Beirut Harbour Explosion. Source Youtube. Fair use, low resolution image to identify the subject.

Study: Grid Battery Facilities Could Explode with Greater Force than the Beirut Harbour Blast

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova, GWPF; Brace for impact – as Beirut learned the hard way in 2020, thousands of tons of unstable chemicals piled up in one place can abruptly release their stored energy a lot faster than intended.

UK’s giant battery ‘farms’ spark fears of explosions that can reach temperatures of 660C – even worse than the Beirut port blast – with one expert calling them ‘potential bombs’

  • Facilities contain huge batteries storing electricity for the National Grid – a new form of crop for farmers scrambling to cash in on the ‘green’ energy revolution
  • New report from leading physicists says vast batteries amount to electrical bombs with force of many hundreds of tons of TNT
  • Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University: ‘It’s like a potential bomb. When batteries catch fire, you can’t just squirt water on them’
  • MoS has identified nearly 400 battery sites – from Newquay to the Scottish Highlands – which are either operational or in development

By AMY OLIVER FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 07:23 AEST, 11 July 2021 | UPDATED: 07:28 AEST, 11 July 2021 

The first thing you notice is the noise – a strange, low-octave hum growing louder as you approach across the fields.

It’s coming from a group of bland metal cabins sitting on land that was once used to grow wheat and barley.

Yet these new agricultural buildings are nothing to do with food production. Instead, they contain huge batteries storing electricity for the National Grid – a new form of crop for farmers scrambling to cash in on the ‘green’ energy revolution.

And, 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.

Last year in Merseyside, one of three battery cabins on a site caught fire and exploded. A report seen by The Mail on Sunday said nearby residents, who were ordered to stay indoors, had their homes rocked by the explosion.

Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9775467/UKs-battery-farms-spark-fears-explosions.html

The abstract of the study;

Safety of Grid Scale Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems

June 2021

Project: Energy. the basic science of its availability, storage and safety

EurIng Dr Edmund Fordham MA PhD CPhys CEng FInstP Fellow of the Institute of Physics
Dr Wade Allison MA DPhil Professor of Physics, Fellow of Keble College, Oxford University
Professor Sir David Melville CBE FInstP Professor of Physics, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent

Executive Summary

1. Li-ion batteries are dominant in large, grid-scale, Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) of several MWh and upwards in capacity. Several proposals for large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) “energy farms” are current, incorporating very large capacity BESS. These “mega-scale” BESS have capacities many times the Hornsdale Power Reserve in S. Australia (193 MWh), which was the largest BESS in the world at its installation in 2017.

2. Despite storing electrochemical energy of many hundreds of tons of TNT equivalent, and several times the energy released in the August 2020 Beirut explosion, these BESS are regarded as “articles” by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in defiance of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) 2015, intended to safeguard public health, property and the environment. The HSE currently makes no representations on BESS to Planning Examinations.

3. Li-ion batteries can fail by “thermal runaway” where overheating in a single faulty cell can propagate to neighbours with energy releases popularly known as “battery fires”. These are not strictly “fires” at all, requiring no oxygen to propagate. They are uncontrollable except by extravagant water cooling. They evolve toxic gases such as Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) and highly inflammable gases including Hydrogen (H2), Methane (CH4), Ethylene (C2H4) and Carbon Monoxide (CO). These in turn may cause further explosions or fires upon ignition. The chemical energy then released can be up to 20 times the stored electrochemical energy. Acute Toxic gases and Inflammable Gases are “dangerous substances” controlled by COMAH 2015. Quantities present “if control of the process is lost” determine the applicability of COMAH.

4. We believe that the approach of the HSE is scientifically mistaken and legally incorrect.

5. “Battery fires” in grid scale BESS have occurred in South Korea, Belgium (2017), Arizona (2019) and in urban Liverpool (Sept 2020). The reports into the Arizona explosion [8, 9] are revelatory, and essential reading for accident planning. A report into the Liverpool “fire” though promised for New Year 2021, has not yet been released by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service or the operator Ørsted; it is vital for public safety that it be published very soon.

6. No existing engineering standards address thermal runaway adequately, or require measures (such as those already used in EV batteries) to pre-empt propagation of runaway events.

7. Lacking oversight by the HSE, the entire responsibility for major accident planning currently lies with local Fire and Rescue Services. Current plans may be inadequate in respect of water supplies, or for protection of the local public against toxic plumes.

8. The scale of Li-ion BESS energy storage envisioned at “mega scale” energy farms is unprecedented and requires urgent review. The explosion potential and the lack of engineering standards to prevent thermal runaway may put control of “battery fires” beyond the knowledge, experience and capabilities of local Fire and Rescue Services. BESS present special hazards to fire-fighters; four sustained life-limiting injuries in the Arizona incident.

9. We identify the well-established hazards of large-scale Li-ion BESS and review authoritative accounts and analyses of BESS incidents. An internet video [10] is essential initial instruction.

10. We review engineering standards relating to Li-ion BESS and concur with other authorities that these are inadequate to prevent the known hazard of “thermal runaway”. We conclude that large-scale BESS should be COMAH establishments and regulated appropriately. We respectfully request evidence from the HSE that “mega-scale” BESS are not within the scope of COMAH.

11. We seek the considered response of relevant Government Departments as well as senior fire safety professionals to these concerns.

Read more: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/352158070_Safety_of_Grid_Scale_Lithium-ion_Battery_Energy_Storage_Systems

The professors also published an explanatory article on Linked In.

Even if you are not injured or killed by the blast, the chemicals released by a battery fire or explosion are impressively toxic, so much so if you see say an EV catch fire the best thing for your health is to run the opposite direction, obviously after rendering assistance to any occupants if you can do so safely. Lithium poisoning can cause permanent dementia like brain injuries, along with a host of other horrible symptoms. The smoke from a major grid scale battery fire could potentially force the rapid evacuation of an entire city.

