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How green is so-called ‘green energy’?

To the editor:

The administration touts that “green energy is clean energy,” but is it? Electric vehicle batteries, solar panels and wind turbines result in a massive amount of waste and pollution. Let’s examine the impact of electric vehicle batteries.

In 2020, the cumulative retired batteries in China alone reached 200,000 tons (400 million pounds) and is expected to increase to 780,000 tons (1.5 billion pounds) by 2025. Currently globally less than 5% are recycled; the rest end up in landfills or worse.

Battery production causes more environmental damage than carbon emissions alone. Consider dust, fumes, wastewater and other environmental impacts from cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; water shortages and toxic spills from lithium mining in Latin America, which can alter ecosystems and hurt local communities; a heavily polluted river due to nickel mining in Russia; or air pollution in northeastern China to name a few.

Recycling is tedious and expensive. The batteries contain hazardous materials and have an inconvenient tendency to “explode” if disassembled incorrectly. These batteries contain cobalt, manganese and nickel which do not degrade on their own.

Manganese, for example, pollutes the air, water and soil and more than 500 micrograms per cubic meter in the air can cause manganese poisoning. The lithium hexafluorophosphate in the electrolyte is hydrolyzed in the air to produce phosphorus pentafluoride, hydrogen fluoride and other harmful substances, which is a major threat to soil and water resources. Once the total volume of electric vehicles reaches 10 % of the total number of vehicles, major pollution problems are expected to be encountered. Are you ready for this looming real environmental problem?

We are not being told the “true cost” of electric vehicles! They only worry about CO2 produced by gas vehicles.

Arthur Keller

Beavertown

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