Danger of Li-ion battery production

Just a reminder of the dangers of Li-ion batteries.

This is not about the human suffering due to the mining but those in the factory environment ~ 16 dead from explosions.

EDIT UPDATE: 22 people now

Let’s hope there will be an alternative. I wouldn’t use them at home off grid in my wooden cabin :scream: here I use Lead Acid.

Lifepo4 is supposed to make a lot of the inherent risk of lipo a lot more safe. Less power density but comparable at least. Perhaps they are a better alternative to Lead Acid?


That I would find difficult to accept. I have never heard of a Lead Acid battery exploding or catching fire frequently or with such intensity. Although it can happen I haven’t heard of that happening.

Lead-Acid is pretty safe, the only danger is from hydrogen gas coming from the battery when overcharged, which can be ignited by something else(not self-ignition or thermal runaway). They are also serviceable as unlike li-ion, lead-acid can be opened(i.e. exposed to air), you can add distilled water to the electrolyte and desulfate the electrodes of an ageing battery. They are best stored at 100% charge, making them good for UPS and backup power. LFP li-ion has longer cycle life than well-maintained lead-acid and safer than NMC or LCO so it’s a good alternative but it needs a balancing circuit like any other li-ion battery pack



It seems that these may well have been rather small batteries not car or MW storage backups.

Established in 2020, Aricell makes lithium primary batteries for sensors and radio communication devices.
Multiple explosions ravage South Korea battery plant south of Seoul - Nikkei Asia

Not really a welcoming story but this shows the danger of trying to extinguish a Li battery fire. 23 died. I especially wonder about those seen trying to control it. :heavy_heart_exclamation:

They are terrible for ups and backup power. Only reason everyone doesn’t use li-ion is because of higher up-front cost and the fact the lead-acid only last 1 to 2 years before you have to replace them anyway, which is more money for the UPS manufacturer. Schneider elctric UPS all have a “battery replacement date” in their interfaces for a reason. They also leak quite often which is a pain to deal with. I just had to replace my 2 year old UPS batteries and found one was leaking.

Li-ion can last for like a decade if you keep them around 80% charged and considering they have higher energy density than lead-acid, you would still come out with longer run-time on the same volume. Not to mention much lighter weight.

Only thing lead-acid have going for them is they are cheap and “easy”. They are antiquated technology in the same way a horse and buggy is to a car. Sure they work, but almost everything else is better.

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I was raised in a safety culture, working for Dow Chemical when I was a university student back in the '90s.

We CAN work with dangerous chemicals and products. We have to sometimes. The key is equipment, training and a safety culture.

This is all the more tragic because it should not have happened. Incidents like this do not happen in South Korea’s larger industries that work with lithium ion batteries, say Samsung or LG or Hyundai. They know better, they learned their lessons, they have the equipment, they have the training. It’s telling that this happened in a little facility employing (likely poorly paid and poorly trained) foreign workers. In other words, expendable. That’s the real tragedy here.

If practical alternatives to lithium ion batteries could be found and developed, they would be. The demand is huge! Not only are the batteries dangerous, lithium is rare. And it’s not like lead is entirely safe, it certainly isn’t. It’s not as imminently dangerous as these are, but the lead is extremely toxic and persistent in the environment if it is not disposed of properly. The danger is longer term and perhaps less dramatic. But lead has killed far more people than lithium ion batteries ever have.

The point is, we have to work with dangerous materials sometimes and we can do it safely. This is what happens when things go wrong. I’m not a lithium ion battery safety expert, but as a guess, I would guess they should not store batteries in trays on top of one another like that. I would also guess maybe they should be stored behind barriers - cinder block walls or partitions of some kind. I would guess that they should not store more than X number of these batteries together. And I would guess that the fire extinguisher they were attempting to use was inappropriate for a fire like this.

Edit: I believe I also read there were inadequate fire exits and/or exits were blocked and locked. We have known this is a recipe for death since at least the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. If corporations won’t learn lessons, workers die. And corporations should be held accountable.


Opinions are just that. Plants ‘eat’ photons, animals eat plants and you could argue that ‘living’ on photons is backwards looking, but being vegan photons are clue, but it ain’t easy.

I use lead acid as it’s easy, really ought to make a cycle generator but busy collecting photos via plants and that is consuming.

If you don’t mind eating animals then consumption has a different meaning, so then li-ion and Mars may be the way to go.

Beyond photons is closer to the future once all the attachments can be divested. :wheel_of_dharma:

Going more off topic I’m going.

Danger to the people was the focus not if Li is preferable to Pb as a user.


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