Detection of Lithium Batteries Using Security Screening Equipment

This research study addresses Chapter 6 ‘Impact of security measures on safety’ of the Cluster 5 Climate, Energy and Mobility of the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022. 

In December 2022, EASA appointed a consortium to deliver this research study for the specific case of detecting lithium batteries in checked baggage. The consortium is led by Rapiscan Systems and supported by CAA International.


Lithium batteries are becoming more and more ubiquitous in portable electronics and electrical devices. Their diverse form-factors and favourable energy storage characteristics make them the prime choice of batteries in many applications. Yet the high density of stored energy along with the combustion characteristics of Lithium also constitute a risk. This risk is particularly evident in the aviation field onboard the aircraft, and in particular in the hold, where fire hazards pose particularly severe risks to the aircraft. 
Certain restrictions apply to the carriage by passengers of lithium metal and lithium-ion batteries in accordance to ICAO Annex 18 and the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods (ICAO Doc. 9284). Enforcing such regulation requires means to detect the presence of unwanted Lithium batteries in the baggage.


The main objective of the project is to evaluate the feasibility of the detection of lithium batteries transported as checked baggage using the security screening equipment and processes in operation at airports. The project should investigate what are the technical, operational and regulatory solutions available to support safety-related requirements without affecting the performance of security operations as well as identify the main limitations, constraints and financial cost elements for their implementation at European airports. The project shall also study potential developments of technology and solutions for application to other transport scenarios (e.g. cargo, cabin baggage).

Screening equipment

Notwithstanding that screeners shall primarily focus their attention on 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.

4 images of screening equipment from Rapsican

Rapsican screening equipment


The main outcome of the project is to assess the valid and cost-effective technical, operational and regulatory solutions to be used for detecting lithium batteries in checked baggage, while considering additional potential safety benefits for other transport scenarios (e.g. cargo). An impact assessment of the proposed detection of lithium batteries on security performance and operations shall be also performed and presented.

Main tasks / deliverables:

Four technical tasks have been identified to cover the scope of the activity and fulfil the project objectives: 

  • Task 1: Review of state-of-the-art solutions, development of test plan and protocol and consultation with Stakeholders
  • Task 2: Performance of tests, collection of data
  • Task 3: Analysis of tests performed, consultation with Stakeholders
  • Task 4: Conclusions and recommendations

Workshops & Consultations

  1. Project launch meeting with EASA
  2. Two workshops / consultations with stakeholders to present the results of tasks 1 and 3 
  3. Final project result dissemination event