Life Cycle Assessment of an NMC Battery for Application to Electric Light-Duty Commercial Vehicles and Comparison with a Sodium-Nickel-Chloride Battery
- A complete Life Cycle Inventory of an NMC battery, which is fully replicable, is presented.
- The environmental impact of the NMC battery has been analysed considering all of the product life cycle stages, including the amount of electricity lost during the recharging phase along the lifespan of the battery and the battery EoL.
- The recycling phase of the battery components has been analysed, as recommended in the PEFCR on batteries , i.e., by modelling the Pyrometallurgic and Hydrometallurgical recycling processes in cascade. These two processes are usually presented in the literature as alternative options for the recycling phase.
- An application to electric LDCVs for urban and regional freight haulage has been analysed; most of the papers in the literature have instead focused on passenger cars.
- The energy consumption and emissions from the vehicle use phase have been calculated by means of a backward-facing model of the case-study LDCV.
- A total of 12 impact categories (listed in Section 2.1.5) have been analysed in the paper. These categories include the global warming potential and Energy Demand, which are the only impact categories that have usually been addressed in most of the studies in the literature.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Goal and Scope
2.1.1. Product Characterisation: the NMC111 Battery
2.1.2. Functional Unit and Reference Flow
2.1.3. System Boundary and Data Sources
2.1.4. Allocation and Multifunctionality
2.1.5. Impact Assessment
2.2. Life Cycle Inventory
2.2.1. Battery Production Phase
220.127.116.11. Cathode Production
18.104.22.168. Battery Cell Production
22.214.171.124. Production of the Non-Cell Materials
2.2.2. Use Phase
126.96.36.199. Vehicle Use Phase
188.8.131.52. Battery Use Phase
184.108.40.206. Recycling of the Cell Materials
220.127.116.11. Non-Cell Materials-EoL
3. Life Cycle Impact Assessment: Results and Interpretations
3.1. NMC Battery Impact Assessment
3.2. Insight into the Life Cycle Assessment of Different NMC Chemistries
3.3. Comparison of the NMC and ZEBRA Batteries
3.4. Comparison of the LDCV Vehicles: Diesel, NMC111-BEV, and ZEBRA-BEV
- Battery production (light blue bar): this includes the production of the cathode, battery cell, and non-cell materials and includes the total energy required for the manufacturing and the contributions of the battery transport from the manufacturing plant to the customer.
- Vehicle production (dark blue bar): this includes all the processes, that is, from component production to distribution of the vehicle on the market .
- Maintenance (green bar): this takes vehicle maintenance into account. Maintenance was modelled according to .
- Battery losses (Magenta bar): these account for the amount of electricity lost during the recharging phase along the lifespan of the battery and are estimated according to Section 18.104.22.168.
- Vehicle use phase (red bar): Well-To-Wheel energy consumption and emissions from the vehicle use phase were calculated by means of a backward-facing model of the LDCV case study, as detailed in Section 22.214.171.124.
- A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment of an NMC111 battery, including production, further waste disposal related to the impact of incineration and the burial of materials, environmental credits, and recycling, as well as battery losses.
- Insight into a life cycle assessment of different NMC chemistries.
- Life cycle assessment of the manufacturing stages of NMC111 and ZEBRA batteries.
- A life cycle assessment of three LDCV configurations (NMC111-BEV, ZEBRA-BEV, and conventional diesel), including battery and vehicle production, vehicle maintenance, battery losses, and vehicle use phases.
- The production stage is the main contributor to the total impact in all the impact categories. The main factors responsible for the production impact of the NMC111 battery are Nickel, Aluminium, Copper, Cobalt, and Energy demand. The amount of energy and heat necessary for the production stage is a source of uncertainty, as it has only been possible to estimate it partially.
- The contribution of the production of non-cell materials to battery production can range from 36% to 46% for many impact categories (ADP, CED, ADP-FF, and GWP). This confirms the importance of taking into account the impacts of battery production for both cell and non-cell materials when assessing the environmental sustainability of electric mobility.
- EoL produces environmental benefits that range from 3% to 25% of the total battery impact for most of the considered categories. The greatest benefits are shown for HTP (25%), POP (22%), AP (22%), and ADP (21%). However, the EoL stages increase the impact of ODP, ADP-FF and CED by about 30%, 7%, and 5%, respectively. However, recycling could be improved, since many of the materials involved in the production of batteries are not recycled (e.g., Lithium, Aluminium). The amount of energy and heat necessary for the EoL stages is another source of uncertainty.
- The battery production site influences GWP to a great extent, and the savings increase as the carbon intensity of the electricity chain decreases.
- Since energy is a key factor for the total impacts of batteries, company data should be made public to encourage future LCAs.
- In addition to NMC111, two cathode chemistries with increasing percentages of Nickel have been assessed, namely NMC622 and NMC811.
- Even though GWP shows slight differences between the considered NMC chemistries, NMC622 results to be the battery with the least GWP intensive formulation.
- ADP shows significant differences for the three chemistries. Nickel-rich cathodes mean reduced ADP and higher benefits, linked to the amount of avoided Nickel production. Thus, NMC811 contributes less to abiotic resource exploitation.
