The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that ‘single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNTs) applications…show promise for improving the energy density and ultimate performance of the Li-ion batteries in vehicles’. The remarks were published in a recently released paper on lithium ion batteries, Applications of Life Cycle Assessment to Nanoscale Technology: Lithium-ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles. The agency believes that manufacturers of batteries can use this paper ‘for identifying additional opportunities for reducing environmental and human health impacts throughout the life cycles of…battery systems’.
With regards to nanomaterials, the EPA specifically looks at SWCNTs and its applications. Whilst they were said to offer great promise, ‘the energy needed to produce these anodes in these early stages of development is significant (ie: may outweigh potential energy efficiency benefits in the use stage)’. The authors do believe, however, that ‘if researchers focus on reducing the energy intensity of the manufacturing process before commercialization, the overall environmental profile of the technology has the potential to improve dramatically’.
The paper states that one of the ‘many opportunities for further research on the potential impacts and benefits of Li-ion batteries’ is through undertaking ‘additional research on SWCNTs and other nanomaterials’.
Follow this link to view the full paper on Li-ion batteries published by the US EPA. NIA Members can read an interview NIA conducted on batteries by following this link.