A fire broke out at the storage area of a lithium battery factory in Hwaseong, South Korea on July 24 at around 10:30 am local time. The fire, which quickly grew due to explosions caused by more than 35,000 battery cells in the factory, was brought under control after about 5 hours of efforts by 50 fire trucks and about 150 personnel. This tragic fire caused many casualties and injuries. The cause of fire is as yet undetermined.

According to the information shared with the public; the factory, operated by a South Korean company established in 2020, was producing primary type Lithium batteries.

Characteristics of Stored Batteries

“Primary” batteries, also known as “primary cells”, are disposable batteries. Since the effect of the chemicals that produce electricity in primary batteries cannot be reversed, they cannot be recharged. Batteries that can be charged and used more than once are called “secondary” batteries.

When we think of lithium batteries; we usually think of cell phones, laptops and electric vehicles that we use in daily life and their rechargeable secondary type batteries. However, in addition to these areas; Lithium-based primary type batteries are also produced for use in applications such as sensors, radio communication devices, medical devices (such as pacemakers). These batteries are generally preferred for their high energy density and long life. These characteristics may be one of the reasons for the rapid spread of the factory fire. Lithium salts, which are flammable and explosive, are used in the production of lithium batteries. These factors emphasize the importance of Lithium battery safety and proper storage practices.

Main Causes of Battery Fires

What is thermal runaway phenomenon?

Any of the abusive factors that can occur on batteries can destabilize the structure of the battery, causing it to start generating heat by chemical reaction. This can lead to “thermal runaway”, which is an uncontrolled reaction. If this reaches a certain level, it triggers chemical reactions that generate more heat and pressure, causing a positive feedback loop. This continues until the battery unit completely burns itself out.

What can be done to prevent fires in lithium battery factory warehouses?

    1. Passive fire safety measures:

    To prevent loss of life in case of fire; passive fire safety measures, which are the elements of architectural fire safety, must be fully implemented. These include:

    2. Active fire safety measures:

    3. Taking Warehouse Monitoring and Tracking Measures:

    In order to ensure fire safety at this level; it is necessary to have a serious command of current studies and international regulations as well as our national fire regulations. At this stage, we are always with you as Efectis Era Avrasya to ensure fire safety with our engineering services.