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Tom Halla
July 13, 2021 10:14 am

Anything containing that much chemical energy,with the “fuel” and “oxidizer” both contained in the same packaging looks remarkably like an explosive.
And,obviously the more energy density, the larger the potential explosion.

Scissor
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 13, 2021 11:11 am

Yes, that’s the issue, fuel and oxidizer together. But at least with batteries, separation of electrodes effectively lowers energy density to some extent compared to say ammonium nitrite.

Slower kinetics in batteries means that firefighting requires intensive effort over a relatively long time. With AN, the quick blasts mean it’s more of a recovery effort.

StephenP
Reply to  Scissor
July 13, 2021 11:22 pm

When ammonium nitrate is stored on farm it is subject to a whole raft of regulations from the HSE, http://www.hse.gov.uk
Details can be found in their pdf indg230.pdf
Are lithium ion battery farms subject to similar regulations?

Gerry, England
Reply to  StephenP
July 14, 2021 5:25 am

Er, no and I think the full article said that Johnson’s Tories are making it easier to get planning permission for these sites in their insane rush to destroy our economy so the lying oaf can get laid.

I only learnt of the fertiliser storage issues from watching Jeremy Clarkson’s Farm on Prime.

The Saint
Reply to  Gerry, England
July 16, 2021 9:38 am

Terrorists could use little starter explosives to ignite these battery complexes.

Duane
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 14, 2021 6:50 pm

You obviously don’t know shit about explosives.

Explosion is all about extremely rapid energy release. Batteries cannot release energy at explosive velocities. Batteries can burn, and burn very hotly, but not explode.

Just because a large battery can store a relatively large amount of energy does not mean it can explode. A raging river during spring runoff has and releases huge amounts of energy, but to my knowledge no river has ever exploded.

Jack
Reply to  Duane
July 16, 2021 2:36 pm

Think it ALL the way through….batteries have thermal runaway, explosive gases are emitted, all it takes is spark or sufficient heat (to spontaneously combust), boom!

https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2020/07/27/aps-battery-explosion-surprise-new-report-findings/5523361002/

[stick with your valid email address-mod]

John Tillman
July 13, 2021 10:16 am

Lead-acid batteries would be a pollution nightmare, and also an explosion danger if the H2 they generate isn’t collected. The SO2 is smelly. But they cost less than Li-ion batteries, and less lithium would need be mined. Better to save the Li for devices and vehicles.

MarkW
Reply to  John Tillman
July 13, 2021 10:25 am

Lead-acid batteries can be recycled. Unlike Li-ion batteries.
I thought Lead-acid only produced H2 if it was over charged? Anyway, just keeping the storage facility ventilated is usually enough to manage H2 production.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 12:05 pm
Eisenhower
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 12:52 pm

Batteries can be recycled through smelting, direct recovery, and other, newer processes. A smelting process is used to recover many minerals (e.g. lithium, cobalt, nickel) contained in the battery. After a battery is smelted, the lithium ends up as a mixed byproduct and extracting it is costly. While the cost of fully recycling a lithium-ion battery is about €1 per kilogram, the value of the raw minerals reclaimed from the process is only about a third of that.Another way to look at the cost of extraction of lithium from old batteries is that it is 5 times more expensive than mined lithium.

ARK
Reply to  Eisenhower
July 13, 2021 3:22 pm

I don’t think the recycling process will have any real value in reclaimed materials; I think the value will be the reduction in disposal costs.

Graeme#4
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 5:15 pm

Every time I’ve looked closely at company’s claims that they recycle lithium batteries, I’ve never found any evidence that they are recovering the lithium.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 6:20 pm

Stopped reading that when I saw the sentence beginning “Don’t miss out on business opportunities…”

Advertisement.

Bryan A
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 7:51 pm

Yes and plastic bottles are also recycled by shipping them to China and India where they’re dumped into rivers and wash into the ocean

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 14, 2021 9:54 pm

Why Li batteries are hard (ie, un-economical) to recycle:
https://cen.acs.org/materials/energy-storage/time-serious-recycling-lithium/97/i28
IIRC the head of Tesla’s new battery division was interviewed last year and he hoped to be able to recycle their batteries within the next 10 years .

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 12:15 pm

Yes, both H2 and O2 when overcharged, hence overheated.

The battery batteries would have to be enormous for grid scale storage. Tons of lead and sulfur. At least they’re cheap.

But whether lead or lithium, more mining will be required. We can get the sulfur from coal!

Charles Higley
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 12:40 pm

It is patently insane to think that batteries of any kind can store energy to support a grid. Just dumb.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Charles Higley
July 14, 2021 2:32 pm

Nature created a beautiful battery that stored sunshine from eons ago for use to tap today. It’s called fossil fuel-and we have over 500 years-at current usage-left.

Reply to  John Tillman
July 13, 2021 10:57 am

It would be far better to ignore the blatantly false claims that battery storage, solar and wind are necessary to save the planet. All that can result from this insanity is economic harm that negatively affects the developed world, and mostly those who can least afford it. Considering that all of this green nonsense will be largely to the benefit of a greedy China attempting to wrest the world economy away from freedom, if enabling and allowing this to happen isn’t criminal, it should be and those responsible must be held to account.

John Tillman
Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 13, 2021 12:16 pm

I agree, but not adding on more unreliables doesn’t seem an option at the moment.

Geoffrey Williams
Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 13, 2021 5:47 pm

Why are you blaming China?
The demand is caused by the West, surely . .

Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
July 13, 2021 6:36 pm

I’m not blaming China, they’re only taking advantage of the stupidity of the West, even though how they go about business is generally unethical and unfair. I blame those who created the demand in the first place based on the deception promoted by the IPCC who are either blissfully ignorant that their behavior is playing right into China’s hand or are enabling the destruction of Western democracies on purpose. The fact that all this green nonsense is based on horribly flawed science that comes from such a place of evil masquerading as for the better good just makes this so much worse. The deception has worked far too well and if these fools suceed, the new dark age it will spawn could last for centuries.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  John Tillman
July 13, 2021 12:01 pm

We had a new fangled fridge that used SO2 as a coolant in the 1940s. Up to that time we had an icebox
with ice blocks delivered twice a week. The fridge sprung a leak and we had to evacuate the house and get firemen to take it away. I still have a vivid recall of the horrid smell.

MarkW
July 13, 2021 10:22 am

We are trying to save the planet here. So what if we accidentally kill a few million people.

Spetzer86
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 10:36 am

Shhh. The plan is to do both.

Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 10:50 am

Collateral damage [..]
friendy fire [..]

Bill Powers
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 11:02 am

Mark, Isn’t all this no consequence free renewable energy just the best stuff ever: Safe, clean, reliable, Climate stable, non polluting, and did I mention free?

Until we create the infrastructure for using it turning into: Expensive, explosive, unreliable, corrosive, planet polluting, deadly to avian wildlife, and besides “Death by Boom!” for 10s of thousands, unreliable can lead to death from exposure, and child slave labor to mine the necessary minerals has been know to lead to premature death in adolescence.

Editor
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 3:09 pm

Just envision all of the lovely Wilson clouds, dazzling white, rising above all of the massive explosions. What a grand sight to see!!!!

Regards,
Bob

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 8:36 pm

Well, they killed a few million to prove Trump wrong by withholding two drugs that worked on Covid.

Bob Cherba
July 13, 2021 10:35 am

Interesting. I live in Tucson, AZ, and can’t recall hearing about the 2019 battery fire at Surprise, AZ. Get more than enough news and ads touting solar+batteries for my home and for Tucson Electric Power solar plants which can power X-number of homes for maybe 10 hours a day. (The ads don’t mention that solar panels only generate power while the sun shines.)

MarkW
Reply to  Bob Cherba
July 13, 2021 1:26 pm

Not just while the sun shines, but while the sun is pretty close to directly over head. Power drops off rapidly the further from directly over head the sun is. (This includes the difference between winter and summer sun angles as well.)

Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 6:33 pm

A better one from last year. https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2020/07/27/aps-battery-explosion-surprise-new-report-findings/5523361002/

Thermal runaway. Lack of ventilation. Lack of isolation. Fire suppression that was not intended to deal with a battery fire.

Oh, but all the problems are solved! APS will continue to install the remaining 99.77% of the system. (The unit that blew was 2 MW. They plan an 850 MW system, scattered around the State. What possibly can go wrong?)

Robert Alfred Taylor
Reply to  Don Perry
July 13, 2021 4:15 pm

Wonderful headline: “Firefighters injured in Surprise explosion.” (Grin; the headline, not the injuries of course._
Surprise! Grid scale batteries explode! Aren’t Greens wonderful in their ignorance. That was covered here about 10 years ago. I’ve lost the reference, but remember it well.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Don Perry
July 14, 2021 4:22 am
Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Don Perry
July 14, 2021 4:41 am
Spetzer86
July 13, 2021 10:35 am

I wonder how easy it is to eat electricity? Do you toss it with oil and a little basil or just eat it raw?

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Spetzer86
July 13, 2021 10:39 am

Needs salt…

Scissor
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 11:18 am

I assume berries go well with it because people keep talking about currents.

Also, if a husband and wife are seen eating electricity in a fancy restaurant, then people assume they are a power couple.

Bryan A
Reply to  Scissor
July 13, 2021 10:15 pm

Now that would be a shocking sight

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 10:14 pm

Gatorade should be used to wash it down though due to the Electrolytes

Scissor
Reply to  Spetzer86
July 13, 2021 11:14 am

I don’t know about eating it, but a electricity Martini needs to be dry, otherwise it’s shocking.

H.R.
Reply to  Spetzer86
July 13, 2021 11:26 am

Tastes like chicken.

MarkW
Reply to  Spetzer86
July 13, 2021 1:27 pm

Just like numbers, electricity is best served cooked.

TonyG
Reply to  Spetzer86
July 14, 2021 12:43 pm

Gotta brine it first.

rbabcock
July 13, 2021 10:37 am

Nothing to see here, please disburse.

John Tillman
Reply to  rbabcock
July 13, 2021 1:26 pm

So he’s taking bribes before dispersal?

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  rbabcock
July 14, 2021 4:24 am

One of my all-time favorite scenes.

Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 10:38 am

As in all new technologies (giant battery farms) it will require a disaster before government takes it seriously. One can contain a blast fairly easily, just leave enough room around the facility and put up a blast wall high enough to focus the blast (if any) upwards.

Containing toxic fumes is a whole different can of worms. If indeed a battery facility can explode then you cannot contain the fumes. The first choice would be to use something non-toxic, but that isn’t going to happen. They will need to build these facilities far away from humans – work places, homes, roads, etc.

I wonder when these batteries facilities burn if they leave a “lithium fallout” shadow on the landscape?

Maybe they should apply the exact same standards to lithium battery farms as they do to nuclear power? Require airplane proof reinforced concrete shells to surround an inner shell of stainless steel where the batteries are placed? That would raise the price of green energy a tad.

So now we have the possibilities of glass-shard-nadoes plowing through the countryside, of burning wind turbines falling on dry crops, exploding cars and exploding buildings that release toxic fumes…Wow, what wonderful choices the Greens are making for our future.

Scissor
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 11:20 am

Whats her name will want some for the South side of Chicago.

a_scientist
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 11:24 am

Illinois had a lithium battery fire a few weeks ago. 80-100 tons of batteries.

