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LCA of Na-ion battery with bio-waste derived anode and comparison with conventional Li-ion battery in e-mobility

Chiara Salami

LCA of Na-ion battery with bio-waste derived anode and comparison with conventional Li-ion battery in e-mobility.

Rel. Giovanni Andrea Blengini, Isabella Bianco. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Per L'Ambiente E Il Territorio, 2023

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Batteries play a crucial role in the transition towards climate neutrality and circular economy. With the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, the shift from fossil fuels to electromobility is imperative. New regulations and the energy crisis anticipate a rapid growth in battery demand in the coming years. The European Union has committed to establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework covering the entire lifecycle of batteries, emphasizing reduced use of critical raw materials, waste management, recycling, and second-life applications. Lithium-ion batteries dominate the electric mobility landscape, and their demand is projected to surge. To address issues related to the extraction and purification of critical raw materials, alternative solutions are required. Sodium-ion technology emerges as a promising contender for energy storage in electric vehicles. The advantages include potential cost reduction and increased sustainability due to sodium abundance and the possibility of replacing copper with aluminum in the anode current collector. Despite the chemical similarities between lithium and sodium, lithium-ion batteries demonstrate significantly higher specific capacity using graphite as the anode active material. The sustainability of graphite has propelled the commercialization of these batteries. Sodium-ion batteries typically employ hard carbon derived from petroleum coke or biomass through pyrolysis. This thesis explores the utilization of bio-waste from wine production as a precursor for hard carbon, using the software OpenLCA to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) to identify environmental impact differences compared to petroleum coke and another biomass precursor already developed. Additionally, a comparative LCA analysis with conventional lithium-ion batteries is performed under a common application scenario. The analysis focuses on specific battery materials examined at IREC, the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research, utilizing a "cradle to gate" approach. The environmental impact of the batteries is influenced significantly by cathode production materials, particularly the use of critical raw materials, like nickel and cobalt, primarily affecting the manufacturing phase. Battery performance requirements, such as energy capacity, also impact environmental indicators due to increased material usage. The non-cell materials within the battery pack can likewise influence environmental outcomes. Utilizing waste biomass for hard carbon production reduces environmental impact and extraction costs. However, inefficient biomass transformation processes can offset these benefits. The primary limitations of this analysis are its exclusive focus on the manufacturing phase and the need for a "cradle to grave" assessment to comprehensively evaluate the entire lifecycle of the battery, which exceeds the study current scope due to data limitations. In conclusion, lithium-ion batteries remain cost-effective but require research into potential new materials, especially for cathode production. Using secondary raw materials could significantly reduce the environmental impact during the extraction phase. Sodium-ion batteries show promise for future batteries from an environmental standpoint, with the added benefit of waste material utilization in a circular economy perspective. However, the novelty of this technology and identified gaps in previous research, emphasize the need for further investigation in this field to draw more comprehensive conclusions in the future.

Relators: Giovanni Andrea Blengini, Isabella Bianco
Academic year: 2023/24
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 84
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Per L'Ambiente E Il Territorio
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-35 - ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
Ente in cotutela: IREC (SPAGNA)
Aziende collaboratrici: IREC
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/29155
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