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(IPD) Industrial Process Design Case Study BESS Decommissioning project photo

With gigawatts of new capacity in the pipeline, the need for sustainable recycling, reuse, and decommissioning practices has become paramount.

BESS Decommissioning

IPD BESS-Decommissioning informational download fileScope: Design, fabrication, test, certification and ­­deployment of custom tool solutions

Scope: Decommissioning and demolition of a battery energy storage system

Location: Southeast, USA

Client: N/A


As the battery storage industry matures, early test and development systems have reached their end-of-life. With gigawatts of new capacity in the pipeline, the need for sustainable recycling, reuse, and decommissioning practices has become paramount.


A utility in the south-eastern United States needed to repurpose land occupied by an obsolete renewables test farm. This included decommissioning of the battery energy storage system (BESS) used to test energy shifting and solar smoothing/firming. A 40ft Kokam KESS-750 (250kW/750kWh), 1.25 MVA inverter, 1000 kVA transformer, and auxiliary systems needed to be removed from site. The BESS contained 280 battery modules at 65lb each. Li-ion batteries are considered hazardous and present significant handling and recycling challenges. Therefore, safe, repeatable, and efficient solutions must be found to protect the people, property, and planet associated with this critical task.


Decommissioning and demolition is more complex than many people realize – it is construction in reverse. In this case, there were numerous stakeholders and the remote location, single lane road, dust/noise restrictions, and worksite constraints posed challenges for the team. The need for enhanced collaboration, coordination, and communication was evident.

IPD started by developing a detailed Readiness Review Package. This master planning document included everything from a technical hazard analysis and task-specific procedures to a work schedule and emergency response plan. It was kept on site at all times. The first step with lockout-tagout (LOTO) and de-energization of all energy sources. This included AC/DC mains, 480V auxiliary distribution, inverter, battery strings, HVAC, and the fire suppression system.

IPD’s specially trained experts safely disconnected, removed, palletized, packaged, and labeled all battery modules for shipping in compliance with DOT hazardous material requirements. Half of the batteries were sent to be recycled and half were taken by a 3rd party for end-of-life testing. Once all the batteries were removed, demolition of remaining systems began. All metal components, including ISO containers, enclosures, wire, and conduit was sent to a scrap yard for recycling. The wall-hung HVAC system and fire suppression cannisters were given to local businesses for reuse. The only material to landfill were a two sets of access stairs and four bags of miscellaneous trash.


Decommissioning allowed the site to responsibly reclaim valuable real estate. With prior planning by the team, waste to landfill was minimized. The lessons learned are being shared with the industry to improve future efforts and define best practices.


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