Advancing battery materials certification and reducing life-cycle impacts

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As the world turns its attention to Net Zero ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, the global adoption of electric vehicles continues to rise. Leading electric vehicle manufacturers are now expecting responsibly sourced materials to be used within their batteries.

However at present, the lack of accessible data and a common approach makes it difficult for Australian companies to evidence claims of strong social and environmental performance and to support design for a circular economy.

This FBICRC project bringing together UTS, University of Melbourne, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia and MRIWA with a host of leading industry and international partners is working to

  • Deliver certification pathways for ‘responsible sourcing’ aligned with international best practice.
  • Assemble Australian battery industry datasets and data management framework.
  • Deliver an integrated life cycle model for responsible materials supply into a circular economy.
  • Benchmark and drive improvements in the social, environmental and carbon footprints of battery materials and by-products.

The project is also collaborating closely with the ‘Trusted Supply Chains’ project led by Curtin University exploring the use of blockchain to securely transfer information along supply chains, for example regarding geochemical provenance or indeed environmental claims established in our project.

So far, the project has

  • Published a foundation scene setting report looking at certification and life cycle assessment for lithium and hosted a webinar with the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office as well as BMW Germany to discuss the findings.
  • Expanded the scene setting foundational work on certification and life cycle assessment in a series of fact sheets on lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, vanadium
  • Hosted industry workshops with national and international speakers on Environmental Product Declarations and the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance
  • Regarding Life Cycle Assessment – drafted a report examining the uncertainties and gaps with readily available life cycle data for battery minerals which will inform the focus of more detailed data gathering in the project
  • Regarding certification – reviewed the data requirements for a range of schemes to identify commonalities for data collection and reporting to better understand certification pathways which can deliver value and market advantage for industry without cumbersome reporting efforts
  • Undertaken postgraduate student recruitment

Looking ahead, the project will engage in pilot studies to collect further Australian life cycle data regarding battery minerals and pilot the adoption of certification pathways to help grow industry capability, experience and market value. For further information about the project, contact Damien Giurco – damien.giurco@uts.edu.au

 

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