Optimising the geospatial configuration of a future lithium ion battery recycling industry in the transition to electric vehicles and a circular economy

Viet Nguyen-Tien, Qiang Dai, Gavin D.J. Harper*, Paul A. Anderson, Robert J.R. Elliott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Rapid electrification of the transport system will generate substantial volumes of Lithium-ion-battery (LiB) waste as batteries reach their end-of-life. Much attention focuses on the recycling processes, neglecting a broader systemic view that considers the concentration of the costs and impacts associated with logistics and transportation. This paper provides an economic, environmental and geospatial analysis of a future LiB recycling industry in the UK. Hitherto, state-of-the-art assessment methods have evaluated life cycle impacts and costs but have not considered the geographical layer of the problem. This paper develops a GSC derived supply chain model for the UK electric vehicle and end-of-life vehicle battery industry. Considering both pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical recycling technologies, the optimisation process takes into account anticipated EV volumes, and, based on anticipated near-term technological evolution of LiBs, the evolution of the mix of battery cathodes in production, and presents a number of scenarios to show where LiB recycling facilities should ideally be geographically located. An economic and environmental assessment based on a customised EverBatt model is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119230
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Energy
Volume321
Early online date30 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Faraday Institution for funding through the ReLiB Project, (grant numbers FIRG005 and FIRG006) and for support from the ReCell Center, at Argonne National Laboratory, funded by the US Department of Energy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • Circular economy
  • Electric vehicles
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Material flow analysis
  • Recycle
  • Supply chain
  • Transition management
  • Transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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