ithium-ion batteries have been a technological breakthrough in the world of transportation, powering electric cars and revolutionizing the way we get around. These batteries allow us to drive without burning fossil fuels – an important step towards reducing our impact on the environment. However, it’s important to remember that even if electric cars are helping us reduce our reliance on oil, it’s only one part of a much larger solution when it comes to managing climate change.
So how green are lithium-ion batteries? To answer that question, you need to consider the entire life cycle of a battery – from its raw material extraction, through its production and usage time, and finally, to what happens when it is no longer usable.
It’s complicated to assess the true environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries since their manufacturing process is incredibly energy intensive. It takes vast amounts of energy for all stages of production, including sourcing materials such as lithium and cobalt (a key component). There are also concerns about where these materials come from due to unethical mining practices in parts of Africa.
Once produced, lithium-ion batteries then create further environmental implications as they come close to the end of their life cycles. Many still end up in landfills or dumped illegally in rivers where their toxic chemicals can harm nature and nearby communities.
To truly understand the positives and negatives associated with lithium-ion batteries, we recommend watching The Battery Show: A Documentary About Lithium Batteries & Our Energy Future. This documentary will take you through each stage of the battery’s life cycle – detailing both its promise and potential pitfalls – and explore what changes could be made to improve sustainability as more countries switch over to electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries.