APC LCA Week Webinar 06.07.2020 Vehicle Emissions – Widening the Lens

By July 14, 2020 No Comments

Advanced Propulsion Centre – #LCAWeek 6th – 10th July 2020

Widening the Lens – Monday 6th July – Energising a sustainable future.

Today the APC launched LCAWeek & it’s series of morning webinars to discuss how we look at the bigger picture, beyond just tailpipe emissions.

This morning’s keynote speakers were Jane Patterson – Technology Strategy Consultant from Ricardo, Dr Will Drury – Challenge Director, UK Research & Innovation, Dr Stuart Coles – Associate Professor Warwick University & Professor Clare Davis – Tata Steel Professor of thermo-mechanical processing, Warwick University.

The subject of todays webinar was ‘Energising a sustainable future’ & the focus from the speakers addressed the specific needs of LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) throughout the automotive sector & beyond.

Here is a summary of today’s webinar.

Jane Patterson – Technology Strategy Consultant from Ricardo was the keynote speaker for this morning’s session.

The LCA study undertaken by Ricardo was summarised by Jane Patterson in todays session & she addressed the need for a shift in production ethos from ‘in-use’ emissions to a holistic life cycle approach. One of the elements of the research undertaken by Ricardo is how vehicle manufacture must strike a balance between Human Health, Environmental Impact & Economic Wellbeing.

The need for additional LCA research programmes is to ensure that the future of mobility in all it’s formats, can continue to reduce the life cycle Co2 & emissions impact of a vehicle.

Until now emissions research has been based on ‘tailipipe’ emission rates & of course in traditional ICE combustion, this has been take as a bench mark of the environmental impact of a traditional ICE. However, the Ricardo study has taken in to account the Well-to-Wheel & Vehicle Life Cycle emissions as well.

Jane Patterson spoke about the ‘embedded emissions’ of ICE, PHEV & BEV vehicles & used as an illustration the evidence that currently the pay off for a BEV against a ICE from a life cycle emissions point of view, is approximately four years road time or 30,000km.

One other area Ricardo have been researching is the Co2/emissions of the supply chain & how this is affected when calculating the life cycle, Birth – In Use – Death of a vehicle. The supply chain manufacture of components, mineral mining & in the case of the BEV, battery production (which is still one of the reasons the BEV emissions are higher in manufacturer than an ICE or PHEV) is still an area for global improvement, whereby OEM’s & supply chains will need to work alongside each other & collaborate more efficiently to achieve Net Zero.

Dr Will Drury  – Challenge Director, UK Research & Innovation – ‘Driving the electric Revolution’ reiterated a lot of Jane Patterson’s points. One key area he focused on was where do all of the components, alloys, minerals come from for Power Electronics, Machinery & Drives in any form of mobility vehicle? When considering the emissions & Co2 produced for any vehicle, the entire supply chain from rare earth minerals to electronics has got to be taken as a consideration when building relevant data.

Dr Stuart Coles – Associate Professor at WMG, Warwick University continued the theme of the need for LCA & understanding vehicle emissions across the entire life cycle of a vehicle.

One element he brough to the discussion was the manufacture & supply of BEV batteries & commented that manufacturing EV batteries, still currently produces more Co2 emissions in manufacture, than a traditional ICE vehicle with some 33%-100% more for a BEV that ICE.

The absolute values of BEV battery vary due to the type of car/vehicle & the location of the mining & supply operation, but as Dr Coles mentioned, the reason why BEV have become so popular is because they are zero emissions at the point of use. This beggars the question if the consumer is aware & or concerned by the life cycle of their BEV & if they are at all aware of the Co2/emissions impact of the life cycle of their ‘green’ vehicle?

Professor Clare Davis – Tata Steel Professor of thermo-mechanical processing, Warwick University brought the supply chain under more scrutiny & in particular the manufacture of steel & aluminium, still the most used metals used in any vehicle.

Her observations as with all the speakers today were based on the LCA of metal supply & how the supply chains are currently still bound by very traditional mining & manufacturing methods. Professor Davis did however bring up the name of HYBRIT a Swedish innovation of fossil free steel production.

‘In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

During 2018, work started on the construction of a pilot plant for fossil-free steel production in Luleå, Sweden. The goal is to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035. If successful, HYBRIT means that together we can reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%.’


Summarised by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2