KULR Joins UN Working Group To Improve Battery Shipping Standards

September 22, 2020 by Shannon Cuthrell

KULR Technology Group, which develops battery safety and thermal management solutions, recently joined a United Nations working group to help establish battery shipping safety regulations.

The United Nations met with KULR Technology Group and other battery industry representatives earlier this month to create new safety standards for lithium battery packaging and transport. The working group is part of the UN’s Transport of Dangerous Goods Sub-Committee, within the Economic Commission for Europe. 


KULR Joins UN Working Group To Improve Battery Shipping Standards Figure


KULR Technology Group, based in San Diego, provides battery storage and thermal management products used in high-profile applications like NASA’s International Space Station and the Mars 2020 Rover Mission that launched last month. The company recently expanded into the luxury EV market, supplying its carbon fiber thermal interface material for Drako Motors’ new GTE supercar.

The company met with the UN working group from August 31 to September 2 in an event held virtually and in Brussels. The event was hosted by European battery industry association RECHARGE, in partnership with seven other trade groups representing battery manufacturers, including the European Portable Battery Association, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, the Rechargeable Battery Association, the European Battery Recycling Association, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, Light Electric Vehicle Association-EU and the Medical Device Battery Transport Council. 

On September 1, the group launched a website detailing the regulatory framework. The site states that the safety transport standards apply to battery products containing lithium, lead, nickel and sodium, all of which include battery chemistries classified as dangerous goods. Companies that transport cells, batteries and battery-containing equipment by road, air and sea must meet the UN’s required testing, packaging and reporting regulations, the site says. 


KULR Joins UN Working Group To Improve Battery Shipping Standards Figure
Image courtesy of KULR. 


In announcing the company’s participation in the UN’s working group, KULR CEO Michael Mo stated, “KULR agrees with regulators and industry experts that sound battery design, testing and packaging play a critical role in reducing the likelihood of cells and batteries experiencing thermal events. These factors are also crucial in reducing the hazards when a cell or battery experiences a thermal event.”

“Reducing the probability and limiting the effects of mass thermal runaway propagation is an absolute must,” he added. “KULR is strategically suited to support the UN Working Group’s initiatives and is eager to provide solutions to meet current and future regulatory requirements.”

In addition to its role in the UN’s Transport of Dangerous Goods informal working group, KULR will present its passive propagation resistant (PPR) technology design to a U.S. Transportation Research Board subcommittee on September 15. KULR says its PPR battery design prevents safety hazards resulting from thermal runaway propagation. In August, KULR announced that its PPR technology would be used to develop 3D printed battery systems meeting NASA’s safety standards for manned space applications. 

KULR is working on the regulatory initiatives in partnership with Hazmat Safety Consulting, a firm that helps U.S. and international regulators on setting lithium battery safety standards. 

Incidents of fires and explosions involving lithium batteries are well-documented in the U.S., especially during transport. Between January 23, 2006, and August 2, 2020, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recorded 290 air and airport incidents involving lithium batteries carried in transport. The U.S. Department of Transportation regulates lithium battery packaging and shipping under its Hazardous Materials Regulations