Critical Resources for Emerging Battery Technologies for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. Proceedings of the International Conference “ISWA World Solid Waste Congress”, 17th - 19th September 2012, Florence, Italy
The depletion of fossil fuels and the global warming issue has led the global society to shift the focus from fossil fuels to the development of green technologies which are independent of non- renewable fuels and result in less global warming. These emerging green technologies such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, electric and hybrid cars are, however, in turn dependent on other non- renewable resources such as metals which may become scarce in the future. The concept of ‘critical resources’ is in this context is an expression of how limited or constrained the supply of a resource is compared to the scale of demand of it in a given technology and scenario. The current study is dealing with the identification of critical resources for 4 different battery types (Lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA), Lithium-iron phosphate (LFP), Lithium-manganese spinel Graphite (LMO – G), Lithium-manganese spinel Titanate (LMO – T)) for electric cars in a proposed scenario of 2050, in which a scale of 100 % global conversion of passenger cars to battery cars is modeled. Potential resource supply constraints for these emerging battery technologies in electric cars have been analyzed and assessed on the basis of the method modified from the methodology described in a recent study by the EU ‘’Critical raw materials for the EU’’ published in 2010. The EU method identifies the critical resources for a short time horizon (10 years) on the basis of their supply risk excluding the factor of geological scarcity, whereas the current study deals with a longer time horizon, up to 2050, so geological scarcity of these critical resources in response to the high demand of emerging technologies in future is added as an integral parameter to assess the overall supply risk of critical resources. The preliminary study reveals that for the above mentioned four battery types, Copper (Cu) and Graphite (C) seem to be limiting to most Battery technologies. But Cu is mainly critical due to its high background use and C due to the depletion of specific natural reserves of Carbon as Graphite. Moreover Nickel (Ni) and Cobalt (Co) seems to be critical for NCA battery technology, Manganese (Mn) for LMO –T and LMO- G battery technologies whereas Lithium (Li) is only critical to LMO-T battery technology. None of these resources seem to be critical to the overall 100% development of HEVs by the year 2050, however, due to their possible substitution, efficient use due to technological development and better recycling technologies.