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PRBA calls for update to UN test scheme for Li-ion batteries

Posted: 02 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PRBA proposal? Li-ion batteries? UN test scheme?

The Portable Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA), the rechargeable battery industry's leading trade association, has proposed modifications to battery tests contained in the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria. The move was in response to its members' participation in the production of large-format Li-ion batteries for hybrid electric and electric vehicles. PRBA warned that continued reliance on an outdated testing scheme could stifle development of a new generation of environmentally friendly products.

The UN Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods last updated its tests for Lithium batteries in 2000, when its primary focus was on small Lithium cells and batteries. At that time, no one could have anticipated the significant gains in Li-ion battery technology, especially the widespread use of large-format batteries by the military and the aerospace, automobile and telecommunications industries. However, the existing set of tests in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria pose significant technical and financial challenges for large-format battery manufacturers, PRBA said in its filing with the UN.

PRBA's proposal would eliminate the disparities between testing small batteries and large-format batteries and include new definitions that clarify when battery componentscells, batteries, battery modules and battery assembliesare subject to the UN testing requirements. Differentiating between these various components is critical to ensuring the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria remain current with industry practices and terminology.

In developing its proposals, PRBA has worked with member companies that make large-format Li-ion batteries as well as hybrid-electric and electric vehicle manufacturers. The group will formally introduce its recommendations for large-format Li-ion batteries at a July meeting of the UN Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods in Geneva, Switzerland. Copies of PRBA's proposal can be downloaded here (follow link to International).

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