Design for the Environment Program
                                                   Office of Research and Development
            Lithium-ion  Batteries and Nanotechnology  Partnership
                                       Assessing Life-Cycle  Impacts
                                       of  Lithium-ion  Batteries
               U.S. EPA

 What Is EPA's Design for the
 Environment Program?
 EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE)
 Program is a voluntary, partnership-based
 program that works with industry to integrate
 health and environmental considerations into
 business decisions. DfE's approach typically
 focuses on evaluating the health and
 environmental risks or life-cycle impacts of
 traditional and alternative technologies,
 materials, and processes. Since its inception,
 DfE has formed cooperative partnerships
 with the electronics industry, including:
 •   Assessing the life-cycle impacts of lead
     solder and lead-free alternatives, and
 •   Evaluating new and current materials
     that can be used  to meet fire safety
     requirements for circuit boards.
 DfE partnerships have also conducted life-
 cycle assessments of cathode-ray tube and
 flat-panel displays, and wire and cable
 insulation and jacketing, and evaluated
 alternative lead-free surface finishes and
 cleaner technologies  for making holes
 conductive step in printed circuit board (or
 printed wiring board) manufacturing.  Read
 information on safer  chemical-intensive (e.g.,
 cleaning) products that bear the DfE logo.
 (Link to
 What Is EPA's Office of Research
 and Development?
 EPA's Office of Research and Development,
 the scientific research arm of EPA, conducts
 research on ways to prevent pollution,
 protect human health, and reduce risk. Work
 at ORD laboratories, research centers, and
 offices across the country helps improve the
 quality of air, water,  soil, and the way we use
 resources. (Link to
What Are the Partnership's Goals?

EPA's Design  for the  Environment  Program and the
Office  of Research and Development formed  the
Lithium-ion Batteries and Nanotechnology Partnership
in June  2009 to conduct  a  screening-level  life-cycle
assessment  (LCA)  of  current and  emerging  energy
systems used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in
hybrid electric  vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicles (EVs).  The
energy systems of interest include currently manufactured lithium-ion
(Li-ion)  battery technologies  and a next-generation battery component
(anode) that uses single-wall carbon nanotube technology.  The primary
goal of the partnership is to help companies make environmentally sound
process and material choices.

When completed, it is expected that the life-cycle assessment results can
be used by  the Li-ion battery  industry  to  identify the  materials  or
processes within a product's life cycle that are likely to pose the greatest
impacts  or  potential risks to public health  or the  environment.   In
addition, given  the use  of nanotechnology in current and future  Li-ion
battery products, the LCA will also promote nanotechnology innovations
in advanced batteries  that result in reduced overall environmental
impacts,  including greenhouse gas emissions.

The project partners include  individual  Li-ion battery manufacturers,
research  institutions, battery  recycling companies, the  Department  of
Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, and EPA.  The current  list of
partners  include Altairnano, Inc., Electrovaya, EnerDel  Lithium  Power
Systems, Johnson Controls-SAFT, Novolyte Technologies, Kinsbursky
Brothers, Inc., Rochester Institute of Technology, Rechargeable Battery
Association, NextEnergy, National Alliance for Advanced Transportation
Batteries (NAATBatt),  Umicore  Group,  and Environmental  Defense

The partnership is evaluating the following energy product systems:

    •  High-power density Li-ion batteries  currently manufactured by
      our partners for  HEV and PHEV applications;

    •  High-energy density Li-ion batteries currently manufactured by
      our partners for  EV and PHEV applications; and

    •   Single-wall carbon nanotube anode technology for use in next-
      generation Li-ion batteries.
February 2010
EPA 744-F09-001

  High-energy density batteries deliver moderate amounts
  of energy over  a long period  of time (i.e.  sustained
  energy), which is important for long-distance for EV and
  PHEV applications. High-power density batteries deliver
  large amounts of energy over a short period of time (i.e.
  energy bursts), which is necessary for quick accelerations
  for HEV and PHEV applications.  The  partnership may
  also  compare the  impacts  during the  "use  stage" of
  energy  systems  that use  Li-ion batteries in electric
  vehicles  with those of lead-acid batteries  in gasoline
  vehicles,  on  a  functional  unit basis  (impacts  per
  kilometer). The  life-cycle  assessment  study  is  being
  conducted with  the  assistance  of Abt  Associates Inc.,
  under contract with EPA.

