COMMUNICATING LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT RESULTS: A COMPARISON OF VEHICLE ALTERNATIVES IN PORTUGAL

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1 Energy for Sustainability 2013 Sustainable Cities: Designing for People and the Planet Coimbra, 8 to 10 September, 2013 COMMUNICATING LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT RESULTS: A COMPARISON OF VEHICLE ALTERNATIVES IN PORTUGAL Ana Rita Domingues 1*, Pedro Marques 2, Rita Garcia 2, Fausto Freire 2 and Luís Dias 1,3 1 INESC Coimbra Rua Antero de Quental, n.º199, Coimbra, Portugal web: 2 ADAI-LAETA Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia - Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica Universidade de Coimbra Pólo II Campus, Rua Luís Reis Santos, Coimbra, Portugal web: 3 Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra Av. Dias da Silva 165, Coimbra, Portugal Keywords: Environmental impacts, electric vehicle, energy, life-cycle assessment, normalisation. Abstract A variety of alternative vehicle technologies are emerging, leading to a diversification on consumer choice and the need to assess their environmental impacts. This paper aims to compare vehicle alternatives through a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA), proposing relevant Normalisation References (NR) as a way of communicating LCA results. Six compact passenger vehicles available in Portugal are comparatively assessed: a gasoline and a diesel internal combustion vehicles, a hybrid electric vehicle, two plug-in electric vehicles (10 miles and 40 miles), and a battery electric vehicle. These alternatives are compared on the basis of two alternative NR for seven Life-Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) indicators and five use-phase indicators. The two NR selected were average fleet impacts calculated for i) the 2011 Portuguese fleet and ii) a renovated fleet considering the new EURO 5 vehicles according to the distribution of vehicle types in Portugal. The results show that the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is the alternative with the lowest impacts in most of the indicators considered; on the other hand, the gasoline internal combustion vehicle is the alternative with the highest impacts in most of the indicators considered. The use of two NR provided different conclusions, even though the best and worst alternative for each specific indicator is identical.

2 1 INTRODUCTION In the last decades, a growing concern about pollution from vehicle transportation has emerged. The European Union legislation has contributed to improve vehicle efficiency and established targets for the emission of pollutants (e.g. the European Emission Standards EURO standards). Some countries introduced areas known as Low Emission Zones (LEZ), which limit the circulation of vehicles that do not meet the criteria defined. In addition, in some areas specific speed limits were established to reduce emission of pollutants. There has been also significant research in new vehicle technologies with less potential impacts in the environment and energy requirements (the latter related to energy dependence concerns); however, there is controversy in the actual benefits of some new technologies in terms of lifecycle environmental impacts and energy requirements. The main objective of this study is to comparatively assess the environmental impacts and energy requirements of vehicle alternatives available in Portugal and to present a novel way to communicate Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) results. The alternatives were compared on the basis of seven Life-Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) indicators and five use-phase indicators, calculated using two Normalisation References (NR). 2 METHODOLOGY LCA was applied to assess potential environmental impacts of vehicle alternatives through their life-cycle. Indicators focused on the use phase were also analysed, since this phase was considered very important in the comparison of vehicles. The results and inventory presented in this paper were built on previous and current LCA research performed at the University of Coimbra on electricity generation and vehicles, e.g. [1]. The inventory data was characterized into specific environmental impact categories according to selected LCIA methods. In this study two complementary LCIA methods were used with a total of seven impact categories (indicators): CML 2001 (CML) for six environmental impact categories Abiotic Depletion (AD), Acidification (AC), Eutrophication (EUT), Global Warming (GW), Ozone Layer Depletion (OLD), and Photochemical Oxidation (PO) and Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) to calculate total non-renewable primary Energy consumption (nren). These indicators were calculated adopting a cradle-to-grave perspective. The model considered the overall life-cycle of vehicles and their components (e.g. batteries), as well as the electricity generation system and the production of fossil fuels (gasoline and diesel). Additional indicators focused on vehicle use phase: Operation Energy (OE), Petrol Fossil Energy (PFE) and tailpipe emissions (NO x, CO, Particulate Matter PM). The Functional Unit (FU) selected was 1 km driving distance. According to [2], normalisation represents a crucial role in the interpretation of LCA results. The results of this assessment were normalised using two NR. The two NR selected were average fleet impacts calculated for i) the 2011 Portuguese fleet (NR1, see Table 1 a) and ii) a renovated fleet considering the new EURO 5 vehicles according to the distribution of vehicle types in the Portuguese fleet (NR2, see Table 1 b). The normalised value for a vehicle alternative is the ratio between its impacts and the reference: if greater than 1 it has higher 2

