The Sustainability Advantages of Nickel-Zinc Batteries
Nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries are a more sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly alternative to other battery chemistries.
A Climate Impact Profile by Boundless Impact Research and Analytics compared the environmental impact of lead-acid, lithium and NiZn batteries, demonstrating that NiZn has advantages with lower GHG emissions, water footprint, energy footprint, carbon payback time, material use, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Combining these metrics, NiZn had a 9.4 out of 10 impact score on its overall performance, with higher scores representing higher positive environmental impact. The cradle to grave carbon footprint of a nickel zinc battery is significantly less than lead-acid or lithium batteries.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of each element on the chart:
- Material Use
NiZn batteries use common, highly available, conflict-free materials which are also highly recyclable. Nickel and zinc are respectively four and five times more abundant in the earth’s crust than lithium and lead. In addition, while lead exposure is a global health concern and lithium’s reactivity to air and water makes it a fire hazard, nickel and zinc are non-toxic and non-flammable.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Nickel-zinc batteries’ lifetime greenhouse gas emissions are four times lower than lead-acid and six times lower than lithium-ion emissions. Since nickel and zinc sourcing require fewer emissions and NiZn battery manufacturing carbon footprint is lower, users purchasing $1M of NiZn batteries save 148,255 tons of CO2e – a 537 percent improvement over lithium, and a 1,700 percent improvement over lead-acid batteries.
- Carbon Payback Time
Carbon Payback Time (CPT) measures the time it takes for a battery to offset its cradle to gate carbon footprint. NiZn chemistry’s CPT is between 0.16 and 0.21 years – 400% faster than lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Emitted as gases from solids – including those used to produce lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries – VOCs are infamous for causing short-and long-term adverse health effects. A healthier alternative, NiZn batteries do not use VOCs in production.
- Water Footprint
Even including water requirements for raw material extraction, a NiZn battery still demands 96% less water from cradle to gate than the average lithium-ion battery.
- Energy Footprint
The energy footprint, manufacturing to gate, for NiZn is 23-33% less than that of lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid pure-lead batteries.
ZincFive’s commitment to sustainability and the environment extends beyond its products.
ZincFive is a member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), as part of the company’s continued commitment to safeguard human rights, communities impacted by mining, and the broader environment.as part of the company’s continued commitment to safeguard human rights, communities impacted by mining, and the broader environment. IRMA works to advance responsible mining practices, providing third-party verification and certification against comprehensive environmental and social criteria for all mined materials. Membership in the initiative is the latest development in ZincFive’s commitment to promote ESG standards within the company for the benefit of all stakeholders.