It burned for almost a week as fire fighters could do nothing.

https://www.fox32chicago.com/news/3000-residents-evacuated-in-morris-after-warehouse-fire

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/7/1/22559542/batteries-exploding-as-fire-continues-to-burn-in-abandoned-building-in-morris

As for the people, a 10 mile evacuation radius, and a week later, people are still not back safely. This is what we are looking forward to with grid batteries. As with all technology, you could build in big safety pits or underground, but that drives up the cost of already too costly back-up batteries. (On top of already too expensive solar and wind power)

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  a_scientist
July 13, 2021 11:45 am

Yikes.

H.R.
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 13, 2021 4:03 pm

No… YIKES!!!

Bryan A
Reply to  H.R.
July 13, 2021 8:44 pm

My official prediction…
Over the next 50 years there will be three times as many Lithium Battery fires and grid battery explosions as there has been Nuclear mishaps over the last 50 years but only a small fraction will ever be reported

EOM
Reply to  a_scientist
July 13, 2021 12:25 pm

How come that catastrophe never made it into the news?

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  EOM
July 13, 2021 12:46 pm

Because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

MarkW
Reply to  EOM
July 13, 2021 1:34 pm

How many people have heard about the demonstrations against the government that are going on in Cuba?
The Democratic Socialists of America, who count AOC as a member, have come out in favor of the government and against the protesters.

Last edited 16 days ago by MarkW
joe belford
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 2:10 pm

Cuba is insignificant.

MarkW
Reply to  joe belford
July 13, 2021 3:28 pm

So is global warming, yet it keeps you up at night.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 6:54 pm

Well said, Mark.

joe belford
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 13, 2021 7:27 pm

Not only is Mark insignificant, he’s irrelevant.

Last edited 15 days ago by joe belford
Rory Forbes
Reply to  joe belford
July 13, 2021 8:18 pm

You might even be right about Mark, but that has nothing whatever to do with the truth of his response. What is it about logic that baffles so many of you alarmists and other Left leaning social detritus?

joe belford
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 7:26 pm

Can’t respond to my assertion?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  joe belford
July 13, 2021 9:06 pm

You’re kind of a tool.
Your assertion is that Cuba is insignificant?
It’s the leading light of socialism in the Western Hemisphere and the people have had enough.

I think that is significant.

I spent a lot of time there with Sherritt in the late 90s, I’m only surprised it took this long to happen.

It is significant.

TonyG
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
July 14, 2021 1:11 pm

I would love to see joe stand in front of some of those protestors in Cuba and tell them they’re insignificant.

Nice callous dismissal of the plight of oppressed people there.

TonyG
Reply to  MarkW
July 14, 2021 1:09 pm

“have come out in favor of the government”
I hadn’t heard that one yet.

What I HAVE heard is WH officials saying they are protesting lack of Covid care and vaccines. Or climate change.

MarkW
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 1:31 pm

If there is the possibility of debris in the blast, then just directing the blast upwards is not enough. Everything lofted by the explosion will fall somewhere.
Since these batteries have to be enclosed to protect them from the environment (especially temperatures that are too high or too low), then there is guaranteed to be a lot of debris in the explosion.

Which means making your building tough enough to withstand the explosion is the only option.

H.R.
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 4:10 pm

Put them in an explosion-proof enclosure; top and sides.

Locate them over played out shale oil deposits. When they go BOOM, all of the shock will be directed downwards. It’ll frac the shale and someone can go recover the oil later.

Yeah… that’s the ticket.
😜

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 5:55 pm

In the aftermath of the toxic mess will be the reality that uninterrupted electricity is no longer possible.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  MarkW
July 14, 2021 4:33 am

They could put the whole shebang inside of a nuclear power plant containment building. That can withstand the impact of a 747 at landing speed, and contain steam pressure of at least 40 psia – I think it could easily contain a battery fire/explosion. Of course, it costs a couple of hundred million dollars.

MarkW
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 1:32 pm

By moving the battery farms away from populated areas, you are going to increase the line losses, both going to the farm and returning from it.

MarkW
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 3:29 pm

Does someone disagree with that statement, or is it just joe reflexively downvoting anyone who dares to disagree with him?

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 9:06 pm

G’Day MarkW

Does someone disagree…”

No, it looks as if several ‘someone’s’ are systematically down-voting selected posters. John T seems to be getting ‘hit’ quite a bit.

niceguy
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 13, 2021 5:21 pm

The answer to any techno/political idea has to be either NPP style safety rules or Mueller style probe – or an impeachment.

Tom
July 13, 2021 10:59 am

Lithium batterie are now ubiquitous. Each of us owns at least one. As with chemical plants, refineries, and nuclear power plants, there is risk which must be managed and mitigated. How many power walls or similar devices have been installed? Have there been fires? Of course, your house can burn down without a power wall.

BobM
Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 11:41 am

But is much more likely to do so with one.

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 11:56 am

Our local transfer station (county) rates very high as competent government organization, which doesn’t require much, takes all sorts of things. For Lithium, take it to Lowe’s. Small flashlight lithium ones don’t give you much information, show trashcan with an X as also the antique laptop battery I’m discarding . Can’t ship them. Even lead acid low voltage batteries can be a problem such as when overcharged, fortunately hydrogen is not very dangerous, which is of course required for running things.

dk_
Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 12:41 pm

Tom, True, but the basic fallacy has to do with scale. Individual batteries, or just a few cells carry a calculable risk (although most people are not aware of the danger), but mass storage carries an immense compound risk for more people than will be served by the facility.

The grid is not for storage. Adding mass storage to the grid creates a huge risk for little or no gain, NIMBY high levels of pollution, but just a great cost sink and big, continuing payments to the CCP.

Fake grid storage is not like a cell phone or a power wall, and for the latter application, even lead-acid is cheaper and cleaner, and even more common.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 1:36 pm

While Li batteries are ubiquitous, most of them are small to tiny. The risk is very small.

