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10 ‘Green Principles’ for responsible electric vehicle battery management

Ten new “Green Principles” for managing the full lifecycle of electric vehicle (EV) batteries are now available to help guide environmentally responsible EV battery manufacturing, use and end-of-life management.  

The principles, published in the Journal of Energy Storage on May 25, were developed by researchers at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability under sponsorship from the national nonprofit Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC). The principles represent a comprehensive set of recommendations to guide mobile battery deployment and technological development from an environmental perspective.

A second phase of the university’s research will focus on application of the principles for end users, including specific guidance for optimizing battery life and recommended consumer practices, and is expected to be completed by late summer or early fall.

The RBC is a coalition of companies, academics and organizations committed to the responsible management of the batteries of today and tomorrow.

“We’ve seen rapid growth in electric vehicles in the last few years, and recent projections that EV growth will increase exponentially in the next decade, so the publication of these guiding principles is both timely and highly relevant,” said Steve Christensen, executive director of RBC. 

“As batteries play an ever-larger role in meeting our energy needs, especially in mobile applications, applying these principles will help create a truly circular economy for battery manufacturing, use and recycling.”

A team led by Dr. Gregory A. Keoleian, director of the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems and a member of the RBC Scientific Advisory Board, developed the “Green Principles for Vehicle Energy Storage,” which define best practices for minimizing the environmental impact of EV batteries.  Drs. Maryam Arbabzadeh and Geoffrey M. Lewis conducted the research with Dr. Keoleian.

“As we look at the full lifecycle of EV batteries – from initial raw materials extraction all the way through end-of-life – it is important to examine all aspects, including how and where charging will occur, maximizing overall performance and ensuring proper recycling,” Keoleian said.

Building on existing green principles for stationary batteries, these new principles address mobile battery applications, servicing and emissions, metrics and methods for assessment, and ongoing challenges to making continuous environmental improvements.

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