Energy use and climate change improvements of Li/S batteries based on life cycle assessment
Journal article, 2018
We present a life cycle assessment (LCA) study of a lithium/sulfur (Li/S) cell regarding its energy use (in electricity equivalents, kWhel) and climate change (in kg carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2 eq) with the aim of identifying improvement potentials. Possible improvements are illustrated by departing from a base case of Li/S battery design, electricity from coal power, and heat from natural gas. In the base case, energy use is calculated at 580 kWhel kWh−1 and climate change impact at 230 kg CO2 eq kWh−1 of storage capacity. The main contribution to energy use comes from the LiTFSI electrolyte salt production and the main contribution to climate change is electricity use during the cell production stage. By (i) reducing cell production electricity requirement, (ii) sourcing electricity and heat from renewable sources, (iii) improving the specific energy of the Li/S cell, and (iv) switching to carbon black for the cathode, energy use and climate change impact can be reduced by 54 and 93%, respectively. For climate change, our best-case result of 17 kg CO2 eq kWh−1 is of similar magnitude as the best-case literature results for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The lithium metal requirement of Li/S batteries and LIBs are also of similar magnitude.
global warming potential