06 Apr Achieving Net-Zero Carbon Emissions: Second-Life Batteries
By Craig T. Bouchard
Though the U.S. is about to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign now encompasses 22 regions, 452 cities, 1,101 businesses, 549 universities and 45 of the biggest investors, most corporations and local governments have yet to share their action plans for achieving the crucial goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
Vehicle electrification is a core element of President Joe Biden’s energy and economic policy. However, reaching net-zero carbon emissions within the transportation industry will require a greener than green approach for designing a new sustainable battery infrastructure to support the next generation fleet of electric vehicles (EVs), refrigerated trailers (reefers) and trains.
The greener path
EVs are growing in popularity – a key step for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation. Unfortunately with this increase in popularity comes a major supply and demand dilemma. Unless we address the issue of a limited supply of raw materials (such as cobalt, lithium, and nickel) necessary for manufacturing EV batteries, the U.S. could rapidly find themselves in a supply chain bottleneck that would prevent huge numbers of individuals and corporations from transitioning to electric.
This mandates that the world establishes a strategically coordinated sustainable battery market. The EU recently finalized a proposal for replacing their existing Battery Directive; this is the first action taken by the European Commission under its new Circular Economy Plan, widely viewed as a necessary step towards meeting the European Green Deal’s goal of zero net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
Today, the U.S. is far behind in the global battery race. Estimates show that by 2030, 72 percent of EV sales will be in Europe and China. Unless the Biden administration and other American-based corporations consider these new sustainability standards for second-life batteries, the U.S. will be delayed in its goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions.
Why we need a second-life battery market
Preserving the environment is not just a regional issue. Only by working together will we overcome the global, growing challenge of climate change. According to CarFax, every battery in an electric car sold in the U.S. comes with a warranty that lasts for a minimum of eight years or up to 100,000 miles. We believe the actual life cycle for these batteries will be 15-20 years – this will vary by manufacturer and country – before needing to be recycled. Ecolution’s patented Module Active Response System (MARS) technology will support the recycling of second-life batteries when they start replacing batteries in EVs across the country.
According to a Grandview Research report, the global lithium ion battery market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 13% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $87.54 billion by 2027. It is critical that all EV batteries are recycled properly, ensuring that key ingredients such as lithium are recovered. Only by developing and mandating a system for managing the entire EV battery life-cycle – from birth to reclaiming its resources – will it be possible to reach net-zero carbon emissions within the US within the next ten years.
A possible roadmap to net-zero emissions
Over the past 5 years, wind, solar and thermal technologies have improved significantly in quality and cost; however, the untapped mother lode of clean technology has been hiding right under our noses, but is now on the horizon. Ecolution is [introducing] a new method for generating clean energy:
Consider the energy necessary to start moving a 20 million pound train and reach a speed of 40 miles per hour. Currently when that train decelerates to stop at a station, all of that kinetic energy is lost forever. This process happens nearly every minute of every day around the globe, wasting a massive amount of carbon each time the train starts moving.
Once our MARS (now patented in the US and China and pending around the rest of the world) technology has been applied, it will be possible to capture that kinetic energy from all intermodal transportation industries – the trucking industry, trains and subways, freight ships, and eventually spaceships – within batteries for later use.
Ecolution kWH empowers the move toward a net zero carbon footprint and will continue to advocate for improved regulation in the U.S. to enforce laws that will keep batteries out of landfills. The US must further incentivize the recycling of parts and follow the leads of China, Europe and other sectors that have already embraced these initiatives head on.
Though lithium ion battery recycling is still a few years shy of becoming a fully functioning business in the clean energy space, the U.S. is moving in the right direction. As EV adoption continues to grow in popularity, Ecolution’s net-zero carbon emission practices will shape the future of recycling and help to put forward practices that can be used on a global scale to better the planet.