Design for Sustainability (D4S) and Design for Circularity (D4C) for the automotive industry using state-of-the art sustainability assessment tool

To decarbonize the automotive value chain, innovations that enhance the life cycle and circularity performance of the vehicles are needed at a faster pace. To support this decarbonization goal, ALMA, an EU-sponsored Horizon 2020 project, aims to develop a novel, lightweight structure (at TRL 8) for a battery electric vehicle that has lower environmental impacts compared to conventional design. ALMA project applies a two-level approach: 1) holistic eco-design of the novel vehicle structure and 2) adoption of circular economy principles across the entire vehicle life cycle.

In the ALMA project, TNO developed a web-based sustainability assessment tool named BEVSIM, Battery Electric Vehicle Sustainability Impact Assessment Model, to evaluate the environmental, circularity, and economic impacts of the materials, sub-systems, and parts of Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle (ICEV) across the entire cradle-to-grave life cycle. BEVSIM can perform the following types of impact assessments: life cycle hotspot analysis, environmental impact assessment, circularity assessment, and economic impacts analysis (life cycle costing).

BEVSIM allows the product designs, engineers, and sustainability experts to measure and compare impacts resulting from design alternatives, lightweight designs, material or sub-system choice, recycling technologies, end-of-life scenarios, and future scenarios resulting from changes in grid mixes. The presentation will introduce the ALMA project, its objectives, and share insights on the TNO BEVSIM tool which enables the adoption of Design for Sustainability (D4S) and Design for Circularity (D4C) in the automotive industry.

A presentation by Rajesh Mehta, Senior Consultant Climate, Air and Sustainability at TNO.

The view of the speaker

Question 1: What drives you?
Decarbonization and Circular Economy megatrends are reshaping several sectors. Industry, governments, and start-up ecosystems are actively working towards building solutions to accelerate these megatrends and transition. The technological and business challenges associated with this transition thrives me. As an ecosystem partner, I like to be at the interface of business, technology, and sustainability to accelerate the change to the new economic system.

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your session?
The presentation will introduce the EU-sponsored project ALMA and will highlight the TNO web-based tool (BEVSIM) for the automotive sector its features, capabilities, usability with examples. The participants will also benefit from understanding issues related to BEV versus ICE comparison, lightweight, design for sustainability (D4S), and design for circularity (D4C).

Question 3: What emerging technologies / trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Composites and light-weighting will continue to gain traction in battery electric vehicles in the short and medium run. However, challenges in developing recycling and circularity solutions for BEV need attention. In the long run, BEV will continue to grow in sales and market share. The pace of BEV adoption will also accelerate globally with Asia catching up.

About Rajesh Mehta
Rajesh Mehta is a technology and management professional with ~17 years of diversified experience in the global petrochemical and plastics industry. He has deep expertise in corporate sustainability, strategy, business, and financial modeling. As a senior consultant at TNO, Rajesh advises industry and policymakers on decarbonization and circular economy strategies. Rajesh has multifaceted program management experience ranging from technology development to technology assessment, and value chain analysis to deliver company-wide impact. At TNO, Rajesh works closely with technology teams and consortium partners to evaluate the commercial and sustainability potential of technologies under the development cycle.

About TNO
TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research, was founded by law in 1932 to enable businesses and governments to apply knowledge. As an organization regulated by public law, TNO is independent: not part of any government, university, or company. TNO connects people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the competitive strength of industry and the well-being of society in a sustainable way. We believe in the joint creation of economic and social value. We focus on transitions or changes in nine social themes:

  • Buildings, Infrastructure & Maritime: ‘Robust constructions, sustainable use
  • The Circular Economy and the Environment: ‘Directing and accelerating sustainability,
  • Defense, Safety, and Security: ‘We’re putting our knowledge and technology to work for safety and security
  • Energy: ‘Faster towards a sustainable energy supply
  • Healthy living: ‘Focussing on participation, not on the disease
  • Industry: ‘Innovating for employment, welfare, and well-being
  • Information & Communication Technology: ‘Interpreting and accelerating digital transformation
  • Strategic Analysis & Policy: ‘Turning complex issues into concrete innovations
  • Traffic and Transport: ‘Helping to create liveable, sustainable cities

TNO stands for innovation with purpose and to develop knowledge, not for its own sake, but practical application.

Rajesh Mehta is speaker at the 2022 edition of the Materials 4 Sustainable Mobility Conference.

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