Environmental engineers are targeting transportation pollution by improving electric vehicle (EV) battery technology. The EV industry is expanding as more eco-conscious politicians move into office. For example, the Biden-Harris administration developed an emission-reduction goal by expanding public EV fleets.
EV expansion goals worry many environmentalists who predict related municipal solid waste (MSW) problems. Engineers are working to minimize MSW from lithium-ion batteries by improving electric car battery capacity. They can decrease pollution by expanding electric car battery life and drive the industry forward.
The most significant environmental challenge with EVs is their battery materials. Most EVs rely on lithium-ion batteries for storing electricity to expand their ranges. Ecologists discovered different forms of environmental degradation associated with lithium mining and battery manufacturing.
Residents near the Liqi River discovered animal carcasses and dead fish along the river’s edge, which alerted mining professionals of a toxic leak from the Ganzizhou Rongda mine. Subsurface contaminants can pollute local ecosystems surrounding mines and harm biodiversity.
Another challenge with current EV battery technology is its low recyclability rates. Some manufacturers take car batteries back and reclaim valuable metals, while others send them to landfills, where they contribute to toxic stormwater runoff.
Current electric car battery capacity is low, which prevents some consumers from investing in the technology. The average range of EVs is about 234 miles. Individuals who frequently travel long routes may opt for gas-powered cars instead.
The good news is that innovations are driving change that could improve EV battery technology. Here are six of them.
Environmental engineers are improving electric car battery life and trip ranges by advancing lithium technology. A team of EV engineers developed NanoBolt batteries to reduce charging demands and improve power storage. Professionals developed the technology with tungsten and multilayered carbon nanotubes.
The web-like structure of these batteries expands the surface ions attach to, which increases charging speeds. NanoBolt batteries also store more electricity than conventional ones, which raises an EV’s range.
Drivers can additionally improve their electric car battery life by keeping their EVs cool. Thermal management may significantly expand a battery’s longevity. Individuals can keep their vehicles cool by parking them in garages and avoiding prolonged direct sunlight.
Another EV battery technology invention relies on zinc manganese oxide. Researchers discovered zinc manganese oxide reactions within conventional batteries and identified their expansive storage properties. Engineers found a way to optimize the response and increase batteries’ energy density cost-effectively.
The EV car battery technology can also improve the industry by expanding large-scale energy storage capabilities. Some companies plan on increasing transportation sustainability by powering charging stations with renewable energy. Professionals can use zinc manganese oxide batteries to store significant amounts of emission-free electricity.
Another option driving change relies on organosilicon electrolytes. Some environmentalists worry about EV batteries catching fire or exploding in vehicles. The ecological concerns also apply to batteries’ decomposition processes in landfills.
Lithium-ion batteries release gas through the electrolyte decomposition process, which enhances their flammability. Engineers created organosilicon solvents for safe battery production and disposal. They also may engineer electrolytes to expand the lithium-ion market.
The gold nanowire gel electrolyte battery is a promising advancement. Environmental engineers are challenging the flammability and life cycle sustainability of EV batteries using the new technology. Gel electrolytes can enhance EV battery safety by protecting gold nanowires and manganese dioxide.
The gel additive significantly extends a battery’s life span. Gold nanowire gel electrolyte batteries exceed 100,000 charges. Increasing electric car battery life with gel electrolytes can reduce MSW from EVs.
It also protects local ecosystems by keeping lithium out of landfills. Reducing battery pollution in landfills prevents contaminated stormwater runoff. Expanding EV batteries’ longevity also decreases the demand for lithium mining.
Environmental engineers are also driving the EV industry forward by minimizing charging barriers. Eco-consumers search for affordable EVs with large ranges to meet their transportation needs. Engineers at TankTwo developed a battery enhancement technology to expand electric car battery capacity.
The battery technology contains a string of small, organized, independent cells. Each cell has a plastic enclosure covered in conductive materials to promote efficient power transfer processes. Charging TankTwo string cell batteries takes under three minutes.
TankTwo charging technologies exchange cells instead of recharging depleted ones. A vacuum-like system removes uncharged cells and adds new ones to the string. Quick charging speed and minimal reliance on lithium-ion may improve the EV sector.
Engineers are developing fuel cell vehicles to combat gasoline-derived emissions. Hydrogen fuel cells are significantly more efficient than lithium-ion batteries.
Fuel cells are lighter than conventional batteries, which expands an EV’s range. Hydrogen powers fuel cell batteries throughout the transportation process. Fuel cell vehicles also contain high voltage battery packs, which extend their ranges.
The hydrogen-based battery advancement is more sustainable than other car batteries and may eliminate a vehicle’s reliance on fossil fuels. Some EVs produce indirect greenhouse gas emissions when using unsustainable charging sources.
About 63.3% of the world’s electricity supply comes from fossil fuels, and charging an EV with fossil-fuel-derived electricity causes indirect emissions. Hydrogen only outputs water while charging fuel cell vehicles.
Environmental engineers are expanding electric car battery life to protect the global ecosystem. The transportation sector produces about one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, and this atmospheric pollution advances climate change and interferes with ecosystem stability.
Tailpipe emissions also adversely affect individuals’ health and well-being. Residents in high-emission regions experience greater risks for lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. They also are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes.
Investing in electric trucks, passenger vehicles, buses, and other forms of transportation may significantly improve environmental conditions. Individuals may experience fewer health issues by replacing gas-powered cars with EVs. Society can also conserve biodiversity by reducing air pollution.
Another benefit of expanding the EV industry and battery life is minimizing MSW. Recycling EV batteries and other vehicle components can promote a circular economy, which relies on endlessly reusable goods to close the gap between mining and manufacturing.
The primary concern with modern EVs is their low battery recyclability rates. Environmental engineers are improving lithium recycling processes to minimize MWS and toxic runoff. Individuals may invest in EVs today and access more sustainable end-of-life options than current owners.
The EV industry is expanding quickly and offering new sustainable solutions, and drivers can swap their lithium-ion batteries with low-impact alternatives to improve their sustainability. Upgrading vehicle parts can help individuals achieve low-emission transportation options.