How solid state EV batteries could cut emissions by up to 39%

Solid state batteries have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of EV batteries by up to 39% compared with liquid lithium-ion batteries, according to the Brussels-based campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E).

Transport & Environment (T&E) commissioned research from Minviro, a London-based company that specializes in raw material life-cycle analysis. Minviro compared emerging solid state technology to current battery chemistries.

Solid state batteries are expected to be used in EVs from 2025, and Ford and BMW will begin to test them in late 2022.

T&E summarizes the study that Minviro conducted:

The analysis compares a NMC-811 solid state battery, which is one of the most promising chemistries being developed, to current lithium-ion technology. Solid state technology uses solid ceramic material instead of liquid electrolytes to carry electric current, also making the batteries lighter, faster to charge, and eventually cheaper. 

Cecilia Mattea, clean vehicles officer at T&E, explained:

Electric vehicles are already far better for the planet than burning oil, and the carbon footprint of batteries is falling every year. But solid state technology is a step change because their higher energy density means far less materials, and therefore far less emissions, are needed to make them.

A solid state battery can store more energy with less materials and can decrease the carbon footprint of an EV battery by 24%. And if sustainably sourced technology and materials are used, then that could reduce the carbon footprint of EV batteries by up to 39%. T&E continues:

New mining methods, including extracting lithium from geothermal wells, have significantly lower climate impacts than more commonly used sources such as lithium from hard rock mined in Australia and refined in China.

Solid state batteries require up to 35% more lithium than current lithium-ion battery technology, but they use far less graphite and cobalt, which is mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

MEPs and EU governments are currently negotiating the final text of the EU’s proposed Batteries Regulation, which would require lithium to be sourced responsibly, and also protect human rights and the environment. It will also require battery recycling.

Photo: Solid Power Battery


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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.