Lithium-ion batteries one the most popular types of batteries used today. They are lightweight, have a high-energy density, and are less toxic to the environment than any other battery (Jensen et al. 1999). However, they still offer some undesirable effects to the environment. When not recycled properly, they increase the concentration of many types of metals in the environment (Rydh 2003). This can affect the physiological process of both the organisms and the entire ecosystem. The mining for these metals to make the batteries disrupts natural habitats in pristine areas of the globe. In order to avoid these unwanted consequences, it is important to recycle used lithium-ion batteries. It is also important to engineer these batteries to have the most power and longest life span possible, as well as using abundantly found metals to make them (Scrosati et al. 2002).
[...] From the moment it is manufactured, the battery's life with slowly decline, independent of its number of uses (Aurbach et al. 2001) The age of the battery determines its condition, not the number of times it has been discharged. Therefore, every lithium-ion battery made has an unofficial expiration date. After that amount of time, the product is unusable and must be discarded. This is where most of the environmental issues arise. III. Threats Posed to the Environment Many consider lithium-ion batteries an environmentally clean battery. [...]
[...] Luckily, many things of being done to eradicate the many imperfections of lithium-ion batteries and the problems they introduce to the environment. In fact, many things have already been done to fix safety and environmental issues. One example is reducing the risk fires and/or explosions when lithium-ion batteries come into contact with water. In the early stages of the batteries, there were many reports of the batteries causing injury to people or damage to its surroundings if it came into contact with water. [...]
[...] This translates to millions of used batteries being dumped directly into the environment every year, causing the concentration of metals to buildup to astronomical levels while miners spend time and energy mining these same metals from pristine areas of the globe. One very important proactive stance is to establish worldwide recycling programs to collect all used lithium-ion batteries. This will directly save not only millions of dollars in metal mining, but save priceless land and organisms from a grim fate caused by drastic increases in metal concentrations and mining. [...]
[...] Bruno Scrosati mentions three points that should be considered in order to minimize environmental impacts from use of these batteries: a.) develop a battery that seeks the highest energy density and longest life possible, b.) naturally high-occurring metals should be used in the batteries, and c.) old battery metals should be recycled and regulations must be in place to minimize the need for mining new metals (Frazer 2002). The need for high energy density and long battery life are needed to minimize resources used and limit the number of batteries needed. The more efficient the battery, the less resources and energy are needed to extract from the environment to power our consumer electronics (Jansen at al. [...]
[...] It is therefore easy for one to conclude that lithium-ion batteries are an improvement on prior battery models; however, many advances are yet to come to manufacture much more powerful and clean sources of energy. Literature Cited Aurbach, B Markovsky, A Rodkin, M Cojocaru, E Levi, HJ Kim An analysis of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries after prolonged cycling. Electrochimica Acta 47:1899-1911. Alper, Joe The Battery: Not Yet a Terminal Case. Science 296:1224- 1226. Biensan, B Simon, JP Peres, A Gulbert, M Broussely, JM Bodet, R Perton. [...]
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