Australia’s local radio station Bay 93.9 FM radio station releases detailed information regarding the fire. Tesla Megapack batteries facilitated by French renewable energy developer Neoen in Victoria, Australia caught fire during testing. The fire raises concerns on safety as more details unveiled.
Nearby suburbs were warned of possible air toxicity, across Bell Post Hill, Lovely Banks, Batesford, Geelong’s northern suburbs, and Moorabool. A 13-ton lithium-ion battery caught on fire. Initially reported by Victorian Big Battery, the fire was known to be controllable. However, as more details are unveiled, it is known that More than 30 tankers and over 150 firefighters were alerted about the situation. Lithium batteries need special extinguishing techniques. A battery car itself can consume more than 30 gallons of water if caught in a fire.
Those batteries in a container were planned to start operations by November 2021. In collaboration with Neoen, Tesla was to supply Megapacks to the area. Their customers were assured that the fire will not disrupt their power supply.
Controlling the situation
The crew working on extinguishing the battery were wearing breathing apparatus. CFA Incident Controller and District 7 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ian Beswicke talked about how well the team handled the situation. He said, “We’ve got lots of specialists on-site…all that expertise helps us come up with some really good decisions about what we need to do to respond to these types of fires,”
He added, “There was one battery pack on fire to start with, but it did spread to a second pack that was very close to it. The plan is that we keep it cool on the outside and protect the exposures so it doesn’t cause any issues for any of the other components in the power station. We’re starting to get to the point where most of it has burnt away…we’ll just keep monitoring it overnight and keep dealing with it as we have been all day to ensure that we minimize anything that’s coming offsite and any risk to the community.”
A drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera provided assistance to the crew to extinguish the fire. By cooling the components around the battery, the fire was being extinguished.
JUST IN: Fire crews are currently on the scene of a battery fire at Moorabool, near Geelong. Firefighters are working to contain the fire and stop it spreading to the nearby batteries. https://t.co/5zYfOfohG3 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/HAkFY27JgQ
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) July 30, 2021
The project is known to be won by Neoen at A$160 million. As planned, the capacity of the big battery pack was expected to be 450 megawatt-hours (MWh). This project would be Tesla’s one of the biggest battery installations in Australia.
Neoen’s managing Director Louis de Sambucy assured that they are working on the situation and that there will be no impact on electricity. It is possibly too early to determine the cause of the fire. A random fire would only bring more questions on the reliability of Tesla Megapacks with large capacities.