The Day a Lithium Battery Brought Down a 747

Written By Alex Koyfman

Posted August 8, 2023

Dear Reader,

Lithium fires are so commonplace today it seems like nobody cares anymore. 

So there was another condo fire in New York, or a restaurant fire in LA, or a club that burned down in Miami after a hoverboard in the back office went up in flames while charging. 

It’s all old news. So much so that most media outlets don’t even bother dedicating more than a couple hundred words to any lithium fire story unless there’s an unusually impressive body count. 

But the one thing we’ve never read much about with regard to the fire hazards posed by lithium batteries is the potential threat of a fire in a place where "minor incidents" are far less common than total disasters.

I'm talking about airplanes. 

Unlike most of the "routine" fires that happen every day and are quickly chalked up as a cost of living in the city, fires at 37,000 feet in an oxygen-rich environment are rarely discussed. 

Does this mean they never happen?

The answer to that question is a resounding no. 

Lithium Fire: Coming to an Airline Flight Near You?

In fact, this past march, the FAA declared that "incidents" onboard airliners are now taking place at a frequency of about one per week a sobering statistic considering the implications of being stuck in an aluminum canister miles above the Earth with an active incendiary device. 

These incidents typically follow the same script that the passengers of Spirit Airlines Flight 259 experienced earlier this year, as they flew from Dallas to Orlando. 

A rechargeable battery stowed in a passenger’s carry-on luggage caught fire just as the plane was about to begin its descent toward Orlando International. 

Smoke was seen pouring from one of the overhead bins, and the plane was immediately diverted to the nearest alternative landing site, in Jacksonville. 

The plane landed and everyone disembarked safely. But the result could have been much different. 

In 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration reported 62 lithium battery incidents on aircraft and in airports, compared with 52 the previous year. 

In 2014, this number stood at just nine.

Up 600% Since 2014

“These are lithium battery-related events involving smoke, fire, or extreme heat that the FAA is aware of and should not be considered a complete listing of all such incidents,” commented an FAA representative. 

The reason that so far there have been no catastrophes associated with in-flight lithium battery fires is because aircrews do have a solution to burning devices in the cabin…

The thermal containment bag.

thermal bag

Bags like the one pictured above can be quickly deployed, allowing for a phone, tablet, or laptop to be completely isolated and starved of oxygen. 

For checked luggage, FAA regulations have limited which devices and how many spare batteries a passenger can bring, with ground crews regularly scanning luggage to ensure compliance. 

The first of these regulations went into effect back in 2010, after a lithium battery fire in the cargo hold caused UPS Airlines Flight 6 to crash shortly after taking off from Dubai International Airport on Sept 3. 

The Unthinkable Has Happened… You Just Never Heard About It


Pictured above is the exact aircraft involved in that deadly crash.

The incident resulted in only two deaths, as only two crew members were on board the cargo-laden Boeing 747.

Because it was not a passenger-carrying plane, the story was easy enough to overlook. Still, it underscores a very bleak reality.

We’ve been very lucky since then, but as the number of batteries in circulation grows at an ever-increasing rate, so do the chances that another fire will take place at some time and location where it cannot be controlled in time. 

The only long-term solution to this problem and it’s been known for quite some time now is the end of the lithium-ion battery as we know it today. 

I’m talking about a fundamental redesign, with one of the battery’s three most important components, the electrolyte, in need of a complete replacement. 

For years now, the battery industry has been searching for a viable replacement, with safety being among the top parameters. 

Another of the major parameters is charge delay — which, despite the inherent dangers of lithium batteries, remains the No. 1 stumbling block for first-time electric vehicle buyers. 

Now, what if I told you that there’s a lithium-ion alternative in the works right now that not only erases the risk of fire, but also accelerates charging by as much 70x over today’s standard?

These New Batteries Will Redefine The Industry

I’m talking about a charge delay for an electric vehicle battery pack of just one minute or less — faster than you can fill your tank at the pump.

Same for your phone or laptop. 

For a typical EV, range is increased too, up to as much as 1,000 miles per charge, and battery life is also substantially magnified, to up to 1.5 million miles. 

All of this in a single battery that’s similar in size and competitive in cost to your most common Li-ion batteries of today. 

If you’re an investor, you’re probably waiting for the catch, but in this case, there really isn’t one. 

These next-gen batteries aren’t just some experiment or a concept awaiting real-world proof. They're already in early batch production and could be in consumer goods as early as next year. 

Prospective corporate clients are already lining up to test them out for their own product lines.

Ten years from now, the entire lithium-ion industry — projected to be worth more than $270 million per year by 2030 — could be all but extinct.

The company behind this all? Well, that’s the biggest surprise of all. 

Enter here to learn more.

Fortune favors the bold,

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Alex Koyfman

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