Environmental consequences of the use of batteries in sustainable systems: battery production.

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Abstract

Adoption of small scale micro-generation is sometimes coupled with the use of batteries in order to overcome daily varieties in the supply and demand of energy. For example, photovoltaic cells and small wind turbines can be coupled with energy storage systems such as batteries. Used effectively, battery storage can increase the versatility of a micro-generation system by satisfying the highly variable electrical load of an individual dwelling, therefore changing usage patterns on the national grid (Jenkins et al 2008). In addition, a significant shift towards electric or hybrid cars would also increase the number of batteries required. However, batteries can be inefficient and comprise of materials that have high environmental and energy impacts. In addition, some materials, such as lithium, are scarce natural resources. As a result, the overall impact of increasing our reliance on such “sustainable” systems may in fact have an additional detrimental impact. This paper outlines previous work in this area, and reviews the data available about battery production and use in terms of their life cycle environmental and energy impacts. Problems associated with resource availability are also highlighted. The impact of the production of batteries is examined and presented in order that future studies may be able to include the impact of batteries more easily within any system.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event2nd International Conference on Microgeneration and Related Technologies - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Apr 20116 Apr 2011

Conference

Conference2nd International Conference on Microgeneration and Related Technologies
Abbreviated titleMICRoGEN II
CountryUK United Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period4/04/116/04/11

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