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Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of Li-Ion Batteries through Process-Based and Integrated Hybrid Approaches

Zhao, Shipu, You, Fengqi
ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering 2019 v.7 no.5 pp. 5082-5094
cooling systems, energy, environmental impact, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, life cycle inventory, lithium batteries, prices, recycling, uncertainty
This paper analyzes and compares the life cycle environmental impacts of two major types of Li-ion batteries using process-based and integrated hybrid life-cycle assessment (LCA) approaches. The life cycle inventories (LCIs) of Li-ion battery contain component production, battery assembly, use phase, disposal and recycling and other related background processes. For process-based LCA, 17 ReCiPe midpoint environmental impact indicators and three end point environmental impact indicators are considered. As for the integrated hybrid LCA study, life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption are emphasized. Furthermore, we perform sensitivity analysis of life cycle GHG emissions with respect to the uncertainties in product prices, mass of BMS and cooling system, and production efficiency. The integrated hybrid LCA results show that battery cell production is the most significant contributor to the life cycle GHG emissions and the economic input-output (EIO) systems contribute the largest part in life cycle energy consumption for both types of Li-ion batteries. The most significant difference between two Li-ion batteries lies in the disposal and recycling stage. For LiMn₂O₄ (LMO) battery, the disposal and recycling stage only makes up a small portion of less than 10% for life cycle GHG emissions and energy consumption. However, for Li(NiₓCoyMnz)O₂ (NCM) battery, it contributes a significant part at more than 20%.