Are you really going to take the position that as long as there is some risk in life, it doesn’t matter how much extra risk you take on?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  MarkW
July 14, 2021 2:46 am

youve seen the injuries from phone and vape batteries? not so insignificant when near flesh

Mr.
Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 4:15 pm

True Tom.
But I make a practice of not storing packs of nitroglycerine in my basement, as they too have a habit of spontaneously going splutter, splutter, BOOM!

So I’ll probably pass on a PowerWall or an EV for the time being.

Reply to  Tom
July 13, 2021 6:48 pm

Drop a firecracker on your bare foot, you’ll get a nasty chemical burn.

Drop a stick of TNT on your foot, you’ll be learning to live without legs (if you live, that is).

TonyG
Reply to  Tom
July 14, 2021 1:37 pm

Seems to me there is a very significant difference between a lithium battery in a laptop, or even a car, vs. a battery facility that can store several hundred megawatt-hours.

You’re likening a gas can to a refinery.

Neo
July 13, 2021 11:12 am

I’ve been saying this for years.
If you have a power storage device that holds any reasonably useful amount of power, you also have a potential bomb.

Rich Lentz
July 13, 2021 11:19 am

A friend of mine that is an avid hot air balloonist that has set several height, speed and distance records was on an attempt to beat his height record when the very, VERY, expensive US Military specification certified for current, temperature and atmospheric pressure he would be subjecting it to burst into flames. He was hanging from his Balloon like a Hang Glider pilot in a Mummy Sleeping bag. Luckily, he could reach the battery and was quick enough to jettison it before serious damage happened to him or the rigging. Needless to say he still does not trust or use LiIon batteries regardless of the certification or pedigree. I read and follow ALL precautions for the LiIon batteries for my Laptops and tools.

dk_
July 13, 2021 11:21 am

The Morris, Illinois fire was pretty big just last week. Is it the fire or the news about it that is supressed?

goldminor
Reply to  dk_
July 13, 2021 2:07 pm

This is the first that I have heard of this. Obviously mainstream media is helping keep this out of the news.

Brad-DXT
July 13, 2021 11:21 am

A warehouse by Morris, IL is still smoldering after 2 weeks. There were evacuations and I’m not sure if people have been allowed back home yet. The firefighters tried several methods to quench the fire and ended up pouring concrete on it. More fires to be expected when the debris is removed.
These batteries were just in storage when they shorted out and caught fire. The ecological ramifications have yet to be assessed.

dk_
Reply to  Brad-DXT
July 13, 2021 11:37 am

That was fast! Thanks, Brad, it seems we were typing at the same time.

Last edited 16 days ago by dk_
a_scientist
Reply to  dk_
July 13, 2021 11:51 am

No, beat you to it at 11:24 !

dk_
Reply to  a_scientist
July 13, 2021 12:29 pm

Point. Must remember to refresh. Thanks.

griff
July 13, 2021 11:38 am

A friend of mine had his front door blown off by an exploding Hertfordshire oil depot…

dk_
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 11:40 am

You don’t have friends. Lying again.

whiten
Reply to  dk_
July 13, 2021 2:20 pm

Most probably griff has a “team” there…

And I my self would not mind at all if griff gets to asks me replacing her team…
At any time griffie.

It will be my full pleasure.

😎

cheers

dk_
Reply to  whiten
July 13, 2021 2:35 pm

Can’t believe I didn’t see it before.

Last edited 16 days ago by dk_
dk_
Reply to  whiten
July 13, 2021 2:38 pm

Ha. Griffa Thumb-bork

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 12:16 pm

There was bad maintenance, untrained workmen and sloppy safety procedures. Yes, you can have an accident if you don’t handle inflammable substances correctly.

Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 2:35 pm

Count burning batteries (including phones etc) and burning oil depots….

Rory Forbes
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 8:27 pm

I’m with dk_ … you don’t have any friends. But what’s your point? Someone you heard of lived too close to an oil depot?

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
July 14, 2021 5:26 pm

Griff,
Got that beat…
A friend of mine lost his home and contents to a fire caused when his next door neighbors Tesla Battery exploded while recharging

Carlo, Monte
July 13, 2021 11:39 am

Hydrogen Fluoride? An extremely nasty compound you do not want to come in contact with—goes through the soft tissues and aggressively attacks bones.

Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 11:41 am

Make easy targets for those with malice or mental problems.

July 13, 2021 12:18 pm

Sakes alive! I still worry about LNG carriers, too.

“I try to be cynical enough but it’s so hard to keep up.”
-paraphrase of Lilly Tomlin

MarkW
Reply to  Dave Burton
July 13, 2021 1:40 pm

Not LNG, but still dangerous

https://www.foxnews.com/us/fuel-tanker-fire-troy-michigan

I lived in Tampa when one of these over turned under a major bridge.
The bridge had to be torn down and rebuilt.

Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 6:55 pm

One East of Tucson, too. Fortunately, an overpass over I-10 for a relatively little traveled road.

But even if it had happened at the I-10 / I-19 interchange, it would have been a very expensive rebuild, probably a couple dozen injuries, and an evacuation for a mile around, maybe two days worth.

A lithium explosion – massive toxic cleanup operation; probably many hundreds of millions of dollars to tear down and rebuild everything for miles around. (Possibly a silver lining, though, if the wind were from the south that day, straight towards the City, State, and Federal buildings…)

Charles Higley
July 13, 2021 12:38 pm

Ah, such negative thinking. What could possibly go wrong? If you die in the initial blast, you are golden.

Just like the unproven, untested experimental non-vaccines that are 100% safe based on no valid trials at all and should even be given to infants. What could possibly go wrong?

