Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-24-0245
2019-10-07

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

The Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCA) methodology is today considered as a crucial paradigm with multiple levels of analysis, including the economic, social and environmental aspects. In this scenario, the purpose of the present research is to carry out an accurate and extensive LCA based analysis to compare the environmental impact, between conventional gasoline and hybrid vehicle powertrains. Two different powertrain scenarios were considered maintaining the same vehicle chassis. The performed analysis concerned resources and energy consumption as well as pollutant emission of each process, evaluating the impact of powertrain production, the vehicle use phase, and powertrain end of life scenarios. 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 efficient production and recycling of the battery. We found that the conventional powertrain determines a higher Global Warming Potential (GWP) than hybrid powertrain (by almost 30%). Conversely, the water-related impact is higher in hybrid powertrain, and this is associated to the extraction and processing of the metal and mischmetal within the battery pack. Furthermore, the incidence of transport in the use phase for the conventional powertrain has high impact related to freshwater and marine aquatic ecotoxicity.

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