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Lithium Battery Safety

Lithium batteries pose a real hazard to ships, aircraft, submarines and people.  The Navy has a Lithium Battery Safety Program (NAVSEA 9310.1C  and TECHMAN S9310-AQ-SAF-01 R2)  that requires specific management, including acquisition requirements, to mitigate the potential risks associated with charging, storage, transport, use, and disposal.  For Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries commonly used in robots and unmanned vehicles, NPS has additional management guidance (NPS LiPO SOP 1.4 series).


*** According to NAVSEA 9310.1C, any Lithium battery used for a Navy application must be tested and formally authorized for use by NAVSEA.  However there are healthy exceptions that cover many common applications (See link to NPS Lithium Battery Gouge for Buyers)


The Navy’s Lithium Battery Safety Program (LBSP) testing and authorization process is structured around four steps:

  1. Submission of a Safety Data Package by the requesting program manager.
  2. Safety Testing of the battery by LBSP approved personnel.
  3. Safety Review of the data package and test results by the LBSP’s designated technical agents.
  4. Approval: formal recommendation, by the LBSP manager, for approval of the proposed battery’s use by the requesting program manager.


Currently, NPS follows this guidance for all Lithium batteries.  For Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries, NPS clearances have been requested and approved for many projects through this process. 

   On 11 August 2014, “use of lithium ion batteries limited to less than 300 watt-hours during research efforts (unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), and robotics at the NPS and research operations under their supervision conducted at controlled airspace at shore facilities” was granted by the Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA). 

   Part of this approval was consideration of elements of the President’s requesting letter, which cited that participating researches will receive training on the NPS Lithium Polymer SOP and will be accountable for procedures in that document as well as restrictions delineated in the requested clearance documents.

Required Training for NPS use of LiPo Batteries is outlined in Appendix H of the NPS LiPO SOP.


Personal Consumer Battery Safety

  • Electronic Cigarettes: Safety concerns continue to evolve for Lithium Battery commercial products, so much that Navy Safety Center can see the proliferation of products known as ELECTRONIC NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEMS, or e-Cigs in the mishap data since they were made available in 2015.  If you must vape, some good advice can be found on our e-Cig Battery Hazard page.

  • Hoverboards: The lithium-ion battery packs in the self-balancing scooters/hoverboards can overheat, posing a risk of the products smoking, catching fire and/or exploding.  Please see our Lithium Battery Safety Brief to learn more.


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