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Comparative streamlined LCA of Internal Combustion and Electric drivetrains
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.).
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.).
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Conventionally the use phase of a road vehicle contributes to more than 70% of the total environmental impact in terms of energy use or emissions of greenhouse gases. This figure is no longer valid concerning electric vehicles and a shift to other life cycle stages and impacts is expected and should be revaluated. The goal of this study is to assess the environmental performance of two prototype vehicle drivetrains; an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, from a life cycle perspective. The assessment is performed in a qualitative manner using the Environmentally Responsible Product Assessment (ERPA) matrix. Having a similar car body construction, the two vehicles provided excellent opportunities to highlight the significance of material differences in their drivetrains. The internal combustion vehicle demonstrated a better environmental performance in three out of five lifecycle stages (pre-manufacture, product manufacture, and disposal). In all of these stages the impact of the electric vehicle is determined by the burden of the materials needed for this technology such as rare earth elements (REE) and the lack of recycling possibilities. The study demonstrated a need to close the material cycle when it comes to Critical Raw Materials (CRM) such as REE which can only be achieved when the technology but also the incentives for material recovery are provided i.e. by promoting the development of cost efficient recycling technologies. Moreover, the need for relevant metrics and assessment indicators is demonstrated in order to be able to fairly compare the two technologies.

Keyword [en]
Environmentally Responsible Product Assessment; Internal combustion engine vehicle; Electric vehicle; Critical Raw materials; Rare earth elements; Drivetrain
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192534OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-192534DiVA: diva2:970564
Note

QC 20160916

Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2016-09-14 Last updated: 2016-09-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Assessing design strategies for improved life cycle environmental performance of vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing design strategies for improved life cycle environmental performance of vehicles
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Vehicle manufactures have adopted different strategies for improving the environmental performance of their fleet including lightweight design and alternative drivetrains such as EVs. Both strategies reduce energy during use but may result in a relative increase of the impact during other stages. To address this, a lifecycle approach is needed when vehicle design strategies are developed. The thesis explores the extent that such a lifecycle approach is adopted today and assesses the potential of these strategies to reduce the lifecycle impact of vehicles. Moreover it aims to contribute to method development for lifecycle considerations during product development and material selection.

Current practices were explored in an empirical study with four vehicle manufacturers. The availability of tools for identifying, monitoring and assessing design strategies was explored in a literature review. The results of the empirical study showed that environmental considerations during product development often lack a lifecycle perspective. Regarding the use of tools a limited number of such tools were utilized systematically by the studied companies despite the numerous tools available in literature.

The influence of new design strategies on the lifecycle environmental performance of vehicles was assessed in three case studies; two looking into lightweight design and one at EVs. Both strategies resulted in energy and GHG emissions savings though the impact during manufacturing increases due to the advanced materials used. Assumptions relating to the operating conditions of the vehicle e.g. lifetime distance or for EVs the carbon intensity of the energy mix, influence the level of this tradeoff. Despite its low share in terms of environmental impact EOL is important in the overall performance of vehicles.

The thesis contributed to method development by suggesting a systematic approach for material selection. The approach combines material and environmental analysis tools thus increases the possibilities for lifecycle improvements while minimizing risk for sub-optimizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 60 p.
Series
TRITA-INFRA-FMS-PHD, 2016:04
Keyword
Vehicle design, Design strategies, Lightweight design, Electric vehicles, Design for Environment (DfE), DfE tools, Life cycle assessment (LCA), Simplified LCA, Composite materials
National Category
Environmental Sciences Environmental Management
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192536 (URN)978-91-7729-108-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-17, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20160920

Available from: 2016-09-20 Created: 2016-09-14 Last updated: 2016-09-20Bibliographically approved

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Tasala Gradin, KatjaPoulikidou, SofiaBjörklund, AnnaLuttropp, Conrad
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