Special Issue "Sustainable Lithium Ion Batteries: From Production to Recycling"

A special issue of Batteries (ISSN 2313-0105).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 November 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jennifer B. Dunn

Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Life cycle analysis; energy systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Electric vehicles continue to gain market share, in part driven by governmental initiatives to clean up urban air, as such, we invite you to contribute to a Special Issue of Batteries, organized around the theme of the sustainability of lithium-ion batteries that are “under the hood” of these vehicles. It is important that researchers developing battery chemistry are exposed to the concept of considering the full supply chain impacts of the technology they are developing to inspire creativity at the bench that leads to sustainability on the road.

Electric vehicles (EV) are promoted as a sustainable transportation choice because, on a life-cycle basis, they emit fewer greenhouse gases than conventional vehicles. In addition, with no tailpipe emissions, fully electric vehicles can contribute to urban air quality improvements. In the evaluation of EV contributions to sustainable transportation, however, it is important to consider the production of the battery and its contribution to environmental impacts beyond life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions and urban air pollutant emissions. For example, emissions of sulfur oxides can be high when ore is smelted to recover cobalt and nickel. Previous analyses have demonstrated that these emissions can cause life-cycle SOx emissions of EVs to exceed those of conventional vehicles. Overall, mining of these metals can pollute the soil, water, and air of mining regions. These impacts can be mitigated through use of different materials in batteries that incur less environmental impacts in the supply chain of batteries. Furthermore, battery recycling poses an opportunity to reduce demand for newly-mined metals. Routes to battery recycling include pyrometallurgical, hydrometallurgical, and other technologies that target recovery of the active materials without significant alterations. Contributions to this issue will investigate environmental impacts of today’s lithium-ion batteries, how emerging battery chemistries might reduce battery environmental impact, and how opportunities for metal recovery through battery recycling can reduce demand for newly-mined metals.

Prof. Dr. Jennifer B. Dunn
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Batteries is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Supply chain
  • sustainability
  • recycling
  • materials

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Life Cycle Analysis of Lithium-ion Batteries for Automotive Applications

Authors: Qiang Dai, Jarod C. Kelly, Linda Gaines and Michael Wang

Abstract: In light of the increasing penetration of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the global vehicle market, and the continuous decarbonization of the global power grids, understanding the environmental impacts of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) propelling the PEVs will be key to the transition towards a greener and more sustainable transportation system. Since full-scale automotive LIB production and assembly did not exist until recent years, previous life cycle analyses (LCAs) of automotive LIBs resorted to engineering calculations, heuristics, and laboratory, pilot scale, or low-throughput facility data to estimate their environmental footprints, which resulted in large uncertainties in, and sometimes contradictions among, the conclusions of these studies. This study presents the cradle-to-gate total energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption associated with commercial-scale automotive LIB production, based on primary data collected from leading battery materials producers and automotive LIB manufacturers. In an effort to harmonize existing LCAs of automotive LIBs and guide future research, this study also lays out differences in both key LIB parameters and life cycle inventories (LCIs) for key battery materials among existing research, and explores their impacts on the LCA results. The results of this study enhance understanding of the environmental impacts of current industrial production of automotive LIBs, and facilitate future comparison of LCA studies of LIBs for all applications.


Title: Characterizing Large-Scale, Electric-Vehicle Lithium Ion Transportation Batteries for Secondary Uses in Grid Applications

Authors: Christopher Valant, Gabrielle Gaustad, Nenad Nenadic

Abstract: Lithium ion battery modules have significant capacity left after their useful life in their primary transportation applications. Our empirical study successfully tested the used modules in secondary, grid applications in laboratory conditions. The selection of the secondary application was based on the features of the modules (geometry and construction facilitates stacking them into larger modules) and the need (the growing need for storage in grid applications to absorb the intermittencies associated with proliferation of installation of renewable energy resources). Full description of the laboratory setup is provided in the context of an important practical issue: neither the battery management system nor the knowledge of usage and health history are shared between the primary and secondary battery integrator. The charge and discharge test profiles were developed using concrete applications, viz. peak shaving and firming renewables, and real microgrid data. Using the empirical data generated, techno-economic analysis was also done focusing on peak shaving at the utility level. There is a growing need for an affordable and environmentally friendly replacement to the traditional solutions based on peaker plants, which operate at a high environmental cost. This analysis showed strong evidence that both near-term and future storage markets will be characterized by a large mismatch between the demand and supply of reused batteries from automotive primary applications for peak-shaving purposes in the generation side. The paper concludes with the discussion on successful adoption of cascaded use of batteries and their potential to reduce both economic and environmental cost of peak shaving.

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