lithium-battery-fire-south-korea

ARICELL fire and explosion in South Korea raises concerns about lithium battery safety

552 Published by BSLBATT Jun 25,2024

On June 24, a factory fire occurred in Sinmyeon, Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, a battery manufacturer ARICELL, which has attracted renewed attention to the safety of lithium batteries worldwide. It is reported that the fire was caused by the explosion of lithium thionyl chloride (Li/SOCl2) batteries inside the factory, killing more than 20 people, including 19 Chinese. The exact number of casualties is subject to further statistics.

 

Lithium battery explosion

Cause of the incident

It consists of a three-story reinforced concrete building covering an area of about 2,300 square meters. CNBC reports that a battery exploded on a workstation on the second floor, causing the fire. Two exit stairs were not locked, but the fire and toxic smoke spread rapidly, making escape impossible.

It is understood that more than 35,000 finished lithium batteries were stored in the building. Considering that lithium is a harmful chemical substance, casualties and the scale of the fire may further expand, the fire department quickly issued a level 2 response (commanding 3 to 7 fire stations to mobilize 31 to 50 equipment), and dispatched 145 people including firefighters and 50 equipment to carry out fire fighting.

According to the official website of battery manufacturer ARICELL, the batteries produced by the factory are lithium thionyl chloride batteries, which usually adopt carbon-wrapped cylindrical or spirally wound cylindrical structures. Due to the possibility of thermal runaway or explosion under certain conditions, there are certain safety hazards in industrial production and use. This battery has a negative electrode of metallic lithium, a positive electrode of carbon, and a non-aqueous electrolyte of SOCl2: LiAlCl4. The generally accepted overall reaction mechanism is: 4Li+2SOCl2→4LiCl+S↓+SO2.

ARICELL battery

 

In contrast, the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery structure adopted by BSLBATT manufacturers is widely regarded as a safer and more stable choice. LiFePO4 batteries are increasingly popular in industrial and commercial applications due to their high chemical stability and lack of thermal runaway or explosion.

BSLBATT LiFePO4 battery

Global attention and industry impact

This tragedy is not only deeply distressing, but also reminds us that safety issues are always the primary consideration in technological development and industrial production. Although lithium iron phosphate batteries have obvious safety advantages, it is crucial to strictly abide by safety operating procedures, improve employee safety awareness, and strengthen emergency measures no matter which battery is used.

As the global economy develops and technology advances, we hope to ensure the safety of every future work environment while innovating technology. This is also the direction of our joint efforts to ensure that similar tragedies do not happen again and provide a safe and reliable working environment for every worker.

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