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Li-Ion batteries as air cargo: New German study for safety assessment and risk reduction. Contributions are being made by Envites Energy, Nordhausen.

Li-Ion-Batteries in our global Society

Especially the Li-Ion batteries (UN number 3480) have become our everyday companion. They are listed as dangerous goods in transport.  The company Envites Energy of Nordhausen now contributes to the services for safety assessment with risk reduction of lithium batteries in aviation. Even a diploma thesis at TU Dresden is supported for this. The transport chain should become even safer in the future for large Li-Ion batteries.

New german based safety Assessment

A new extensive safety assessment is carried out especially for Li-Ion batteries by German cargo airline AeroLogic (Leipzig-Schkeuditz) in lead management. The title is: Safety Assessment on Lithium Batteries as Air Cargo. The Institute of Aviation and Logistics, Chair of Technology and Logistics of Air Traffic at the Technical University of Dresden, undertook scientific monitoring. The problem: However, in comparison with 2014, the number of incidents in which the US authorities assigned even Lithium batteries has also doubled. Here, every possible incident is exactly one too many. Hence, the safety assessment has a high priority and is carried out strictly in accordance with the criteria of aviation safety. “As independent safety advisers, we are asked on the one hand to clarify possible residual risks uncompromisingly. On the other hand, solutions must be provided, which eliminate possible risks quasi-safely”, said Tim Schäfer to nnz-online.

As a supporter of the German initiative of Pro Lithium Ion batteries, Envites Energy assumes that it is possible to prove that the Lithium Ion batteries establish and ensure an extremely high global level of safety never previously attained in all modes of transport, especially for electric mobility and made in Germany.

Status & Outlook: Major Risk Analyses part provided by Envites Energy

Here, Envites Energy of Nordhausen contributes and concretely advises for the creation of a complex risk catalogue with consequences and an assessment according to the probability of occurrence and extent. Special emphasis is placed on the development of risk mitigation measures for airplanes. In addition to the assessment and selection of adequate measures according to ALARP, Envites Energy will introduce its own technology, DryCloud, devised in Nordhausen, as a suitable fire protection system. Schäfer explains further, “In the process, it is essential to fulfil the requirements of aviation. We see it as a challenge, which we approach with joy. Activities follow this work on safety assessment according to plan, which should ensure timely transposition in safety recommendations bindingly and exemplarily for all the partners of a secure supply chain of civil and military aviation. Always ensuring Li-Ion batteries in aviation, with contributions from Nordhausen.

Today this document was also provided onto the SAE G-27 standard working group.

Major Risks- Lithiumbatteries-Safety Assessment on Air CargoAbb.: Major Risks- Lithiumbatteries-Safety Assessment on Air Cargo, source: Envites Energy, Tim Schäfer 2016

Envites Energy has already developed the part of transport safety within the scope of the study battery safety (ZSW ULM, e-lab, NOW Berlin, 2013-2016) in the professional programme for electric mobility of BMVI Federal Ministry of Transport and has responsibly recommended measures with a work group. This has already been addressed.  For example, a diagnosis system for current assessment of safety level of lithium batteries and the new fire protection system Dry Cloud, which is specially recommended for aviation and stock management, are of special important.


Especially the Li-Ion batteries (UN number 3480, class 9 of dangerous goods) have become our everyday companion. The global market for Li-Ion batteries will reach around 22.5 billion US dollars in 2016. These markets will continue to grow enormously.  Since 2012, i.e. in the last four years, this has doubled once again. A megatrend that depends on different innovations can be undoubtedly seen in batteries. Thanks to energy storages, energy densities and performance data for a given volume or weight, unattainable so far, are reached. And this with a very high safety, availability and sustainability.

New Quality of Lithium-Ion-Batteries available:

Last but not the least, thousand operating cycles can be demonstrated with many years of service life available. Along with a good price-performance ratio. Diverse innovations are possible, for example with rechargeable Li-metal batteries, which are undergoing advance development and provisions or will do so soon. Moreover, you can see that new systems are gaining importance in new form factors (such as 21-st cells or pouch-polymer).

Market driver: Lithium-Ion Battery:

Frost & Sullivan (market analyst) summarises strategically as follows in a latest market study: Lithium batteries are one of the future technologies, which will change the industries and enable growth all over the world. Large mega-factories, electric mobility, stationary applications for decentralised energy storage are the major drivers behind this. Even in Germany, there are currently completely new approaches to participate in this.

ICAO measures

Under rare circumstances, however, there can be a risk of these batteries in an airplane especially as freight. The airplane manufacturer Boeing itself stated that there could be a risk of a fire triggered due to the lithium metal and ion batteries, which cannot be sufficiently protected by fire protection systems of all Boeing machines. Experts from International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have already taken measures. They are temporary. This way, they should contribute to greater safety.  Hence, new ICAO regulations, last effective on 01.04.2016 (SOC 30%, prohibition on UN 3480 as cargo on passenger airplanes), have entered into force.

Envites Energy

Envites Energy is a young company in Nordhausen in the industrial area of Kohnstein. The company focuses on Li-Ion batteries and service including R&D. References are given by global leading companies of Li-Ion technology and partners. Customers appreciate expertise and problem-solving competence even during problem-solving or process optimisation. The latter is oriented towards benchmarks of global leading companies.
Envites Energy is one of the very few companies in Germany, which can offer a full service for Li-Ion-Cell technologies and batteries and provides or supports R&D.