Mobility: LCM in the Mobility Sector
Implementing life cycle engineering efficiently into automotive industry processes
Volkswagen AG, Germany
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a powerful tool which supports life cycle management. It can be used as an environmental management instrument within the product development.
For successful life cycle management the formal incorporation of life cycle thinking into the company policy is a necessary pre-requisite. Additional success factors which have to be met are the transformation of LCA results into measurable targets for engineers. Based on given environmental targets, such as a certain target value for greenhouse gas emissions, LCA can be used to calculate a specific technical target such as the weight of a component, the fuel consumption of a vehicle or the minimum amount of recycled content in a product. The transformation of pure LCA results into measurable technical targets, which can be understood by engineers, will clearly show the added value which LCA can give in terms of life cycle management.
Even for very complex products with a huge variety of different materials and a complex value chain life cycle assessment can be performed with a reasonable time demand, with good quality and integrated efficiently into business processes.
Applications for life cycle management in the automotive industry are e.g. lightweight design or fuel and powertrain strategies. Lightweight design reduces the environmental burden of a vehicle in its usage phase, but it can increase the environmental burden in the production phase. Intelligent lightweight design is therefore characterized by reduced greenhouse gas emissions over the entire life cycle. In this presentation different measures which contribute to an overall optimized greenhouse gas balance are presented.
Another field for applications of life cycle management is the comparison of different powertrain or fuel concepts. One the most highlighted strategy in the automotive industry is electric mobility. Here the direct emissions of a vehicle in the usage phase are zero, whereas the emissions occur during the production of electricity. A fair comparison of different powertrain or fuel strategies can be done only based on a holistic approach such as life cycle assessment.
Global, regional and local environmental impacts: LCA indicators for energy & mobility
1Université de Poitiers (IRIAF), France; 2Technocentre Renault, France
Context & purpose
The automotive industry is facing three environmental challenges: atmospheric pollution, global warming and depletion of its main energy resource. In order to cope with those two latter, new alternative fuels are being developed. Amongst them, biofuels, synthetic fuels, hydrogen and electricity appear to be the most promising. However, when these alternatives can significantly reduce greenhouse gases and oil dependency, they should not lead to other kind of pollutions. This means that their impact on atmospheric acidification, eutrophication, etc. should not damage the environment (i.e. leading to a pollution transfer). To assess these alternatives, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) appears to be the most appropriate tool. Nonetheless, numerous methods with various environmental indicators can be used, leading to complex interpretation processes.
Four energy systems were retained: gasoline, Diesel fuel, rapeseed biodiesel and electricity from coal. Five vehicles were selected: one battery-powered vehicle, two spark-ignition vehicles (one representing the average fleet in 2011 and the other representing the average car sold in 2011) and two compression-ignition vehicles.
Several environmental impact methodologies were selected in order to accurately represent the pollution induced by the four fuels studied: CML2001, ReCiPe2008 and USEtox. Since USEtox distinguish urban from rural atmospheric emissions, a Geographical Information System (GIS) was designed to localize during the fuel emissions the main sources of emissions and separate them between rural and urban.
The GIS developed allowed to localize the main sources of pollution for all energy systems and thus dissociate urban from rural emissions in USEtox. The different environmental impacts have been aggregated into 7 environmental indicators: resource consumption, global warming, acidification, photochemical ozone, eutrophication, human health and aquatic ecotoxicity.
Between the fuels studied, none appears to be clearly better than the others on all environmental criteria. Gasoline and Diesel are more impacting on global warming, coal electricity is leading to acidification while biodiesel shows a strong impact on eutrophication. For human health issues, atmospheric urban emissions are more impacting than rural emissions.
Further researches should go into the 3 following directions: first, rural / urban differentiation should also be applied to particulate matter pollution. Secondly, other alternative energy sources should be assessed in order to have a comprehensive view of the environmental impacts of the energy sources for individual mobility. Finally, the GIS should be extended to these other fuels and after that to the whole car to assess its potential in general in LCA.
Assessment of the environmental impacts of electric vehicle concepts
Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, Germany
Under the impression of current discussions of depleting resources and environmental questions, the transportation sector is aware of its responsibility and in search of alternative power train concepts. Especially electric vehicle concepts are expected to have a high potential, since they reduce the dependence from oil based fuels and have the potential to reduce local noise and emissions during the vehicle operation. Furthermore, in a future prospective, the implementation of e-mobility is expected to support a future increased share of regenerative energy in power grids and to reduce the environmental impacts of transportation.
However, there is only little knowledge about the environmental profile of e-mobility available. Besides the environmental impacts of power generation, it is also required to investigate the production and end of life phase of electric vehicle concepts and power train specific components in an early stage. To do this, the method of life cycle assessment (LCA) is a suitable tool, since it evaluates the environmental impacts of products or services from a life cycle perspective.
