Enabling Circular Life-cycle Thinking and Measuring of Sustainability From an Industrial Ecologists Perspective

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2021
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Byström, Fredrik
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Assessing the sustainability of an automotive component can be complex because sustainability aspects need to be balanced against each other. In order to allow the automotive industry to make wise decisions, the industry needs efficient tools which users with little sustainability knowledge can apply to make sustainable decisions in an early concept phase. This thesis researches how such a tool could be constructed and applied to increase the quality of sustainability decisions while expanding circular life-cycle thinking. This thesis applies the knowledge and conclusions from recent life-cycle assessments of electric machines to build a sustainability calculation tool for the Propulsion department at Volvo Cars. The environmental priority strategy methodology was selected to calculate monetary values for environmental impacts from producing electric machines. One of the results from this thesis is the tool that incorporates the earlier mentioned aspects to create an understanding of circular life-cycle thinking and how efficient end-of-life processes can affect the sustainability of a component. The second result consists of outputs from the tool, which are compared and analyzed to determine the tool’s accuracy. The complexity of the tool was also checked by having users draw conclusions of tool outputs and comparing those to the researcher’s conclusions. The main takeaways from the tool development process are that the tool needed to be very clear and easy to understand. Something evident to the researcher may not be evident to the designers and vice versa.
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life-cycle thinking, circular economy, life-cycle assessment, electric machines, electric motors, resource efficiency, sustainability tool, environmental priority strategy, climate change, eco-design, resource life-extending strategies, sustainable development, industrial ecology
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