A Mixed-Methods Approach to Identify and Assess Sustainability Criteria for Battery Chemistries in Electric Vehicles
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Industrial ecology (MPTSE), MSc
The transport system is currently undergoing a transition, with car manufacturers shifting from producing conventional internal combustion engines to producing electric vehicles (EVs). One of those actors is Volvo Car Corporation, which has the ambition to become a fully electric car manufacturer by 2030, as well as climate neutral and circular by 2040. One important factor to assess in the transition to EVs is the choice of battery cell chemistry. The aim of this study is to identify and assess sustainability criteria for multiple lithiumion batteries (LIBs) and sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) chemistries for EV application. The LIB cell chemistries examined are nickel manganese cobalt - graphite (NMC811-Gr) and lithium iron phosphate - graphite (LFP-Gr), and SIB cell chemistries are nickel manganese magnesium titanium oxide - hard carbon (NaNMMT-HC) and nickel manganese cobalt oxide - hard carbon (NaNMC-HC). Prior research within sustainability in battery cell chemistries for electric vehicles has often been covered through life cycle assessments (LCA) studies. However, LCA has been shown to only address limited aspects of sustainability. This thesis proposes a mixed-methods approach to assess sustainability, by combining an open space technology (OST) workshop, data from LCAs, expert interviews, and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), in order to bring forward other aspects in the sustainability assessment. The sustainability indicators identified in the OST workshop and used in this study are ’Responsible sourcing and social aspects’, ’Human health’, ’Raw material availability’, ’Longevity of cell’, ’Climate impact’, and ’Recyclability’. Quantification of the indicators and the MCDA showed that the LFP-Gr cell is a promising chemistry amongst those assessed. In conclusion, it is recommended to adopt additional stakeholder perspectives, and other tools, to complement the environmental and social assessments conducted using LCA studies, when assessing the sustainability of both current and emerging battery chemistries.
Lithium-ion batteries , Sodium-ion batteries , Battery cell chemistries , Electric Vehicles , Sustainability assessment , Multi-criteria decision analysis , Mixed-methods approach , Open Space Technology