Lithium-Ion Vehicle Battery Production - Status 2019 on Energy Use, CO2 Emissions, Use of Metals, Products Environmental Footprint, and Recycling

With an increasing number of battery electric vehicles being produced, the contribution of the lithium-ion batteries’ emissions to global warming has become a relevant concern. The wide range of emission estimates in LCAs from the past decades have made production emissions a topic for debate. This IVL report updates the estimated battery production emissions in global warming potential (GWP) with data from recent years.


Major reasons for a lower GWP in the update

The battery manufacturing supply chain is often divided into material sourcing, cell and component production, and battery pack manufacture. The previous report highlighted the differences in energy-use in cell manufacture, which is the focus of most of this update.

The most energy-intensive step for cell production is the dry-room, for which newer data has been measured in newer studies. The measurements were done in several larger production plants which ran more efficiently per battery produced than for pilot plants.

Changes to the modelling of an energy-intensive evaporation step to reflect real production has decreased the energy estimate further.

Battery production considerations

Although the carbon dioxide emitted is a big contributor to environmental burdens, battery production also requires the sourcing of metals which produce negative environmental and social effects in the supplying countries. The amounts that need to be mined in coming years will depend on the types of batteries produced, and how successful battery recycling will be.

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