Clean Green Batteries?
Viv has a degree in Applied Science Geology and is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Greens and technically challenged scribes apparently believe that battery-powered cars and planes are exciting new clean “zero-emissions” vehicles.
There is little new about batteries – battery powered cars were running on British roads over a century ago - they were pushed out of the market by petrol power.
Batteries just store energy made elsewhere and all have a finite life. Every battery needs primary energy and resources for production, recharging, replacing and recycling, and every step produces its own emissions.
Batteries require lots of expensive raw materials - lead, calcium, nickel, cadmium, lithium, hydrogen, plus ancillary copper, steel, zinc, aluminium and plastic. All need primary energy like coal or gas for mining, manufacture, construction, recharging and recycling plus coking coal for smelting metals. Even wind and solar are not emissions-free once construction, maintenance, and life cycle replacement are fully accounted for.
All cars, even Green ones, need road maintenance using bitumen, concrete and diesel-powered machinery, all costing money and producing emissions. Green cars also need recharging stations, demanding more metals.
Batteries have an important place in our lives. But they are not “emissions free”.