Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-5013
2019-02-18

Environmental Assessment of the End-of-Life Phase of Alternative and Conventional Propulsion Systems in the Context of Life Cycle Assessment 2019-01-5013

The number of vehicles being sold is steadily increasing, as well as the amount of processed resources. Moreover, alternative powertrain concepts open up a new field of materials such as rare-earth metals, lithium, and cobalt. This results in a growing importance and complexity of the vehicle end-of-life phase and thus demands for a more detailed environmental evaluation and an integration into life cycle assessment. Due to high recycling rates, established recycling routes, and a low environmental impact regarding the materials used for conventional propulsion systems, by now the recycling is mostly neglected within the life cycle assessment of vehicles. The introduced materials for alternative concepts challenge this method with new and complex processes, the lack of available recycling routes, selective recovery of only few materials, as well as the threat of landfill, an increased share of incineration, resource shortfalls, and resource exploitation. This study investigates the state of the art of recycling processes for drive components used within conventional and alternative concepts. Furthermore, a new methodical framework to evaluate the environmental impact of the end-of-life phase as well as to compare different recycling processes is developed, followed by the development and assessment of methodical options to integrate the evaluation of the end-of-life phase into the life cycle assessment. The methodology is finally applied to one exemplary component.

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