AIMPLAS and Leiden University’s social life cycle assessment of vanadium redox flow and lithium-ion batteries for energy storage

AIMPLAS and Leiden University, both core partners to the BALIHT project, underwent a Social Life-Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) of vanadium redox flow and lithium-ion batteries. As many studies are already engaging with the risks of the supply chain, especially focussing on the availability and the criticality of raw materials, none of them is considering social sustainability throughout value chains. Leiden University and AIMPLAS wrote this paper to fulfil this lack in order to cover every aspect of batteries supply chains sustainability. They based their work on the UNEP/SETAC S-LAC guidelines and used the Product Social Impact Life-Cycle Assessment database. Lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow batteries were respectively chosen because it is the most common battery and because it is a promising emerging technology.  The study developed a methodology considering the workers, local communities, and society.  

Results depended at some point on the nature of the battery assessed but some social risks were common such as the fair salary issue, or the pollution of raw materials extraction and the use of chemicals. AIMPLAS and Leiden University then drew a conclusion exposing a few solutions to mitigate some social risks highlighted in the study. 

Link to the study here.

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