The Tesla Victorian big battery fire at Moorabool near Geelong in Victoria is another example of why smaller community-based neighbourhood batteries are a preferable way forward for making the energy supply more renewable. With smaller installations that are more spread out and serve the community in which they are based there is less likelihood of larger electricity supply interruptions when a large power supplier has issues and has to be taken off line for safety reasons.
The 300MW/450MWH capacity big battery comprised of Tesla batteries in multiple shipping containers was registered with AEMO on 28th July 2021. During testing on 30th July 2021 one cell failed and caught fire and quickly engulfed the container in which the batteries were housed. This then spread to another container which was also destroyed. Luckily fire fighters were able to keep other containers cool enough so that they didn’t also catch fire. The blaze was finally extinguished 4 days later. 150 firefighters and 30 fire trucks and support vehicles attended the fire along with many other multi-agency specialists.
Lithium-ion batteries are notorious for being difficult to put out once they have caught fire. Lithium-ion batteries often reignite once they have caught fire and the fire has been put out. It is even more difficult for fire fighters in that they can’t use water or any other suppression methods to extinguish a lithium-ion battery fire as that would only make the batteries explode and exacerbate the problems. You just have to wait for the fire to burn itself out and protect surrounding infrastructure while taking thermal temperature readings every two hours.
As lithium-ion fires produce toxic smoke people in surrounding areas up to 10 km away were warned to stay inside with windows and doors shut and to bring all pets inside if at all possible. EPA was constantly monitoring air quality and Ambulance Victoria members were also on site monitoring the health of the attending firefighters who had to wear breathing apparatus.
Although this may be one of the first fires in a large battery installation it definitely won’t be the last as lithium-ion batteries are utilised more and more in large scale operations.
When installing energy storage batteries, both domestically and in business, or community or grid support larger installations, more people are becoming aware or the risks associated with batteries that have a possibility of going into thermal runaway.
More and more people are recognising that one of the major issues with energy storage batteries are the dangers with fires and explosions particularly associated with thermal runaway (self-sustaining fires). This has become particularly relevant as people are considering installing the many lithium-ion battery technologies in their houses or businesses and are becoming aware of the possibility of the dangers associated with this.
Salt batteries – the only chemistry UL9540A certified for safety
International Standard “UL9540A” has been developed to independently examine Fire Risk with Battery Cells and Evaluate Thermal Runaway Fire Propagation in Battery Energy Storage Systems.
The “UL9540A” test was developed by a third-party safety science organization UL, as a new test method for use in international fire protection regulations (2018 IFC: International Fire Code) and the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 855 technical standard related to installation of energy storage systems.
The test Method is for Evaluating Thermal Runaway Fire Propagation in Battery Energy Storage Systems
The “UL9540A” cell test reproduces thermal runaway conditions, measures the characteristics required to evaluate the following fire risks, and compiles the results into a report:
• Cell surface temperature when a safety valve has ruptured and when thermal runaway starts
• Gaseous components and other matter emitted from a cell during combustion
SoNick batteries are now the only batteries that have successfully passed the UL9540A certification which is to test for thermal runaway using five different methodologies; overcharge, external short circuit, nail penetration through casing and separator and overheating to 800oC,
This report verified that the SoNick battery did not ignite even when heat was forcibly applied from the outside meaning that the chemistry is intrinsically safe.
The results of these independent tests have confirmed what we already knew, that the SoNick battery is one of the only batteries on the market today that has no possibility of catching fire or going into thermal runaway which should definitely be comforting when looking at a SoNick battery installation.
If you would like to know more about getting safe, reliable, recyclable, Sodium Nickel Chloride (molten salt) battery storage for your own home, business or micro-grid application visit us at http://quantum.GridEdge.com.au.
We have a number of different sized systems that can cater to your budget and needs from household batteries to grid support installations in shipping containers.