Battery ‘Bombs’: More Giant Renewable Energy Batteries Explode in Toxic Fireballs

‘Bombs’ are designed to store and quickly release copious amounts of energy, so are the mega-batteries said to save wind and solar from their hopeless intermittency.

The notion is that giant lithium-ion batteries will quell the power delivery chaos that comes with attempting to rely wholly weather-dependent wind power and wholly sunshine-dependent solar power; thereby bringing stability and security to plenty a power grid teetering on the brink of collapse, all the consequence of our “inevitable transition” away from reliable and dependable power generation sources, like coal and gas.

But there’s nothing ‘stable and secure’ about lithium batteries.

As Samsung mobile phone owners are painfully aware, lithium batteries have a horrifying habit of spontaneous ignition. STT has fond memories of watching fellow airline passengers being berated for having a Samsung 7 in their pocket.

And there have been plenty of incidents where the lithium batteries in Tesla’s electric cars have exploded in flames.

Now, it’s grid-scale explosions and conflagrations that we need to be concerned about, not just the odd exploding Telsa S and Samsung 7.

Here’s a little saga from the land Downunder, where a giant Tesla decided to release a whole of ‘wonderful green’ energy in a furious hurry.

Crews battle Tesla battery fire at Moorabool, near Geelong
ABC
Leanne Wong
30 July 2021

A toxic blaze at the site of Australia’s largest Tesla battery project is set to burn throughout the night.

The fire broke out during testing of a Tesla megapack at the Victorian Big Battery site near Geelong.

A 13-tonne lithium battery was engulfed in flames, which then spread to an adjacent battery bank.

More than 150 people from Fire Rescue Victoria and the Country Fire Authority responded to the blaze, which has been contained and will be closely monitored until it burns itself out.

“If we try and cool them down it just prolongs the process,” the CFA’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ian Beswicke said.

“But we could be here anywhere from 8 to 24 hours while we wait for it to burn down.”

The Tesla battery is expected to become the largest battery (or bomb) in the southern hemisphere as part of a Victorian Government push to transition to renewable energy.

Ambulance Victoria members are also on site monitoring the health of firefighters.

A toxic smoke warning has been issued near Geelong.

Residents have been warned to close windows, close fireplace flues and bring their pets inside in the Batesford, Bell Post Hill, Lovely Banks and Moorabool areas.

No-one was injured and the site has been evacuated.

Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said the battery had been isolated and disconnected from the main electricity grid and “there are no implications” for supply.

The Tesla battery was paid for by renewable energy company Neoen.

Neoen Australia’s Managing Director, Louis de Sambucy said Neoen and Tesla were working closely with emergency services on site to manage the situation.

Transcript

Ian Beswicke: Yeah, the plan is that we’ll let the battery bank burn itself out. Now it’s about 15 metres long by three metres high by three metres wide. There’s another one right beside it that is currently burning as well. So we cannot put them out with water or anything else. The best way to deal with these things is to let them burn until they are burnt out. If we try and cool them down, it just prolongs the process. So by letting them burn, and this wind is helping us by keeping it burning fairly freely, but we could be here anywhere from eight to 24 hours whilst we wait for it to burn down.
ABC

So, there you have it – when one of these ‘planet saving miracles’ spontaneously bursts into a lethally toxic fireball, it’s a case of burn, baby burn!  No point attempting to extinguish the blaze, just keep clear of the toxic fumes and let it eventually burn itself out.

Oh, and if you think this is a rare and unusual occurrence, see our post here: Giant Batteries Bomb: Renewable Energy Storage Systems Literally Setting The World On Fire

And here are a couple more for your “Blazing RE Battery” scrapbook – care of the team from Jo Nova.

Big batteries could be bigger bombs than Beirut Fertilizer
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
13 July 2021

It turns out storing Megawatts of high density energy in a confined space is “like a bomb”. Who could have seen that coming, apart from everyone who understands what a megawatt is?

Clean, green, noisy and explosive.

And they are “unregulated” in the UK.

