Research Topic

Environmental Impacts of Decarbonizing the Transport and Electric Power Sectors

About this Research Topic

Renewable energy technologies are at the forefront of global advocacy to decarbonize our society, especially the transport and power sectors, and limit the negative impacts of CO2-induced climate change. However, the debate as to whether this is the right direction moving forward is as fierce as ever. On the one hand, these new technologies are touted as an essential solution because of their low carbon footprints and adoption is encouraged to take place as soon as possible to replace fossil fuel-based sources. On the other hand, these technologies are dependent on limited resources that are difficult to find and extract. These natural resources are primarily the elements required for the manufacture of green, clean and renewable energy technologies like cobalt, copper, vanadium, nickel, selenium, boron, manganese, lithium, and the rare-earth elements (e.g., neodymium, dysprosium, europium, and terbium). Moreover, these novel technologies are introducing new organic, inorganic, and nano-material pollutants into the environment, the effects of which remain unclear and are still not well understood.

This Research Topic will explore the proverbial 'other side of the coin' and aims to collect recent works on the potential negative environmental impacts of decarbonizing transportation and power generation. We endeavor to provide a robust and balanced selection of scientific articles to address the following issues:

· Do we have enough resources to power our societies primarily from green, clean, and renewable energy technologies?
· Will our current mining, extraction, and recycling capabilities be enough to sustain this drastic shift?
· What new pollutants will be introduced by this shift, and how can their impacts be mitigated?

We welcome manuscripts that focus on the environmental impacts of mining, processing, extraction, and recycling of cobalt, copper, zinc, vanadium, nickel, lithium, and rare-earth elements. Moreover, submissions about new and emerging inorganic (e.g., arsenic, selenium, boron, and heavy metals), organic (e.g., solvents used in rechargeable batteries) and nanomaterial-based (e.g., from gold, platinum, zero-valent metals, bi-metallic materials and carbon-based materials used as anodes, cathodes, and catalysts in batteries and fuel cells) pollutants from mining, extraction,and utilization up to the recycling and disposal of clean, green, and renewable energy technologies will be appreciated. Multi-disciplinary manuscripts that bridge our understanding of the complex impacts on the environment of national and international policy changes related to decarbonizing the power and transport sectors will also be welcomed.

Topics include, but are not limited to the following:

· Innovative life cycle assessment and resource estimation methodologies for cobalt, copper, zinc, vanadium, nickel, lithium, and rare-earth elements,
· Recent advances in mining, processing, extraction and recycling of cobalt, copper, zinc, vanadium, nickel, lithium, and rare-earth elements,
· Emerging organic, inorganic and nano-material pollutants related to clean, green, and renewable energy technologies,
· Improvements to conventional treatment and mitigation approaches of emerging pollutants in water, soil, and the air,
· Innovative methods to detect, treat, and mitigate emerging pollutants related to clean, green and renewable energy technologies in water, soil, and the air.


Keywords: Emerging Pollutants, Mitigation and Rehabilitation, Renewable Technologies, Life Cycle Assessment, Climate change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Renewable energy technologies are at the forefront of global advocacy to decarbonize our society, especially the transport and power sectors, and limit the negative impacts of CO2-induced climate change. However, the debate as to whether this is the right direction moving forward is as fierce as ever. On the one hand, these new technologies are touted as an essential solution because of their low carbon footprints and adoption is encouraged to take place as soon as possible to replace fossil fuel-based sources. On the other hand, these technologies are dependent on limited resources that are difficult to find and extract. These natural resources are primarily the elements required for the manufacture of green, clean and renewable energy technologies like cobalt, copper, vanadium, nickel, selenium, boron, manganese, lithium, and the rare-earth elements (e.g., neodymium, dysprosium, europium, and terbium). Moreover, these novel technologies are introducing new organic, inorganic, and nano-material pollutants into the environment, the effects of which remain unclear and are still not well understood.

This Research Topic will explore the proverbial 'other side of the coin' and aims to collect recent works on the potential negative environmental impacts of decarbonizing transportation and power generation. We endeavor to provide a robust and balanced selection of scientific articles to address the following issues:

· Do we have enough resources to power our societies primarily from green, clean, and renewable energy technologies?
· Will our current mining, extraction, and recycling capabilities be enough to sustain this drastic shift?
· What new pollutants will be introduced by this shift, and how can their impacts be mitigated?

We welcome manuscripts that focus on the environmental impacts of mining, processing, extraction, and recycling of cobalt, copper, zinc, vanadium, nickel, lithium, and rare-earth elements. Moreover, submissions about new and emerging inorganic (e.g., arsenic, selenium, boron, and heavy metals), organic (e.g., solvents used in rechargeable batteries) and nanomaterial-based (e.g., from gold, platinum, zero-valent metals, bi-metallic materials and carbon-based materials used as anodes, cathodes, and catalysts in batteries and fuel cells) pollutants from mining, extraction,and utilization up to the recycling and disposal of clean, green, and renewable energy technologies will be appreciated. Multi-disciplinary manuscripts that bridge our understanding of the complex impacts on the environment of national and international policy changes related to decarbonizing the power and transport sectors will also be welcomed.

Topics include, but are not limited to the following:

· Innovative life cycle assessment and resource estimation methodologies for cobalt, copper, zinc, vanadium, nickel, lithium, and rare-earth elements,
· Recent advances in mining, processing, extraction and recycling of cobalt, copper, zinc, vanadium, nickel, lithium, and rare-earth elements,
· Emerging organic, inorganic and nano-material pollutants related to clean, green, and renewable energy technologies,
· Improvements to conventional treatment and mitigation approaches of emerging pollutants in water, soil, and the air,
· Innovative methods to detect, treat, and mitigate emerging pollutants related to clean, green and renewable energy technologies in water, soil, and the air.


Keywords: Emerging Pollutants, Mitigation and Rehabilitation, Renewable Technologies, Life Cycle Assessment, Climate change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 October 2020 Abstract
01 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 October 2020 Abstract
01 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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