UK packaging company spearheads safe lithium-ion battery transportation

The UK arm of global packaging company Tri-Wall has designed a revolutionary range of packaging to prevent catastrophic events involving lithium-ion batteries and their components in transport and storage.

Tri-Wall employs more than 300 people in the UK, with 115 employees at its headquarters and manufacturing facilities at Monmouth. Adding to this, Tri-Wall UK has nationwide coverage with further manufacturing sites in Swansea, Wolverhampton, Manchester and on Tyneside.

The company has been a driving force behind LIBRIS (Lithium-ion Battery Research In Safety), a government-funded research project into the safe handling, shipping, and packaging of the batteries, used in electric cars, military vehicles, and aircraft.

Tri-Wall UK Ltd secured more than £700,000 of funding towards it’s £1.18million stake in the project, setting the standard for the future of worldwide Lithium-ion battery transportation. Along with Tri-Wall UK, the LIBRIS collaboration included scientists from the University of Warwick manufacturing group (WMG), testing and validation by the Health and Safety Executive and representatives from Jaguar Land Rover, materials experts 3M, military specialists Denchi, Potenza, Lifeline and UKBIC.

With sales of petrol and diesel vehicles due to end in the UK by 2030, production of lithium-ion batteries is increasing dramatically to meet demand. It is estimated that around 10 billion cells per annum will be required to meet production targets in the next decade.

Mike Valentine, Tri-Wall’s Business Development and Projects Lead, says: “Lithium-ion batteries can become extremely volatile if they are not handled correctly. Should they become compromised, they could go into a state of rapid disassembly and enter thermal runaway. In this scenario, the battery cell itself breaks down and creates all the conditions of a fire, heating itself and the surrounding cells potentially causing a significant explosive event. How the battery is manufactured, packaged, stored, handled, and transported, can affect exactly how volatile the event becomes, from minor to catastrophic.”

The LIBRIS programme investigated exactly how a lithium-ion battery could be provoked into entering thermal runaway to understand the parameters in which to build effective safety standards. Tri-Wall participated in various areas of research and development, including defining packaging requirements, packaging materials, pack design, prototyping, testing and integration.

Gavin Peters, CEO of Tri-Wall UK Ltd, says: “If a lithium-ion battery is compromised, it can be like a bomb waiting to go off. We have developed and tested a range of packaging solutions, which will suppress the effects of thermal runaway and are the safest on the market. They are designed to be assembly-line ready, can be scaled to size and are recyclable. We believe this is an industry game-changer.”

The company has now produced a whitepaper, outlining the hazardous nature of lithium-ion batteries when under stress and aims to raise awareness of safety implications that could arise using packaging not specifically designed for, and tested with, live lithium-ion batteries and cells.

The whitepaper is free and available for download at .https://tri-wall.us19.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=f396de085f6666d0941cf94cf&id=fb477a5e52

To find out more about Tri-Wall and the LIBRIS project, visit https://tri-wall.co.uk/libris/