State of Charge and Lithium ion Batteries: Definition, Measurement, and Dangerous Goods Regulations

The recently released addendum to the ICAO Technical Instruction for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (2015-2016 Edition) will limit the state of charge (“SOC”) of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries (UN3480) to a maximum of 30% when offered for air transport. Important questions have been raised as to measuring SOC and how compliance with this new regulation will be determined by enforcement agencies. PRBA has prepared a White Paper that explores what SOC means, how SOC is utilized in equipment, and addresses some of the challenges associated with measuring and enforcing this new requirement.

It is important to note that the SOC limit does not apply to Li-ion batteries that are packed with or installed in products (e.g., equipment (UN3481), vehicles (UN3171)).