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Peters, J, Baumann M, Zimmermann B, Braun J, Weil M.  2017.  The environmental impact of Li-Ion batteries and the role of key parameters - A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 2017(67):491-506. AbstractWebsite

The increasing presence of Li-Ion batteries (LIB) in mobile and stationary energy storage applications has triggered a growing interest in the environmental impacts associated with their production. Numerous studies on the potential environmental impacts of LIB production and LIB-based electric mobility are available, but these are very heterogeneous and the results are therefore difficult to compare. Furthermore, the source of inventory data, which is key to the outcome of any study, is often difficult to trace back. This paper provides a review of LCA studies on Li-Ion batteries, with a focus on the battery production process. All available original studies that explicitly assess LIB production are summarized, the sources of inventory data are traced back and the main assumptions are extracted in order to provide a quick overview of the technical key parameters used in each study. These key parameters are then compared with actual battery data from industry and research institutions. Based on the results from the reviewed studies, average values for the environmental impacts of LIB production are calculated and the relevance of different assumptions for the outcomes of the different studies is pointed out. On average, producing 1 Wh of storage capacity is associated with a cumulative energy demand of 328 Wh and causes greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 110 gCO2eq. Although the majority of existing studies focus on GHG emissions or energy demand, it can be shown that impacts in other categories such as toxicity might be even more important. Taking into account the importance of key parameters for the environmental performance of Li-Ion batteries, research efforts should not only focus on energy density but also on maximizing cycle life and charge-discharge efficiency.

Versteeg, T, Baumann M, Weil M, Moniz AB.  2017.  Exploring emerging battery technology for grid-connected energy storage with Constructive Technology Assessment. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 115:99-110. AbstractWebsite

The last decades have shown an increasing amount of research into expectations of science and technology. Especially for emerging technologies, expectations held by different stakeholder are guiding the direction of research and development. In this article the results of an investigation into the expectations of specific actors regarding the development of emerging battery technology for applications in the power grid are presented. It is set up as an explorative study within the framework of Constructive Technology Assessment (CTA). A number of studies since the 1990s have indicated a growing need for energy storage options in the power grid, where batteries appear to be capable of providing a range of valuable services to the grid. Cost-effectiveness on a large scale will however require considerable technical improvements. The configuration of energy storage may differ in the specific location and exploitation of the storage assets, as well as in the investments in new storage capacity. In this study the visions and expectations of several relevant actors are analysed using interviews and surveys in terms of expectations of technological development, expectations concerning stakeholder roles, and channels of interaction between the relevant actors. The results indicate a divide in expectations between the user side of the technology (the electric power industry) and the development side (academic researchers). Opinions differ with respect to the obstacles to technological development, the actors relevant in early technological development, and the most suitable channels for interaction between these actors. It follows from the theoretical background that conflicts in expectations provide the opportunity for the acceleration of technological development and adoption through stakeholder participation. Small interactive workshops, where conflicts identified in this paper are discussed, were identified as a suitable channel in order to reach consensus in visions and expectations for battery technology.

Baumann, M, Marcelino C, Peters J, Weil M, Almeida P, Wanner E.  2017.  Environmental impacts of different battery technologies in renewable hybrid micro-grids. IEEE International Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies. , Turin: IEEE