The role of life cycle assessment in evaluating alternatives for electrification of roads and long haul trucks in Sweden
Conference poster, 2013
In September 2012, the Swedish Government presented a 1.3 billion SEK investment for the years 2013-2016 targeted on improving the infrastructure for transportation of iron ore powder between the mine in Kaunisvaara and Svappavaara, where it is transferred to train. This decision was preceded by an official report from the Swedish Transport Administration investigating necessary road reconstruction along with alternatives for electrification of the vehicles used. As a result, a new road of 140 kilometers will be constructed and at the same time serve as test project for electric road technologies in Sweden, with the initial focus set on heavy duty trucks.
Scania CV AB is the supplier of the 90 ton long haul trucks which will transport the iron ore powder, and also an active part in the rapidly evolving area of electric roads in Sweden. In August 2012, the company’s Hybrid Systems Development Department initiated a life cycle assessment (LCA) on this case, set up in the form of a master’s thesis.
The LCA study compares three different drivetrain alternatives for the heavy long haul trucks. In essence, the cradle to grave cycle impact of a set of additional components is compared with the effect of the reduced total energy use of fuel and electricity in the well-to-wheel phase, for a conventional truck, a hybrid (made more efficient by integrating electric propulsion) and a hybrid with external power supply from the road. The aim of the study is to evaluate the environmental impact of the three alternatives and to demonstrate how it changes over the different life cycle phases.
The motive of Scania has been to increase their knowledge of the environmental impacts of drivetrain electrification, and also to provide support for internal decisions and future strategies on how to meet energy efficiency targets. The idea is also to present the results within the test project working group and thereby contribute to the overall project evaluation.
The aim of this presentation is to point out that the increased governmental focus on electric roads in Sweden and Scania’s need to understand the effect of this technology in an environmental systems perspective, has given LCA a role in the evaulation. Hence, the results and conclusions of the LCA will be presented. Finally, the opportunities and limitations of LCA as a learning tool when applied on this type of emerging technology at a department with no prior LCA experience will be discussed.
life cycle assessment