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Are you aware of the environmental impact of making electric car batteries?
This past fall I wrote a diary about electric cars at the turn of the 20th century. Back then there were more electric cars than cars with internal combustion engines. It didn't take long for that to change, primarily due to Ford creating the conveyor-belt assembly line model for building cars.
In that diary I wrote about the need to include embedded carbon, which is the amount of CO2 created when building cars, whether gas powered or electric vehicles (EV's), in addition to knowing how much CO2 is generated while driving to determine the overall goodness in slowing down climate change. As a very short summary, it all depends upon the specific model of vehicle, but in general a Prius for example puts out roughly half the CO2 as does a Honda Accord.
One big difference however is the carbon footprint of building electric and hybrid cars is a lot more compared to that of building a regular car, primarily due to the production of the batteries. The bottom line is you need to drive a hybrid car around ~90,000 miles before you hit the break even point in total carbon footprint compared to that of a typical combustion engine powered mid-sized sedan. After that, the Prius wins in having a smaller total carbon footprint.
This is only true, it turns out, depending upon how electricity is made where you live.
The EPA determined that positive CO2 affects on climate change gained from driving electric or hybrid vehicles is canceled if the electricity used to charge them comes from coal fueled power plants. In other words, if you live in West Virginia and drive a Prius or Tesla, you aren't really doing anything to lessen climate changing CO2 levels, but it isn't the fault of your Prius, it's the fault of how that electricity is made.
If you live in California you are helping to slow down climate change after you've driven ~90,000 in one of these vehicles because we get the bulk of our electricity from hydroelectric dams and natural gas. With the terrible drought we're currently going through, more electricity will come from natural gas powered plants which will shift that some.
Since we all need to drive, the reality is hybrid and electric cars make a difference in the long run affecting climate change positively after you drive them for some time and if you don't get your electricity from coal powered plants. As the old saying goes, your mileage may vary.
Well, that's if you stick to CO2 emissions as your yardstick of impacting the environment. There's still another thing we honestly need to consider ---> the environmental cost of producing batteries for EV's and Hybrids. I'll go into that more later on.
How about Tesla vehicles? They are 100% electric and have what is claimed to be the best batteries in the business. These batteries are jointly made by Panasonic, Toyota and Tesla. However superior these batteries are in terms of storing electricity, they are actually far more toxic to make compared to other types of batteries. Sadly, the more you really dig into the truth about making batteries for EV's or Hybrids, things aren't too green at all but rather become a toxic murky gray.
Here's a direct quote from an article written by Motley Fool (block quote below). Keep in mind they write articles specifically oriented to folks who invest in stocks of companies, so it comes from that angle. They want you to know the pluses and minuses. Still it is an eyeopening article for environmentalists too:
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy undertook a study to look at the environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries for EVs. The study showed that batteries that use cathodes with nickel and cobalt, as well as solvent-based electrode processing, have the highest potential for environmental impacts, including resource depletion, global warming, ecological toxicity, and human health. Panasonic's automotive grade li-ion batteries, which contain lithium, nickel, cobalt, and aluminum, and a proprietary cathode geometry developed jointly by Panasonic and Tesla and are currently used in the Model S.What? To get lithium is very environmentally damaging in turns out, so much so that we'd rather import it than extract it ourselves. We have plenty of lithium in the USA, but we don't process it here. It's imported primarily from Argentina (52%) and Chile (44%) with a little coming from China (3%). There are two ways of getting lithium. You either mine it in hard rock that contains it or you chemically remove it from earth that contains it. The second way is done using salar brines which is done in a series of evaporative ponds. This is the primary way it's gotten because it costs less than 1/2 as much to do compared to the hard rock mining method.
Understanding what happens to produce the batteries used in EV's and Hybrids, the EPA actually concludes the only positive thing about them is the eventual savings in belching CO2 into the atmosphere after you've driven one of these vehicles long enough to surpass the embedded carbon cost. That's the one positive they actually see because the environmental costs of making the batteries unfortunately creates a toxic mess. Drat!
Salar brines use "salts" to extract lithium. A quick review of organic chemistry 101 here: Chemically speaking any metal when combined with an acid creates a "salt." If you take HCL (hydrochloric acid) and mix it with NaOH (sodium hydroxide), you end up with table salt (NaCL) and water. Salar brines used to extract lithium are far more complicated requiring several different salts made of metals other than Sodium (Na). This link takes you to a good explanation about how this is done for those that care to find out more: http://metals.about.com/...
