Lithium based batteries, both lithium metal and lithium ion, have been designated by the United Nations as “Dangerous Goods” as far as transport regulations are concerned. This means that the transport of these types of batteries on their own or with equipment is regulated by national and international agreements to ensure that product is safely transported. Transport approval is therefore required.
The transportation of primary (non-rechargeable) lithium and secondary (rechargeable) lithium ion and lithium polymer cells and batteries is regulated by the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road: ADR 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Technical Instructions and corresponding International Air Transport Association (IATA), Dangerous Goods Regulations, and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.
Under the terms of these regulations it is necessary to show that the batteries meet the requirements of a series of safety tests defined by the United Nations, often referred to by the relevant section number as UN38.3 tests, these are detailed here Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria Amendment 1 and 2.
This document defines the following tests which must be performed on cells and batteries.
- T1: Altitude Simulation
- T2: Thermal
- T3: Vibration
- T4: Shock
- T5: External Short Circuit
- T6: Impact
- T7: Overcharge
- T8: Forced Discharge
These tests only have to be performed once for each cell or battery type of a given design. Additional testing may be required when a previously tested cell or battery undergoes design or construction changes
UPERGY can arrange for batteries to be tested through a network of test houses that perform this work in Europe and Asia.
However, it is possible to transport prototypes and small production runs by road and sea before having to perform these tests.
In addition to the testing requirements, there are regulations on how these cells and batteries must be packed for safe transport. Different requirements apply depending on the mode of transport, the highest level of packaging is required for air transport, detailed information for air transport can be found here. However, in order to transport batteries by air requires company employees to be trained independently to IATA standards. VDI staff have been trained to these requirements.