How much energy is used in manufacturing a battery?

Discussion in 'General' started by Martin Williams, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    I found this paper very interesting:

    It describes the energy cost of the whole process in some detail, with the conclusion summarising the overall finding. Basically to manufacture a 24 kWh Lithium ion battery requires 88.9 GigaJoules, so the cost per KWh comes down to just over 1,000 kWh

    As the typical lifetime of a lithium-ion battery is between 300 and 500 cycles, it looks as if these things are costing two or three times more energy to make than ever passes through them!

    This figure was for prismatic cells. If you choose to use enormous numbers of 18650 cells like Tesla, then I imagine this ratio to be far far worse!

    Does it matter? I leave that to you to decide.
  2. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    That 300-500 cycles figure is referring to far smaller battery packs intended for consumer electronics. The vastly larger packs in electric vehicles are usable for much longer.

    Do you seriously think that a Volt battery pack cannot last longer than 30,000 miles or so? Man, no wonder you hate EVs so much. :rolleyes: You know nothing about them!
  3. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    I didn't actually express any opinions about where they were used or the mileage of cars using them. The study was on batteries used in cars however, and I imagine the same laws of physics apply in car battery packs and consumer electronic packs.

    I was a little surprised to find they need so much energy to make, however, and it seemed to be worth pointing out that using thousands of small cells is a very poor idea from the energy cost as well as other considerations.

    Any other conclusions drawn are yours not mine. I deliberately refrained from further comment.
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Then you'll also like reading the Swedish pro-diesel study:

    The only problem is the grandfather of such reports were reported in the Sunday Mail:

    Prius battery nickel destroyed Sudbury Canada - this complete fabrication appeared in the Sunday Mail but unlike the USA, Canada and the UK have libel laws with teeth. Upon threat of a lawsuit, the Sunday Mail withdrew the article[1] after it escaped to the Internet. A corollary is that shipping nickel from the mine through processing consumes huge amounts of energy negating the Prius mileage savings. However, Sudbury's mining environmental problems occurred 30 years before the first Prius rolled off the line. At maximum, the Prius traction battery is less than 1% of the mine output with most of the nickel going to stainless steel and consumer batteries in cell phones, power tools, and other hand-held products.

    Fortunately, I have two, LiON plug-in cars sitting on the driveway and in the past, two NiMH battery equipped Prius. Both have excellent, low operating costs which is money that stays in my wallet.

    One of the false narratives is that efficient car owners are 'leaf looking Bambi lovers.' You know, rabid environmentalists. In reality, many if not most of us are extremely frugal ... especially about operational costs.

    Caution, you may want to avoid reading:

    But what are the global warming emissions of electric cars on a life cycle basis—from the manufacturing of the vehicle’s body and battery to its ultimate disposal and reuse? To answer this, the Union of Concerned Scientists undertook a comprehensive, two-year review of the climate emissions from vehicle production, operation, and disposal. We found that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for.

    I don't care because EV miles are half the cost of gas miles even before accounting for the free EV charging.

    Bob Wilson
  5. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    It would seem that the Swedish study came out with roughly the same figure as the sciencedirect one I quoted.

    As for whether battery cars are cleaner than gasoline ones or not, I suspect you can first choose your answer and then either choose coal-generated or renewable power electricity to support the answer you want. I don't know if the UCS did this or not. There wasn't enough detail in what I saw to decide.

    When I was at work I used to walk just over a mile to the local train station, and a further half mile from the station at the other end to work, and repeat the process going home. This I think saved many tons of CO2 as well as keeping me effortlessly fit. I could have driven it in a fraction of the time, but I found the journey gave me time to think. (I once acknowledged the train operator in a paper. I'd done most of the thinking for it during delays waiting for their trains and in delays in their service. It seemed only fair.)
  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

  7. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    You refrained from further comment? What do you call this:

    "As the typical lifetime of a lithium-ion battery is between 300 and 500 cycles, it looks as if these things are costing two or three times more energy to make than ever passes through them!

    This figure was for prismatic cells. If you choose to use enormous numbers of 18650 cells like Tesla, then I imagine this ratio to be far far worse!" :p

    Here is an article to read:

    "To understand what impacts a battery’s life, it’s important to first understand how it works. EV batteries are lithium based – when they are charged and discharged once, it’s called a cycle. A battery’s capacity will degrade as the cycle number increases. And battery life is measured in those cycles, with the industry standard of cycles close to 80 percent considered a benchmark."

    A charge and discharge refers to the amount of times the energy in the pack is completely replaced. Either by driving to 0 miles and then fully recharging the same day, or by driving half the range one day then charged to 100% and half the range the next day then charged to 100%. Etc.

    For instance, I only drive my Bolt about 30-40 miles a day on average. So it would take 4 or 5 days for my driving to count as a "cycle".

    "It turns out that the Model S lost about 5 percent of its power in the first 50,000 miles, at which point, battery degradation slowed. Some with 100,000 plus miles had battery degradation of less than 8 percent."

    If the industry standard for battery life is 80% of the original capacity, and if a Tesla Model S loses 5% in it's first 50,000 miles then slows down to less than 4% for the next 50,000 miles, a Model S would need to drive at least 200,000 miles before the battery degrades below 80%.

    Even then that means the pack is still capable of 80% of it's original capacity. If the owners still find the remaining range acceptable (I certainly would) the car can continue to be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles. If not, they sell it used to someone who will be able to work within that range.
  8. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    The figure I quoted was done so because I thought it surprisingly high. I'm delighted that in your case you seem to be pleased with the performance of your bolt, but apart from pointing out that on average the things seem to require a great deal more energy to make than they have passing through them, and that the smaller the cells you use, like Tesla, the more this becomes true I didn't carry it into an argument about cars and their batteries.

    Any applicability to EVs apart from this was yours not mine. Feel free to argue with yourself if you like though.
  9. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    You mean you intended to post this about batteries in general, not batteries in EVs? Then perhaps you should have posted in the "off topic" or "energy" section of the forum.

    Not the "General EV" section.
  10. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    I thought I'd leave it to others to make any association they chose.

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