Reduction of Critical Resource Consumption through Second Life Applications of Lithium Ion Traction Batteries

Presentation and Paper at the 10th "Internationale Energiewirtschaftstagung" (IEWT 2017) in Vienna

The energy transition ("Energiewende") – including the transformation of the mobility sector – requires new technologies, many of which come with an increasing demand for critical resources. Approaches from the circular economy such as the extension of product lifetime through reuse can lead to increasing resource productivity as well as new opportunities for value creation. This analysis shows how second life (SL) applications of lithium ion traction batteries can lead to a reduction of critical resource demand.

Based on the defined criticality screening procedure, especially cobalt, but also lithium, natural graphite and nickel are identified as critical raw materials in lithium ion traction batteries. By using the concept of the "substitutable nominal capacity", which is derived from battery ageing models, it is shown that an extension of a traction battery’s lifetime can lead to a reduction of critical resource consumption. Due to different ageing processes and material compositions the amount of saved resources depends on the considered SL application (photovoltaic home storage system and primary control reserve) as well as the battery type (NMC: Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt, LFP: Lithium-Iron-Phosphate). Other determining factors for the reduction of critical material consumption are the collection rate and the recycling efficiencies of used lithium ion batteries.

Maximum reduction of critical resources through second life applications for an NMC and LFP battery system

Figure: Maxiumum reduction of critical resources through second life applications for an NMC and LFP battery system (referring to 1 kWh original nominal capacity of the traction battery)

 

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