IJESD 2019 Vol.10(9): 270-274 ISSN: 2010-0264
doi: 10.18178/ijesd.2019.10.9.1186

Life Cycle Assessment of Spent Sulfuric Acid from Lead-acid Traction Battery in Thailand

Intang K., Khaodhiar S., and Attaphong C.

Abstract—Recently, especially from 2015 to 2017, Thailand produced waste of lead-acid batteries (LABs) around 11,000 tons/year on an average which traction battery accounted for around 44% or 4,800 tons/year. It was estimated that 16% of spent LABs was considered as improper management. According to literature reviews, 22% by weight of LABs is an electrolyte which is sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid used in the battery is a strong acid with pH lower than 2. A leakage of sulfuric acid during disassembling or battery cell transportation can lead to environmental impact and ecotoxicity. A primary goal of this study is to assess the environmental impact of spent sulfuric acid from expired traction battery with and without treatment before discharge. A material flow analysis illustrated a quantity of traction battery used to calculate the amount of spent sulfuric acid. The highest total amount of spent sulfuric acid (which was 1,808 tons/year from 1,299 tons/year of traction batteries and 509 tons/year of improper management) was found in 2016. These most massive quantities were used to evaluate the impact on each scenario. The result showed that directly discharged spent sulfuric acid caused higher environmental impact load than treated one. Spent sulfuric acid played a significant role in the impact potentials. Marine aquatic ecotoxicity had the greatest impact compared to the other categories. The assessment of scenario comparison assured that pH adjustment of spent sulfuric acid was able to alleviate environmental impacts for expired battery management.

Index Terms—Lead-acid battery, sulfuric acid, material flow analysis, life cycle assessment.

Intang K. is with the Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (e-mail: kanokpraew.i@gmail.com).
Khaodhiar S. is with Research Program of Industrial Waste Management – Policies and Practices, Center of Excellence on Hazardous Substance Management (HSM), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (e-mail: sutha.k@chula.ac.th).
Attaphong C. is with the Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Bangkok, Thailand (e-mail: chodchanok.at@kmitl.ac.th).

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Cite: Intang K., Khaodhiar S., and Attaphong C., "Life Cycle Assessment of Spent Sulfuric Acid from Lead-acid Traction Battery in Thailand," International Journal of Environmental Science and Development vol. 10, no. 9, pp. 270-274, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-0264 (Print)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Environ. Sci. Dev.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJESD
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Richard Haynes
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Indexing: Scopus (since 2019), Crossref, ProQuest, EBSCO, etc. 
  • E-mail: ijesd@ejournal.net