Regionalized life cycle assessment of present and future lithium production for Li-ion batteries

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Vanessa Schenker, Christopher Oberschelp, Stephan Pfister


Existing life cycle assessments (LCA) of lithium carbonate production from brines are mainly based on one single brine operation site, while many different lithium carbonate production routes have been developed in the past. Hence, current life cycle inventories do not capture the variability of brine sites and misestimate life cycle impacts. This study presents a systematic approach for LCA of existing and future lithium carbonate production from brines, which can furthermore be applied to geothermal brines or seawater. It has been used to model life cycle inventories of three existing and two upcoming brine operations in Argentina, Chile, and China and combined with regionalized life cycle impact assessment. Impacts on climate change, particulate matter human health impacts, and water scarcity from lithium carbonate production differ substantially among sites. Existing life cycle inventories for lithium-ion battery production underestimate climate change impacts by up to 19% compared to one from our study.





lithium, Environmental Impacts, Life cycle assessment, Life cycle inventory, Brines, environmental impacts, Life Cycle Assessment, Life cycle inventory, Brines


Published: 2022-06-21 12:07

Last Updated: 2022-07-27 17:07

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
The authors declare no competing interests.

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