Tesla Megapack caught on fire at giant battery project in Australia

A Tesla Megapack part of a giant battery project in Victoria, Australia, has caught on fire – creating a blaze that’s almost impossible to control.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

As we recently reported, Tesla is having a lot of success with the Megapack, a large battery system for utility-scale energy storage projects.

The automaker achieved record deployment of energy storage last quarter – thanks largely to the Megapack, which is back-ordered until the end of next year.

Tesla’s energy storage products have been particularly popular in Australia, where the electric grid is in great need of stabilization.

Its famous “Tesla Big Battery” in partnership with Neoen in South Australia has had a tremendous success that other states are trying to replicate.

Neoen obtained a new contract to deploy a giant 300 MW/450 MWh battery system using Tesla Megapack in Victoria.

The installation of the giant new battery packs was just completed and the system was undergoing testing when one of the Megapacks caught on fire yesterday:

There’s up to 3 MWh of battery cells in a single Tesla Megapack and when a thermal runaway event like this happens, you can expect a very strong fire.

More than 150 people from Fire Rescue Victoria and the Country Fire Authority responded to the blaze, and it is expected to burn throughout the night for 8 to up to 24 hours.

The CFA’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ian Beswicke said:

“If we try and cool them down it just prolongs the process,”

The good news is that the fire didn’t propagate to the other Megapacks around it.

We previously reported on Tesla putting a lot of effort into understanding how a fire would impact a Powerpack, the predecessor to the Megapack, in anticipation that they would be installed in large products and it would be crucial that a fire wouldn’t spread between battery packs.

We shared an interesting experiment where Tesla set fire to one of those Powerpacks.

However, in this case, the bigger issue is toxic fumes emanating from the burning Megapack.

The authorities issued a toxic air quality warning for Batesford, Bell Post Hill, Lovely Banks, Moorabool, and Geelong’s northern suburb due to the fire.

Currently, the cause of the fire is unknown, but we know that it occurred after Neoen was testing the system with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Both Tesla and Neoen said that they are working with the local authorities.

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