The blockquote below is also from the same Motley Fool article:
Friends of the Earth, Europe states:So, I must confess I don't really know what to make of the whole picture of driving cars, no matter what type of vehicle we choose to drive. I think it really depends on what you prefer to drive and how you predominantly drive. We certainly need a better way to make batteries for EV's and Hybrids. And wouldn't it be great if people could charge their cars from a solar panel or two. I know that since we plug our hybrids and EV's into our home electrical systems AC current must then be converted into DC for the car batteries to store. Since solar panels make DC it shouldn't be hard, I'd expect, to create a direct conversion from the panels to the DC car batteries.
The extraction of lithium has significant environmental and social impacts, especially due to water pollution and depletion. In addition, toxic chemicals are needed to process lithium. The release of such chemicals through leaching, spills or air emissions can harm communities, ecosystems and food production. Moreover, lithium extraction inevitably harms the soil and also causes air contamination.
I've been contacted by someone who apparently really knows about all types of lithium batteries. While I was trying to spotlight the environmental costs of getting lithium and making batteries for Hybrids and EV's, I do not know the chemistry involved with the many different types of lithium batteries which I'm told number in the dozens and include lithium polymer, lithium sulfate, and lithium manganese. Perhaps another more knowledgeable person will write a diary about that and the environmental costs of each type of lithium battery.
Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the New Day sunrise cloud
Let's build communities!
Every region needs a meatspace community like SFKossacks.
We take care of each other in real life.
I urge YOU to take the lead and organize one in your region.
Please tell us about it if you do and we're here for advice.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
NEW GROUPS IN THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZING:These are the groups that have started since * NEW DAY * began. Please Kosmail navajo if you have started a group before that.
Send a Kosmail to the organizers and ask for an invitation to the group.• Northern Indiana Area: Kosmail Tim Delaney
• Long Island: Kosmail grannycarol
• Northern Michigan: Kosmail JillS
• Nebraska: Kosmail Nebraska68847Dem
• Westburbia Chicago Kossacks: Kosmail Majordomo
• Caprock Kossacks (Panhandle/Caprock/Lubbock/Amarillo area) : Kosmail shesaid
• West Texas Kossacks (including Big Bend Region and El Paso) : Kosmail Yo Bubba
• Vermont Kossacks: Kosmail 4FreedomNote to the above new leaders: Feel free to leave a comment any day reminding readers about your new group. Also, tell us about your progress in gathering members. Kosmail me when you've chosen a good name for your group and have created a the group. Then I'll move you to the NEW GROUPS LIST. When you've planned a date for your first event I'll make a banner for you to highlight your event in our diaries and your diaries.
NEW GROUPS LIST:
• Kansas City Kossacks - Formed Oct 15, 2012, Organizer: [Founder stepped down]
ESTABLISHED GROUPS LIST: (List will grow as we discover them)
Wow. Boom! ericlewis0 blew us all away on Sunday. He provided a LIVE BLOG of the NYC event complete with photos and bonafide commentary from the attendees. Amazing!
Photo 1 L-R: In the orange, thankgodforairamerica, ghchaucer2, sidnora, joanbrooker, dave g & kathny Photo 2 L-R: Plf515, Laura Clawson, mets102, son of broccoli, Communitygis, no exit, designthefuture & mattc129
sidnora promises her faithful follow-up diary and she could likely have food pr0n. I hope so. I live for explicit photos of the fries at Spitzer's Corner.
Our intrepid Houston Area Kossacks got together again. It was time for socializing after all the Battle Ground Texas work many of them did last year. Here's to gearing up for more work this year.
Chrislove is the group organizer and he can be seen in the photo below on the top right:
Top L-R: doraphasia, cosette & Chrislove
Bottom L-R: htowngenie & MarciaJ720
L-R: mjbleo, Mary, flekk17 & TDDVandy
A polar vortex could not stop six Motor City Kossacks from getting together on January 4th. Kudos, all! ACA Daily Kos celebrity, Brainwrap attended and brought the group up to date on his work.
