The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority of Australia (NOPSEMA) has published a safety incident involving a fire that occurred in the battery room on a production facility. This incident has highlighted the potential for thermal runaway events, specifically, when there is a short circuit between two or more battery banks of uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This incident was likely caused by leaking electrolyte fluid contacting a conductive metal cabinet frame in the UPS battery room. There were no injuries.
These are lead acid batteries, which are capable of delivering an electric charge at a very high rate and, when charging, can release flammable hydrogen gas, which when combined with oxygen, has the potential to cause an explosion.
More information is available at nopsema.gov.au/assets/Alerts/Alert-61-Risks-associated-with-electric-storage-batteries.pdf
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