Key Issues of Lithium-Ion Batteries – From Resource Depletion to Environmental Performance Indicators

Luís Miguel Da Quinta E Costa Neves De Oliveira, Maarten Messagie, Surendraprabu Rangaraju, Javier Vicente Sanfelix Forner, Maria Hernandez Rivas, Joeri Van Mierlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Lithium batteries increasingly popular, but what is the associated environmental impact to their use? This paper focusses on the environmental impacts of two lithium battery chemistries used in electric vehicles. A full life cycle perspective is important in order to avoid burden shifts from one life cycle stage to another. Using a life cycle assessment methodology, a cradle to grave analysis is performed, where the 3 different product life stages are assessed, production, use stage and end-of-life. Alongside, it is concluded from an extensive literature review that lithium availability is not probable to pose an obstacle. However, certain conditions have to be met in order to guaranty this situation. The chemistries used in this assessment are Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) and a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery. The overall environmental performance of the battery is strongly dependent on its efficiency and directly tied to the energy mixes associated to its use stage. Lifetime durability and efficiency are the key environmental performance indicators and are taken into account. The dominant differences between the two batteries are during the manufacturing and recycling stage. Depending on the impact category, the scores shift from both technologies. A production hotspot analysis is also performed in order to identify opportunities for eventual environmental damage reduction during the different manufacturing steps, mostly related to manufacturing energy, manufacturing facility, and raw material processing/assembly.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberJCLP5668
Pages (from-to)354-362
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Lithium batteries
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Environmental impacts
  • LFP
  • LMO


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