Journal of Industrial Ecology: Toward a life cycle inventory for graphite production
With the rising demand for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) due to global electrification, there's an increasing interest in graphite, a major component of LIBs. While many studies have delved into the environmental implications of LIBs using life cycle analysis (LCA), there has been consistent concern about the inadequate data quality on graphite production. This research critically examines available data on both natural and synthetic battery-grade graphite production. It identifies significant gaps in capturing various stages of production, resulting in potentially underestimating environmental impacts. The study introduces a new framework to compare graphite production methods and presents an inventory for synthetic graphite production. The findings suggest that synthetic graphite has a global warming potential of 13.8 kgCO2-eq/kg and an energy demand of 45.9 MJ/kg. This implies that previous studies might have undervalued these impacts by at least double. Emphasis is also laid on the need for a comprehensive understanding of impact categories and consideration of all by-and co-products in subsequent LCAs.
Notably, our CEO, Robert Pell, significantly contributed to this scientific paper published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology titled "Toward a life cycle inventory for graphite production."
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