The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced on its website a $350,000 call for tender for a new project dedicated to exploring technologies that could be used in airports to screen for lithium batteries in baggage to reduce safety risks.
According to the aviation safety body, volumes of lithium batteries transported by aircraft are growing every day as a wide range of electric and electronic products are equipped with this power source. However, the rising number of lithium batteries onboard has led to an increase in fire risk and incidents of smoke, which can result in catastrophic aviation incidents.
“Lithium batteries, whether or not contained in equipment, are one of the main causes of the incidents reported in the cabin. Certain restrictions apply to the carriage by passengers of lithium metal and lithium-ion batteries in accordance with ICAO Annex 18 and the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods (ICAO Doc. 9284),” EASA said.
“Notwithstanding, that screeners shall primarily focus their attention on the identification of prohibited items from a security perspective, there is a need to investigate possible technical, operational, and regulatory solutions to support safety requirements (in particular detection of lithium batteries not transported in line with applicable safety rules) without affecting the performance of screening operations,” the agency added.
The agency aims to assess the potential screening solutions for airports to detect lithium batteries with a capacity exceeding 100Wh in baggage.
The winner of the tender, which will be funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program, will be awarded a contract in November 2022.