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Cost-efficient design of fire protection for battery storage in buildings

Battery storage in buildings has many advantages, and it is becoming more common for such installations to be proposed and investigated in both new and existing buildings. However, regulations lag behind for such battery storage, which means that, for example, fire protection requirements and recommendations vary depending on where in the country an installation is carried out. Various research and development initiatives are underway to reduce such problems and uncertainties, but one missing piece is to holistically study how different requirements could interact to achieve the most cost-efficient solution possible. This project aims to evaluate how fire protection in battery storage can be designed as cost-efficient as possible in conjunction with other important and cost-driving requirements, such as radiation and ventilation requirements.


As the possibilities of locally producing energy (e.g., through solar panels on roofs) increase, so does the interest and need to efficiently utilize and store the locally produced energy. This is partly because renewable energy sources like solar and wind do not always generate electricity when demand is highest, necessitating the ability to store this energy for future use. Furthermore, the electrification of society creates an increased demand for electricity, which in turn can lead to imbalances in the existing power grid. This risk of eventual power shortages and greater price variations can be partly mitigated through more locally installed battery storage systems. Local battery storage systems can, for example, charge when overall electricity consumption is low within the grid or when the sun is shining on solar panels, to then be used when electricity demand within the community is higher. It is now well-known that there are regular consumption peaks in the morning and afternoon on weekdays, with consumption dropping during midday, evening, and night. Another factor indicating an increased need for energy storage is resilience and business models. Buildings with energy storage can withstand temporary disconnections from the energy system and can also become part of the energy system through, for example, load balancing. Battery storage systems can thus contribute to reduced operating costs and increase property value.

Unfortunately, regulations and standards lag behind technological developments, resulting in the absence of guidelines for the building technical fire protection required for the spaces where battery storage is placed. This leads to different approaches to battery storage rooms in different projects and geographic areas, where the requirements are largely dictated by the level of knowledge and assessments of the responsible requirement specifier (usually a fire engineer), the local fire department, or insurance companies.

Property owners and contractors who want to install stationary battery storage systems currently face significant challenges due to the lack of national regulations on where and how battery storage systems should be installed. There are different recommendations from fire departments, and to some extent, insurance companies, but currently, these vary between different municipalities, leading to different levels of security and requirements depending on the part of the country where a battery storage system is intended to be installed. Since the existing recommendations are expressed in detail, there is also a significant risk that, in addition to varying levels of security, they contribute to inefficient requirements that do not necessarily address the problems that a battery storage system actually entails. In practice, this situation reduces the interest of property owners in installing electrical energy storage systems, which is detrimental to both property owners and the national energy system.

Based on the above, there is a need to study the risks associated with battery storage systems and identify cost-effective solutions for fire protection that could be applied. It should also be investigated/discussed how fire protection requirements can vary for different types of batteries that are commonly used in battery storage systems today, as the fire behavior of different battery types can vary significantly. In a battery storage system, fire protection should also be coordinated with other requirements, such as radiation protection requirements. Therefore, the project also aims to investigate whether the solutions for these requirements can collaborate to design appropriate protection for battery storage systems more cost-effectively in the future.


The purpose of the project is to investigate the fire safety requirements that should be imposed on battery storage systems and how these can be handled in a cost-effective manner in conjunction with other requirements (e.g., radiation and ventilation requirements). The goal is to express requirements/recommendations in the form of functional requirements, thereby enabling a more innovative management of the requirement levels in the future. The aim is also to develop proposals for cost-effective management of fire and radiation requirements as these have been identified as cost-driving factors in previous projects. There are also good reasons to believe that solutions to the requirements can be coordinated for more cost-effective outcomes. Furthermore, the goal is to differentiate the requirements/recommendations between battery storage systems to provide guidance related to the most common battery types on the market today. This is to adjust the safety level to the specific battery type, which is likely to further increase cost-effectiveness.


The project will be carried out in four parts. These components include a literature review, an investigation of battery types and protection among property owners currently, formulation of functional requirements, differentiation of battery types, identification of various protective measures, and a cost evaluation. The implementation will be conducted in collaboration with KTH Live-In Lab, where a full-scale installation of a total of 186 kWh of electrical energy storage has been installed in an ongoing research project involving Northvolt, Einar Mattsson, and KTH. This provides an opportunity for discussion and site visits to study potential collaboration aspects related to different requirements based on an actual project.

Expected start date

1/11 – 2023

Expected end date

30/9 – 2024

Contact person

Dr. Axel Mossberg, head of research and senior fire protection consultant, Bengt Dahlgren Brand & Risk

Belongs to: KTH Live-In Lab
Last changed: Feb 18, 2024