Monday, September 9, 2024
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Location Name
Breaking Even and Beyond: Water Reuse at EV Battery Facilities

The demand for electric vehicles is evident from the current consumer market, government incentives for electrification, and a need driven by environmental and sustainability considerations. As a result, car makers are investing $500 billion by 2026 to fortify their supply chains and factories. To meet the growing demand for EVs, car makers are partnering with EV battery technology providers to build and operate new lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities. A new Li-ion battery facility can have average water demands in the millions of gallons per day, a disproportionate demand compared to the per capita demand of the communities they may be built in. In the location of the study area, the average water demand of a newly designed Li-on battery factory comprised of up to 28% of the daily domestic water demand of the service area it was to be built in. As water resources continue to face environmental strain, the location of new battery facilities may further pose a challenge. Through working on multiple EV battery production facilities, Gresham Smith has evaluated the financial feasibility and environmental impacts of implementing water recycling opportunities. In addition to relieving pressure on local water and wastewater utilities, any water reuse options implemented also align with and advance the sustainability goals set by automakers. Nearly all automakers entering the EV sphere have set goals for carbon net neutrality and either water intensity reductions or a zero water withdrawal policy. By evaluating reuse performance at EV battery facilities, the impacts and potential progress toward water intensity and carbon net neutrality goals can be quantified. Incorporating water reuse allows facilities to improve operational efficiency and reduce onsite water demands, reduce wastewater discharge flows, and improve resiliency. The results of the study serve as a tool for evaluating water reuse, including direct (financial) and indirect (environmental) impacts. This presentation will focus on the process for evaluating water reuse scenarios at these facilities by the following methodology: i. Identifying suitable water reuse sources at industrial facilities by reviewing any available high quality wastewater sources or potential stormwater collection opportunities. Next, these potential sources are characterized by available flow rates and matched to the potable water demands of the facility to confirm flow and water quality compatibility. ii. Determining conveyance and treatment requirements for water reuse scenarios to meet potable water demands. New and innovative technologies were reviewed to maximize reuse possibilities. Then feasible conceptual-level scenarios were developed for each reuse source. iii. Developing concept planning-level direct and indirect costs for the implementation of each reuse scenario. For direct costs, these include capital, O&M, engineering and life cycle costs. Indirect costs include operational and embodied carbon impacts of implementation and resiliency impacts. The carbon footprint of each scenario was calculated using a life cycle assessment to find the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. iv. Evaluating the ROI based on the resulting direct cost payback periods, indirect costs as represented by carbon footprint, and resiliency factors, in comparison with the baseline scenario of direct purchase of public water and sewer services.