  What Is Life-Cycle Assessment?
  This  project will examine the  full life  cycle  of the
  energy systems  and estimate environmental impacts
  from each of the following major life-cycle stages:
     •   Raw materials extraction/acquisition;
     •   Materials processing;
     •   Product manufacture;
     •   Product use; and
     •   Final disposition/end-of-life.
  There are four  major phases  of an LCA study, as
  described  in  the   International  Organization   for
  Standardization (ISO) 14040 standard:
     •   Goal definition and scoping;
     .   Life-cycle inventory;
     .   Life-cycle impact assessment; and
     •   Interpretation of results.

  In the first phase of the study, the goals and scope  are
  defined   by   the project  partners,  including  which
  products and technologies  are to be evaluated.  Next,
  life-cycle inventories  (LCIs)  are compiled   for  all
  processes within the life-cycle  stages contained within
  the LCA scope.  Following completion of the LCIs,  the
  environmental  life-cycle   impacts of  the  products/
  technologies  are objectively assessed,  using  the  LCI
  data.  Finally, the results are summarized and analyzed,
  with a discussion of limitations and uncertainties.

  Why Is the  Partnership  Evaluating Li-ion

  The production and use of hybrid and electric vehicles
  are necessary to alleviate the United States' dependence
  on oil, and to prevent future climate change - two key
  priorities of the Obama Administration. To address these
  priorities, the Administration has established a near-term
  goal of  1 million electric drive  vehicles  on the road by
  2015, including HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs. Li-ion battery
  technologies will be critical to meeting this goal, due to
EPA 744-F09-001
their  increased energy  storage  capability, which will
increase electric vehicle marketability.
This  project  will  also  highlight  a  nanotechnology
application   that   has   the    potential   to   reduce
environmental impacts.   Although some nanomaterials
and  technologies  are  already  being  used  in  Li-ion
batteries, further and novel uses of nanomaterials may
increase the storage capacity and life of these batteries.
For  example, battery  anodes  made  from single-wall
carbon nanotubes are being developed and are included
in this study. These anodes show promise for increased
current capacity,  extended electric vehicle range and
battery life, and reduced recharge cycle time.
A quantitative environmental life-cycle analysis of Li-
ion batteries used in electric  drive  vehicles—and the
nanomaterials and nanotechnology  used to produce
some of them—has not yet been conducted.  Such a
study is needed to  help grow the industry for  advanced-
vehicle batteries in an environmentally responsible and
efficient way.
This project offers the  opportunity to mitigate current
and future impacts  and risks by:
    •   Assisting battery manufacturers and suppliers to
       identify which materials and /or processes are
       associated  with  the   greatest  environmental
       impacts  throughout the  life  cycle  of  their
       products, and
    •   Identifying  areas  that  could  benefit   from
       increased energy efficiency.
The project also is timely, given that the  use of Li-ion
batteries for electric vehicles is an emerging technology
and that recent government programs  are encouraging
the growth of the industry in the United States.
The   LCA  will  provide useful  information  to  the
advanced-automotive battery  industry, and particularly
to the Li-ion battery industry for electric vehicles.  The
partnership's study will provide the industry with  an
objective analysis that evaluates the potential life-cycle
environmental  impacts  of  selected   Li-ion  battery
systems,  and  help determine  whether these systems
present environmentally preferable options to existing
systems, such as the use of lead-acid batteries  in internal
combustion engines.
  How Can I Get More Information?
  To learn more about the DfE Program or the Lithium-ion
  Batteries and Nanotechnology Partnership, or to view an
  electronic version (or order a hard copy) of this fact sheet
  (document #EPA 744-F-09-001), visit the Office of
  Pollution Prevention and Toxics' DfE Program Web site:
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