Sustainable lithium-ion batteries: Geothermal extraction, ethical cobalt and fully recycled cells

Excerpt from energy-storage.news

Decarbonisation through electrification and increased use of renewable energy are considered the biggest drivers of demand for lithium-ion batteries for grid storage and electric transport. However, from the supply-side, sustainability is a growing concern and area of interest for the clean energy sector.

LG Energy Solution recently signed a six-year lithium concentrate off-take contract with Sigma Lithium, with the supplier seeking to bring large volumes of what it called “green and sustainable” high purity lithium to the global market.

That deal signalled not only the importance of the energy storage industry being able to secure big quantities of materials over the long-term, but also the importance of ESG and transparency of supply chains, Shawn Shaw, energy storage director at Clean Energy Associates, told Energy-Storage.news at the time.

The European Union (EU) is seeking to introduce regulations on battery supply chain sustainability, while China — the world’s biggest battery making country at present — already has regulations on recycled content, as does South Korea.

Here are three more recent developments which may be relatively small steps, but the companies involved and the industry at large will be hoping they are indications of the types of solutions that can scale up for the mass market. Many other initiatives on sustainability exist of course, but hopefully these will be illustrative of the potential across the industry.