MarkW
Reply to  Charles Higley
July 13, 2021 1:43 pm

First you claim they are untested, then you claim the tests are invalid.
Nobody has ever proposed given them to infants. The lowest approved age at present is 12 years old. I have heard that they might be lowering that to 5 years by the end of the year.
Nobody has ever claimed that the vaccines are 100% safe.

Regardless the tests exist and have been approved by the same authorities that normally approve vaccines. The benefit these vaccines have received is mostly being moved to the front of the line at each step in the process.

Last edited 16 days ago by MarkW
Carlo, Monte
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 6:04 pm

Dr. Peter McCullough: CDC whistleblowers say mRNA gene treatments have already killed 50,000 Americans:

https://www.algora.com/Algora_blog/2021/06/27/dr-peter-mccullough-whistleblowers-inside-cdc-claim-injections-have-already-killed-50000-americans

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 14, 2021 7:26 am

Please stop spreading McCullough’s lies, to mislead people into making the potentially fatal mistake of refusing vaccination for Covid-19. Here’s a detailed rebuttal, by David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, of the McCullough disinformation:

https://respectfulinsolence.com/2021/05/17/latest-antivax-lie-covid-19-vaccines-are-killing-people/

Anti-vaxer lies are KILLING tens of thousands of people. A majority of Americans have wisely gotten vaccinated, and nearly all of the >200 deaths per day from Covid-19 are from the minority of Americans who were not vaccinated.

The Covid-19 vaccines are saving millions of lives, but they’d be saving many more if it weren’t for the lies from people like Peter McCullough, Joe Mercola, Sherri Tenpenny, Jon Rappoport, Simone Gold, Alex Jones, Robert Kennedy Jr., etc.

For TRUTHFUL Covid-19 information, about the disease, the vaccines, and the hundreds of investigational treatment protocols, I have a large collection of links to useful resources, here:

https://sealevel.info/covid.html

ozspeaksup
Reply to  MarkW
July 14, 2021 2:51 am

maybe watch this then, re a slew of curiously wrong issues re not actually a vaccine as vaccines are meant to be
https://www.brighteon.com/a569c7c9-9572-47ed-ba3c-130b0c13aa55
ps aussies are now up to over 50 clot incidents with some deaths, and ongoing hospital etc

Reply to  ozspeaksup
July 14, 2021 10:40 am

You get your information from a source which says, “…no pandemic.. no variants… There was no novel Coronavirus…”

Seriously???

I’m annoyed when climate propagandists call scientists who are skeptical of the imaginary climate crisis “deniers.” That’s just “poisoning the well,” and they do it because they (understandably) are uncomfortable debating the science.

But people who think the pandemic is also imaginary really are in denial (and that ain’t a river in Egypt).

I’ll bet you assumed that the supposed expert featured in that crackpot video, “Dr. David Martin,” is a medical doctor, didn’t you? Or at least that he has some sort of PhD credential related to medicine, viruses, or at least biology, right?

That’s obviously what they want you to think.

He doesn’t, though. His credentials have nothing at all to do with any of those things. He is this guy. His expertise is in business and intellectual property. You can read his bio here.

If you click “show more” you’ll see that that page also says, “Everyone is spinning, lying, giving disinfo, you name it…” That’s called “projection.” People who lie often excuse their own dishonesty by assuming that “everybody does it.”

BTW, the rare blood clot incidents to which you refer are associated only with vaccines based on modified adenoviruses, not on mRNA vaccines (Moderna & Pfizer). Unless you have a very unusual medical contraindication, it is foolish to not get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Reply to  Dave Burton
July 14, 2021 6:19 pm

BTW, that anonymous Brighteon / WGON guy (who seems to be associated with notorious scammer Mike “Health Ranger” Adams) has no right to complain about being censored, because he (or they?) censor the comments on the Brighteon site, deleting those they disagree with… including this one (which is similar to my comment above; I saved a screenshot before they deleted it).

TonyG
Reply to  MarkW
July 14, 2021 1:44 pm

“Nobody has ever proposed given them to infants”
Fauci wants unvaccinated 2-year-olds wearing masks, which suggests 2-year-olds should be vaccinated.

Reply to  Charles Higley
July 14, 2021 12:35 am

“Untested, experimental” — good grief, what are you smoking, Charles??
 
How many hundreds of millions of doses will it take before anti-vaxers finally admit that the leading Covid-19 vaccines are no longer “untested”?

There are some untested vaccines, of course. At last count, there were 331 different Covid-19 vaccines, in all stages of development (16 of them are currently in use, somewhere in the world). To get an untested vaccine you would have to enroll in a trial.

Even then you might not. I enrolled in the Novavax trial, but it turned out that I got a placebo. (So then I got Moderna.)

It seems slightly ironic that you called the vaccines “untested” on the very day that the United States reached the more-jabs-than-people milestone:

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/covid-vaccination-doses-per-capita?tab=chart&stackMode=absolute&country=~USA&region=Worldcomment image

Over 165 million Americans have gotten vaccinated — but you STILL call it “untested”? That’s as ridiculous as the PSI “sky dragon slayer” crackpot claim that the laws of thermodynamics mean air warmed by absorption of LW IR cannot make an already-warmer surface warmer than it otherwise would be.

Here’s a July 27, 2020 article about the start of the Moderna vaccine Phase 3 (large scale) trials.
 
https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/07/phase-3-trial-moderna-covid-19-vaccine-begins-amid-us-summer-surge
 
Phase 3 trials of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines began in July, 2020, and Phase 1 & 2 trials even earlier. So there are now tens of thousands of study participants with over 3/4 year of experience with the vaccinations. Thus far there’s no sign of significant adverse effects.
 
I wish the same were true of the Covid-19 disease. It not only kills about 1% of those it infects, it also leaves many of the survivors with lasting harms. The disease is still killing over 200 Americans per day — virtually all of them unvaccinated; the anti-vaxers have a lot of blood on their hands.
 
