Life Cycle Assessment

Project description (Cross-cutting project)

Batteries are a key technology to decarbonize society. This cross-cutting activity aims to guide as well as to improve the ways we guide the development of new battery technologies and chemistries with life cycle considerations.

While lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are the dominant rechargeable battery type today, ongoing research is exploring a wide range of new battery types due to issues like inadequate performance, safety risks as well as the use of scarce and/or critical materials. We aim to identify new battery types that are promising not only from a technical performance perspective but also from a resource perspective. These battery types might complement or replace LIBs in the future.

Batteries are today usually separate structures that have the sole function of energy storage. Structural batteries is a new concept that combines energy storage capacity and structural strength of a material so that it receives at least dual functionality. This is an example of a new battery technology that is now emerging and where development work will benefit from life cycle considerations.

Description in a picture

Current status of the project

During 2023, supported by BASE funding, work has been done on structural batteries in the context of vehicle applications. An article was published in International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-023-02202-9) based on a collaboration between the LCA group and the material technology researchers Professor Leif Asp and Dr Johanna Xu at Chalmers as well as Volvo Cars. This study makes up part of the doctoral thesis of Frida Hermansson that was published in 2023 and defended in January 2024. A Postdoc, Dr Natalia Sieti was recruited and began her work on LCA of structural batteries in vehicles in January 2024.

Other activities initiated within earlier BASE-funded work led to the publication of a journal paper in 2023. This collaboration with one of the BASE industrial partners was initiated within BASE and led to an LCA study about sodium-ion batteries that was finalized and published during 2023 in the Journal of Industrial Ecology (https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.13452). Co-funding was also used in this context. In addition to the BASE industrial partner, this work is a collaboration between the LCA researchers and Professor Patrik Johansson at Chalmers. This study has received much attention and results were spread through a press release, which was published 72 times nationally and internationally, with 43 million potential readers. This study is much in line with the ambition of the LCA crosscutting area to identify sustainable post-lithium-ion battery chemistries.

Publications:

  • Climate impact and energy use of structural battery composites in electrical vehicles—a comparative prospective life cycle assessment. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Volume 28, pages 1366–1381, (2023)
  • Prospective life cycle assessment of sodium-ion batteries made from abundant elements. Journal of Industrial Ecology, https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.13452
  • Advancing prospective life cycle assessment -Experiences from guiding carbon fibre composite development. Doctoral thesis, https://research.chalmers.se/en/publication/538593

Contact person

Magdalena Svanström, Chalmers University of Technology
magdalena.svanstrom@chalmers.se

Last modified: 2024-02-01