Big Badda Boom: South Korea - Lithium Battery Factory Explodes and Burns

FAA, via, File

There just are no words to describe what happens when these lithium-ion battery thingees of damn near any size get froggy and go fiery.

Yeah, it's spectacular but I sure as hell don't want to be anywhere near them.

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The latest horrible mishap was this morning in Korea, at a Li-ion battery factory in an industrial center southwest of Seoul. 

Multiple powerful explosions set a lithium battery factory on fire in South Korea on Monday, killing 22 workers, most of them Chinese nationals, as it burned out of control for nearly six hours, fire officials said.
The blaze ripped through a factory run by primary battery manufacturer Aricell in Hwaseong, an industrial cluster southwest of the capital Seoul. It was eventually largely extinguished.

Eighteen Chinese workers and one Laotian were among the dead. The nationality of the remaining deceased worker was not yet confirmed, fire official Kim Jin-young told reporters, citing information from company officials.
The blaze began at 10:31 a.m. (0131 GMT) after a series of battery cells exploded inside a warehouse with some 35,000 units, Kim said. What had triggered the explosion remains unclear, he said.

Just horrifying, incredible footage.

And absolutely not a prayer for anyone who had been inside at the time. Just ghastly.

..."Most of the bodies are badly burned so it will take some time to identify each one," Mr Kim said, according to news agency AFP.

...Whatever the cause, once the fire took hold, it would have spread at speed - giving the workers little time to escape, according to Kim Jae-ho, fire and disaster prevention professor at Daejeon University.

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There's also discussion that the worker registry was destroyed in the inferno so there's no way at the moment to get an accurate count of who and how many are missing, compounded by the fact the majority of the employees in the building when this blew are foreigners.

There were tens of thousands of little potential firebombs in the building with who knows how many left, now damaged and equally as dangerous?

...The Aricell factory housed an estimated 35,000 battery cells on its second floor, where the batteries were inspected and packaged, with more stored elsewhere.

Mr Kim said the fire began when a series of battery cells exploded, though it remains unclear what triggered the initial explosions.

He explained it was difficult to enter the site initially "due to fears of additional explosions".

Firefighters on the scene used dry sand to extinguish the blaze as best they could, and it took over six hours. Even then, they were still wary of a reignition which can occur without warning in these fires.

You know who else is watching these lithium-ion battery fires closely?

People in California.

I missed this one in mid-May.

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The jet-black smoke turned into a weird shelf cloud that hung over the city like nothing I'd seen. That shouldn't worry anyone, right?


The Port of Oakland fire - which started in a pile of batteries in a lithium battery plant - was mostly contained that day. It was followed three days later by a stubborn, long-lived fire in Otay-Mesa at a Li-ion battery storage facility that caught everyone who lived in the area's attention. The thing simply would not die.

It also never really made any sort of national "news" at all, which seems very peculiar.

...Welp, they thought they'd extinguished it. By a week ago Friday, it had reignited and the CalFire representative on the scene was explaining "thermal runaway" to the local reporter. Fire crews were trying to contain the fire to the area where it had started while minimizing the opportunity for any deadly fumes it would produce to escape which would prompt evacuations of the - thankfully - largely uninhabited industrial area.

It wasn't just the fire itself and the potential for disaster with the possibility of catastrophic explosions, toxic fumes, and groundwater contamination. It's that the state of CA, in concert with renewable energy firms and developers, has plans to plop these abominations into neighborhoods all over the state.

...As folks point out, officials foisting these projects on their citizens and the companies taking the money haven't begun to do the work on consequences. One guy basically said, when you can't even figure out how to put the fire out and you already knew these things burn, there are serious credibility problems.

...In La Mesa, residents and local leaders are wrestling with a renewable energy storage site proposed here on El Paso Street. Vice Mayor Laura Lothian is so opposed to it, she’s taken to social media.

They have already gone through 5 million gallons of water. Can’t put out the chemicals,“ Lothian said in an Instagram post while standing in front of the Camino Fire. “This has no business being in La Mesa. We are building green energy initiatives that we have no idea what the consequences are."

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This is only going to add to their completely justified sense of distrust in both the technology and the "no worries" promises of state, local and company officials.

After all, it's not any of their neighborhoods which will be covered by a toxic plume.

The Otay Mesa Gateway Energy Storage conflagration is still at the center of controversy in those San Diego County cities and elsewhere, which are being affected by the looming prospect of receiving battery storage facilities to satisfy Newsom's Green fever dreams. 

And what a crock of dismissive poopoo they're getting from the renewable industry reps. They are completely blowing off residents' legitimate fears, not answering direct questions about safety or security, and treating citizens like five-year-olds worried about something under the bed.

WE NEED THESE PROJECTS

A fire at a battery storage facility in Otay Mesa is out — but the stubborn nature of the blaze has sparked opposition from some residents about the relative safety of at least three other battery projects that developers want to build in other parts of San Diego County.

Renewable energy supporters say battery facilities are essential to meet California’s goals to develop a carbon-free electric grid. State policymakers and battery companies say the risk of future fires will decrease over time, counting on technological improvements in battery chemistries and better designs at the facilities housing the batteries.

“My hope is that these projects continue to move forward, concerns are addressed and people really understand that we need these types of projects here in our region,” said Jason Anderson, CEO of CleanTech San Diego, a business association that promotes renewable energy growth.

“This reinforces neighbors’ concerns about the placement of these facilities,” said JP Theberge, two days after the Otay Mesa fire ignited. A member of the Elfin Forest Harmony Grove Town Council, Theberge is opposed to constructing a large battery storage project in North County.
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In classic Malthusian enthusiasm, the CleanTech CEO, who is so gung-ho, implies he doesn't need the residents.

This is a terrific, short (8 min) primer on the fire sequence, manpower, and its aftermath, the initial shortcomings of the building design itself, as well as the units that are planned for neighborhoods in SoCal. (Hat tip to Global Traveler)

Residents in those areas are supposed to ignore all the smoke, the flames, the badda booms and "have faith," like the climate cultists do as they wave away objections from the peasants, that everything will be just fine.

...Energy storage has taken on a higher profile as more renewable sources of power have come onto California’s electric grid.

Solar production is abundant during the day but practically vanishes after sunset or when smoke and clouds obscure the skies. And when the wind doesn’t blow, production from wind farms peters out. Energy storage — particularly from batteries — is seen as a key way to fill in the gaps.

Storage systems take solar power generated during the day and discharge the electricity later, especially from 4 to 9 p.m. when California’s grid is under the most stress. Batteries can help reduce the risk of rotating power outages and replace natural gas “peaker plants” used during those critical hours when customers crank up their air conditioners.

Boosting energy storage is crucial for California to reach its target of deriving 100 percent of electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045, if not sooner.

...Siva Gunda, vice chair of the California Energy Commission, said policymakers have faith that advancements in battery chemistries will reduce the risk of thermal runaway and battery fires. “As we move forward, technology is really getting better,” he said. But at the same time, “we take (safety concerns) very, very seriously.”

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Note to California Energy Commission: You wouldn't have to "fill the gaps" in your renewable energy schemes if you hadn't created them to begin with.

But "having faith" makes up for everything in Unicorn Fart Landia, doesn't it?

That's how they got in this fix to begin with.


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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024
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