Batteries don’t make electricity, they store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators. So, to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not the slightest bit true. Therefore, since 22% of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it could be said that 22% of the EVs on the road are coal-powered if you get the drift.
Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, supports the position that it takes the same amount of energy to move a five-thousand-pound gasoline-driven automobile a mile as it does an electric one. So the question again is what produces that power for the EV, given its battery is only the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.
There are two types of batteries, rechargeable, and single-use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. It should be noted that they all contain toxic, heavy metals.
Rechargeable batteries only differ in the internal materials they contain, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium. The US uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and most of them are not recycled and end up in landfills. California is the only state which requires all batteries to be recycled.
If you throw your small, used batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them.
All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, you think of it as dead, but it isn’t. As the chemicals inside it deteriorate, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze is toxic, and will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill.
In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle single-use ones properly.
But that is just a small part of the biggest issue at hand. Those of you excited about electric cars and the green revolution need to take a closer look at batteries as well as windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive production costs.
A typical EV battery weighs one thousand pounds, about the size of a travel trunk. It contains twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds of cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside there are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.
You need to understand that all those toxic components come from mining operations. For example, to manufacture each battery that is used for an EV, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of cobalt ore, 5,000 pounds of nickel ore, and 25,000 pounds of copper ore. So in total, you dig up an incredible amount of material for just a single EV battery.
Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of each battery, comes from the Congo. Most people are unaware that these mines have no pollution controls, and employ children who die young from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”
Another thing to consider. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not. This construction project is creating an environmental disaster and this is why.
The main issue with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon that is used in the panels. To make silicon with the required level of purity, it must be processed using hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are extremely toxic. Additionally, silicon dust is a hazard to workers, and these panels cannot be recycled.
Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688-tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1,300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and hard to extract rare earth neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last from 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. The used blades cannot be recycled.
There may be a place for these technologies, but people must look consider these facts and look beyond the outright lie of zero emissions.
“Going Green” may sound like the Utopian ideal but when you look at the hidden and embedded costs realistically with an open mind, you can see that Going Green is more destructive to the Earth’s environment than meets the eye, and you can take that to the bank.