Investigating carbon footprint and carbon reduction potential using a cradle-to-cradle LCA approach on lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in China

Quanwei CHEN, Xin LAI, Huanghui GU, Xiaopeng TANG, Furong GAO, Xuebing HAN, Yuejiu ZHENG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lithium-ion battery (LIB) is one of the core components of electric vehicles (EVs), and its ecological impacts are significant for the sustainable development of EVs. In this study, the carbon footprint of LIBs produced in China is investigated using a cradle-to-cradle life-cycle assessment approach. The results can be summarized as follows: (1) The carbon emission from battery production is 91.21 kg CO2-eq/kWh, in which the cathode production and battery assembly process are the main sources of carbon emissions; (2) The carbon emission during the battery use phase under China's electricity mix which is dominated by thermal power in 2020 is 154.1 kg CO2-eq/kWh; (3) Hydrometallurgy is the battery recycling method with the lowest carbon emission, and direct physical recycling method has attractive carbon reduction potential. (4) The carbon emission of battery remanufacturing through recycled materials is 51.8% lower than that of battery production with raw materials. Under the future electricity mix, the carbon emissions of battery production in 2050 and 2060 will be reduced by 75% and 84.9%, respectively. The short-term carbon reduction measure is battery recycling, and the long-term carbon reduction measure is the greening of electricity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133342
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume369
Early online date31 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51977131 and 51877138), the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (Grant No. 19ZR1435800), the State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy under Project No. KF 2020, and Shanghai Science and Technology Development Fund (Grant No. 19QA1406200).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Carbon emission reduction
  • Carbon footprint
  • Electric vehicles
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Lithium-ion batteries

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