SafeLiBatt - Safety and risk assessment of 1st and 2nd life lithium-ion batteries

The problem addressed

The main goal of the project “SafeLiBatt” is to provide a scientific basic for the safe and sustainable development and use of second life lithium-ion batteries (2ndL-LIBs). In the next few years, there will be a tremendous increase worldwide of these applications coming from different sources, mainly from electric vehicles. Consequently, highly potential alternative markets will soon emerge, such as reuse for residential, distribution or off-grid systems. To gain market acceptance of 2ndL-LIBs, potential risk and safety issues must be assessed to ensure sustainability. The safe use of 2ndL-LIBs is therefore essential to foster reuse applications and avoid negative impacts for the environment and society. Key factors are technical performance standards, battery liability, improved workplace safety in industrial settings and sustainability performance.

Keywords: batteries risk assessment

Research questions

The outcomes of the project provide the groundwork (criteria) for safe and sustainable use of 2ndL-LIBs as there are large knowledge gaps for such applications. To date, research on potential applications and risks is generally lacking and, consequently, the project outcomes would have high impact in the scientific community and the battery industry. It would be the first time that protocols for failure propagation tests on 2ndL-cells and -batteries are developed based on measurements conducted in state-of-the-art test centres for LIBs. The derived safety criteria are very important for future industrial applications as well as for households (particularly regarding off grid solutions for energy storage). Without the funding, it would not be possible to cooperate intensively within both the national and transnational consortium. The project team is very interdisciplinary and consists of: leading experts in LIB performance testing and safety assessment (i.e., by BAM and INERIS), senior scientists in environmental impact assessment and waste recycling (BOKU), senior/junior consultants for socio-economic impact assessment (Brimatech GmbH) and senior/junior scientists in integrative risk assessment (ITA). Therefore, this unique consortium allows for a holistic approach: Experimental data will be integrated into a LCA and used for integrative risk assessment where stakeholder perceptions will be included. The project results (criteria on safety and sustainability) will be included in ongoing standardization processes (project members are already official delegates). In summary, we provide a basis for safety guidelines (regarding accidents, 2ndL applications, safe disposal, etc.) and for a possible establishment of deposit systems for LIB to promote the reuse and recycling of 1stL-LIBs.

Scientific disciplines: chemistry/chemical engineering

Expected outputs

LIB producers, the automotive and electronic industry can draw on our reports for recommendations towards safe-by-design, design-for-reuse, design-for-recycling, etc. The renewable energy sector can rely on our technical safety criteria for second-use applications of LIBs. Research on a safe use of 2ndL-LIBs can lead to job creation along the value chain (e.g., remanufacturers, waste collectors, recyclers, etc.). Our project outcomes can be used to identify and specify (critical raw) materials of interest to find the balance between resource safety and independence as well as technology readiness and sustainability. Policy makers can make use of our recommendations to foster the longer use through 2ndL-LIBs in the sense of a circular economy. The standardization community (UN, OECD, etc.) can rely on our developed safety and sustainability criteria.


The project is structured around the following work packages:

  1. WP1: Project management and dissemination (BOKU)
  2. WP2: Failure propagation testing (FPT) of 1st and 2nd life batteries (INERIS):
  3. WP3: Safety and risk assessment (RA) of thermal runaways for human health (BAM)
  4. WP4: Environmental impact assessment (EIA) (BOKU)
  5. WP5: Economic and social impact assessment (BRI)
  6. WP6: Integrated risk management and risk governance (ITA)

Associated deliverables

Presentation at SAF€RA's 2022 symposium
Symposium presentation Creative Commons Attribution published on 2022-08-23

Participating researchers

Florian Part (Department of Water, Atmosphere and Environment, Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria) — project coordinator

André Gazsó (Institute for Technology Assessment, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria)

Sabine Jung-Waclik (Brimatech Services, Austria)

Susanne Katzler-Fuchs (Brimatech Services, Austria)

Chalid el Dsoki (BAM, Germany)

Arnaud Bordes (Ineris, France)

Gloria Rose (Institute for Technology Assessment, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria)

Robert Leonhardt (BAM, Germany)

Anita Schmidt (BAM, Germany)

Anna Spindlegger (Institute of Waste Management and Circularity, BOKU Vienna, Austria)

Titus-Ionut Udrea (Institute for Technology Assessment, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria)

Stefan Salhofer (Institute of Waste Management and Circularity, BOKU Vienna, Austria)

Aleksander Jandric (Institute of Waste Management and Circularity, BOKU Vienna, Austria)

Funding organizations

BMK (Austria)

INERIS (France)

BAM (Germany)

More details

Duration 2020-12 to 2024-01
Contact email
More information

Information last updated on 2023-09-19.

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