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Lithium-Ion Battery concerns

I received this email which I have copied here; It is a long presentation, but an interesting presentation. Tesla is mentioned many times. Hope this is allowed.

This presentation and Q & A covers the full range of fire and explosion issues that arise with Lithium ion batteries from mobile phones to major installations and includes real time fire/explosion incidents across the world. It is well worth staying with the whole event as issues arise in the Q & A that are not covered in the main presentation.

The attached link is a presentation and Q & A given by Professor Paul Christensen of Newcastle University to the Thames Valley Branch of the IFE last month.

I am following up with Paul on the issues of portable fire equipment for as you will hear none of the current portables are suitable and effective for anything over the size of a lithium ion battery in a mobile phone or laptop. Implications for fuel stations when installing charging bays for EV’s as well as for vehicles.

We had some slight IT problems initially which I have set out here:-

00:00 to 02:15 intro (sound only)

02:17 to 03:48 CFR Oxfordshire

03:49 to 0748 Prof Christensen (some visuals not functioning)

0750: to 56:20 main presentation

56:48 to 1:38:40 Question and Answer session

 

Irata

Member
Oct 16, 2020
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Lots of passion for the subject in that video.

None of it is against lithium batteries, they are here and will continue to be for some time, it's about protective measures should the worst happen. Headline grabbing stories often make their way into PowerPoint slides, of course a Tesla story was going to be used.

Fires can happen for many reasons, not just car batteries, and it's sensible to have an understanding how to mitigate and manage.

Plans, resources and facilities to deal with possible emergencies is a good thing. That doesn't just apply to batteries.
 
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Mr Miserable

Well-Known Member
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Jul 8, 2019
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A very interesting brief, thanks for posting it.
Although I don't have a powerwall yet, I have mentally shifted it's possible location away from the house to an external mount on the far side of the garage!
When supercharging we have all heard the various bumps and knocks from the battery as it expands and releases gases etc. It does makes me wonder .....
 
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Glan gluaisne

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Sep 11, 2019
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Perhaps worth remembering that there are hundreds of millions of phones, laptops and tablet devices around with lithium ion batteries, that the majority of them have a more dangerous chemistry than that used by Tesla (LiCo2 is still commonplace in such devices), and that the majority of the cheaper such devices are built right down to a budget in Far East sweat shops.

In terms of battery protection, both electronic and mechanical, all EV battery packs are orders of magnitude safer than the average phone battery. There have been examples of phone, laptops etc catching fire, but they aren't that common, which is surprising given how poorly designed and manufactured the battery systems are in the cheaper models.

Might help put the real risk into perspective a bit. IMHO, the risk is significantly lower than that from a tank of flammable fuel in a conventional car.
 

pgkevet

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Jul 1, 2019
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Might help put the real risk into perspective a bit. IMHO, the risk is significantly lower than that from a tank of flammable fuel in a conventional car.

I believe the point being made wasn't so much the rate of risk but the lack of UK (and other) fire services acknowledgement and capability of dealing with that risk and the unpredicatably long duration before the car can be considered safe. Put out a fuel fire and damp down and job done whereas an EV can flare up again many hours later. Commuter roads closed for many hours longer than after a fuel fire and severe inhalation risk and delayed explosion. No-one mentions modern cars mixture of ally and steel either - thermite in the waiting room.

in my r/c heli flying days i crashed several LiPoly packs (yeah, not quite the same) - if they went up the corrosive changes to metal was quite astounding from the vapours. Roll on enough surplus green leccy for practical H2 supplies and save carting battery weight. At least H2 disperses fast.
 
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Glan gluaisne

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Sep 11, 2019
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Around 30 years ago, when we first started using lithium batteries in stuff carried in aircraft, there was a lot of concern about how a fire would be managed. In the end, the answer was to change the extinguishing systems, or add to them, so there were always graphite powder ones wherever there might be lithium cells, to provide slightly better protective equipment and to train everyone in how to handle a lithium cell fire. It wasn't really a big deal, especially given that the cells in use back then were a heck of a lot less stable than those used today.
 
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Dangerous Fish

Pilots the Millennium Milkfloat
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Jul 21, 2016
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The fire service already has these things called fire appliances which are capable of putting a lot of water onto a Li-Ion battery fire if necessary. Enough, if they had to, to keep a freak BEV fire under control. It's the same as if they had a very large building fire. They'd just have to call in more appliances if one wasn't enough.

So they have the capabilty already, just not the ideal capability for the particular scenario of a car sitting there fizzing away. Hand held fire extinguishers with the F-500 additive are readily available too.

So in the very rare case of a BEV with a ruptured pack going up, they could cope. What do they do when a petrol tanker full of 4 star catches fire? Does every UK Fire Brigade have the equipment and resources to deal with that effectively?

I heard that a FOI request was put in recently asking all the UK Fire Brigade Authorities if they had additional training and capital expenditure on equipment to deal with EV fires. I can't help but think there is something political going on with all of this 'concern'. By all means plan for things that could go wrong in life, but get it in perspective.
 

Zakalwe

Member
Oct 16, 2020
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547
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So, in summary, the real problem is that the fire services are going out without the correct equipment. That's where the ire should be directed.

If they attend a petrol car fire then they will have the correct foam to fight it. It should be exactly the same for an EV car fire.
 

Medved_77

TM3 SR+ | MSM+Black | No FSD
Supporting Member
Jan 20, 2020
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So, in summary, the real problem is that the fire services are going out without the correct equipment. That's where the ire should be directed.

If they attend a petrol car fire then they will have the correct foam to fight it. It should be exactly the same for an EV car fire.
Tesla recommend using water to put out battery fires:

2021-03-05 11_30_58-Emergency Response Guide.png

https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/Model_3_Emergency_Response_Guide_en.pdf
 

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