Lithium-Ion Battery Environmental Impacts

Linda L. Gaines*, Jennifer B. Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

28 Scopus citations


As battery-powered vehicles gain market share, it is important to examine the production of automotive lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for any potential key environmental impacts. In this chapter, we discuss these impacts and investigate how they could be reduced by recycling. Our primary focus is batteries with a LiMn2O4 cathode, although we consider other cathodes as well. We include three recycling processes quantitatively. We demonstrate that incorporating recycled materials (cathode, aluminum and copper) into Li-ion batteries could reduce cradle-to-gate energy consumption by up to 50%. We also analyzed the contribution of the battery to life-cycle energy consumption and air pollutant emissions (including greenhouse gases) for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Notably, the battery can contribute about 20% of BEV life-cycle SOx emissions when the characteristics of the California grid are used in the analysis. Finally, we provide a discussion of issues that affect battery recycling, including design, economic and regulatory factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLithium-Ion Batteries
Subtitle of host publicationAdvances and Applications
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780444595133
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Battery
  • Emissions
  • Energy
  • Life cycle
  • Recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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