- NMC811 also shows the lowest impacts for POP and AP.
- NMC111 performs better for all the impact categories, except for ADP-FF, GWP, ODP and CED, where ZEBRA shows the lowest impacts.
- All the impact categories of NMC-BEV are significantly lower than those of ZEBRA-BEV.
- From a comparison of the vehicle LCA of the electric and diesel configurations, the following has emerged:
- The electric configurations show advantages over the diesel configuration, albeit only for GWP, POP, ADP-FF, and ODP.
- All the vehicle configurations seem to have quite similar impacts for CED.
- The diesel configuration shows a lower impact than the electric ones for HTP, F-ECOTP, M-ECOTP, T-ECOTP, AP, EP, and ADP.
- Both the NMC111 and ZEBRA batteries largely deteriorate the vehicle impacts, especially for POP (30 and 36%, respectively) and AP (30 and 37%, respectively).
- With reference to POP, it is worth pointing out that the use-phase emissions from electric powertrains are significant because of the energy carrier production, (especially because of the contribution of coal to electricity generation).
- A new vehicle configuration has been introduced, for which the driving range of the NMC111-BEV has been increased by installing an additional NMC111 battery pack. Even though the impacts of the NMC111-BEV increase, these impacts can still be considered significantly lower than those of the ZEBRA BEV (with only two battery packs) for all the categories, except ADP, GWP, POP, and AP (for which the differences between the two configurations are not significant).
- A further comparison has been made by varying the production site of NMC111 from China to Europe. The GWP of the NMC111-BEV with three battery packs reduces from 0.350 kgCO2/km to 0.299 kgCO2/km, when the production is moved from China to Europe.
Conflicts of Interest
|ADP||Abiotic Depletion Potential|
|ADP-FF||Abiotic Depletion Potential-Fossil Fuels|
|BEV||Battery Electric Vehicle|
|BMS||Battery Management System|
|BOL||Beginning of Life|
|BOM||Bill of Materials|
|CED||Cumulative Energy Demand|
|F-ECOTP||Freshwater Aquatic Ecotoxicity|
|GVW||Gross Vehicle Weight|
|GWP||Global warming potential|
|HTP||Human Toxicity Potential|
|ICEV||Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle|
|LCI||Life Cycle Inventory|
|LCIA||Life Cycle Impact Assessment|
|LDCV||Light Duty Commercial Vehicle|
|LFP||Lithium Iron Phosphate|
|LCA||Life Cycle Assessment|
|M-ECOTP||Marine Aquatic Ecotoxicity Potential|
|ODP||Ozone depletion potential|
|PEFCR||Product Environmental Footprint Category Rule|
|POP||Photochemical Oxidation Potential|
|T-ECOTP||Terrestrial Ecotoxicity Potential|
Appendix A. Monte Carlo Analysis of the Impact Assessment Results
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|Available Energy (BOL)||35 kWh||Primary data|
|No. of parallel units per battery pack||2||Primary data|
|No. of cells in series per each unit||96||Primary data|
|Nominal voltage of the cell||3.7 V||Primary data|
|Cell weight||0.856 kg||Secondary data 1|
|Battery pack weight||226 kg||Estimated 1|
|Active Cathode Material||0.287||0.263||0.253|
|Electrolyte: Ethylene Carbonate||0.050||0.050||0.057|
|Electrolyte: Dimethyl Carbonate||0.050||0.050||0.057|
|Max Payload [kg]||2495||1918||2064|
|Maximum Power [kW]||107||80||80|
|Maximum Torque [Nm]||350||300||300|
|Kerb weight [kg]||2577||2959||3039|
|No. of battery packs||-||2||2|
|Total battery capacity [kWh]||-||70||64|
|Total battery weight [kg]||-||452||532|
|Cycle||Duration [s]||Length [km]||SEC-Tract [kWh/km]||SEC-Brake [kWh/km]||V-Tract [km/h]||V-Max [km/h]||P-Tract [kW]|
|CO2-TTW [g/km]||EC-TTW [Wh/km]|
|Battery Mass (kg)||Battery Capacity (kWh)||Manufacturing|
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Accardo, A.; Dotelli, G.; Musa, M.L.; Spessa, E. Life Cycle Assessment of an NMC Battery for Application to Electric Light-Duty Commercial Vehicles and Comparison with a Sodium-Nickel-Chloride Battery. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 1160. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11031160
Accardo A, Dotelli G, Musa ML, Spessa E. Life Cycle Assessment of an NMC Battery for Application to Electric Light-Duty Commercial Vehicles and Comparison with a Sodium-Nickel-Chloride Battery. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(3):1160. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11031160Chicago/Turabian Style
Accardo, Antonella, Giovanni Dotelli, Marco Luigi Musa, and Ezio Spessa. 2021. "Life Cycle Assessment of an NMC Battery for Application to Electric Light-Duty Commercial Vehicles and Comparison with a Sodium-Nickel-Chloride Battery" Applied Sciences 11, no. 3: 1160. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11031160