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Issue 33, 2019
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Life cycle assessment of emerging Ni–Co hydroxide charge storage electrodes: impact of graphene oxide and synthesis route

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Abstract

Decoupling energy supply from fossil fuels through electrification and sustainable energy management requires efficient and environmentally low-impact energy storage technologies. Potential candidates are charge storage electrodes that combine nickel and cobalt hydroxides with reduced graphene oxide (rGO) designed to achieve high-energy, high-power density and long cycling lifetimes. An early eco-efficiency analysis of these electrodes seeks to examine the impacts of materials and processes used in the synthesis, specifically while focusing on the use of rGO. The emerging electrodes synthesized by means of electrodeposition, are further compared with electrodes obtained by an alternative synthesis route involving co-precipitation. Life cycle assessment (LCA) method was applied to compare a baseline nickel–cobalt hydroxide electrode (NCED), the focal electrode integrating rGO (NCED-rGO), and the benchmark co-precipitated electrode (NCCP), for delivering the charge of 1000 mA h. Contribution analysis reveals that the main environmental hotspots in the synthesis of the NCED-rGO are the use of electricity for potentiostat, ethanol for cleaning, and rGO. Results of comparison show significantly better performance of NCED-rGO in comparison to NCED across all impact categories, suggesting that improved functionalities by addition of rGO outweigh added impacts of the use of material itself. NCED-rGO is more impactful than NCCP except for the indicators of cumulative energy demand, climate change, and fossil depletion. To produce a functional equivalent for the three electrodes, total cumulative energy use was estimated to be 78 W h for NCED, 25 W h for NCED-rGO, and 35 W h for NCCP. Sensitivity analysis explores the significance of rGO efficiency uptake on the relative comparison with NCCP, and potential impact of rGO on the category of freshwater ecotoxicity given absence of removal from the process effluent. Scenario analysis further shows relative performance of the electrodes at the range of alternative functional parameters of current density and lifetime. Lastly, the environmental performance of NCED-rGO electrodes is discussed in regard to technology readiness level and opportunities for design improvements.

Graphical abstract: Life cycle assessment of emerging Ni–Co hydroxide charge storage electrodes: impact of graphene oxide and synthesis route

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
11 Apr 2019
Accepted
18 May 2019
First published
17 Jun 2019

This article is Open Access

RSC Adv., 2019,9, 18853-18862
Article type
Paper

Life cycle assessment of emerging Ni–Co hydroxide charge storage electrodes: impact of graphene oxide and synthesis route

E. Glogic, A. Adán-Más, G. Sonnemann, M. D. F. Montemor, L. Guerlou-Demourgues and S. B. Young, RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 18853
DOI: 10.1039/C9RA02720C

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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