Publication Details

Title : Energy, greenhouse gas, and water life cycle analysis of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide monohydrate from brine and ore resources and their use in lithium ion battery cathodes and lithium ion batteries
Publication Date : June 28, 2021
Publication Journal : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344921003712
Authors : J. Kelly, M. Wang, Q. Dai, O. Winjobi
Abstract : Life cycle analyses (LCAs) were conducted for battery-grade lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LiOH•H2O) produced from Chilean brines (Salar de Atacama) and Australian spodumene ores. The LCA was also extended beyond the production of Li2CO3 and LiOH•H2O to include battery cathode materials as well as full automotive traction batteries to observe the effect that the lithium production pathways had on these end products. The LCA here covers material, water, and energy flows associated with lithium acquisition; lithium concentration; production of lithium chemicals, battery cathode powders, and batteries; and associated transportation activities along the supply chain. Based on battery cathode material, the difference in lithium source represents a difference of up to 20% for NMC811 cathode greenhouse gases (GHGs) and up to 45% for NMC622 cathode GHGs. For full batteries, this represents a difference of up to 9% for NMC811 batteries and 20% for NMC622 batteries. Production of Li2CO3 from brine-based resources had less life cycle GHG emissions and freshwater consumption per tonne of Li2CO3 than Li2CO3 from ore-based resources. And LiOH•H2O produced from brine-based lithium also had less life cycle GHG emissions and freshwater consumption per tonne of LiOH•H2O than LiOH•H2O from ore-based resources.