Improving circularity for electric vehicles through repair A techno-economic analysis of a BEV HV battery and its climate impact

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2022
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Granehed, Alice
Lövstedt, Jacob
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The current climate crisis is a huge threat to our planet and the changes we im- plement within the upcoming years will decide how well we can mitigate its most severe effects. As the transport sector alone makes up about 12% of global annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, one of the key solutions that has been pointed out is the electrification of the vehicle fleet. Volvo Cars, a premium car brand with its headquarters in Gothenburg, have commit- ted to a fully electrified portfolio in 2030. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs), however, do not come without environmental problems. The manufacturing of lithium-ion battery cells requires significant amounts of energy and is known to have destruc- tive social and environmental impact. In order to reduce the impact, a circular approach for electric vehicle materials needs to be implemented. One way this can be enabled, is by repairing faulty lithium-ion batteries. This thesis aims to investi- gate and quantify the CO2 emissions generated by the manufacturing and transports of a lithium-ion battery as well as the potential savings gained through the repair process. In addition to this, the costs of the repair have been investigated to add a financial perspective. Existing data from literature and environmental databases have been used to quantify the emissions and then, by constructing a decision sup- port tool, investigate the emissions and costs from the repair. This in order to show the potential savings in CO2 emissions and and costs. The quantification of the manufacturing related emissions for the specific battery pack under investigation resulted in a total of 11 tonnes of CO2e. According to this study, the repair of the specific lithium-ion battery under investigation can result in as much as 99% savings for CO2 and cost compared to producing a new pack. The study also shows that there are significant differences in CO2 savings between the investigated scenarios, where the maximum scenario is over 300 times larger than the minimum scenario. The transports generally make up a relatively small share of the total emissions in the studied scenarios and are deemed to have small influence. As a future outlook, the consequences of developing non-repairable BEV batteries have been highlighted together with a comparison of a centralized and decentralized repair strategy. In order to build and increase knowledge of EV circularity, it will be crucial for Volvo Cars to continuously investigate the climate impact for all BEV battery components to identify action areas. This thesis has been carried out at Chalmers University of Technology in collaboration with Volvo Cars.
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battery electric vehicle, BEV, EV, high voltage battery, lithium-ion, climate impact, circular economy, repair, fe cycle assessment, end-of-life
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