A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

The Life Cycle of Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Critical Minerals Recycling: Case of Lithium-ion Batteries

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Rahimpour Golroudbary Saeed, Calisaya-Azpilcueta Daniel, Kraslawski Andrzej
Publisher: Elsevier: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives License
Publication year: 2019
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Procedia CIRP
Journal acronym: Procedia CIRP
Volume number: 80
Start page: 316
End page: 321
Number of pages: 6
ISSN: 2212-8271
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Open Access: Open Access publication


Sometimes the applications of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are labeled as “zero emissions”. However, the emissions generated in the procurement and production stage of supply chain is not considered. Battery production is one of the main contributors to emitting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing. In this case, recycling of LIBs is recommended to reduce energy consumption and mitigate GHG emissions as well as result in considerable natural resource saving compared to landfill. Also, accelerating production of LIBs in the line of clean-energy technologies has led to a sharply increasing criticality of minerals such as lithium (Li), cobalt (Co) and manganese (Mn). The spent LIBs could consider the secondary source of these minerals. The environmental sustainable way of recovering critical minerals from this waste is very important. Therefore, the primary aim of this paper is to answer the question if recycling of LIBs to recover the mentioned critical minerals is an environmentally sustainable option. To address this question, two aspects are analyzed: energy consumption and GHG emissions. These aspects were analyzed through a dynamic simulation model based on the principles of the system dynamics methodology. We provide an environmental analysis of recycling of critical minerals from spent LIBs including LMO, lithium manganese oxide; LCO, lithium cobalt oxide; LFP, lithium iron phosphate; NMC, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide; and LiNCA, Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide. The results show that recycling of LIBs helps to prevent the shortage of critical minerals from a mass flow perspective. However, from an environmental perspective, the current technology is not recommended to recover lithium from LIBs which leads 38-45% more consumption of energy and 16-20% higher air emissions than its primary production.

Last updated on 2020-20-03 at 10:03