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DOE CERC 2.0 Thrust Area: Systems Assessment Best Practices


Thrust Area: Systems Assessment and Best Practices [CERC 2.0]

The CERC Clean Vehicles Consortium seeks to contribute to dramatic improvements in technologies with the potential to reduce the dependence of vehicles on oil and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. It aims to build a foundation of knowledge, technologies, human capabilities, and relationships in mutually beneficial areas that will position the United States and China for a future with highly efficient clean vehicles that have very low environmental impacts. Joint research is conducted in the following areas: Advanced Batteries and Energy Conversion, Vehicle Technologies, Connected and Automated Vehicles, and Systems Assessment.

Task 1)  LCA of wireless charge for PEVs
Task 1.1 Identify the feasible cases/scenarios for deploying dynamic wireless charging infrastructure in both U.S. and China

Feasible scenarios of vehicle types (buses, taxi, trucks, or private passenger cars), powertrain (all-electric vs. hybrid), service (personal travel, public transit, or commercial freight), and locations (urban vs. rural, highway vs. city roadways) for dynamic wireless charger deployment will be identified. Extensive literature review and a feasibility analysis in terms of economic and environmental performance will be conducted, which will serve as a basis for subsequent tasks.

Task 1.2 Establish a life cycle inventory of dynamic wireless charging infrastructure and integrate with GREET model

Based on the identified potentially feasible cases/scenarios, a detailed and comprehensive life cycle inventory analysis will be conducted to quantify the life cycle primary energy, GHG emissions, and criteria pollutant emissions for the material production, manufacturing, use/maintenance, and end-of-life disposal stages of dynamic wireless charging infrastructure and hardware devices.  These assessments will be conducted using existing datasets from GREET and other databases, industry partners, and academic partners in Thrust area Three. The target deliverable is to report the primary energy consumption, GHG emissions, and criteria pollutant emissions per lane-mile of dynamic wireless charging infrastructure, and integrating this wireless charging infrastructure component into the GREET model.


CERC CVC LCA of Connected and Automated Vehicles [CERC 3.0]

The connected and automated vehicle (CAV) is an emerging, transformative technology that could fundamentally change the current transportation system.  CAV technology can also dramatically impact transportation energy and environmental emissions.  Characteristics of a CAV system that will determine its energy performance include ecodriving, platooning, lightweighting, rightsizing, reduced driving to locate parking, ride sharing, congestion mitigation, higher travel demand due to reduced travel cost, increased travel by underserved populations, and faster highway speeds.  The combined effects of these characteristics are highly uncertain.  Stephens et al. (2016) estimated that these factors can range from a 60% reduction in energy consumption up to a 200% increase.  
Previous energy analysis research did not account for production and operational burdens of CAV equipment. The first comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) model of CAV subsystem equipment was conducted by Gawron et al. (2018), which evaluated operational impacts of Level 4 CAV sensing and computing subsystems integrated into internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) versions of a Ford Focus sedan. The results indicated that CAV subsystems could increase vehicle primary energy use and GHG emissions by 3−20% due to increases in energy consumption, weight, drag, and data transmission requirements. 

The proposed CERC research builds upon this LCA model of CAV subsystem equipment for a sedan.  Three project objectives will expand the LCA modeling of CAVs by:  1) updating CAV subsystem equipment to address current and future technology requirements and developments; 2) developing an LCA model of CAV on SUV platforms; and 3) developing LCA modules of CAVs for incorporation in Argonne National Lab’s (ANL) GREET model.

Task 1 LCA modeling of different vehicle types for CAVs

Building on our previous research (Gawron et al. 2018), and driven by the large market share of SUVs, this task encompasses life cycle assessment of CAV subsystems for sport utility vehicles (SUV). SUV energy consumption and CAV subsystem equipment differs from sedans, which will impact CAV energy and GHG performance relative to sedans.

Task 2 Update existing model given development in CAV subsystem equipment

New technology and hardware are constantly being developed for CAVs. This task will update the existing life cycle inventory of CAV subsystem equipment (Gawron et al. 2018) by refining models for production, use (energy consumption, weight, drag, and data transmission requirements) and end-of-life burdens of the CAV subsystem, including lidar and computing and communication systems.

Task 3 Integrate the updated life cycle inventory of CAVs into GREET model

This task will involve collaboration with the ANL GREET team to integrate the CAV subsystem modules into existing vehicle models in GREET. This integration will facilitate and expand the functionality of GREET in modeling advanced and emerging technologies. These subsystem modules can also be integrated into the GREET-China version.

CERC CVC Automobile Circular Economy Framework, Metrics, and Application [CERC 4.0]


A circular economy framework can be applied on a corporate/industry level, as well as across the lifecycle of a product. Moreover, a circular economy framework can capture multiple life cycles, alternative business models, feedback loops within a system (closed-loop), and flows between systems (open-loop).  Accordingly, the methods for defining system boundaries and functional units in LCA must be reconsidered.

Three project objectives will expand:  1) Explore and develop approaches and guidance for defining system boundaries and functional units for the circular economy of the automobile, 2) Develop a parametric model and metrics for evaluating the energy and environmental sustainability performance for circular economy of the automobile, and 3) Apply the parametric model in an automobile case study using data from GREET.

To focus our research and collaboration for this one year project, we will identify a case study for analysis during the first quarter.  Two areas of focus are currently being considered that build on current research being undertaken by CSS and ANL.  The first is analyzing aluminum and steel automotive materials using a circular economy frame.  This project would leverage a current CSS-ANL project mapping material flows in the US for the supply of automotive aluminum and steel.  The second project would develop a circular economy model for automotive battery use and recovery strategies including recycle and reuse.  The choice of the case study will be made jointly by CSS and ANL.


Task 1 Literature review and development of system boundary and functional unit guidance for the circular economy
Life cycle assessment has addressed coupled processes and systems either through allocation rules or system expansion methods.  These approaches, however, have not been studied in a circular economy context.  The academic literature will be reviewed and lessons from LCA considered in developing guidance for system boundaries and functional units for the circular economy.

Task 2 Parametric model and metrics for assessing sustainability performance of the circular economy.
A parametric model will be developed to represent the material and energy flows and uses for a generic automobile circular economy.  Nomenclature for key variables and metrics will be developed to characterize primary energy and greenhouse gas emissions for each flow associated with material production, manufacturing, use, and end-of-life management activities across the circular economy defined system. 

Task 3 Automobile Case Study application using the GREET model
This task will involve collaboration with ANL GREET team to apply the parametric model and metrics in Task 2 to generic vehicle models represented in GREET.  Energy and environmental performance including renewable energy use and greenhouse gas emissions will be evaluated.

Argonne National Laboratories
United States Department of Energy (DOE)
Research Areas