3 impacts, if less than 1 it has lower impacts. The use of these normalisation references is intended to facilitate the communication of LCIA results. Table 1.Normalisation references: a) NR1 b) NR2 (64.4% Gasoline, 35.4% Diesel, 0.2% HEV, 0% PHEV, 5.07 x 10-5 BEV). a) Indicators Average existing fleet emissions b) Indicators Average renovated fleet emissions AD (g Sb eq) 1.55 AD (g Sb eq) 1.59 AC (g SO 2 eq) 0.70 AC (g SO 2 eq) 0.66 EUT (g PO 4 eq) 0.13 EUT (g PO 4 eq) 0.15 GW(g CO 2 eq) GW(g CO 2 eq) OLD (g CFC-11 eq) 2.75 x 10-5 OLD (g CFC-11 eq) 2.71 x 10-5 PO (g C 2 H 4 eq) 0.06 PO (g C 2 H 4 eq) 0.06 nren (fossil) (MJ) 3.42 nren (fossil) (MJ) 3.45 OE(MJ) 2.47 OE(MJ) 2.37 PFE (MJ) 2.81 PFE (MJ) 2.78 NO x (g) 0.27 NO x (g) 0.09 CO (g) 1.10 CO (g) 0.67 PM (g) 0.11 PM (g) 0.10 NR Goal and scope NR 2 This study aims at comparing 6 vehicle alternatives of EURO 5 compact passenger vehicles: Volkswagen Golf 1.4 (Gasoline Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle GICEV), Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI (Diesel Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle DICEV), Toyota Prius 1.8 (Hybrid Electric Vehicle - HEV), Toyota Prius Plug-in 1.8 (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle 10 miles - PHEV10), Chevrolet Volt 1.4 (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle 40 miles - PHEV40), and the Battery Electric Vehicle Nissan Leaf (BEV). It is assumed that each vehicle runs for km in its service life. The main characteristics of the vehicle engine technologies are summarized in Table 2. All vehicles use gasoline, except DICEV and BEV. Table 2. Vehicle technology: main characteristics. Criteria GICEV DICEV HEV PHEV10 PHEV40 BEV Weight of vehicle (battery included) kg Gasoline Diesel (l/100 km) n.a. Electricity (Wh/km) n.a. n.a. n.a Battery capacity (kwh) n.a. n.a. 1,3 4, Full discharge (km) n.a. n.a. n.a n.a.: not applicable 2.2 Input data and assumptions The main sources of data are peer-reviewed literature and the Ecoinvent v2 database [3]. The daily distance travelled was defined according to [4]. Specific data for the Portuguese context was used whenever possible, including the specific characteristics of the vehicles available in Portugal, the Portuguese electricity mix for 2011, and the Portuguese passenger vehicle fleet. 3

