but they both referred to the system ramping down from 50 deg and shutting off at 60 deg ambient. I see the Powerwall 2 spec is an operating range of -20°C to 50°C. Perhaps that is the same thing

          • tonyk

            As I understand it the thing they are scared of is thermal runaway.
            This a good general intro.
            http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/archive/lithium_ion_safety_concerns

          • Mike Westerman

            Especially after the house fires caused by poorly made/designed Hoverboards, every engineer should be similarly concerned. But the difference between what happens with EV batteries in a crash and what has happened in battery pallet fires should make it clear that it’s the design of the battery pack and its heat dissipation/isolation/electrical protection that is critical, not the containment vessel/barriers.

          • tonyk

            Furious agreement. Its all about the design and integrity of the integral BMS & thermal management. I have seen home battery systems imported into OZ, 4 kwhrs per module, with thermal management systems that I would never have inside my factory, let alone my house, god forbid sell to a third party.
            And this is when they are new. What happens when they are 10 -15 years old? The difference to a TV and even a fridge is that they are ‘off’ mostly. BMS systems have to be ‘on’ 24/7 for > 10years. If you take a simple example. The power capacitors in the BMS inverter. They just don’t have a 100,000 hr life.
            For your rooftop panel inverter this is fine, this is >30years.
            For a BMS this 11 years.

          • neroden

            Tesla deliberately set fire to one of its Powerpacks to prove that the fire would remain contained. They can probably do the same with the Powerwall.

            This draft standard is purest unmitigated BULLSHIT. It’s also illegal.

        • Colin Nicholson

          Fridge fires with butane or isobutane are a serious issue but it is not the gas which is the problem – there is less than 100 grams in the fridge. It is the lack of venting (thus producing an explosive gas air mix) and the ignition source itself. The gas itself has safety ratings, but there appears to be inadequate hazard analysis for the fridge. The fridges themselves seem to have only minor design changes for changing from R134 to R600, and you would have thought a total redesign would have been in order

          • tonyk

            My understanding is the ignition source in the fridge fires is often a failure of the motor start capacitor. That sets the foam on fire.
            This is one of the concerns in battery systems too. Capacitors, which are crucial in the inverter, only have a finite life. Quality matters and sizing matters, a lot. When you have ‘no name’ brand systems trying to be more compact, have more output & be cheaper, all at the same time, this often where they cut corners.

          • Colin Nicholson

            All this is just poor engineering, probably price driven and not intrinsic in the components themselves. For instance you could go back to two winding motors which are completely sealed. You could have a butane detector in the fridge. There are many millions of these fridges out there and they are crap. Then there are the freezer rooms using R600….bang. It is a salutary lesson which the battery manufacturers must take note of. I assume Elon is still using squillions of 18650s in his designs? Why aren’t the inverters a separate unit? I own a sansui 1000a and I spent a lot of money on top notch replacement capacitors for it.

          • tonyk

            110% agreement on the engineering. The fridge stuff is an own goal of the worst kind.
            It is plain lousy.
            In contrast the engineering in the Teslas is superb and lots of effort put to cooling the squillions of cells and their two squillion connections. I am not sure where the inverters located in the new powerbox. From memory the first one didn’t have an inverter.

  • howardpatr

    Who are the people behind this proposal; names and their experience and qualifications.

    Seems they might be a mob of vandals?

    • solarguy

      Money speaks a universal language it seems. Sell out.

  • john

    My take out from this is that the standard has to be written for lowest level of Battery Backup.
    It does not matter if a particular company does have the best possible industry practice in place the rules will be written for the most junk no protection type of installation.

    How about the rules saying meet the best practice and those who can not meet it are not allowed to install.

    I think this makes sense.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      “My take out from this is that the standard has to be written for lowest level of Battery Backup.”
      Sounds like it is being written to that, but does not have to be. I think that is what you mean here, correct?

      “How about the rules saying meet the best practice and those who can not meet it are not allowed to install.”
      What about rules saying non-flammable batteries (lithium & other) can be installed inside a residence, but flammable ones need to go in their own outhouse?

