It is very common for both commercial and industrial premises to have battery backup facilities to provide short-term backup power, in case of power failure in the building. Hydrogen is a common by-product when charging and storing in battery rooms, requiring gas detection to ensure worker safety. Applications can range from emergency care units, data centers, universities, process/manufacturing applications, banking and stock exchanges, and many more.
Typically, the battery backup facility would utilize lead acid batteries which are continuously charged in a storeroom. They are a good solution to keep critical systems running without the need for costly generators. However, a major issue with lead acid batteries is they produce hydrogen gas, which is explosive at 4% by volume in air. This is where the use of a hydrogen gas detector is required.
As lead acid batteries will create small amounts of hydrogen as a by-product of their charging cycle, it is key to monitor the area using a hydrogen gas detector. If a leak goes undetected then this can easily create a potentially explosive atmosphere. In addition, even if ventilation is present in the room, companies that store batteries cannot just rely on this. Hydrogen is also lighter than air, meaning that if any leak occurs, the gas will rise and accumulate into the highest part of the room/storage area.
Battery storage safety solutions should never rely just on ventilation to keep an area safe from gas leaks. With every risk assessment, there is always a safety gap, such as ventilation failure. How would employees and managers know if the safety gap was reached, and what the concentration of hydrogen is? Implementing a hydrogen gas detector would continuously monitor the environment for any rising hydrogen levels. In addition, the hydrogen gas detector would also alert trained personnel about the rising gas leaks before they become hazardous or explosive.
Whenever employees are dealing with potential gas leaks, either explosive, inert, or toxic, it is always best practice to install a fixed gas detector, as these provide 24/7 continuous monitoring. In the case of a battery storage area, these are commonly unmanned areas and as such are usually the place where an accident may occur. The hydrogen gas detector would provide 24/7 continuous detection and can provide remote alarms via text, email or to a site BMS about any rise in hydrogen levels.
If an engineer or ventilation service engineer visits sites, then you may want to invest in a portable hydrogen gas detector. This is especially useful for engineers who visit several battery storage/charging facilities, as those engineers cannot fully rely on the site having a functioning or correctly calibrated hydrogen gas detector system in place. The portable will therefore provide a last line of defense against a potential hydrogen gas leak. A portable hydrogen gas detector is also useful for site personnel when used in conjunction with a fixed system. As this allows your team to investigate hydrogen gas leaks that have been reported from the fixed hydrogen detector.
Otis Instruments offers a variety of Wired and WireFree easy-to-use, robust and configurable gas detectors. Made in the USA, our high-quality products are capable of detecting both toxic and non-toxic gases for diverse applications. Otis Instruments also offers Otis Link, a service offing automation and controls as well as telemetry services. Otis Link automation and controls service provides a modernized AWS-secured cloud communication system capable of tracking and delivering data in real-time. Otis Link automation and controls optimally connects the user to assets via wired or wireless configurations through AC, DC or solar-powered systems to efficiently and effectively access and control equipment remotely. It also offers HMIs for on-site quick access to information and PLC control with battery backup systems that keep the end user in control of operations, even during a power outage.
Otis Link telemetry service is a modernized cloud-based monitoring system capable of delivering critical station and alarm information in real-time. Otis Link Telemetry optimally connects the user to field assets via wired or wireless configurations using both cellular and satellite networks to view and manage their equipment more effectively. It also offers a one-system-fits-all telemetry solution for all industries. Both services can be integrated with existing monitoring systems and detection devices, eliminating upgrade costs and seamless reliability.
If you would like more information about gas detection solutions for your application, Wired and Wirefree hydrogen detection solutions, implementing Otis Link services, or have a question for us, contact our team today.