Battery Energy Storage Systems: Safety guidance published by EMSA

Battery Energy Storage Systems: Safety guidance published by EMSA
Battery Energy Storage Systems: Safety guidance published by EMSA

EMSA battery guidance is the subject of a new publication about the Safety of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) on-board ships. The guidance aims at supporting maritime administrations and the industry by promoting a uniform implementation of the essential safety requirements for battery systems on-board of ships.

According to the EMSA battery guidance, BESS installations on board ships have been increasing in number. There are more than 800 battery ships in operation across the world, 60% of which are known to be operating in Europe, using batteries onboard for propulsion either in pure electric or hybrid functions.

– The safety, availability, reliability and maintainability of the Battery Energy Systems and its on-board arrangements and installation should be equivalent to that achieved with new and comparable conventionally fuelled main and auxiliary machinery.
– The probability and consequences of Battery Energy Storage System-related hazards should be limited to a minimum through design of the core equipment, the general on-board arrangement, their installation and operation on board. In the event of a failure of the risk reducing measures, necessary safety actions should be initiated.
– The safety level should not be impaired by a single failure in a technical system or component.
– The design philosophy should ensure that risk reducing measures and safety actions for the Battery Energy Storage System installation do not lead to an unacceptable loss of power (such as dead ship condition).
– Systems and components should be designed, constructed, installed, operated, maintained and protected to ensure safe and reliable operation.
– Suitable control, alarm, monitoring, disconnection and emergency shutdown systems should be provided to ensure safe and reliable operation.
– Commissioning, tests, trials and maintenance of the Battery Energy Storage System should satisfy the goal in terms of safety, availability and reliability.
– The technical documentation should permit an assessment of the compliance of the system and its components with the applicable rules, guidelines, design standards used, and the principles related to safety, availability, maintainability and reliability.

As battery technologies (as well as on-board configurations and functions of BESS evolve rapidly, and new technical solutions become available for implementation, it is deemed necessary to provide for a safety assessment methodology to be used in all such cases for which this guidance does not stipulate relevant technical provisions.

The primary objective of the risk assessment is to identify technical and operational hazards (HAZID and HAZOP) and consequent risk assessment associated with the proposed battery energy storage system technology, its integration on board a ship and to provide for mitigation measures of the identified risks. A specific hazard identification should be conducted in all such cases for which this Guidance is not deemed sufficient for the purpose of a safe installation and operation of a BESS on board a ship, beyond the scope of this Guidance as specified in Section General – Alternative Design.

The risk assessment is to demonstrate that the overall ship safety, safety of passengers, crew and transported goods is ensured for the specific proposed technical solutions for systems departing from the baseline identified in the Guidance. The risk assessment should cover all potential hazards represented by the specific type of BESS as well as the arrangement of the BESS spaces on-board and those arising from its operation. The risk assessment should document the safety principles of the BESS technology and its arrangement in the ship’s spaces.

Download the guidance: Safety of BESS on board ships

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