BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE By storing and delivering energy on demand, batteries are today supporting the society needs for electrification, portability, reliability and energy transition towards renewables. Lead is a key metal in the battery sector as the well-established lead-acid battery technology is still today representing a large share of the market. Moreover, 86% of the global lead demand in 2015 is used for batteries (Guberman, 2017, p. 42). This makes the anthropogenic lead cycle highly dependent on the battery market and vulnerable to changes in this market. This is a major concern for the industry as significant game changers are expected to appear in this market in the near future, such as: - New battery technologies such as lithium-ion, which are becoming more and more competitive.- Theintroductionofelectricvehicles, which need smaller lead-acid batteries than conventional ICE vehicles for auxiliary batteries but also more competitive technologies for traction batteries. - New regulations, especially in Europe, progressively banning the use of lead in different sectors due to its human and environmental toxicity. However, lead also plays a key role in the circular economy by improving the recovery and recyclability of other metals through its unique abilities in metallurgical separation and refining of numerous non-ferrous metals (Reuter, Matusewicz, & Schaik, 2015). Therefore, such future changes could also affect its critical role in metallurgy. Thus, the study will aim at quantifying and representing the effects of potential changes on the anthropogenic lead cycle. Today, the primary production of refined lead (42.2%) is already smaller than the secondary production from recycling (57.8%) (Gentile, 2018, p. 43).
References: Gentile, V. (2018). Substance Flow Analysis of a metal cycle (p. 60). Trondheim: Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Guberman, D. E. (2017). 2015 Minerals Yearbook: Lead (p. 16). U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Reuter, M., Matusewicz, R., & Schaik, A. (2015). PLENARY LECTURE: Lead, Zinc and their Minor Elements: Enablers of a Circular Economy. World of Metallurgy - ERZMETALL, 68, 132–146.
THE FOLLOWING TASKS ARE TO BE CONSIDERED 1. Conduct a literature research on competing battery technologies and other future threats and opportunities for the lead-acid battery market. 2. Identify key drivers of the system and gather historical data (from 1940) linked to these drivers. 3. Develop a dynamic stock model of the system. 4. Develop medium-term scenarios (until ~2050) to test the system based on threats from competing technologies, threats from regulation, and development pathways of the key markets (e.g. car-sharing, renewable energy demand,...) 5. Interpret the scenario results and the impact of regulatory and technological changes. 6. Write a final report.