GWPF

UK’s giant battery ‘farms’ spark fears of explosions that can reach temperatures of 660C
Amy Oliver
Mail on Sunday

…according to a troubling new report from leading physicists, these vast batteries amount to electrical bombs with the force of many hundreds of tons of TNT.

With the potential for huge explosions, fires and clouds of toxic gas, they could devastate towns and villages nearby, says Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University and co-author of the report.

The batteries, designed as reservoirs of spare electricity for when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun fails to shine, are spreading around the British countryside. And this, says Prof Allison and his fellow scientists, could spell catastrophe.

It’s like a potential bomb,’ he says. ‘When batteries catch fire, you can’t just squirt water on them and put out the flames. It’s evident from our research that nothing has been done to tackle this problem.’

Given the size of the proposed plants, Prof Allison says this could, in theory, lead to an explosion several times bigger than the one that destroyed the harbour in Beirut last year.

The threat of fire is not merely theoretical. South Korea saw 23 battery farm fires in just two years. A recent battery fire in Illinois burned for three days and thousands of residents were evacuated.

Such blazes release highly toxic gases. One – hydrogen fluoride – is lethal if inhaled, and causes irreversible health effects after an hour of exposure, according to Public Health England.

Meanwhile 3 – 4,000 people were evacuated in Morris Illinois the week before last, as 100 tons of batteries burned. The fire burned for days. They could not use water or foam, and in the end, the burning batteries were smothered with 28 tons of cement.

These were run of the mill cell-phone and car batteries.

Jo Nova Blog

One of South Korea’s big batteries having a ‘moment’

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    Like chickens coming home to roost. At Black Rock sewerage outlet near Geelong the first AU wind turbine was constructed (still have photos of the little thing – somewhere). It was supposedly to supply power to operate screening & pumping at the outlet that used to leave litter on 13th Beach & although wind was mainly SW, never saw it turning. Littering problem was solved by extending the outlet to about a kilometer. Often used to fish near there, but west of.

    Couldn’t wait to get away from Geelong. One reason was because of all the ‘Green’ parties; you guess the euphemism. So many coincidences, I was at one time chief engineer at the Lovely Banks airfield; it was called Pilotmakers back then. Moorabool (Post Code 3221) is closer to Ballarat, north-west of Greater Geelong (Post Code 3220) so saying it’s Geelong where a second prison is being built, is confusing. Guess that says a bit either about RE or the ABC.

  2. David O'Neill says:
  3. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    What about all those batteries being installed at homes to store excess solar produced energy?
    Are they also able to combust and spew out dangerous toxins????
    Have home owners been warned about the danger?
    I wonder if home insurance companies would payout for damage to neighbours health and/or properties?

  4. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    Doesn’t matter at all if these things work. In fact, this fire is really great news for the Green criminals because now they can sell more of their shit to taxpayers.

  5. David O'Neill says:

    Thank you SST for putting this together. My curiosity now leads me to the following questions:
    What was the wind speed and direction?
    What was the temperature and humidity.
    In terms of parts per million, what readings of toxic/corrosive substances were being detected down wind, especially Hydrogen Fluoride?
    Thinking of venting combustible gases with toxic gases, was the HVAC for the neighboring containers kept running or turned off?
    I estimate the smoke warning area to be 34 square Kilometres.
    Had this system been operational (with more energy released), would this mean a chain reaction with the other containers?
    If so, would the emergency services have to extend its action to include the densely populated area close to the coast?
    Considering the explosive potential of combustible gases in the now heated nearby containers, should fire fighters be expected to approach?
    Thank you again, David

  6. Shudong Zhou says:

    Take off your pants and fart. It’s unnecessary to put butter on bacon.
    Electrical power from solar or wind is garbage electricity, which exists just because of subsidy. Without these,
    without huge storage it’s useless, because you cant adjust the amount generated.

  7. Bemused Bill says:

    Imagine this in a tunnel with cars backed up for a hundred meters….! Wont be long now….

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