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The importance of system boundaries for environmental assessment of vehicles
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Machine Design (Div.). (Eco Design)
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Vehicles are generally viewed as having their major environmental impact in the use phase because of combustion emissions. New technology can significantly decrease use emissions. These advantages suggest a rise in alternative vehicle drivetrains, e.g. electrical motors as well as a decrease of fossil fuel engines. It is of importance to consider what impact this technical shift might have in a lifecycle perspective. New technology requires specialised materials which in turn have substantial impacts during raw material extraction, manufacturing, and end of life. This means that the utilised materials may affect the total life cycle impact of a product. The impact can shift to other life phases and additionally give rise to impacts other than the frequently used energy consumption and climate change. The aim of this thesis is to understand how system boundaries effect environmental impact assessment. Potential life cycle assessment issues are investigated through studies of vehicle environmental impacts in different lifecycle phases and varying system boundaries. These issues are approached through several tools: LCA, Environmentally Responsible Product Assessment (ERPA), and Material Hygiene (MH). Three publications are appended to this thesis. Publication A compares two different disposal scenarios for end of life vehicles in Sweden. Publication B compares complete life cycle impacts of two dissimilar drivetrains in similar vehicles. Publication C investigates potential benefits of a concept sea vessel by comparing it with cargo transport by trucks. To fairly compare vehicles, with different drivetrain technology, it is not advisable to apply assessment that is limited to studying the use phase. Neither is it reliable to limit impact inventory to only energy use and CO2 emissions. The consequences of a narrow system-boarder are difficult to keep track of. To avoid sub-optimising and minimise risk of unawareness of trade-offs life cycle perspective is essential.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , 32 p.
Series
TRITA-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2016:07
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Research subject
Industrial Engineering and Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-194437ISBN: 978-91-7595-629-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-194437DiVA: diva2:1046955
Presentation
2016-12-19, ITM_Gladan, Brinellvägen 83, vån 3, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20161116

Available from: 2016-11-17 Created: 2016-10-27 Last updated: 2016-11-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Investigating improved vehicle dismantling and fragmentation technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Investigating improved vehicle dismantling and fragmentation technology
2013 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 54, 23-29 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We conduct a screening comparison using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to model two end-of-life vehicle (ELV) waste management scenarios. The first is the prevalent scrapping process, which entails shredding. The second is manual disassembly, a hypothetical scenario designed to reach the targets in the EU ELV Directive for 2015. The LCA considers three impact categories; climate change, metal depletion, and cumulative energy demand (CED), and identifies the potential lifecycle environmental and resource impacts of new ELV dismantling and recycling processes. Manual disassembly significantly reduces climate change impact and metal depletion, by recycling more polymers and copper and recovering more energy via incineration. The CED is much lower in the manual than the shredding scenario, mainly due to increased recycling and energy recovery, over half the reduction being attributable to polymer recycling and energy recovery. The manual scenario is significantly better than the shredding scenario in terms of environmental and resource impacts, recovering more copper and recycling more polymers. The current shredding scenario does not fulfil the current or future requirements of the ELV Directive. We identify a need to develop new ELV scrapping methods for better resource management and to investigate the value of "new" materials in ELVs, such as rare earth elements.

Keyword
Car scrapping, Climate change, Cumulative energy demand, ELV Directive, Life cycle assessment, Metal depletion
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-126053 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.05.023 (DOI)000322354200004 ()2-s2.0-84879839763 (ScopusID)
Note

QC 20130819

Available from: 2013-08-19 Created: 2013-08-19 Last updated: 2016-11-16Bibliographically approved
2. Comparative streamlined LCA of Internal Combustion and Electric drivetrains
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Comparative streamlined LCA of Internal Combustion and Electric drivetrains
2016 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
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
Environmentally Responsible Product Assessment; Internal combustion engine vehicle; Electric vehicle; Critical Raw materials; Rare earth elements; Drivetrain
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192534 (URN)
Note

QCR 20161103

Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2016-09-14 Last updated: 2016-11-16Bibliographically approved
3. Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Innovative Vessel, The CargoXpress
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Innovative Vessel, The CargoXpress
2015 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Alongside the economic growth demands for further use of resources increase as well. As a result of this transportation of industrial products all over the world will also increase, in particular through shipping. In this study a new innovative concept for transport of cargo, the CargoXpress vessel, is presented and analysed over the life cycle in terms of costs and environmental effects. In the life cycle cost analysis the influence of future price scenarios for LNG-fuel and structural material is investigated through sensitivity analysis. For the environmental study life cycle assessment is used according to ISO 14044:2006. In direct comparative analysis the environmental impacts and costs over the life cycle of the new vessel is compared to road transport by truck. Then also analysis is made by selecting different existing transport scenarios were the new vessel is compared to road transports. The results from both cost and environmental analysis clearly present benefits for transporting goods with the CargoXpress vessel. Regarding the cost several factors in combination plays an important role for the outcome as initial investment cost, price development of fuel and interest rate. For the environmental analysis the innovative vessel is shown to be the preferable alternative.

National Category
Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-177818 (URN)
Conference
International Conference on Lightweight Design of Marine Structures, 9th-11th November 2015, Glasgow.
Note

QCR 20161117

Available from: 2015-11-26 Created: 2015-11-26 Last updated: 2016-11-22Bibliographically approved

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