EC Warns Of Lithium Danger, Calls For Alternative Battery Technologies

By Battery Power Staff

October 11, 2018 | The European Commission report Towards the Battery of the Future, released in September, says innovation in battery technology is imperative, and while hailing lithium as today’s battery of choice, delivers stark warnings about the chemistry. It is particularly scathing about the issue of the end-of-life for lithium batteries, Batteries International reports.

“Spent lithium-ion batteries are a pressing concern, given their high number,” the report says. “Globally, it is predicted that there will be over 25 billion by just 2020, driven largely by the rise in electric vehicles.

“Within the EU, these batteries cannot be landfilled as they leach substances that are potentially toxic and can also explode. Likewise, they cannot be incinerated as the ashes remain toxic in landfill.”

Produced by the EC’s Science for Environment Policy team, the report emphasizes the importance of batteries for the future health of the environment. “High-quality and technologically innovative batteries are imperative for the EU in the context of its move towards a low-carbon, climate-friendly and more circular economy,” it says.

“At the global and EU level, lead-acid technologies are expected to still prevail in 2025 in terms of volume, but the lithium-ion market is expected to become greater in terms of value from 2018.

“The use of lithium-ion batteries is expected to accelerate in the near future. Their design is likely to evolve during this time, but scientists believe that they may soon reach their performance limits, particularly in terms of their energy density.

“Thus, in addition to efforts to develop future evolutions of lithium-ion, the quest is now on to identify potential alternatives that offer better performance with an improved environmental profile.”