      • JRT256

        All Lithium batteries are flammable.

        • Roger Brown

          Not the new ones ! have seen them on you-tube using a power saw cutting the end off one and another hooking up cables on the wrong sides and takes 13 mins before they start splitting the green plastic case and releasing a white powder , but no flames .

          • Discus

            multiply that by the thousands encased in these big battery packs and do test again

          • JRT256

            I have also seen tests of batteries that did not self ignite. However, they are still flammable. They will burn if ignited.

          • Su Chan

            I couldn’t find that, but I did find this puncture test of Lithium Sulfur vs Lithium Cobalt Oxide

            As any search of Youtube will show, damaging a standard lithium (LCO) battery will result in fire, heat and or smoke.

  • Hendo

    And what of my electric car that I charge overnight in the shelter of my inside garage? Or must I now charge or contain that in a bomb shelter? When I drive it to work, will I then have to especially park it inside my city parking station?
    This is not “overreach” it is gross stupidity. The only beneficiaries are the coal generators.

    • john

      Why Hendo because the guidelines are so behind industry best practise.

    • JRT256

      Charging an EV with a Lithium battery in your garage is potentially hazardous. You might want to consider sheathing the inside of the garage walls with Type-X 5/8 inch Gypsum board. Some may already be required by code on the adjoining walls with the house. And installing fire sprinklers.

  • Barri Mundee

    Has Standards Australia been “got at” or stacked or otherwise been leaned on to introduce standards so out of line with international practice ?

    • Ken Dyer

      There is absolutely no doubt that Standards Australia have been “got at” by the fossil fuel industry. If you took this to its obvious conclusion, that 4 litre can of unleaded petrol you have in your garage would need to be kept in its own fireproof enclosure with appropriate warnings posted.

      • daw

        being in the garage is a lot different to being in the house where people eat, sleep and spend most of their time Ken. But it is a good idea to have it locked up in the garage.
        I can’t understand why any one would want another blank faced box protruding from a wall in the house anyway. The best place would be adjacent to the switchboard close to where it can be connected to the system.

      • Discus

        the 4 litre jerry can doesn’t exhaust hydrogen mix of gases all day its charging etc like the batteries do?

    • Mick

      I would hazard a guess that a certain QLD minister who is located near Townsville may have something to do with this stupidity. I am on the waiting list for my Tesla roof and battery wall and im buggered if some poxy political type is going to stop me.

      • solarguy

        Mate if they don’t let the installers do it. Tuff luck. Nothing you can do for love of money!

        • Roger Brown

          Cash bonus to “Back date the install ” ? More than 1 way to skin a cat

        • neroden

          This sort of illegal action by the government makes people mad. I think Australians have a bit of a reputation for not tolerating this sor of nonsense. What if people just go rogue and install them anyway?

          • Mike Westerman

            Take a chill pill mate – this is a draft of a standard, not a government regulation. It will not get up as a standard if enough people put alternatives to overcome the concern someone has about Li battery fires. It will not get up as a regulation if enough people object to their state member.

  • Robert Westinghouse

    Reading between the lines: Big Electricity is losing it super
    profits created when the government privatised the market. So, the government
    is dictating to us that we must continue to pay excessive prices. Nothing to do
    with safety, but all to do with profits for BIG Electricity…. democracy and
    competition – total BS….

    • bingoballs

      Anything to slow down the transition to clean energy. Mindless

      • JRT256

        Do you watch the TV news. Even small Lithium batteries are potentially dangerous. Here we are talking about one large enough to run your home. There appears to be an over reaction. But, installing it in your home or on the outside wall if it is flammable is not safe.

        • bingoballs

          I prefer to think for myself but can I suggest that the petrol in your car may also be flammable

  • DJR96

    First problem is treating all lithium batteries as equal when they are not. Some chemistries are far safer than others.
    Next problem is they’re not taking into consideration that there is a BMS managing it. A good BMS will isolate the battery to protect it from failed inverter/charging systems.

