Tesla big battery fire in Victoria under control after burning more than three days

Posted: August 2, 2021 by oldbrew in Batteries, Energy, flames, News


Big battery fire [image credit: reneweconomy.com.au

Three days plus! They hadn’t even started using it. It all sounds so simple on the Tesla megapack website. ‘No assembly is required, all you need to do is connect Megapack’s AC output to your site wiring.’
– – –
A large blaze at Victoria’s “big battery” project has been brought under control by firefighters after burning for more than three days, allowing investigators to begin examining the site, reports The Guardian.

A Tesla battery bank caught fire while it was being set up in Moorabool on Friday morning, and then spread to a second battery.

The fire burned throughout the weekend and into a fourth day, before it was declared under control just after 3pm on Monday.

Fire crews will remain at the site for the next 24 hours “as a precaution in case of re-ignition” and will take temperature readings every two hours, the Country Fire Authority said.

Investigations into how the fire started will soon begin with multiple agencies involved, including Energy Safe Victoria, WorkSafe, police and the CFA.

The 300MW battery project is being produced by French renewable energy giant Neoen and was registered with the energy market operator on 28 July.

Neoen Australia managing director Louis de Sambucy told AAP its own “physical inspections and investigations are now underway”.

CFA incident controller Ian Beswicke said the fire had been particularly challenging due to the complex nature of the battery site.

“This is the first mega pack fire that’s ever happened in the world, is our understanding,” he said. [Talkshop comment: not many in operation?]

“They are difficult to fight because you can’t put water on the mega packs … all that does is extend the length of time that the fire burns for.”

Firefighters have taken advice from experts including Tesla, the battery’s creators, and UGL, who are installing the battery packs.

“The recommended process is you cool everything around it so the fire can’t spread and you let it burn out,” Beswicke said.

Full report here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    ‘Big battery’ alternative…

    Britain hits 34-day coal-burning streak
    30 July 2021

    The grid’s carbon intensity so far in 2021 is already higher than in 2020, marking the first year-on-year increase of this kind since 2012


    Oh, the emissions! 🥱

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    I wonder who “designed” this plant? About 100 batteries, known for tendency to burn, packed into close proximity and as shown, one going up makes the next likely to burn.
    Looks like someone used a computer drawing program, all those serried ranks. It is not as if there was a shortage of land in Moorabool adjacent (across the road) to the transmission station.

  3. pochas94 says:

    Now the battery boys have their Hindenberg.

  4. Hasbeen says:

    Incorrect statement. The fire fighters did NOT bring the battery fire under control. They stood by watching as it burned itself out. They said there was nothing they could do to control the fire, just try to stop it spreading to the rest of the instillation, by keeping it as cool as possible..

  5. Jamie Spry says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    The inconvenient reality of costly, feel-good UNreliables on display again.

    Reblogged to Climatism with comment by ‘Oldbrew’ on prescient UK energy news …

    ‘Big battery’ alternative…

    Britain hits 34-day coal-burning streak
    30 July 2021

    The grid’s carbon intensity so far in 2021 is already higher than in 2020, marking the first year-on-year increase of this kind since 2012


    Oh, the emissions! 🥱

  6. oldbrew says:

    ‘Thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries

    If handled or operated improperly, thermal runaway can occur in batteries, causing them to overheat, and eventually catch fire or explode. Lithium-ion (LI-ion) batteries are particularly susceptible to thermal runaway. LI-ion batteries have an extremely narrow operating temperature range of between 15 and 45 degrees. Outside of these operating temperatures, the stability and functional safety of the battery is highly compromised.’

    – – –
    The summer sun on those batteries could be interesting. Geelong has been known to reach > 45C.

  7. Jim says:

    Interesting emlin article. And, not being up on the latest in one of my degrees, the only options yet, are wait for an indecent to self extinguish. And not to get a lion battery over a certain temperature, or it may fail, or will fail? So, no Tesla’s in death valley? Or the Sahara? Or Antarctica? Because of the narrow operating safe zone? It makes solid state capicator storage sound ideal.

  8. Gamecock says:

    Exactly, Hasbeen.

    The statement is not innocent. It falsely implies they can control battery fires.

  9. oldbrew says:

    Liverpool car park fire: Hundreds of burnt-out vehicles removed
    21 November 2018

    No-one was seriously injured, but more than 1,000 vehicles were completely burnt out leaving insurers with an estimated £20m bill.
    . . .
    Planning permission has been granted for a new nine-storey car park at nearby Monarch’s Quay, which will be fitted with a sprinkler system.

    – – –
    Said sprinkler system will be worse than useless for EV fires, as the Victoria battery fire report confirms. Let’s see how EV insurance premiums compare with non-EV.

  10. muunyayo says:

    Reblogged this on Muunyayo .

  11. oldbrew says:

    Answer – yes…

    Do Lithium Batteries Pose A Major Fire Hazard?
    By Irina Slav – Aug 04, 2021

    The risk of a fire is certainly a problem, but perhaps a bigger one is that extinguishing that fire is not as easy as putting out a “normal” fire. This is because of all the chemicals that go into making a battery cell. Those chemicals create the gases that build up in batteries right before they explode.

    “We don’t have a definitive answer of what is the best way to deal with an EV [electric vehicle] fire or energy storage fire,” Newcastle University professor Paul Christensen told the Financial Times, commenting on the Victorian Big Battery incident.

    “They [lithium-ion batteries] are essential to the decarbonisation of this planet but their penetration into society has far outstripped our actual knowledge of the risks and hazards associated with them,” he added. [bold added]

    – – –
    ‘essential to the decarbonisation of this planet’ — which isn’t going to happen.

  12. It doesn't add up... says:

    How many units were damaged by fire or by fumes?

  13. oldbrew says:

    2 units damaged, from reports I’ve seen e.g. this one…
    – – –
    “If Labor’s renewable energy solutions go up in flames even before they’re fully operational – what hope do Victorians have that this government will be able to effectively manage the renewable energy transition?” shadow energy minister Brad Rowswell said.

    – – –
    Big batteries don’t generate any power of their own, and can only store a tiny amount of electricity relative to the needs of the grid as a whole. Hardly a ‘solution’.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Europe’s largest’ battery goes online in Wiltshire
    6 Aug. 2021

    The 100MW/100MWh battery is designed to significantly reduce system costs by 5% while supporting grid stability

    – – –
    Local fire brigades getting nervous? 🙄

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