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The eco-efficiency of lead in China's lead-acid battery system

TitleThe eco-efficiency of lead in China's lead-acid battery system
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMao JS, Lu ZW, Yang ZF
Journal TitleJournal Of Industrial Ecology
Accession NumberISI:000235575000014
Keywordselement flow analysis, Environmental Impact, lead emissions, lead recycling, societal services, substance flow analysis
AbstractImproving eco-efficiency can contribute to sustainable development.This article defines the societal services and environmentalimpacts of the lead-acid battery (LAB) system andoffers definitions of eco-efficiency, resource efficiency, and environmentalefficiency in the context of LAB systems. Based onthe actual lead-flow in the LAB system, we develop a modelthat considers changes in production, the time interval betweenproduction and disposal, direct linkages between thefinal product and the societal service it provides, and the fiscalyear as the statistical period. From this model, equations foreco-efficiency are derived and changes in eco-efficiency arepredicted.The results show, not surprisingly, that increased lead recyclingand reduced lead emissions will both improve ecoefficiency.The resource and environmental efficiencies for LABin China are 119 and 131 kilowatt-hour-years per metric tonne(kWh · yr/t), respectively, versus a value for both of 15,800kWh · yr/t in Sweden. The difference results from a lowerlead recycling rate (only 0.312 tonne/tonne, which means thatnearly 70% of the old lead scrap is not recycled based on officialstatistics) and higher lead emissions (0.324 tonne/tonne,which means that nearly 33% of the lead inputs used in theLAB system were lost into the environment) in China. Furtheranalysis shows that these problems result from inefficientmanagement of lead scrap, poor quality lead ore, and anabundance of small-scale lead-related plants.Ways to improveeco-efficiency are proposed.
URL<Go to ISI>://000235575000014
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