    Just bloody ignorant neanderthals still in the 20th century.

    • Discus

      only takes one bad apple in the big battery bunch ah! circulating currents, heating..oops whole set need replacing!

      • DJR96

        Which is why a good BMS will monitor voltages and temperature in every cell. If any one of them goes astray it can do something about it and avert disaster.

  • Robin_Harrison

    Never underestimate how desperate and dirty a dying industry can get. Particularly when they own a lot of politicians and regulators.

  • tonyk

    .
    Agree DJR96 re battery chemistries. They aren’t all equal. Cobalt chemistries worse for fire better for power.
    Tesla has cobalt.
    Good BMS systems help even more. But active safety systems can & do fail. Ask the operators of Three Mile Island & Fukushima. Want more modern tech than these?
    Ask the passengers of MH370 how things going.
    Batteries systems are going to fail.
    Accept it.
    Only a question of how many.
    Just like petrol tanks in cars. 400 to 500 dead per year in US vehicle fires.
    After 120 years of automobile technology .

  • ROSSC

    Check the board? Liberals perhaps? Is this just one more battlefield for them to kill renewables?

    • Mick

      Probably. We must make it our duty to wipe the liberal filth completely away from any form of political clout so they can never do the damage to this country as done previous five years. Yes five years taking us from worlds best performing economy to some place past number 18. While still descending.

      • Discus

        lets all borrow more and buy these systems, panels, inverters, batteries smart metering..yeh throw cost onto rest of us and destroy the grid for those that cant afford your world?

  • Brendon Pywell

    Love to know what logic was followed in putting this together. Seems they only “safe-guard” fossil fuel investments and those that benefit from polluting the rest of the planet.

  • David Boxall

    This is where we need a good dose of investigative journalism. The intent is obvious. The source must be exposed.

  • Brunel

    I wish solid state lithium batteries were developed in 1990 – which have no flammable electrolyte.

    Thus making air travel safer along with electric cars and grid storage.

  • Radbug

    If that’s the case, I’ll buy a flow battery … and enjoy a deeper depth of discharge, plus a longer service lifetime.

  • MaxG

    Line these shenanigans up on a wall and —- them, let them drown in their own BS.

  • Pedro

    Suggest that as many people as possible who have an interest in home battery storage read the draft standard and make a sensible comment. Every comment must be looked at.

    On another note one group of people who are very cautious about home Li batteries is the fire department. Rather than thinking the Li battery bank is going to self ignite and cause fires, they are concerned that if a house is on fire for whatever reason it changes the way they can put it out especially if there is a Li battery pack in the garage.

    • Mike Westerman

      Pedro it’s strange tho’ that ICE vehicle owners are not required to put a sign on their front fence indicating a Fire Hazard 1 source sitting in the garage, despite the fact it may be 500kWh of stored energy compared to 13kWh in a Powerwall 2!

      • Pedro

        Hi Mike, I get your point. I think that when some thing is new and people do not quite understand it there is a tendency to be over cautious.
        Be very interesting to see some statistics on what causes house fires or a percentage of Lithium battery packs that catch of fire/year.

  • Mike Westerman

    Heh guys, go on line, read the draft standard, and submit your comments. The committee (EL042) is a pretty broad group but obviously the drafting around fire standards has come from a narrow section of interests, and I suspect has been unduly influenced by various Li battery fires in unrelated items eg pallets of individual cells as suspected in MH370, or various house fires due to crappy Hoverboards. Whereas Tesla is able to demonstrate the safety of their battery packs even in high speed impact or destruction in car accidents.

    Obviously if you release 20-30kWh (70-100MJ or equivalent to several litres of petrol) of energy in a very short time period you end up with a very fierce fire. Same as you would if you ignite 60L of fuel from your car. That won’t happen in a properly stacked/properly electrically protected battery pack. We need to tell SAI so.