4 3 APPLICATION: EVALUATION OF VEHICLE ALTERNATIVES IN PORTUGAL Figure 1 shows the normalisation results for each alternative, where normalised values above 1 represent impacts for which the alternative is worse than the reference (i.e., worse than the average emissions of the Portuguese fleet in 2011 for NR1 results, or worse than the average fleet emissions in a scenario where all vehicles were replaced by analogous new EURO 5 vehicles for NR2 results). Note that dashed bars (OLD for PHEV40) represent values above 3. It should be noted that both NR1 and NR2 resulted in the same worst and best vehicle for each indicator. Figure 1. Normalised Reference (NR) results. As can be observed in Figure 1, the new EURO 5 compact vehicles have higher potential environmental impacts and energy requirements than the Portuguese 2011 fleet for some indicators (bars above 1). Particularly in NR 1, GICEV and DICEV have higher potential impacts in EUT than the 2011 fleet because 2011 fleet is mainly constituted by sub-compact vehicles, which consume less fuel than compact vehicles, and EUT impacts are mostly related to the upstream processes of the fuel life cycle. The residual number of PHEV, HEV and BEV may justify the high (relatively to NR) potential impacts in EUT and OLD that result from the consumption of electricity generated from coal (EUT) and the battery production (OLD). PHEV40 is the alternative with higher impacts in OLD, due to the constitution of the lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO 4 ). PHEV10 has the same type of battery but it weighs much less, causing lower OLD impacts. In the use phase, PHEV10 is the alternative with higher impacts in OE, which may be justified by the combination of a high use of gasoline due to the low battery capacity, as well as the electricity use. GICEV has more impacts in AD, GW and nren when compared with the fleet. These results are influenced by the fact that in the fleet, 4

5 diesel vehicles have a higher contribution per km travelled (FU) since its VKT (vehicle km travelled) is higher than for gasoline vehicles. NR2 results compare each vehicle alternative with the potential impacts of replacing the fleet with the new EURO 5 vehicles maintaining the respective distribution in the fleet in This compares the vehicle alternative with an average new vehicle (where average is a weighted average taking into account the number of vehicles of each type). DICEV s potential impacts in NO x are more salient for this NR. This is due to the fleet composition, mainly constituted by gasoline vehicles (64%), which have significantly lower NO x emissions. PHEV40 is the best alternative in AD, GW and nren, and the worst in OLD. HEV is the best alternative in EUT. Overall BEV is the alternative with fewer impacts in OLD, PO and all use phase indicators, but it has more impacts in EUT. If these impacts could be reduced or mitigated then increasing the proportion of BEV in the fleet would be able to reduce significantly its environmental impacts and energy requirements. 4 CONCLUSIONS Normalisation offers a way to inform stakeholders about the relative significance of LCA results. We used two NR (the average emissions of the 2001 Portuguese fleet and the average emissions of a renovated fleet considering the new EURO 5 vehicles according to the distribution of vehicle types in the fleet).the NR are well documented which allows a better insight understanding of the results. Using two different NR allows presenting different perspectives in the environmental and energy assessment of the vehicles. Nevertheless, the results calculated with the two NR show that the relative position of the alternatives did not change. The results for each vehicle assessed may be different in different regions due to different electricity mixes and fleet compositions. Also future changes in the Portuguese mix could introduce different contributions of renewable energy sources in the use phase. In terms of security of energy supply, BEV is the best alternative because it needs less imported energy (crude oil) than any other alternative. The consumption of conventional fuels represents an important cause of environmental impacts. The work presented in this paper is an example of the comparison of vehicle alternatives that requires future development after normalisation such as the use of weighting coefficients and a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors acknowledge the support of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) under the projects MIT/SET/0014/2009, MIT/MCA/0066/2009, PTDC/SEN-TRA/117251/2010, PEst-C/EEI/UI0308/2011 and EMSURE (CENTRO FEDER ). REFERENCES [1] F. Freire, P. Marques, Electric Vehicles in Portugal : an integrated energy, greenhouse gas and cost life-cycle analysis, IEEE International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST). (2012)

6 [2] J. Kim, Y. Yang, J. Bae, S. Suh, The Importance of Normalization References in Interpreting Life Cycle Assessment Results, Journal of Industrial Ecology. 00 (2012) [3] M. Spielmann, C. Bauer, R. Dones, M. Tuchschmid, Transport Services. ecoinvent report No.14, Dubendorf, [4] N.S. Pearre, W. Kempton, R.L. Guensler, V. V. Elango, Electric vehicles: How much range is required for a day s driving?, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies. 19 (2011)

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