Electric vehicles are without a shadow of doubt the greenest option available to drivers. However, a new study has highlighted that there is a way to reduce their carbon footprint even further.
A study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production and commissioned by DeepGreen compared the life cycle of EV battery metal sources, looking at direct and indirect emissions from the beginning of the mining process.
The research has highlighted that polymetallic rocks found unattached on the seafloor at a depth of 4-6km could revolutionise the industry. These rocks have high concentrations of the four required metals (Nickel, Cobalt, Copper, Manganese) all in a single ore.
The bypass of mining would drastically reduce the carbon footprint of EVs. The case study worked on the basis of creating one billion 75kWh electric vehicle batteries and found that producing the metals from these deep ocean rocks can reduce active human carbon dioxide emissions by up to 75%, stored carbon at risk by up to 94% and disruption of carbon sequestration services by 88% compared to current land-based methods.
The author of the paper, Daina Paulikas of the University of Delaware’s Center for Minerals, Materials and Society, hopes that these results will help the blossoming of technology and at the same time reduce emissions even further.
“Given the expected 500% increase in mineral requirements for clean technologies, I think we have a shared responsibility to take a planetary view and think through all aspects of mineral production to ensure that this resource-intensive transition does not exacerbate climate change,” she said.
Polestar recent admitted that its Polestar 2 produced a 26-ton carbon footprint during manufacturing, which was more than a Volvo HC40, although this would be recouped in lower operational emissions after 50,000km of driving.
Currently, 60% of the world’s supply of Cobalt comes from the mines in Congo, where the carbon footprint is not the only issue as there are various concerns regarding illegal mining, human rights abuses and corruption.
A shift to sea rocks could therefore be beneficial for the future of all-electric technologies both ethically and ecologically.