  • Graham Raymond Taylor

    What happens if the new standard is upheld and is adopted? Does this mean that insurers will no longer offer insurance cover if you don’t comply with the new standard? What about existing properties with batteries installed? Do they have to remove or modify their battery installations or lose insurance cover. I wonder what type of batteries Malcom Turnbull had installed in his house? Will it comply with the new standard?

    • neroden

      What happens is that you install the batteries anyway and campaign to your local government to reject “Standards Australia”, which is supposedly a voluntary organization.

  • fred bloggs

    I would have thought filling a car full of a highly flammable material (like petrol) and storing it in a closed garage would have presented as much of a fire risk as a battery. The reason we don’t have more car fires is because of good engineering – if they can do it for a explosive material like petrol, why cant they do it for batteries as well? I smell an electricity lobby rat

  • OnionMan77

    1. Shall not be installed inside a domestic dwelling.
    2. Shall not be installed within 1 m of any access/egress area.
    3. Shall not be installed under any part of a domestic dwelling.
    Simple: Install the batteries on the roof.

    • Tom

      That’s awesome!

      • daw

        Awesome? Sounds like a stupid impractical thing to do.

  • solarguy

    Has anyone smelt a fossil fuelled rat here. I do and it stinks to high heaven. Madness still reigns!

  • Mike-at-goodbyegrid

    Anyone daring to go to houses with existing batteries trying to enforce this new standard will require riot police …

    • Roger Brown

      One house fire with a Lithium battery installed , would have the press running stories like the “Pink Batts” days , where every house fire was front page news day after day . Weeks later , they find out its a gas leak , electrical or a log falling off the fire place and onto the carpet overnight . Damage done .

  • Roger Brown

    Do I have to build a concrete bunker for my 4k camera and the 3 x spare batteries ? Hopefully this will improve my Redflow share price 🙁 With Moving to Flex Asia with the Production Line (Thailand) from Mexico .Hopefully a cheaper cost price passed on to customers .

  • Robert Comerford

    I’m unconvinced there is any conspiracy here. I can see the issue for those responsible for drafting these standards. Huge lipo packs are a potential fire risk.
    I would not want one attached to my house.

    I’m sure if the motor bike was invented today it could not be registered…. wouldn’t pass the ADR’s.
    Same might be said of storing a vehicle with a big tank of explosive fuel next to your house or even in it. If it was suggested for the first time today, it would be hard to see it passing safety rules.

    • neroden

      Well, then, as soon as they ban gasoline cars, they can implement this standard. Until then it’s irrational and should be thrown out by the courts as having no rational basis.

  • nakedChimp

    Clause 4.5.3 reads like the rules for LNG bottles.. everybody has them on their home, 1m away from openings, not under the house, etc..
    Where does the bunker requirement and the 1m distance to the house come from?

  • Joe

    This is just crazy nonsense from Standards. SonnenBatterie have installed 30,000 home batteries in Germany with not a single ‘bonfire’ reported. Of course mobile phones and laptops can be left lying around all through a house without a ‘protective cage’ in sight. Indeed mobiles and laptops are personally carried for hours each and every day. People have petrol cans, gas bottles and gas tanks sitting on their properties or at home and no one gives it a second thought. The Fossil Foolers will stoop to nothing in delaying the inevitable death of their empire.

    • JRT256

      Mobiles and Laptops catch on fire regularly.

  • john

    I see an immediate problem here.
    Large commercial computer systems already have UPS systems in place to ensure a timely shut down of computer controlled equipment, when there is a power disruption.
    With this guideline this would render these installations as non complaint unless they had lead acid battery backup.
    The telecommunication infrastructure is one area that will be effected.
    How does this pan out with the common cordless tools and household items in use?
    It is common now to use lithium battery jump starter packs how do they comply?
    This standard must only apply to battery storage over a certain size otherwise there would be a lot of non compliant systems in place.

