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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #15-0219 ([Intelligent Energy] [Mr. Douglas Knight])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Intelligent Energy

Individual Name: Mr. Douglas Knight

Location State: FL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Jun 06, 2016

Mr. Douglas A. Knight
Principal Engineer
Intelligent Energy
505 Odyssey Way
Merritt Island, FL  32953

Reference No. 15-0219

Dear Mr. Knight:

This letter is in response to your November 5, 2015, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to fuel cells.  Specifically, you state that you have a small fuel cell with an attached solid fuel that is comprised of lithium aluminum hydride mixed with metal chloride (dangerous when wet and corrosive inorganic solid) totaling 15.0 grams and a lanthanum nickel aluminum alloy weighing 10.0 grams.  You add that the fuel cell engine is not operational until it is connected to the operating system and then primed with oxygen.  You ask if the fuel cell can be shipped as “UN 3166, Fuel Cell Engines” under the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) and/or if you can ship the whole assembly on the basis of the fuel itself under the HMR.

As specified in § 173.22 of the HMR, it is the shipper’s responsibility to properly classify and package a hazardous material.  This Office does not normally perform this function.  However, the HMR authorize and provide conditions for use of international standards and regulations in § 171.22.  As the IATA DGR is not included among those authorized, we cannot address your specific concerns, but based on the information that you provided in your letter—in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code—it is the opinion of this Office that the material would best be described as “UN 3476, Fuel cell cartridges, containing water reactive substances.”    

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.22, 171.22

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.22 Authorization and conditions for the use of international standards and regulations
173.22 Shipper's responsibility