Would Lithium Batteries Survive Hurricanes?

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Hurricane Florence set us wondering how a pack of lithium batteries would survive if deluged in a storm surge. Because we know the technology can be explosive, and spraying water does not extinguish a lithium battery fire. Moreover, we wanted to know, would lithium batteries survive hurricanes? We found a research paper titled ‘Preliminary Study on the Safety of a Lithium Ion Battery Pack Under Water Immersion’ that we’d like to discuss today.

Tsinghua University Asks, Would Lithium Batteries Survive Hurricanes?

would lithium batteries survive hurricanes

Battery Fire: Image Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University is a major research facility in Beijing, China. Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings rated it 14th globally in 2017. The National Natural Science Foundation of China also sponsored the study to investigate the posed question.

The Tsinghua University preliminary report begins, “Most battery packs must comply with IP67 standard to guarantee waterproof before commercialization. However, passing the IP67 standard cannot 100% guarantee that the battery packs do not leak when immersed in fluid like dirty water or sea water during the whole life cycle, especially under extreme conditions.”

Feedback from Hurricane Sandy and China’s Own Experience

would lithium batteries survive hurricanes

Fused Test Cell: Image Tsinghua University

The researchers cite “several Fisker Karma electric vehicles that burned after sea water intrusion caused by Hurricane Sandy. In 2016, two electric buses burned in a fire after overnight water immersion due to a heavy rain in Nanjing, China.”

They found that when they immersed a single cell in water, they observed an electric arc near the poles of the cell. “Because the poles of the prismatic cell fused near the area where the electric arc was triggered. We saw a ball of flames appear, and some other small flames floating on the water surface.”

Therefore, they conclude “an electric arc containing enormous energy will be released due to high voltage when the battery pack is immersed under water.” Hence the answer to our question, would lithium batteries survive hurricanes, is perhaps, but perhaps not. We wait for the final report with interest.


Making it Harder for Batteries to Catch Fire

Lithium Battery Fires in Space – NASA’s Plan

Preview Image: Single Cells in Tsinghua University Battery

Tsinghua University Preliminary Report


About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

Leave A Reply