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Development of an LCA model for the estimation of the environmental impacts of Li-ion battery recycling

Cristina Venuto

Development of an LCA model for the estimation of the environmental impacts of Li-ion battery recycling.

Rel. Ezio Spessa, Antonella Accardo. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Meccanica, 2022

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In this thesis a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of electric vehicle (EV) batteries at cell level, is performed. In particular, the attention is focused on recycling part. Firstly, the objective of this work of thesis is analysing the environmental impacts during the entire life cycle of the EV cells, from raw material acquisition to end of life disposals. Secondly, the objective is to quantify the impact of the recycling stage on the entire life cycle emissions. Focusing on recycling, two recycling processes are evaluated: pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical. This work of thesis aims at detecting the best recycling process in terms of environmental impacts for the case study. After a first brief introduction on LCA and description of the assumptions and the LCA models used for this study, at first manufacturing and at a later time recycling were analysed. The data utilised in this work of thesis were taken from two principal sources which are the battery PEFCR and EverBatt. The battery PEFCR is developed by the European Commission while Everbatt is developed by the Argonne National Laboratory. Two main LCA models are developed in this study and their environmental impacts are compared. The former is representative of the battery PEFCR data and the latter is representative of the EverBatt data. Both these models include manufacturing and pyrometallurgical recycling processes. A further scenario is added to be representative of the Hydrometallurgical recycling process in which data are taken from EverBatt. Different cell chemistries are analysed and compared in this work of thesis, which are: NMC622, NMC811 and LFP. Moreover, in order to comply with European battery proposal (2020/0353(COD)), two advanced recycling scenarios are modelled and assessed: pyrometallurgical advanced recycling and hydrometallurgical advanced recycling. State-of-the-art pyrometallurgical recycling process is modified to estimate the environmental impacts of the recycling stage if it would be able to recover Lithium as well. In particular an additional hydrometallurgical process is applied to the slag. The Lithium recovery rate is assumed to be 35%, in line with the initial minimum recovery rate set up by the European battery proposal. State-of-the-art hydrometallurgical recycling process is improved in order to be able to recover the greatest possible quantity of materials. Hydrometallurgical advanced recycling, in fact, includes a supercritical CO2 extraction stage occurring at the beginning of recycling enabling the recovery of the organic part of the electrolyte. Moreover, a physical separation stage is included enabling the recovery of plastic materials. The recovery rate of both the organic part of the electrolyte and plastic materials is assumed to be 50%. Analysing the results, the main outcome is that the best recycling process in terms of environmental impacts seems to be the advanced hydrometallurgical recycling process, even if the most diffused process in Europe is the pyrometallurgical one. Furthermore, large part of the emissions is due to the production and therefore to the use of chemicals. To improve this study, a sensitivity analysis on the production processes of these chemicals should be carried out.

Relators: Ezio Spessa, Antonella Accardo
Academic year: 2021/22
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 75
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Meccanica
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-33 - MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/22988
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