How safe is your
Watch this video
of a cargo ship,
go up in smoke!
February 22, 2022
As I write these words, a cargo ship loaded with Porches, Audis, and Bentleys is adrift and on fire off the Azores—a fire almost certainly caused by one of the cars exploding and going into what’s called thermal runaway.
Why would a vehicle explode? Because of the volatile lithium-ion batteries installed. What follows is a chain reaction.
The ship is toast. Trying to extinguish the flames with water is pointless: Water doesn’t work on lithium-ion battery fires. (Click here and here to find out why. It’s called thermal runaway in the fire suppression business and it is typical of lithium-ion fires.)
Note that one of the freighters in the video, below, is not the burning ship. I can only guess as to why the film crew included it in the news video.
(Click the X in the upper right corner of this box, "How to enlarge pages," to make it disappear.)
Tragically, the men (and women?) being lowered by helicoper onto the stricken ship are also toast.
The lithium hexafluorophosphate electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries turns into hydrofluoric gas and acid (HF) when the batteries ignite or explode.
Here is a schematic diagram of a typical lithium-ion battery, as used in solar & wind BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems).
It’s misleading to call these “Lithium-Ion” batteries. They should really be called “Lithium-Hexafluorophosphate” batteries — to draw attention to the HF gas and acid exposure when these batteries ignite or explode.
The electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries is typically lithium hexafluorophosphate. This is the source of the fluorine in the hydrogen fluoride gas (vapor or mist or smoke) and hydrofluoric acid ejected during thermal runaway or fire or explosion.
This imagery is cute and compelling—and deceptive.
There is a horrific side to these vehicles.