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Published in: Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management 2/2021

08-02-2021 | SPECIAL FEATURE: ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Environmental impact assessment on production and material supply stages of lithium-ion batteries with increasing demands for electric vehicles

Authors: Tomoya Sakunai, Lisa Ito, Akihiro Tokai

Published in: Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management | Issue 2/2021

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Abstract

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have been expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts. However, GHG emissions of lithium ion battery (LiB) production for a vehicle with recycling during its life cycle have not been clarified. Moreover, demands for nickel (Ni), cobalt, lithium, and manganese, which are materials for batteries, are increasing, but they are located in relatively dry areas, and mining is a water-intensive activity. Thus, the environmental impact of water use in mining areas has been raised as an issue, but many unknowns remain. We estimated the demand and scrapped amount for these metals for vehicle LiB until 2030 in Japan to clarify the internal structure of the life cycle impact. We also evaluated the cradle-to-gate GHG emissions from the batteries and the water consumption in Japan’s supplier countries for these metals and their potential of reduction rate with or without pyrometallurgical or hydrometallurgical recycling. We found that GHG emissions can be reduced by only 4.5%, whereas water consumption can be reduced by as much as 13% among Ni-supplying countries, such as Indonesia, with recycling under the closed-loop cycle.
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Metadata
Title
Environmental impact assessment on production and material supply stages of lithium-ion batteries with increasing demands for electric vehicles
Authors
Tomoya Sakunai
Lisa Ito
Akihiro Tokai
Publication date
08-02-2021
Publisher
Springer Japan
Published in
Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management / Issue 2/2021
Print ISSN: 1438-4957
Electronic ISSN: 1611-8227
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10163-020-01166-4