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Wilson D.N.,International Lead Association
World of Metallurgy - ERZMETALL | Year: 2011

Although the range of uses of lead has narrowed in recent years, demand for the metal has increased relentlessly, driven both by growth in key battery markets and the emergence of developing economies - notably China. At the same time health and environmental attention has shown no sign of diminishing and the industry is faced with a continuing drive for tighter health standards, lower emission limits and environmental quality standards, and attempts to restrict some of the remaining uses of the metal. The high proportion of lead used in batteries has resulted in the situation whereby more lead is produced each year from secondary materials than from primary. However, because exports of scrap batteries are restricted by international legislation, recycling must take place where the scrap batteries arise, but potential customers sometimes lie elsewhere, due to an on-going drift of battery manufacturing to the East.

Wilson D.N.,International Lead Association
Pb Zn 2010 - Lead-Zinc 2010 Symposium, Held in Conjunction with COM 2010 | Year: 2010

Lead has been used in many important applications over time but most of these have declined dramatically or virtually disappeared and in the early years of the 21 st Century the lead-acid battery has emerged as the dominant end-use, accounting for 85% (about 7.4 million tonnes per annum) of all lead used. The paper explores the various uses of lead-acid batteries and the factors driving demand. It examines how improvements in performance are opening up new market possibilities and enabling the lead-acid battery to provide solutions to the challenges posed by ever-increasing energy demands and climate change.

Davidson A.J.,International Lead Association | Binks S.P.,International Lead Association | Gediga J.,thinkstep
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2016

Purpose: This paper will give an overview of LCA studies on lead metal production and use recently conducted by the International Lead Association. Methods: The lead industry, through the International Lead Association (ILA), has recently completed three life cycle studies to assess the environmental impact of lead metal production and two of the products that make up approximately 90 % of the end uses of lead, namely lead-based batteries and architectural lead sheet. Results and discussion: Lead is one of the most recycled materials in widespread use and has the highest end-of-life recycling rate of all commonly used metals. This is a result of the physical chemical properties of the metal and product design, which makes lead-based products easily identifiable and economic to collect and recycle. For example, the end-of-life collection and recycling rates of lead automotive and industrial batteries and lead sheet in Europe are 99 and 95 %, respectively, making them one of the few products that operate in a true closed loop. These high recycling rates, coupled with the fact that both lead-based batteries and architectural lead sheet are manufactured from recycled material, have a beneficial impact on the results of LCA studies, significantly lowering the overall environmental impact of these products. This means that environmental impacts associated with mining and smelting of lead ores are minimised and in some cases avoided completely. The lead battery LCA assesses not only the production and end of life but also the use phase of these products in vehicles. The study demonstrates that the technological capabilities of innovative advanced lead batteries used in start-stop vehicles significantly offset the environmental impact of their production. A considerable offset is realised through the savings achieved in global warming potential when lead-based batteries are installed in passenger vehicles with start-stop and micro-hybrid engine systems which have significantly lower fuel consumption than regular engines. Conclusions: ILA has undertaken LCAs which investigate the environmental impact associated with the European production of lead metal and the most significant manufactured lead products (lead-based batteries used in vehicles and architectural lead sheet for construction) to ensure up-to-date and robust data is publically and widely available. © 2016 The Author(s)

Davidson A.J.,International Lead Association | Binks S.P.,International Lead Association | Bush A.M.,International Lead Association
World of Metallurgy - ERZMETALL | Year: 2015

By 2100 the United Nations expects the global population to have increased to 10 billion from 7 billion today. Society's challenge is to provide not only basic needs, but to meet expectations for an improved quality of life. However, this socio-economic progress must be achieved in a manner that ensures the environment remains ecologically and economically viable and able to meet the needs of future generations. This paper highlights the evidence that lead based batteries in particular should be seen as a solution to some of these societal sustainability challenges. However, lead is a hazardous substance so this will only be recognised if sound chemical management and responsible care is adopted by all players in the value chain of the product. Moreover to be truly sustainable lead based products must continue to innovate to meet the future needs of customers. As the global trade association for the lead industry, the International Lead Association (ILA) [1] is taking a leading role in both encouraging continuous improvement in the management of lead and ensuring there is a greater recognition of the many benefits that lead offers to society. This paper discusses the benefits and environmental sustainability credentials that lead and lead batteries bring to society.

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