Accompanying Research - Cross-sectoral topics
Sustainability, Circular Economy & Resources
Within the accompanying research “Battery Cell Production”, cross-cutting topics are offered to enable a knowledge exchange on higher-level topics. Among others, these cross-cutting topics include Sustainability as well as Circular Economy & Resources.
As shown in our study "Measuring sustainability: A consistent metric for sustainable batteries", Sustainability has many facets. Examples for sustainable batteries requirements are consideration of social and ecological aspects, durability, a high level of safety and reparability.
In the cross-cutting topic of sustainability, sustainability aspects are considered along the entire battery value chain from raw material extraction to recycling. A key aspect is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions so that battery cell production can make the greatest possible contribution to climate change mitigation. For this purpose, one challenge is to find and establish uniform and practicable methods that make the CO2 footprint of batteries measurable and comparable.
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, there is a variety of other sustainability aspects. The Sustainable Development Goals alone, with their 17 goals and 169 targets, illustrate the complexity and diversity of sustainable action. It is important to reconcile the different aspects and, where necessary, to find suitable compromises.
The aim of the cross-cutting work is to identify the key sustainability issues to which battery production can contribute and to jointly develop ideas and solutions for sustainable battery cell production in Europe and worldwide.
The aim of the interdisciplinary topic of circular economy and resources regarding the battery value chain is to contribute directly or indirectly to increase the resource efficiency and to decrease the environmental impacts throughout the battery supply chain.
This can be achieved by applying or considering one or more of the nine circular economy ‘R’ strategies or principles, referred to as the 9 R’s: The first category encompasses strategies to reduce the environmental impact of the product pre-production. These are Refuse, Rethink and Reduce, used to innovate the product to improve its function and efficiency. The second group of principles containing Re-use, Repair and Refurbish is about extending the usable lifetime of the product in its original form prior to recycling or disposal. After that Remanufacture and Repurpose can be utilized to give the product a different form with the same or a different function to further extend the value. Finally Recycle as the last step in the lifecycle of the product recovers the raw material from the product at its end of life to be used for production of the same product or other purposes. Thus, the overarching goal of the circular economy is to reduce waste and resource consumption and achieve full sustainability throughout the lifecycle of the product.