DR E. GOOSEY
The production of a battery is highly impacting. They contain multiple elements, some of which are relatively rare. The mining impact of sourcing these metals is the most impacting part of the production. Though it is thought that once in operation within electric vehicles the benefits of zero emissions outweighs the impact from production. In addition if there are opportunities to extend the lifetime of a battery the production impacts can be further reduced.
However, many assessments take into consideration the use of sustainable energy, where as the reality, at present, is that the energy arises from oil, gas, nuclear and green energy in the UK. In the UK <20 % of energy is supplied from sustainable energy sources. Therefore, the energy supplied to electric vehicles is still impacting upon the environment. The RECHARGE project stated “A BATTERY IS AS GREEN AS THE ENERGY IT USES”.
DR R. KELLNER
For any item at the end of its working life or when it ceases to be usable in its original form the options are generally in accord with an accepted waste treatment hierarchy as above. This is essentially an order of preference for the reduction and management of waste with the primary objective of extracting the maximum practical benefits from products whilst minimising the generation of waste. The application of this hierarchy seeks to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, energy and pollution whilst conserving resources via virgin material displacement.
When applied to batteries that are deemed to be unusable or end-of-life the options most commonly considered are remanufacture, repurposing or recycling which within the context of the generic waste treatment hierarchy are middle ranking options with remanufacture and repurposing being elements of reuse.