In the framework of the Fraunhofer System Research for Electromobility (FSEM), the department Life Cycle Engineering (GaBi) investigates the environmental performance of different electric vehicle concepts. Main goal of the study is to give a first estimate on the bandwidth of the environmental potential of e-vehicle concepts and to identify significant parameter and indicators. Based on these outcomes the demand on further research is defined. Within the work, the production and use phase of different electric vehicle concepts, like battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are evaluated in a screening LCA. In addition, as a broader market entry of electric vehicles is expected in the next years (e.g. the national roadmap for electric mobility of the German federal government expects around one million electric vehicles on German street until the year 2020) the study investigates future scenarios to estimate the environmental potential of future concepts and developments. In a first step the scenarios investigate the environmental profile of e-mobility due to further developments of battery systems as well as the future development of the German electricity grid mix.
The presentation gives an overview of the main approach and outcomes of the study, identifies the significant indicators and parameters and discusses the relevant topics and questions for future research.
Environmental optimization of electric vehicles slow-charging infrastructures through a life cycle management approach
1Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; 2Technical University of Catalonia, Spain
Official reports about electromobility state that electric vehicles (EVs) offer a secure, comprehensive, and environmentally friendly option with regard to conventional Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICVs). However, there are many challenges to overcome in order to achieve the acceptability of EVs in mainstream social and market segments, being a major challenge the provision of an optimal charging infrastructure network where EVs’ batteries may be charged easily and quickly. Charging at home, overnight, is considered the cheapest, greenest and most convenient means of EV charging when off-street parking is available. However, this will not always be accessible for EVs´ users and will need to top-up their vehicle´s battery elsewhere. Therefore, the provision of publicly accessible charging infrastructures is identify as vitally important.
An extensive network of new building infrastructures and constructive solutions for EVs charging will have to be installed shaping the built urban landscape of cities. The installation of charging infrastructures today is mainly based on technical-economic issues. But, if no environmental criteria are adopted during infrastructure design, management and territorial integration the environmental impacts on the material and energy flows through urban systems will probably be remarkable. However, literature on EVs´ charging infrastructures is not focused on studying their environmental impact to the built environment of cities. There is no comprehensive environmental data available about the impacts of the installation of charging infrastructures throughout the urban built space.
The aim is to quantify the environmental impacts on the urban built environment of the implementation of EVs charging infrastructures and propose improvement alternatives to promote their sustainable deployment in cities by means of a life cycle management approach. The research is focused on the electromobility plans of Southwestern Europe, starting with the Basque Country (10% of vehicles sold are EV with 13,000 charging points installed in 2020 ) and Catalonian (76,000 EVs on road with 91,000 charging points in 2015) strategies for the promotion of EVs. The paper analyzes the impact of the infrastructure associated with the three main levels of charging accepted worldwide ( slow, medium-fast and fast-rapid ) and compares the electromobility plans of two different urban models to create a versatile framework and environmental guidelines that can be used for studying and promoting sustainable charging infrastructures strategies of other Southwestern Europe regions. Results and conclusions show the potential environmental benefits on the urban built space of cities through the ecodesign and sustainable management of the charging infrastructure network for EVS.
Environmental product declaration of a commuter train
Bombardier Transportation, Germany
The Design for Environment (DfE) approach of Bombardier applies a complete life cycle perspective using the methodology of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) according to ISO 14040/44 as an integrated part in the design process. Maximising energy and resource efficiency, minimising hazardous substances and related toxic emissions as well as enhancing the overall product recyclability rate is the result of a high quality working process applied to product design and cascaded down the supply chain. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) following the international EPD® system provide a transparent and reliable way to communicate the efforts taken to improve the environmental performance of Bombardier trains. This presentation will give insight into the EPD of an electrical train and how the compiled life cycle information is used for comparison as well as improvement of Bombardier trains.
An LCA was performed for the transportation of one passenger over 100 km, covering material and energy production, a specified life time and running distance and end-of-life scenarios based on the material content. Cut-off and allocation rules were set according to the applicable Product Category Rules for Rail Vehicles (PCR 2009:05). Data originates from different sources and is a mix between site/product specific data and generic data. Impact categories were selected according to the PCR and calculated according to the CML 2001 impact assessment method.
The results from this LCA clearly show that the use phase dominates the environmental impact of the analysed commuter train in all of the input-related impacts as well as the selected output-related impact categories. Furthermore it is shown that the most significant impact is caused by secondary emissions resulting from the energy production for the operation of the train.
The results indicate that the highest potential for improving the environmental performance is associated with the energy consumption during the use phase, i.e. future work should be focussed for one on reducing the amount of energy used but also on reducing the emissions caused by energy production and consumption, e.g. by increasing the amount of renewable energy resources.
However, even though there is potential for improvement the results also reveal that the impact on the Global Warming potential, which is highly influenced by energy consumption, is significantly lower when travelling on the assessed train instead of travelling by car. Therefore, under the analysed conditions, making commuter journeys by train is the environmentally preferred mode of transport.
