Categories: Sustainability , Battery
Published 13 Sep 2022

The lithium-ion battery industry’s climate footprint has come under scrutiny as world demand for fossil-free batteries soars. As legislators and customers alike demand a clean production chain, energy-efficient solutions can make a major difference.

As the climate crisis becomes increasingly serious, the pressure for everyone to do something is mounting. On a global level, the United Nations has started several initiatives. For example, the organization’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals have come to form a road map for companies serious about pulling their weight in the drive for sustainability.

CaptionRobert Stål, President, Kanthal.In Europe, the European Commission has launched the European Green Deal, which strives to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. The goal is no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“We’ve seen a shift in focus among our customers,” says Kanthal President Robert Stål. “We’ve been supplying electric heating solutions to various industries for 90-plus years, and while productivity and cost are still key considerations, minimizing your carbon footprint has become increasingly important.”

Increased scrutiny of battery industry

One way to support the goal of a net-zero society is the clean energy transition, in which fossil-based energy sources are phased out in favor of renewable sources. Batteries are a key technology in this change. Demand for various high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries is soaring, mainly driven by the demand for battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs). Consequently, battery manufacturers play a leading role in keeping up with the demand and realizing batteries’ vast potential.

The process of producing lithium-ion batteries has not attracted a lot of attention in the sustainability world so far, but the focus on the industry’s environmental impact is getting sharper. For example, in 2020 the European Commission proposed its Sustainable Batteries Regulation, which aims to strengthen legislation throughout the entire battery life cycle, from design and sourcing raw materials to end-of-life alternatives. This affects battery producers, not least the cathode manufacturers.

Ways to minimize energy consumption

The cathode, often described as the energy source of a lithium-ion battery, plays a critical part. However, cathode production is expensive, making up a big part of the cost of an EV. Therefore, anything that makes production more energy efficient – as well as more sustainable – is welcome.

We are confident that cathode producers, just like many other industries, could benefit from investing in high-quality technical solutions that are more energy efficient.

“Energy efficiency is a cost-effective way to both reduce energy costs and minimize carbon emissions,” Stål says. “We are confident that cathode producers, just like many other industries, could benefit from investing in high-quality technical solutions that are more energy efficient.”

For example, by upgrading to new, more efficient electric heating solutions for heating processes such as calcination and drying, cathode producers can achieve higher efficiency, lower energy consumption, better uniformity of the cathode material and more cost-effective production.

“We have long experience and have established several standards for electric heating in many industries through the years,” Stål says. “We’re still the innovative leader in resistance heating and are developing new resistance materials that last longer when used in the process, while contributing to a higher-quality cathode powder. Ultimately, lowering the replacement costs also reduces the environmental footprint.”

Good can always be better!

Efficient and sustainable heating processes are vital when the lithium-ion battery industry scales up production to meet the fast-growing demand. Kanthal’s electric heating technology increases energy efficiency and productivity, while reducing emissions of CO2 and NOx. Learn more about the benefits for your process needs.

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