If you want to learn about Covid-19 vaccines, I have links to a lot of very interesting information, here:
 
https://www.sealevel.info/covid.html#vaccines

Last edited 15 days ago by Dave Burton
Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Dave Burton
July 14, 2021 6:07 am

The only way the mRNA treatments were given emergency approvals was because of the claim there are no alternative treatments.

This claim is a lie.

Bryan A
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 14, 2021 6:50 am

The “Untested” Covid vaccines have been “Field Tested” some 3,513,467,346 times to date (07/14/2021 06:50pst) per Johns Hopkins data
https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

TonyG
Reply to  Dave Burton
July 14, 2021 1:46 pm

What’s the standard length of testing for a vaccine?
What was the length of testing for these?

What are the long-term effects? No way to know yet.

“anti-vaxxer” is an ad-hominem and is inaccurate as well. MANY people who are not normally against vaccinations are skeptical of these ones. Odd how that seems such a difficult distinction to make.

Bryan A
Reply to  Charles Higley
July 14, 2021 6:52 am

Realistically there will be no need to vaccinate children under 5 as they will be protected by herd immunity. Much like Polio and Small Pox are no longer mandated vaccinations

Coeur de Lion
July 13, 2021 12:53 pm

Have we seen a clause in household insurance policies yet that requires a statement about an integral garage housing an EV? Extra premium no doubt.

DaveK
July 13, 2021 1:06 pm

This is simply egregious scaremongering. The kinetics of a runaway battery failure are NOTHING like the kinetics of the accidental detonation of an explosive material like ammonium nitrate.

As much as I really dislike (and to some extent fear) very large batteries, a the possibility of a massive explosion is a rather far-fetched concern. My worry is for large fires that cannot be stopped until the battery material finally burns itself out.

MarkW
Reply to  DaveK
July 13, 2021 1:45 pm

The problem with big farms is that once a fire starts, it will quickly spread to the nearby batteries. Then as the fire increases in size, the rate at which the next group of batteries cook off will increase, dramatically.

WXcycles
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 3:02 pm

Current battery Li polymer batteries and LiFePO4 batteries do not burn, and nor does their container packaging.

mike macray
Reply to  DaveK
July 14, 2021 1:55 am

“…The kinetics of a runaway battery failure are NOTHING like the kinetics of the accidental detonation of an explosive material like ammonium nitrate.”

As with Halifax, Nova Scotia (1917) or Texas City, Texas (1947)…both cities substantially demolished by ships loaded with Ammonium Nitrate in nuclear scale explosions.
Cheers
Mike

Robert of Texas
Reply to  DaveK
July 14, 2021 1:27 pm

I was not sure an “explosion” was even possible, but I could not rule it out. I got curious and looked up information on Lithium Battery fires…

Toxic fumes seem to be the greatest threat but upon reading this paper I can now see at least one scenario where a blast could occur. A large set of lithium batteries inside a enclosed facility. The release of flammable gases could quickly exhaust available oxygen and build up in an enclosed space. Once oxygen is reintroduced (the collapse of a ceiling for example) the gas would quickly ignite producing an explosion similar to a methane explosion.

The most likely results of such an explosion would be to loft dangerous chemicals and burning debris further up into the air and onto any nearby landscape, houses, whatever lies in the are.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09784-z/

July 13, 2021 1:34 pm

An interesting bit of work – however the author’s missed (or avoided) the most obvious source of risk: bad guys. li-ion batteries are subject to shock initiated failure, usually, but not always, nearly immediate. So what happens when a BESS gets mortered?

joe belford
July 13, 2021 1:44 pm

Just imagine how big a bang this place would cause if it exploded.
comment image?w=718&ssl=1

goldminor
Reply to  joe belford
July 13, 2021 2:01 pm

Hard to imagine how that could happen.

MarkW
Reply to  joe belford
July 13, 2021 3:32 pm

Oil can’t explode unless something vaporizes it first.
Basic chemistry. I’m not surprised that you didn’t know that.

John Hultquist
Reply to  joe belford
July 13, 2021 7:59 pm

“No injuries of employees, firefighters or residents were reported. One contractor working at the site  was briefly trapped by the fire, but escaped unharmed.”

Rory Forbes
Reply to  joe belford
July 13, 2021 8:33 pm

Please describe how that could be possible. Remember to show your work.

whiten
July 13, 2021 2:26 pm

Well, Leo son is missing!

😳

July 13, 2021 2:32 pm

Windwills for Hydrogenproduction facilities, and nearby tthe battery farm, in case the wind doesn’t blow – what a spectacle in the case of the cases….

And these Greens whine about nuclear reactors…..

WXcycles
July 13, 2021 2:57 pm

Commercial Li battery tech has moved on during the past few years. Lithium polymer batteries and LiFePO4 batteries do not suffer from thermal-runaway, and do not burst into flame, they also don’t explode – ever, as far as I’m aware. They don’t burn when shorted, they expand into a bag around them, and the bag bursts, then they release hot non-flammable gases, and that’s all.

Older Li batteries do have thermal runaways, do ignite, do burn fiercely and do explode. Lithium polymer and LiFePO4 batteries do not do any of that. And even if you puncture them and get a flame out of them, they still do not turn into an inferno, and does not explode, and extinguish easily. Dangerous Li battery types are being removed from service, 5 to 10 years they will all be gone.

Hydrocarbon powered gear on the other hand can and do explode, and do burn fiercely, and do fill the air with toxic gases that will kill you quick, and these will still be around in 5 to 10 years.

This story and that Lebanon imagery is massive over-hype, and deceptive click-bait, and much-ado-about-nothing, imo. That ammonium nitrate was a store of actual explosive. Implying current Li battery tech is comparable to an explosive is quite ludicrous.

