Batteries are promising storage technologies for stationary applications because of their maturity, and the ease with which they are designed and installed compared to other technologies. However, they pose threats to the environment and human health. Several studies have discussed the various battery technologies and applications, but evaluating the environmental impact of batteries in electrical systems remains a gap that requires concerted research efforts. This study first presents an overview of batteries and compares their technical properties such as the cycle life, power and energy densities, efficiencies and the costs. It proposes an optimal battery technology sizing and selection strategy, and then assesses the environmental impact of batteries in a typical renewable energy application by using a stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) system as a case study. The greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of the batteries is evaluated based on the life cycle emission rate parameter. Results reveal that the battery has a significant impact in the energy system, with a GHG impact of about 36–68% in a 1.5 kW PV system for different locations. The paper discusses new batteries, strategies to minimize battery impact and provides insights into the selection of batteries with improved cycling capacity, higher lifespan and lower cost that can achieve lower environmental impacts for future applications.
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