How to Ship Damaged or Defective Lithium Batteries

Swollen lithium polymer batteries. Dangerous and harmful electronic waste

Regular Damaged or Defective or Dangerous Damaged or Defective?

There is a fair amount of interest in the topic of preparing Damaged or Defective (DoD) lithium batteries for transport and how to make a determination of the degree of hazard they present.

The current (20th) 2017 Edition of the Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Model) Regulations have addressed the former (packaging for transport) aspect, but the documents currently posted have not yet established firm protocols for the latter.

The situations involving recalls of defective, unsafe batteries and incidents during transportation has sustained the efforts to find better ways of dealing with them. The topic has been under discussion at the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) in most sessions over the last several years.

For this discussion we’ll refer to cells/batteries that do not meet the UN Manual of Test criteria due to damage or defect, without specific safety hazards, as “regular” DoD; and those that “are liable to disassemble rapidly, react dangerously, produce a flame or a dangerous evolution of heat, or produce a dangerous emission of toxic, corrosive or flammable gases or vapours” as “dangerous” DoD.

This distinction is proposed for clarification in the next version (21st Edition) of the UN Model. See, for example, working document ST/SG/AC.10C.3/2018/51:

Batteries or Reactive Substances?

As a technicality, we should pause to consider the basic Continue Reading…