News 2017-07-03

IVL comments to reactions in media on battery study

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute recently carried out a study estimating C02-emissions from lithium-ion battery production and their recycling, aiming to provide a better understanding of the underlying data used in complete vehicle comparisons.

The report has received a great deal of media attention, some of which is misleading and some taken as arguments against battery vehicles. Needless to point out, there are many advantages of electric vehicles. The report acknowledges the potential of electric vehicles, but points out that emission from battery production must be taken into account.

Some important clarifications:

  • The study is not comparative. It is an overview of publically available scientific data and results regarding CO2 emissions from lithium-ion battery production, nothing more nothing less.
  • Comparisons in media between different car types are examples to give the reader a picture of the size of the CO2 emissions from lithium-ion battery production. These calculations are based on the finding that production of batteries emits 150-200 kg CO2-equivalents per kWh.
  • The report stresses that this technology is developing rapidly and that the figures address today’s situation.
  • The findings are an average and scientific data are generally very scarce regarding actual CO2 emissions from different steps in battery production. The report however refers to over 40 publications, but the few most recent and transparent reports and articles were given more weight in the conclusions.
  • The emissions have great potential to be reduced when battery plants become more efficient and the fossil share in the electricity mix is reduced.
  • The report concludes that there is a great need for better data regarding environmental impact of lithium-ion battery production.

 

Download the report here. 

See the press release (in English)