Q. Gavin, I understand there have been a number of changes regarding the transport of batteries by air. Can you start by expanding on that?

A. Yes, basically there has been a strict tightening of the regulations for air transport, especially for lithium batteries, over recent years. Until just a few years ago, you could transport lithium primary cells and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries by either passenger or cargo aircraft. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) then prohibited the transport of lithium primary cell by passenger aircraft because there had been a few incidents, particularly in America. In the last couple of years, they’ve extended that ban to cover lithium-ion rechargeable batteries as well.

Lincad Ltd – at the forefront of lithium-ion battery technology and design

So, there’s been a gradual ramping up of the rules on the shipping of lithium batteries by air. In addition, a couple of years ago, they introduced a state of charge rule on lithium-ion rechargeable batteries being transported by cargo aircraft. They must now be in a state of charge of 30% or less. Effectively, at that state of charge, they contain less energy and they are therefore far less likely to have a problem if they get crushed, punctured or something else happens to them.

That’s where we are with air transport. Other types of battery, like nickel-metal hydride, nickel cadmium and lead acid, are not regulated to anything like the same extent as lithium batteries.

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