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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Sep 1;44(17):6550-6. doi: 10.1021/es903729a.

Contribution of Li-ion batteries to the environmental impact of electric vehicles.

Author information

1
Technology and Society Laboratory, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland. dominic.notter@empa.ch

Erratum in

  • Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Oct 1;44(19):7744.

Abstract

Battery-powered electric cars (BEVs) play a key role in future mobility scenarios. However, little is known about the environmental impacts of the production, use and disposal of the lithium ion (Li-ion) battery. This makes it difficult to compare the environmental impacts of BEVs with those of internal combustion engine cars (ICEVs). Consequently, a detailed lifecycle inventory of a Li-ion battery and a rough LCA of BEV based mobility were compiled. The study shows that the environmental burdens of mobility are dominated by the operation phase regardless of whether a gasoline-fueled ICEV or a European electricity fueled BEV is used. The share of the total environmental impact of E-mobility caused by the battery (measured in Ecoindicator 99 points) is 15%. The impact caused by the extraction of lithium for the components of the Li-ion battery is less than 2.3% (Ecoindicator 99 points). The major contributor to the environmental burden caused by the battery is the supply of copper and aluminum for the production of the anode and the cathode, plus the required cables or the battery management system. This study provides a sound basis for more detailed environmental assessments of battery based E-mobility.

PMID:
20695466
DOI:
10.1021/es903729a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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