Toni Josipovic, Christopher Hartnagel, Gavin Swink


This project reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process. Course: EGR 374 01



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Batteries are humanity's tools for personal exergy storage in our device enabled world. Exergy allows work to be done. We gather exergy from energy-carrying substances in the natural world. The two most popular types of natural resources for battery cell chemistries are lithium and lead metal. While energy is conserved, the exergetic portion can be destroyed when it undergoes energy conversion. Although both store exergy, each has unique drawbacks and advantages. The chemistry chosen has environmental consequences, knowing the full range of impacts may assist in efforts to decouple energy use from environmental damage. Properties that differ include raw material input, manufacturing technique and performance characteristics. Raw materials such as lithium cobalt oxide and lithium titanate are expensive, rare earth metals that are used in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Lead-acid batteries are typically made up of lead, barium sulfate, lead sulfate, and sulfuric acid. Though less expensive than lithium-ion, the efficiency compared to its counterpart is much lower. Also, the lead-based ionic compound byproduct is very toxic. To quantify our comparison, an economic input-output hybrid life cycle assessment (EIO-LCA) will be performed. Economic activity, conventional air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy consumption for the manufacturing stage of both types of battery cell chemistries will be discussed. Knowledge of this EIO-LCA will inform the public on how battery selection is coupled with environmental damage. The production and use of different battery types would fall under UN Sustainable Development Goals relating to industry, innovation, and infrastructure and responsible consumption and production.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Erin L. Gibbemeyer

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; Responsible Consumption and Production

Comparison of the Environmental Impact in Production of Lithium-Ion and Lead-Acid Batteries