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Assessing design strategies for improved life cycle environmental performance of vehicles
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192536ISBN: 978-91-7729-108-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-192536DiVA: diva2:970573
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
List of papers
1. Empirical study on integration of environmental aspects into product development: processes, requirements and the use of tools in vehicle manufacturing companies in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Empirical study on integration of environmental aspects into product development: processes, requirements and the use of tools in vehicle manufacturing companies in Sweden
2014 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 81, 34-45 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

An empirical study was conducted on integration of environmental aspects and requirements into four vehicle manufacturing companies in Sweden. The aim was to gain insights into how Design for Environment (DfE) is organised in these companies and, thus help bridge the gap between methodological development and practice. The processes for identifying and integrating environmental aspects into product development, the type of environmental requirements considered and the use of different types of DfE tools were investigated through semi-structured interviews.

Despite similarities regarding the type of environmental requirements considered and the major drivers for these, the companies studied have adopted different ways to identify and integrate environmental requirements into their product development process and use DfE tools to differing extents. Such variations reflect differences in the success and maturity levels of the DfE practices adopted. When compared to success factors mentioned in the existing literature, the study concluded that some components needed for efficient integration of environmental aspects into the product development process of all participating companies are lacking. Some of the companies had a greater need for measures that would increase systematic integration of environmental requirements during design decisions. Others first need to establish the processes (in terms of people and use of supporting tools) that could enable such integration.

Keyword
Design for environment, DfE tools, Ecodesign, Environmental requirements, Product development, Vehicle design
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-134802 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.06.001 (DOI)000341348600003 ()2-s2.0-84905571028 (ScopusID)
Note

QC 20141003

Available from: 2013-11-28 Created: 2013-11-28 Last updated: 2016-09-14Bibliographically approved
2. Overview and classification of Design for Environment tools – A diverse toolbox for vehicle developers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Overview and classification of Design for Environment tools – A diverse toolbox for vehicle developers
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Design for environment (DfE) tools, are defined as any type of systematised aid that facilitates the integration of environmental considerations during product development. A variety of DfE tools is available and informed selection based on the company’s, user’s and product’s needs is important for their successful implementation. Through systematic review of the literature, the goal of this paper is to provide a compilation of DfE tools that can be used during vehicle design and development processes. The review resulted in a rich and diverse toolbox of 41 DfE tools the majority of which exhibiting features that are relevant from a vehicle design perspective, such as environmental impacts that are important to monitor for this product category, life cycle considerations, functional and regulation requirements and more. No tool covers all features thus the use of a combination of tools may be necessary. By collecting and presenting the DfE tools available, this paper is expected to assist the adoption and systematic use of existing tools. Gaps and limitations are identified, indicating areas for improvement, for the development of future tools.

Keyword
Design for Environment; Design for Environment tools; Ecodesign tools; Vehicle design; Product development; Environmental performance
National Category
Environmental Engineering Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192530 (URN)
Note

QC 20160921

Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2016-09-14 Last updated: 2016-09-21Bibliographically approved
3. Environmental performance of self-reinforced composites in automotive applications - Case study on a heavy truck component
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental performance of self-reinforced composites in automotive applications - Case study on a heavy truck component
2016 (English)In: Materials & design, ISSN 0264-1275, E-ISSN 1873-4197, Vol. 103, 321-329 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A screening environmental life cycle analysis (LCA) of the novel self-reinforced poly(ethylene therephthalate) (SrPET) is presented in this paper. A truck exterior panel is used as case study where a concept design made by SrPET is assessed and compared to a glass fibre reinforced composite and a thermoplastic blend that are currently used for the selected component. The results showed that the SrPET panel has 25% lower environmental impact compared to the current design, with no significant life cycle trade-offs. SrPET offers possibilities for weight reduction while maintaining good mechanical properties. As the impact during use phase is expected to decrease in the future the relative importance of manufacturing and end-of-life (EOL) will increase. Thus SrPET can be considered a competitive material for replacing existing energy intense non-recyclable composites.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keyword
Self-reinforced composites, Environmental impact, Automotive component, Life cycle assessment
National Category
Materials Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-189067 (URN)10.1016/j.matdes.2016.04.090 (DOI)000376892300037 ()2-s2.0-84966335400 (ScopusID)
Note

QC 20160628

Available from: 2016-06-28 Created: 2016-06-27 Last updated: 2016-09-14Bibliographically approved
4. A material selection approach to evaluate material substitution for minimizing the life cycle environmental impact of vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A material selection approach to evaluate material substitution for minimizing the life cycle environmental impact of vehicles
Show others...
2015 (English)In: Materials & design, ISSN 0264-1275, Vol. 83, 704-712 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Weight reduction is commonly adopted in vehicle design as a means for energy and emissions savings. However, selection of lightweight materials is often focused on performance characteristics, which may lead to sub optimizations of life cycle environmental impact. Therefore systematic material selection processes are needed that integrate weight optimization and environmental life cycle assessment. This paper presents such an approach and its application to design of an automotive component. Materials from the metal, hybrid and polymer families were assessed, along with a novel self-reinforced composite material that is a potential lightweight alternative to non-recyclable composites. It was shown that materials offering the highest weight saving potential offer limited life cycle environmental benefit due to energy demanding manufacturing. Selection of the preferable alternative is not a straightforward process since results may be sensitive to critical but uncertain aspects of the life cycle. Such aspects need to be evaluated to determine the actual benefits of lightweight design and to base material selection on more informed choices.

Keyword
Lightweight design, Material selection, Life cycle assessment, Sandwich structures, Self-reinforced composites
National Category
Materials Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-173255 (URN)10.1016/j.matdes.2015.06.079 (DOI)000359329000080 ()2-s2.0-84941312731 (ScopusID)
Note

QC 20150911

Available from: 2015-09-11 Created: 2015-09-09 Last updated: 2016-09-14
5. 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
(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
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

QC 20160916

Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2016-09-14 Last updated: 2016-09-16Bibliographically approved

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