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Energies 2018, 11(1), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11010150

Exploring the Effect of Increased Energy Density on the Environmental Impacts of Traction Batteries: A Comparison of Energy Optimized Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Sulfur Batteries for Mobility Applications

1
Chair of Sustainable Manufacturing & Life Cycle Engineering, Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology (IWF), Technische Universität Braunschweig, Langer Kamp 19b, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
2
Institute for Particle Technology (iPAT), Technische Universität Braunschweig, Volkmaroder Straße 5, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany
3
Battery LabFactory Braunschweig (BLB), Technische Universität Braunschweig, Langer Kamp 19, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
4
MEET Battery Research Center, Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Münster, Corrensstraße 46, 48149 Münster, Germany
5
Helmholtz Institute Münster, IEK-12, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Corrensstraße 46, 48149 Münster, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards a Transformation to Sustainable Aviation Systems)
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Abstract

The quest towards increasing the energy density of traction battery technologies has led to the emergence and diversification of battery materials. The lithium sulfur battery (LSB) is in this regard a promising material for batteries due to its specific energy. However, due to its low volumetric energy density, the LSB faces challenges in mobility applications such as electric vehicles but also other transportation modes. To understand the potential environmental implication of LSB batteries, a comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed. For this study, electrodes for both an NMC111 with an anode graphite and a LSB battery cell with a lithium metal foil as anode were manufactured. Data from disassembly experiments performed on a real battery system for a mid-size passenger vehicle were used to build the required life cycle inventory. The energy consumption during the use phase was calculated using a simulative approach. A set of thirteen impact categories was evaluated and characterized with the ReCiPe methodology. The results of the LCA in this study allow identification of the main sources of environmental problems as well as possible strategies to improve the environmental impact of LSB batteries. In this regard, the high requirements of N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) for the processing of the sulfur cathode and the thickness of the lithium foil were identified as the most important drivers. We make recommendations for necessary further research in order to broaden the understanding concerning the potential environmental implication of the implementation of LSB batteries for mobility applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: lithium-ion batteries; post lithium-ion batteries; lithium-sulfur batteries; life cycle assessment; electric vehicles lithium-ion batteries; post lithium-ion batteries; lithium-sulfur batteries; life cycle assessment; electric vehicles
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Cerdas, F.; Titscher, P.; Bognar, N.; Schmuch, R.; Winter, M.; Kwade, A.; Herrmann, C. Exploring the Effect of Increased Energy Density on the Environmental Impacts of Traction Batteries: A Comparison of Energy Optimized Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Sulfur Batteries for Mobility Applications. Energies 2018, 11, 150.

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