The environmental footprint of re-used batteries
Many of our users are looking to give batteries a second life, that is to recondition and reconfigure them in such a way that they can be used again. But why is this important? We happen to have access to an interesting case study, of a second life battery produce. They had an analysis done on the CO2 footprint of their process, and have agreed to share the details with us.
For the analysis, ISO norm 14064-2 was used, and the process in its entirety was taken into account; what was done with each part of the dismantled battery, what new materials had to go into the new configuration, and what the expected lifespan and displacement of a new product added up to. At the end of the day, carefully dismantling a battery with 20% loss, recycling of unused parts, and minimal (~5%) new material by weight allowed each usable kWh of battery produced to offset 50-55kg CO2e (CO2 equivalent). That’s two and a half mature trees worth of CO2 for a year. To put that in perspective, in a BMW i3 with a 33kWh battery, this would amount to over 1.5T of CO2e offset, or nearly a fifth of the entire vehicle’s production footprint. This is far from negligible.
The exact impact you are having with your project will vary of course, for example this analysis is done on LiFePO4 batteries, while the more common NMC battery would actually have an even greater environmental impact due to the use of cobalt. Another element is that company in the case study re-used the existing enclosures, so their footprint was slightly reduced on that front, whereas if you use a new case for your reconfigured battery, your footprint may be a bit larger. Nonetheless, this is a great indication of how your second life battery projects can have a positive impact on your carbon footprint.