Sustainable product development based on life cycle assessment in the field of railway vehicles
The growth of the population and the increasing demand to mobility of people will lead, according to European studies, to an increase of urban transportation by approximately 40% in the next 15 years. Therefore, rethinking of the transportation situation and tending towards sustainable transportation in general means of transportation should be the main focus.
Closely related to this view, following question occurs:” What is an environmentally sound transportation system and how can we improve the carbon footprint of transportation?”
In terms of rail bounded transport vehicles it is definitely the energy consumption during the operation. This conclusion was evidenced by full scale Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) according ISO 14040. The system boundary for the LCA of the rolling stock included the entire life cycle stages of the vehicle, which are Raw Materials, Manufacture, Distribution, Use, Maintenance and End of Life. At the interpretation step, improvement potentials along the life cycle were tracked for particular vehicle systems.
Based on these findings improvement measurements were carried out with respect to technology, economic and environmentally aspects. The first conclusion was that improvements were depending on the kind of transport mode – from high speed to urban transport service - and operation conditions.
E.g. for urban transport modes the propulsion system as well as the heating system has a great environmental impact during their operation, the focus of gaining improvement strategies were turned towards these two subsystems.
Hence the energy consumption of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) in urban rail vehicles has a high relevance to the impact assessment, especially during cold or hot weather, when HVAC energy consumption can exceed the consumption of combined propulsion and ancillary units. For high speed trains the wind resistance mostly influence the LCA results.
Bearing in mind the economic aspects improvement measurements have to be also evaluated in terms of the return of investment.
Finally the paper will highlight the different LCA results of track bounded vehicles and its improvement strategies as wells as the economic assessment of environmental improvement strategies.
Life cycle assessment of innovative vehicle technologies for passenger transport
Paul Scherrer Institut, Switzerland
Currently, more and more vehicle manufacturers are developing passenger cars with innovative drivetrain concepts as alternatives to fossil fuelled internal combustion engines (ICE). Such new concepts like battery electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel cell vehicles (FCV) do not have any polluting tailpipe emissions and are therefore in general considered to be “cleaner” than gasoline and diesel cars. In particular, they are regarded as important contributions to achieving stringent Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission limits, as discussed within the European Union. However, the overall environmental burdens associated with road transportation extend further than the combustion gases produced whilst driving; there are significant contributions from all other steps in the life cycle of the vehicle, i.e. fuel supply, infrastructures, as well as non-exhaust emissions from the vehicle operation.
The work to be presented in this paper comprises a comparative evaluation of environmental burdens associated with one vehicle kilometre (vkm) travelled by various state-of-the-art vehicle technologies – conventional diesel and gasoline as well as biofuel ICE cars, battery electric vehicles charged with electricity from selected power mixes and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – applying Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. In addition to GHG emissions, the evaluation is based on a range of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) indicators. This gives a more complete picture of the overall environmental burdens caused by different vehicle technologies and the associated fuel chains by covering effects on human health and ecosystem quality via pollutant emissions.
The LCA results indicate that BEV and FCV are not causing less environmental burdens than ICE cars per se. For both the BEV and FCV, the results are highly dependent on the production pathways of the energy carrier. Both electricity and hydrogen offer the potential to reduce overall GHG emissions per vkm but reductions of more than 70% can only be achieved in case of purely renewable or nuclear based fuel production. Vehicle production and maintenance including batteries and fuel cells as well as non exhaust emissions of vehicle operation exhibit important contributions to further LCIA indicators; as a consequence – depending on the H2 production pathway and the fuel consumption rate – fossil fuelled ICE cars can perform better with respect to these criteria.
Compared to ICE cars, BEV and FCV are both at relatively early stages of development and likely to profit from a more substantial progress within the next decades, and thus a more significant reduction of environmental burdens.
Design for environment and environmental certificate at Mercedes-Benz cars
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used as a tool for design for environment (DfE) to improve the environmental performance of the Mercedes Car Group products. For the new models a brochure including an environmental certificate and comprehensive data for the product are published. This environmental certificate brochure reports on processes, data and results based on the international standards for life cycle assessment (ISO 14040/44), for environmental labels and declarations (ISO 14020-21) and for the integration of environmental aspects into product design and development (ISO TR 14062), which are accepted by all stakeholders. Furthermore, the Dfe process is representing the key element of the environmental management system (ISO 14001) of the R&D organisation at Mercedes-Benz Car Group. The compliance with these international standards and the correctness of the information contained in the certificate are reviewed and certified by independent experts.
In 2005, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class became the world’s first automobile to receive an environmental certificate. It has now also been granted to the C-Class, the updated A- and B-Class, the GLK, the E-Class, the new CLS and SLK, and the S 400 HYBRID. The environmental certificates underline the Mercedes-Benz strategy for future mobility with the three focal areas: Optimization of vehicles with advanced internal combustion engines, further efficiency through hybridization and Emission-free driving with electric vehicles powered by the battery and the fuel cell.