Analysis | Published:

Nanotechnology for environmentally sustainable electromobility

Nature Nanotechnology volume 11, pages 10391051 (2016) | Download Citation

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 10 January 2017

This article has been updated

Abstract

Electric vehicles (EVs) powered by lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) or proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells (PEMFCs) offer important potential climate change mitigation effects when combined with clean energy sources. The development of novel nanomaterials may bring about the next wave of technical improvements for LIBs and PEMFCs. If the next generation of EVs is to lead to not only reduced emissions during use but also environmentally sustainable production chains, the research on nanomaterials for LIBs and PEMFCs should be guided by a life-cycle perspective. In this Analysis, we describe an environmental life-cycle screening framework tailored to assess nanomaterials for electromobility. By applying this framework, we offer an early evaluation of the most promising nanomaterials for LIBs and PEMFCs and their potential contributions to the environmental sustainability of EV life cycles. Potential environmental trade-offs and gaps in nanomaterials research are identified to provide guidance for future nanomaterial developments for electromobility.

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Change history

  • 14 December 2016

    In the original version of this Analysis Christine Roxanne Hung should have been acknowledged as a corresponding author. This has been corrected in the online versions of the Analysis.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank D. U. Lee and H. Zarrin for internal review and discussions. We also thank C. Bangs, D. Rickert, M. Quix, C. Stuyck, R. Weyhe and Q. Pan for communication on recycling of PEMFCs and LIBs. We also thank B. Reck and X. Hu for discussions. This work was financed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Research Council of Norway through the Centre for Sustainable Energy Studies (grant 209697), and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant 646286). The authors remain solely responsible for the content of this article.

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  1. Industrial Ecology Programme and Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Sem Sælands vei 7, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

    • Linda Ager-Wick Ellingsen
    • , Christine Roxanne Hung
    • , Guillaume Majeau-Bettez
    • , Bhawna Singh
    •  & Anders Hammer Strømman
  2. CIRAIG, École Polytechnique de Montréal, 3333 chemin Queen-Mary, Bureau 310, CP 6079 succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3A7, Canada

    • Guillaume Majeau-Bettez
  3. Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, E6-2006, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada

    • Zhongwei Chen
  4. NorthEast Center for Chemical Energy Storage, Binghamton University, 4400 Vestal Parkway East, Binghamton, New York 13902, USA

    • M. Stanley Whittingham

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Linda Ager-Wick Ellingsen or Christine Roxanne Hung.

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Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2016.237