Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-24-0245

Environmental Analysis Based on Life Cycle Assessment: An Empirical Investigation on the Conventional and Hybrid Powertrain 2019-24-0245

The Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment based on Life Cycle Thinking is today considered as a crucial paradigm with multiple levels of analysis, including the economic, social and environmental aspects. The purpose of the present research is to carry out an accurate and extensive analysis to compare the environmental impact between two different powertrains: conventional gasoline and hybrid vehicle. Results were achieved through the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology according to the ISO 14040/44 (ISO 2006a:14040, ISO 2006:14044). We considered two different powertrain scenarios maintaining the same vehicle chassis. The LCA results included resources and energy consumption and pollutant emission of each process. The inventory collects the mass and energy input and output data for a product system and translate them in order to quantify their (real and potential) environmental effects. The considerate analysis evaluates the impact of the powertrain production, the vehicle use phase, and powertrain end of life scenarios. The LCA approach also demanded a special attention for the inventory of the powertrain construction and use phase, requiring an accurate literature search. A large set of indicators - including human toxicity, eutrophication, and acidification - was considered. The study indicates that the potential of electrified vehicles basically depends on an efficient production and recycling of the battery. Finally, considering that several parts of the same powertrain could be produced in different countries - with different energy mixes and an energy demand related to the transportation - we analyzed each country separately.


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