Research report: Assessing environmental impacts of energy storage technologies for grid scale applications

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  • Published: November 2023
  • REF/ISBN: 9781787253995
  • Edition: 1st
  • Status: Current

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Energy storage is a key element for effectively harnessing renewable energy. Battery storage (predominantly lithium-ion) is being widely deployed, alongside long-established forms of storage such as pumped hydro. However, there are many other forms of storage, including compressed air, thermal, and vanadium redox batteries, etc., and with rapidly depleting resources, understanding the environmental impacts of different technologies will be a key factor in deciding which technologies to utilise.

A way to determine a technology’s environmental effect is through life cycle assessments (LCAs) which judge a technology throughout its entire lifespan, including whether it can be recycled or not, where it has been extracted from, etc.

This report, authored by EarthShift Global, compares different storage technologies. It is based on an extensive literature review of available life cycle analyses conducted and published within academia. The report includes tables, graphs and figures which will all work in tandem to distinguish between energy storage technologies including lithium-ion, vanadium redox batteries, thermal storage, compressed air, and pumped hydro.

Furthermore, the report also includes guidance to help users to carry out their own life cycle analyses, e.g. using ISO 14040.

This document is intended to serve a wide range of industry stakeholders including regulators, planners, investors, asset owners/operators, local authorities and other decision makers in the energy industry.

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