Application of life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) for emerging energy storage technologies

Project description

In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a sustainable energy transition is perceived as a key element for solving the sustainability problem of the energy sector. This requires a holistic approach to ensure the availability of energy produced from environmentally friendly as well as technically and economically feasible energy sources while also guaranteeing a high added value for society.

Considering the fluctuating behavior of renewables, energy storage options are needed that can meet the operational requirements of the future energy system with different storage technologies. In this context, so far the impacts of conventional energy storage technologies (e.g., batteries, pumped hydro storage, compressed air energy storage) on the sustainability problem of our energy system have been discussed in depth based on the conducted assessments. Identified negative impacts on sustainability dimensions (technical, economics, social, and environmental) have led to the introduction of new energy storage technologies and energy carriers that enable future-oriented concepts with improved sustainability.

Nevertheless, the assessed impacts mostly refer to one of the specified dimensions, while potential effects on other sustainability dimensions are not adequately taken into consideration. In particular, assessing the sustainability of emerging energy storage technologies against an established framework is identified as a gap here. In the early design phase of a technology, the developers have higher flexibility to do more sustainable choices for product development. Thus, steering the technology development process with the influence of conducted sustainability assessments is suggested as a more efficacious way for ensuring the sustainability.

Within this framework, the dissertation project aims to provide insights and contribute the sustainability assessment of emerging energy technologies via following outcomes:

  • evaluation of LCSA methodologies,
  • demonstration of the potential of prospective sustainability assessment for steering the technological development,
  • an application case and creation of a blueprint for LCSA practitioners conducting assessment for emerging energy storage technologies.

Administrative data

Supervisor: Dr. Manuel Baumann
Advisor: Prof. Tomas Ramos (Nova University Lisbon)
Related projects: ALU-STORE, StoRIES, TwinVECTOR
Doctoral students at ITAS: see Doctoral studies at ITAS


Hüseyin Ersoy, M.Sc.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26019