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Shipping Lithium-based Batteries By Air

The shipment of nearly all lithium-based batteries must pass section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) assists by publishing the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) that helps classify, mark, pack, label and document dangerous shipments. DGR is recognized by all major airlines and the guidelines are based on international and national air regulations as well as on airline-specific requirements.

The quantity of batteries permitted in a shipment is based on watt-hours (Wh). Wh reveals the lithium content (ELC) by multiplying voltage by ampere-hours (Ah), in which 1Ah has 0.3 grams of lithium. For example, 14.40V x 5Ah battery = 72Wh (5Ah x 0.3g = 1.5g x 4 cells in series = 6g). New regulations are being discussed that might mandate to ship all Li-ion at 30 percent SoC. Li-ion is more stable at low SoC than when fully charged.

Under DGR, the packaging instructions (PI) are organized into PI 965 to PI 970. PI 965 covers Li-ion cells and battery packs only while PI 966 includes Li-ion installed in equipment and PI 967 combines Li-ion with equipment. Because of higher lithium content, lithium-metal batteries are handled separately under PI 968 to 970. (Most lithium-metal are non-rechargeable.) The paper also describes what a traveler can take on an aircraft.

Most lithium-metal batteries are primary and have tighter shipping requirements than secondary Li-ion.

To accommodate the traveler and the need to ship batteries, transporting lithium-based battery products is divided into two categories:

    Non-Class 9 hazardous material shipment involves small batteries in limited quantities. This also qualifies for courier and mail deliveries.
    Class 9 hazardous material enables the shipment of larger battery sizes and higher volumes.

To make the rulings more palatable, the tables list the less stringent requirement first, followed by the shipments of larger quantities of lithium-based batteries; the established numbering system suggests the reverse. Sections IA, IB and II are in Roman numerals and mean Section 1A, 1B and 2 in Latin numbers. When shipping regulated dangerous goods there must be an inherent level of trust as rules can be evaded. Shippers must sign and self-certify that a shipment complies with the applicable regulations.

Shipping rules are changing and effective April 2016, Li-ion cell and packs must be offered for transport at a state-of-charge (SoC) not exceeding 30% of their rated capacity. The SoC limit does not apply to Li-ion that are packed with or installed in products. Li-ion with low charge pose less danger than when dully charged.

At 30% SoC, the cell voltage of most Li-ion is ~3.70V. Discharge the battery to 3.65V/cell. The 50mV overshoot compensates for the rubber band effect. (See BU-702: How to Store Batteries.)

Packaging Instruction 965 —includes loose Li-ion cells and battery packs (UN 3480)
Table 1 divides the transport of Li-ion products into four groups: Carry-on defines the quantity of Li-ion cells and battery packs a passenger can take on an aircraft; Section II specifies shipment of small Li-ion products in low numbers; Section 1B advises on the shipment of small Li-ion products in larger numbers, and Section 1A governs larger Li-ion products. Only Carry-on and Section II are exempt from Class 9 hazardous material designation. IATA mandates that cells and battery packs cannot be combined in the same shipping box. Use separate boxes.

Note: As of 1 April 2016, all Li-ion cell and batteries must be offered for transport at a state-of-charge (SoC) not to exceed 30 percent of their rated capacity.----So if you sell these battery to others  ,please charge it

1 Effective April 2016
Passenger Aircraft Ban: Li-ion under Sections II, IA and IB are forbidden on passenger aircraft. All packages must bear the Cargo Aircraft Only label in addition to the other marks and labels required. This limitation does not affect lithium ion batteries packed with or contained in equipment.

State-of-charge Limits: Li-ion must be shipped at a state-of-charge of no more than 30% of the rated capacity. This does not apply to batteries pack with or contained in equipment.

Other restrictions: Shipper can only offer one Section II package (batteries only) per consignment.
Lithium battery shipments must be separated from other cargo.
2 Typical smartphone or tablet battery
3 Typical laptop battery

General Transport Requirements
Travel:     Passengers must carry batteries onboard the aircraft. Check-in is not permitted. Non-removable batteries enjoy exemption (out of sight, out of mind).
      Batteries must be protected against short circuit. (Place in individual plastic bags)
Approval:     A battery pack must be approved even if the cells in the pack have already been approved. Modified battery packs must also be reapproved.
Labels:     Each package must include the CAUTION label and the Lithium Battery Handling label with the words "Lithium ion batteries in compliance with Section II of PI 965” (or other applicable PI numbers). Add a contact phone number.
Overpack:     Under the new rule effective April 2016, the overpack cannot contain more than one (1) package in accordance with Section II of PI 965. The overpack can, however, contain other non-dangerous goods or compatible dangerous good items. Add the overpack label on the shipping box together with the other required labels with respect to multiple packages of regulated batteries.
      Batteries identified as defective and in danger of failing in transport are forbidden.
Old batteries:     Lithium-based batteries for disposal are forbidden from air transport unless approved by the appropriate authorities.
Packing:     Each shipping package must withstand a 1.2 meter (4 feet) drop in any orientation without damaging the batteries, causing them to shift or releasing the contents.