Got a Great Idea for Shipping Hazmat?

Posted on 7/12/2021 by Roger Marks

Got an innovative idea or technique for shipping hazardous materials? DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) wants to hear it!

Through the Office of Hazardous Materials (OHMS), PHMSA is on the hunt for new ideas, research, and techniques to make it safer to transport hazardous materials. In a Broad Agency Announcement released on June 29, PHMSA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS) solicits concepts in five research topic areas.

Concepts submitted “could eventually lead to contract awards” valued between $250,000 and $2 million PHMSA says. PHMSA solicits ideas concerning the following research topics: 

Hazard comparison of aerosols. 

DOT seeks to harmonize the definition of aerosols and standards with the Model Regulations for seamless international shipping.

To this end, PHMSA would like to see “data detailing the risks posed by different aerosols” PHMSA wants someone out there to propose and conduct tests to measure and compare the flammability of aerosols that meet the UNMR definition and aerosols that meet the HMR definition.

De minimis quantities of explosives

DOT is seeking test data to support alternative classification for de minimis quantities of explosive material that normally require approval before transport under 49 CFR 173.56. The goal is to ease the regulatory and time burden on the impacted industry.

Development of new standards for packaging

DOT wants to establish a performance standard, definition, classification, testing criteria, service life standard, etc. for some non-bulk packages such as cylinders as well as novel bulk packages. 

DOT is especially interested in the requalification of steel cylinders, standards for reconditioned drums, and establishing service lives for all packaging types.

Understanding the hazards posed by dissolved gases in liquids

The HMR is unclear when it comes to the risks posed by combinations of gases and liquids. How much gas dissolved in a liquid makes a material regulated as a gas? How much hazardous gas can be dissolved in a non-hazardous liquid and still have the mixture be classified as non-hazardous?

PHMSA solicits research proposals to explore the hazards posed by “various types of gases dissolved in various types of liquids.” The research will help the agency develop and issue regulations to clearly delineate how to classify these types of mixtures.

Deregulation of certain types and quantities of hazardous materials

Small quantities and non-bulk quantities of hazardous materials may be over regulated, PHMSA believes. OHMS asks stakeholders to propose materials for de-regulation if they can verify though data and testing that non-bulk quantities of the material (in certain packaging) pose no hazard in transportation.

PHMSA is especially interested in non-bulk combination packages of PG III liquids or solids with inner packagings less than 5 liters (e.g., bottles in a box).

How to Submit Your Ideas

PHMSA outlines as two-step process for submitting ideas. Step one is to submit a White Paper before August 24, 2021. Once PHMSA selects white papers that are technical acceptable, the agency will request a full proposal.

Specific specifications and guidance concerning white paper submissions can be found in PHMSA’s Broad Agency Announcement linked on this page.

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Tags: aerosols, hazardous materials, hazmat shipping, PHMSA

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