Even folks from the White House are quoting his figures now. He also observed how odd he thought it was that the mainstream media (and governmental) sources were 1) not talking to him directly, seemingly content to take his numbers as valid, and 2) not conducting similar statistical aggregations on their own. We shared his astonishment, but agreed that he is doing an important job.Also in attendance were prolific diarist BFSkinner, user ID 162795 and has been around since long before 2008. Amber6541, famous pootie/woozle diarist with an old user ID of 157580 and sydneyluv, who beat them all with the user ID of 132330. Long timers, these three!
Discussion included Michigan's crucial statewide elections in 2014 and the need to displace Rick "the Nerd" Snyder.
As hosts for upcoming NN14, the Motor City Kossacks are ready for their first meeting with the NN14 staff this January 9th. peregrine kate expressed the need to hear from as many politically radical, grass-roots organizers in Detroit during NN14 as possible and coalesce all this collective energy. All who attend this early meeting will get to shape the agenda. Please kosmail peregrine kate to attend this important event.
Here's one photo:
Saturday, January 25th
Tennessee Three Star Kossacks & Nashville KosKats Meet-up
TIME: 4:30 PM
LOCATION: TennSixteen Food & Drink
1016 Woodland St • Nashville
ORGANIZER: Send marykk a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Nashville Meet up with KosKats and 3 Star Kossacks
2. Sandy on Signal (Guest of Honor)
5. Patrick is Lucky
Saturday, January 25th
Asheville Kossacks Meet-up
Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith
Sarah Zambon from the League of Women Voters.
TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Cantina
10 Biltmore Plaza • Asheville
ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: DKos Asheville Update-Guest speakers!
7. Otteray Scribe
9. GordonNC (UID 5123 & City Councilman) GUEST SPEAKER!
12. Captain Sham
13. Mrs Sham
17. Mr. Alecia
18. Nic Goodman
19. Sarah Zambon (League of Women Voters) GUEST SPEAKER!
One Pissed Off Liberal
people power granny
Sunday, January 26th
Motor City Kossacks NN14 Panel-Planning Meeting
TIME: 1:00-3:00 PM
LOCATION: Private Office (Kosmail peregrine kate)
Southfield Road near 12 Mile • Southfield
ORGANIZER: Send peregrine kate a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Motor City Kossacks: First NN14 Panel Prep Meeting this Sunday 1/26, 1-3 PM, Southfield
1. peregrine kate
Sunday, January 26th
SFKossacks Welcome matching mole to San Francisco!
TIME: TBD, daytime car trip to the Delta for birding with lineatus
LOCATION: Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
2548 Grizzly Island Road • Suisun City
lineatus will have a spotting scope and a few spare pairs of binoculars, so novices can have something to use.
ORGANIZER: Send lineatus a kosmail to attend.
2. matching mole
ORGANIZER: Send lineatus a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Dawn Chorus: Preview of Coming Attractions
2. matching mole
5. side pocket
8. Glen The Plumber
13. navajo's guest
Las Vegas Kossacks SOTU Watch Party
TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Barefoot Bob's Beach Bar & Gaming
1590 E Flamingo Rd • Las Vegas
Northside of Flamingo, across from Blueberry Hill Diner, Barefoot Bobs is the old Murphy's Law Pub. We will be outside in the enclosed HEATED Patio with 2 big screen tv.s. We will be a private group and Happy Hour prices will apply!
ORGANIZER: Send miracle11 a kosmail to attend.
Tuesday, January 28th
Silicon Valley Kossacks SOTU Watch Party
TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Lusty's Home
Address given privately to RSVPs • Silicon Valley
Event will be potluck, please bring a side dish to complement a crock-pot main course provided by Lusty. Desserts and tasty beverages are needed, also.
Discussion will be about how the Silicon Valley Kossacks can use their group effectively to support Mike Honda since he is being primaried.
ORGANIZER: Send Lusty a kosmail to attend.
1. Lusty - Crock-pot main course
2. Glen the Plumber
5. navajo - wine
8. MrNavajo - wine
Mr. Cali Scribe
DETAILS COMING VERY SOON! TBD
Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks Inaugural Meet-up
[Address] • Seattle
ORGANIZER: Send EagleOfFreedom a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: [Waiting for linked diary]
Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.
Okay. Floor's open.
Tell us what you are doing on this NEW DAY?