    • Mike Westerman

      John – register on the SAI website and down load the draft – telecoms and computer UPS excluded. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/42b6cb81769c949f34bf1af52080a5abdc696ef2033c259b7ac0ade342a947b4.jpg

      • john

        Ok that answers my question about telecommunication industry.
        The heavy industry situation however may be covered by the clause (3) Premises with critical power continuity requirements (e.g. acute care hospitals, substation support and black start)

      • neroden

        So, it’s essentially a corrupt stitch-up job. Excludes the incumbents while attacking storage systems.

        This is illegal. This “draft standard” is simply and plainly illegal and it’s time to take “Standards Australia” to court over it.

  • Dave Keenan

    I’m a lithium battery system designer. Giles is mistaken when he claims the draft standard requires “a concrete bunker” or a “3m x 2m + eaves fire shelter”. Anyone can download the draft for free and read the rest of section 4.5.3 that Giles omitted. A lithium battery enclosure can be mounted on the outside wall of a house provided that wall, and the horizontal surface below it, and any eaves within 2 m above it, have a 60 minute fire rating for an area 600 mm either side and in front of the enclosure and up to 2 m above it. Brick or block walls already have a 60 minute fire rating. Any other wall can be given a 60 minute fire rating by a layer of 16 mm water-and-fire-rated plasterboard, faced with 9 mm exterior fibre cement sheet. Edge trim this with metal angle. Or the enclosure can simply be placed 1 m from the building. The enclosure can be metal.

    Fuel cans and LPG bottles don’t contain their own ignition sources as battery systems do. Electric vehicles can be moved. Battery systems can’t.

    • tonyk

      Seems eminently reasonable, sensible & doable to me.

      • Dave Keenan

        One thing I do object to in the draft standard is that all lithium chemistries are treated the same. I would like to see all those clearances halved for safer chemistries such as LFP.

    • neroden

      Fuel cans do contain their own ignition sources (they can spontaneously ignite), but never mind that.

      Electric vehicles can’t be moved if they’re on fire.

      Gasoline vehicles are explicitly designed to cause gasoline to explode, but apparently they’re allowed in garages without any regulation.

  • I don’t know why anybody should be surprised. It’s a war, people. They will only get out of the way when they are forced to, and things will get a lot uglier before we finally make that happen. According to ‘Miss Sloane’ we need to know what they are going to do next and get ahead of them. That requires a superb intelligence operation: which includes identifying exactly who “they” are at every echelon and what decisions each is making.

  • Tassie Tiger

    Not all lithium batteries catch fire, Lifepo4 is one of the safest.

    So, where is the fire??

  • Miles Harding

    There’s only one thing to do: It’s time to write a submission for it.

  • Ian

    Be this standard a reflection of a valid concern or not, there is a need for people to have their own solar and storage capabilities. Often houses or units are not suitable for installing solar and/or batteries. In the future , when EV become more commonplace these will most often not be located at the solar installation site. We need a method of generating and storing electricity distant to the point of use. We need access to the electricity grid for private transmission of electricity at a reasonable fee. This standard highlights the problems people face in sharing the distributed energy technologies. The grid needs to be reformed to allow private transmission of electricity. There is quite clearly an urgent need to develop a distributed electrical energy marketplace., much like our roads system where transport can enter a road anywhere and exit anywhere. The grid needs to be democratised and made available to all .

    • Ian

      If safe shelters are required for domestic electricity storage , the case can be made for street or suburb minigrids, where suitable shelter can be a public amenity for the safe storage of locally generated electricity. – people could either install their power walls in a central suburb or street facility and use the suburb minigrid to charge these batteries and access their stored electricity or they could chose to jointly install storage for the mini grid. The mini grid should be locally owned and managed with some sort of body corporate or local government mechanism. The connection to the wider grid and network operators would be subject to the bargaining power of the local minigrid. Taking ownership of the local distribution network from the main grid to the local residents could be done on a ‘nationalisation’ process by government decree or possibly, simply by duplicating the wires supplying each house and disconnecting from the old grid altogether.

  • Pixilico

    That demonstrates how corrupt seemingly democratic governments can get.

