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Energies 2017, 10(12), 1969; doi:10.3390/en10121969

The Environmental Burdens of Lead-Acid Batteries in China: Insights from an Integrated Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment of Lead

1
Key Laboratory of Beijing on Regional Air Pollution Control, College of Environmental and Energy Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing 100124, China
2
CREIDD Research Centre on Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Department of Humanity, Environment and Information Technology, University of Technology of Troyes, F-10010 Troyes, France
3
Environmental Certification Center of Ministry of Environment Protection, Beijing 100029, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 26 November 2017
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Abstract

Lead-acid batteries (LABs), a widely used energy storage equipment in cars and electric vehicles, are becoming serious problems due to their high environmental impact. In this study, an integrated method, combining material flow analysis with life cycle assessment, was developed to analyze the environmental emissions and burdens of lead in LABs. The environmental burdens from other materials in LABs were not included. The results indicated that the amount of primary lead used in LABs accounted for 77% of the total lead production in 2014 in China. The amount of discharged lead into the environment was 8.54 × 105 tonnes, which was mainly from raw material extraction (57.2%). The largest environmental burden was from the raw materials extraction and processing, which accounted for 81.7% of the total environmental burdens. The environmental burdens of the environmental toxicity potential, human toxicity potential-cancer, human toxicity potential-non-cancer, water footprint and land use accounted for more than 90% at this stage. Moreover, the environmental burdens from primary lead was much more serious than regenerated lead. On the basis of the results, main practical measures and policies were proposed to reduce the lead emissions and environmental burdens of LABs in China, namely establishing an effective LABs recycling system, enlarging the market share of the legal regenerated lead, regulating the production of regenerated lead, and avoiding the long-distance transportation of the waste LABs. View Full-Text
Keywords: lead-acid battery; material flow analysis; life cycle assessment; primary lead; regenerated lead lead-acid battery; material flow analysis; life cycle assessment; primary lead; regenerated lead
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Chen, S.; Lian, Z.; Li, S.; Kim, J.; Li, Y.; Cao, L.; Liu, Z. The Environmental Burdens of Lead-Acid Batteries in China: Insights from an Integrated Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment of Lead. Energies 2017, 10, 1969.

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