It’s clear that, “Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University”, has no current clue about such batteries. And the fact the trash-media are beating this up, based on the opinion and ‘report’ of a retired prof, who’s not a chemist nor Li battery specialist, should be a hint that it’s pure click-bait, and effectively scare-mongering nonsense from the media, taking full advantage of his ignorance and title.

Look up Lithium polymer and LiFePO4 batteries if you think not.

Robert Alfred Taylor
Reply to  WXcycles
July 13, 2021 4:38 pm

Thanks. Didn’t know about those.

Nick B
Reply to  WXcycles
July 13, 2021 6:07 pm
WXcycles
Reply to  Nick B
July 14, 2021 8:56 pm

I have seen firemen walk around a smoking LiFePO4 battery on youtube, without breathing apparatus. I thought this was highly peculiar and a very bad idea but they were doing it. It’s entirely possible it wasn’t a burning LiFePO4 at all, and they were not firemen either.

For me the jury is out on how toxic the fumes are, I really don’t know. I know older Li batteries are very toxic indeed. It remains to be seen if this is still a big problem, given the Li chemistry itself is not what’s burning.

I’m certainly not convinced they’re relatively harmless. Though they are nowhere near as dangerous as they were prior to ~2015.

Reply to  WXcycles
July 13, 2021 7:00 pm

Uh, yeah…



WXcycles
Reply to  Writing Observer
July 14, 2021 8:46 pm

I watched this, and the battery did not explode, it only expanded, it released hot gases, and some component of the packaging burned, but the Li chemistry itself did not.

Then it extinguished even before the plastic car itself caught on fire, and melted. That;s how brief the battery fire component was.

And almost all of what is shown is a hydrocarbon fire, not an Li battery fire.

Nice attempt to make something out of nothing though, except I originally wrote this:

And even if you puncture them and get a flame out of them, they still do not turn into an inferno, and does not explode, and extinguish easily. 

Which is what occurred to this battery, no inteervention was even required. What I said occurs, occurred. In fact that video’s intro text says:

A demonstration of what can happen if a LiPo battery is overcharged. This battery was intentionally overcharged and the safeties on the charger bypassed. 

Which only an idiot might do but purely for honest ‘demonstration’ purposes of course. Not to make deceptive scare-mongering propaganda about Li batteries. That would be wrong.

So you showed nothing new, no explosion, no long-lasting inferno, it self-extinguished in seconds when it ran out of fuel in the packaging (funny how the video was cat there, eh?). And no explosive industrial catastrophe is remotely likely from that battery type igniting. Certainly no 3.4 kiloton detonation is ever going to come from that ‘demonstration’ of packaging burning, but not the Li chemistry burning.

Objectivity and balance is not something to steer away from.

Reply to  WXcycles
July 15, 2021 10:14 pm

LiPo batteries are completely safe – SO LONG AS NOTHING GOES WRONG. Which the video demonstrates – what happens when something DOES go wrong. With a battery holding 40Wh of energy.

Watch this, and imagine an “incident” 337 times bigger. (One Tesla PowerWall, 13.5 KWh of energy.)

Next, imagine one 40,000,000 times bigger. (Monterey Bay in California, 1,600 MWh of energy.)

The belief that “nothing can go wrong” inevitably leads to disaster when something inevitably does go wrong. The magnitude of the disaster being proportional to the amount of energy that can be released.

bluecat57
July 13, 2021 6:33 pm

Oh boy! I want one of those in my neighborhood.

ozspeaksup
July 14, 2021 2:34 am

since they stuck the Sth Aus battery bank in at Hallet in the extreme cold/extreme heat mid nth
I am waiting for the day it goes kablooey either from elements OR lightning strike, or just a tesla type fail as the recent brand new car did

dearieme
July 14, 2021 6:05 am

What tempting targets for terrorists: bugger up the grid and scare the population so that other “farms” are shut down, thus buggering up the grid even more.

Joe
July 14, 2021 8:31 am

If Lithium-ion batteries were actually as powerful as HE (Semtex, C4, dynamite, etc) pound for pound, it would virtually erase the market (and regulatory restrictions) on HE materials. But that market is not going anywhere.

So…

Has anyone actually done any controlled experiments to try to release all of the energy in a humble 18650 all-at-once to get some sense of scope and scale?

Has anyone devoted any experimental effort to determine how probable such an event could be?

July 14, 2021 8:53 am

Chemical energy does not equal explosive yield energy The claims of explosive energy sound to me like the grossly exaggerated ones based on chemical energy, of how much dynamite a given amount of gasoline is equivalent to. Also, large batteries for storing electrical energy for the grid do not have to have lithium, because sodium ion technology is appropriate when battery weight does not have to be minimized.

TonyG
July 14, 2021 9:19 am

FYI
Link at the top of the abstract quote is incorrect, leads to 404 (after Project:)

The URL provided at the bottom (read more) is correct

niceguy
July 14, 2021 12:36 pm

Was the Beirut Harbour “deflagration” ever properly investigated?

Duane
July 14, 2021 6:46 pm

Batteries don’t make any noise, period. And batteries don’t explode. They may short out and burn vigorously, but there is nothing in a battery that can explode. Not like Beirut which had an actual ANFO explosion, not an electrical excursion.

Stop trying to pass bullshit off as “science” – the author of this post is just as much a bullshitter as is the average warmunists. You don’t fight stupidity and ignorance with stupidity and ignorance.

Bryan A
Reply to  Duane
July 14, 2021 9:03 pm
niceguy
July 15, 2021 4:12 am

Why weren’t the B777 batteries incidents taken more seriously? It almost took a real crash for the FAA to do something! (Same for EU regulators.) The media said nothing (I think).

Of course, it was Obama’s FAA. But still, they could have said something (against Boeing, not Obama!).

Well because it was a nasty problem with the kind of batteries people commonly use (also with a safer, aviation approved version).
You can say critical things about turbo-reactors people don’t use. Not common items.

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