Limiting human-induced climate change represents a critical challenge for the future, and due to their disproportionate contribution to the problem, the energy and transport sectors are attracting the most attention in terms of emission reduction roadmaps and targets. Energy storage, particularly electrochemical storage, is poised to be a cornerstone in allowing those sectors to become more sustainable. This study presents the results of an integrated dynamic material flow analysis of the cumulative demand for lithium-ion battery metals (Li, Co, Ni and Mn) by the light duty vehicle and electricity generation sectors in the UK over the next three decades. Results have shown that recycling of end-of-life electric vehicle battery packs is very effective in “closing the loop”, and would enable driving the demand for all four metals back down to present levels by 2050, despite having achieved by then a complete shift to 100% electric vehicles. Additionally, repurposing end-of-life vehicle batteries for grid storage (with over 50 GWh of grid storage capacity expected to be in place by 2050) has been found to enable reducing purpose-built grid storage batteries to zero. Finally, an additional scenario analysis has indicated that a widespread behavioural shift from conventional vehicle ownership to shared mobility could even drive the demand for virgin battery metals into negative territory by 2040.
Kamran, MashaelRaugei, Marco
School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
Year of publication: 2021Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-03-15