Published February 27 2024

Why these transportation fires caused by lithium batteries could soon be a thing of the past

Why these transportation fires caused by lithium batteries could soon be a thing of the past

A new breed of battery is ready to make the lives of everyone much, much safer.

Over the last few years, a range of different transportation methods have suffered serious – and, at times, deadly – fires due to faulty lithium batteries. Each time an incident occurs, it hits the headlines and causes a flurry of concern. But most battery manufacturers have achieved little in the battle to make their products inherently safe.

In this article, we’ll look at the three of the highest profile types of transportation fires before demonstrating exactly why Nanotech Energy’s graphene-powered lithium-ion battery technology could eradicate these risks entirely.

  1. E-bike and e-scooter fires

In the first six months of 2023, 13 New Yorkers lost their lives to fires caused by e-bike and e-scooter lithium batteries. In the same timeline, the city had reported 108 lithium battery related fires. A rise in cheap, lightweight battery transport options explains in large part how e-bike battery fires became a deadly crisis in New York City. But this is not a problem isolated to the United States. In the UK, the London Fire Brigade has spoken publicly about the “incredibly ferocious fires” that can be caused by failing or damaged lithium batteries. In 2022, the service attended 29 e-scooter fires and 87 e-bike fires. By 2023, it was responding to a fire of this type every two days.

  1. EV fires

Fire services around the world are learning new best practices in order to deal with the intense fires that can break out when the large battery on an electric vehicle reaches thermal runaway. It is worth noting, however, that while fires in EVs can be particularly dangerous, they are significantly more likely to occur in traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. Data gathered by Australia’s EV FireSafe, which is funded by the country’s Department of Defence, assesses the probability of a diesel or petrol car catching fire at 0.1%. For EVs, the figure is just 0.0012%. 

  1. Aeroplane fires

In September 2010, UPS Airlines Flight 6 set off on a standard cargo flight from Dubai, UAE, to Cologne, Germany. On board were 81,000 lithium batteries. Not long into the flight, while cruising at 32,000 feet above the Persian Gulf, captain Douglas Lampe and first officer Matthew Bell were alerted to a fire on the main deck. A later investigation determined that the fire was caused by a faulty battery somewhere in the plane’s cargo. Lampe and Bell battled to land safely, turning the plane and getting ready to return to Dubai. But the heat and smoke became too intense. The plane crashed into a military base just 10 miles from Dubai International Airport and both men were lost. The Federal Aviation Administration maintains a detailed log of all lithium battery related events involving smoke, fire, or extreme heat.

Introducing the world’s first non-flammable and inherently safe lithium-ion battery

The safety of modern-day transportation could soon be widely transformed after production began at Nanotech Energy’s new Chico 2 manufacturing plant. Our graphene-powered batteries have proven to be non-flammable in some of the most remarkable circumstances.

In an extraordinary bullet test, our 18650 cells withstood the impact of a 4.5BRA bullet travelling at 2,917 feet per second. The cells did not catch fire and even still held a charge. In contrast, a rival commercial 18650 cell immediately burst into flames when hit by a 4.5BRA bullet discharged at 2,915 feet per second.

Our batteries have also survived nail tests and being heated to 150°C. Rival batteries burst into flames when subjected to the same situations. You can read the full details about all three of these tests.

As our exclusively US-made batteries begin to filter into everyday use, the safety of everyone is guaranteed to improve. Interested to find out more about potential partnership opportunities in 2024 and beyond? Contact us today.

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