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Independent Assessment of the Safety of Lithium Ion Batteries

Letter to Helen Whately MP

Dear Helen

Knowing the interest you have taken and concern you have expressed regarding the dangers inherent in the Cleve Hill Battery proposals, I am writing to update you on new specific scientific opinion. 

We would be grateful for any further influence you can bring to bear.

The attached is independent expert opinion submitted this week to Swale Borough Council by GREAT in its determination of the Battery Safety Management Plan for Cleve Hill. The principal author is Professor Peter P. Edwards FRS, Emeritus Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford, who worked in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Professor John B. Goodenough FRS, the inventor of the Lithium-ion battery. He is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on LFP battery chemistry.

For convenience, summarised below are the  key points of their opinion:

1.       Any fire involving large-scale Li-ion battery storage must be regarded as a hazardous materials incident.

2.       The lack of oversight and advice from the Health and Safety Executive is a unique and concerning situation for such hazardous materials.

3.       The LFP batteries chosen for Cleve Hill pose more of an explosion hazard than other battery chemistries and attention is drawn to the relevance of their use in the only fatal BESS explosion to date in Beijing.

4.       A detailed account is provided for why the destructiveness of an explosion from LFP batteries is almost 100% greater than that of any other battery type.

5.       Research has demonstrated that the vapour cloud explosion can be much more damaging than the initial fire itself.

6.       The BSMP fails to take any account of this highly relevant explosion hazard.

7.       The BSMP fails to take account of the actual highly toxic air pollutants likely to be emitted in the event of a battery fire.

8.       This battery energy storage facility must be correctly classified as ‘’hazardous’’, having the potential to create highly dangerous events and hazardous substances posing a threat to site workers, fire-fighters, local people and the environment.

9.    Permissions for a Battery Energy Storage System at the Cleve Hill Solar Park should therefore be suspended until a proper National regulatory protocol has been established that takes account of all the Health and Safety issues with the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the Fire and Rescue Services being statutory consultees.

Kind regards


Professor Sir David Melville CBE


Faversham Society

December 8, 2023

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2 comments on “Independent Assessment of the Safety of Lithium Ion Batteries”

  1. In relation to BESS Lithium Based Battery fires, Queensland Australia has now 3 events on EPRI Failures data, and of course Moorabool Victoria BESS Fire using earlier TESLA MEGAPACK units was a wake up call to the industry .First BESS fire in Brisbane , brand unknown, was at Griffiths University , on a weekend and nobody was hurt , Second at Townsville also no recorded casualties , and Third near Rockhampton was 500 meter from nearest residence in Rural setting. Victorias Moorabool Fire declared Contaminated area is aprox 60 Sq Km , in a long corridor just west of Geelong , could have been first Aussie casualties , Un-Lucky country . I think it necessary to DEMAND Total Safety when a BESS is to locate within 2 miles, 5 Km of residents.

  2. Hello Faversham Society, I appreciate the Information and extent of your Professional Research on the Lithium Battery Large BESS projects. In Australia, we are rushing ahead with installing BESS and Smaller Community ESS around residential estates ,in Brisbane , Ipswich and these are as close as 150 Meter from hundreds of houses. The small ESS units will hang off Street Poles , smaller but Lithium just the same .

    I am Chairman of a Power Liaison Team established in a Baptist Church adjacent 180 M from this 400 Mwh BESS in Greenbank New Beith , and within 3.5 Km radius there is 7,000 Homesites , 20,000 residents potentially exposed to Future Emissions (Fire or Gas ) ,developed by our Queensland Government we cannot stop this project . As no learned Professional has come forward here , I have now researched all and any Lithium Battery information published , and certainly appreciate works commissioned by Sir David Melville ,and his associates . A larger 500 MwH is locating in old Swanbank Power Hub , but the Residents seem oblivious to potential danger

    Product being installed here is TESLA MEGAPACK 2 XL , x 108 units,one of which destroyed at BOULDERCOMBE Qld ,due it is stated to the A C Invertor side ,not internal, but burnt out just the same. I ask of your permission, Faversham Society , to quote technicals from your research, as no other source is so complete . It is very challenging to have Politicians take advice , Australia is rushing into the untested future.
    My contact details bruceklasact.bf1@gmail.com Bruce Martin Fraser .

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