  • tsport100

    Political ‘donations’ are the cheapest financial leverage known to man… probably only costs $50k to buy a ‘regulator’ off… Cough up battery industry!

  • Webber Depor

    i am gonna outlaw this rule by putting an li-ion battery inside my home. lets go patriotic everyone. we can not do anything by going silent.

  • Timothy Riley

    If there is a need to mitigate risk and enhance safety for lithium battery energy storage systems, PyroPhobic System, Ltd has a designed system called Lithium Prevent which is a fire resistant thermoplastic that has been evaluated at NASA and proven to be effective at containing runaway lithium battery fires, preventing cascading events. The material can solve the problem being discussed. Suggest you visit: pyrophobic.com to learn more.

  • neroden

    If they promulgate this BULLSHIT standard, install the batteries anyway and sue Standards Australia for tortious interference in commerce.

    I’m serious. Literally just install them, ignore the bogus standard, and sue for declaratory relief to declare that the standard cannot be enforced because it is arbitrary, capricious, without a rational basis, etc.

    • neroden

      If Standards Australia were run by honest people rather than paid-off criminals, they would simply adopt the European standards.

  • neroden

    Have the state governments been contacted? They need to lean on Standards Australia, and state clearly that if it passes this ridiculous “standard”, the states will NOT adopt it and will repudiate it.

    Same with cities.

  • David Creevey

    I checked the draft standard and on page 6 it states that it does not apply to electric vehicles, so electric cars and bikes aren’t affected.

  • JRT256

    This is a serious hazard. I would not have one installed inside my house or on the outside if near any flammable materials. In the garage would be acceptable if mounted on concrete board, or double thickness 5/8 inch Type-X Gypsum board. and there were fire sprinklers for the garage and a fire suppression system using Halon substitute for the battery. That would mean that it would need to be at least partially enclosed with similar fire proof or resistant materials. Outside, a bomb shelter is not needed but a small concrete block or brick and metal structure with a Halon substitute or Carbon Dioxide automatic fire suppression system inside seems like reasonable caution. Much better than having your house burn down.

    Remember that toys with small numbers of Lithium batteries have caused fires that resulted in people’s houses burning down or their apartments being destroyed by fire. This is not something that we should take lightly.

    • neroden

      Stoves have also burned people’s houses down. Frequently.

      Perhaps they should be required to be located outdoors? This is nonsense.

      • JRT256

        Very poor analogy. Stoves are not flammable. They do not set themselves on fire. Only what is being cooked by a human will burn.

    • Mike Westerman

      JRT it’s a case of whether to aim at the source of the fire or containing it after its happened. Li batteries and battery packs can be made fire resistant even under conditions where the pack is ruptured or severely damaged. Loose unprotected or poorly protected batteries (ie not in a properly designed pack) are incredibly hazardous: that IMO is what should be targeted, with packs undergoing type testing in Australia.

      • JRT256

        I think that you are confusing Two issues:

        + Self ignition

        + Flammability

        Li Batteries that do not self ignite are still flammable. If they contain Lithium, they are flammable.

  • Phil

    They just need to be treated like a 45kg gas bottle

    Large Gas bottles ALWAYS have to be OUTSIDE and have the emergency release valve facing outwards enabling any gas or fire to vent outwards . Or be in a stand alone enclosure that is fireproof and vented accordingly so as not to impact the dwelling

    It may be as simple as mounting a Lithium Ion battery externally against a brick wall or putting a thick fiber cement sheet at the rear against a timber wall and a metal angled flame deflection cover above and on the sides

    If it’s a south facing wall and not in direct sun it should be within the operating temperature range for say a Tesla of -20 to + 50 celcius. Same as solar on grid inverters should be located to stay within their specs.

    Such a basic external insulator / flame deflector should add no more than $200 to the install cost

  • Discus

    so all those aircraft rules are rubbish and battery designers always get it right. these things give off hydrogen etc when charging plus heat and explode if wronged in a stressful way? 100MW battery would level city block if goes off in wrong way!!