Sustainable battery production

Ethical and sustainable battery production

This article explains how sustainable battery production can be achieved in an ethical way. With a particular focus on minerals extraction and resource conservation.

Ethical extraction of raw materials for worldwide battery production

The main talking points regarding batteries, in recent years, have been the worldwide supply chain of vital components like cobalt and lithium and to examine the necessity of ethical and environmentally friendly procedures in the manufacture of batteries. 

“Mining of these materials has been linked to human-rights violations, such as child labor, and environmental damage.” (Nature, 2021)

According to the report:

  • businesses should place a high priority on ethical and sustainable battery production and procurement procedures;
  • companies should work with recognized suppliers and enact transparency regulations;
  • it is necessary to reduce dependence on battery resources like cobalt and lithium 
  • minimize waste by investing in recycling technology and creation of new battery chemistries.

How to implement ethical and sustainable battery production

Associate research scholar at Princeton University Xiaofang Yang An developed a new method to recycle batteries.

According to this method, the cathodes get recycled directly

“Princeton NuEnergy is upgrading and renewing the cathodes themselves in a form of direct recycling” and “The Princeton NuEnergy team cleans up the cathode material without destroying it. 

Their method involves mechanically separating the cathode and anode materials and running the cathode powder through a plasma reactor to remove contamination produced from using the batteries”. (Seltzer, 2022)

This also underlines that for the battery manufacturing sector to be really sustainable, a shift towards moral and environmentally friendly methods is required and essential. 

New technologies are being developed every year, such as “Hard carbon made from trees” as reported by the website Stora Enso. 

They argue that anodes in batteries are often produced with graphitic carbon “which is a strictly layered material that can have slow charging times. 

We can replace this fossil-based graphite with hard carbon from trees, which brings with it both technical and environmental benefits.” (, 2023) 

In conclusion, main key points for sustainable battery production:

The battery sector confronts substantial difficulties in sourcing crucial materials like cobalt and lithium in an ethical and sustainable manner. The necessity for a change to more environmentally friendly and socially responsible manufacturing processes is highlighted by the human rights violations and environmental harm connected with the mining of these resources. Investments in recycling technologies, a decline in reliance on these essential resources, and the creation of novel battery chemistries can all help achieve this. 

The introduction of technologies like hard carbon from trees and direct recycling shows how the business community has the capacity to move toward a more sustainable future. To ensure that the battery sector can become really sustainable over time, it is critical for enterprises to put an emphasis on ethical and environmentally friendly procurement practices and to move toward more transparency.

The solution for EV batteries life-cycle and end-of-life management.
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