Work Package 3 : Integrated design process toward circular PE systems implementation

Lead beneficiary: GSCOP Laboratory

This work package aims to guide companies (e.g. OSCORA power and EATON) from the PE sector in designing innovative life cycles keeping the devices embodied value high as long as possible in the economy. Moving towards a circular economy system will be supported by specifying with them the highest-performing recovery solutions from an environmental (multi-impact, attributional, consequential) and economically viable social point of views. The approach will be designed to define simultaneously eco-efficient and sustainable circular supply chains, implying the relevant actors, the future product life cycles and the associated end-of-life processes. Value chain models will complement some more regular design equations representing performances and technical issues in PE (from WP 1-2-4), environmentally assessed as early as possible during the PEs design development. The WP2 provides the a-d scenario based technically approved life cycle inventories that enables an appropriate environmental impact assessment. This systemic and multi-criteria analysis will allow a selection of relevant, clear and adapted indicators to the product designers (including some value chain decision makers identified in WP1) to analyze the potential rebound effects, avoiding unwanted environmental damages to be generated in the future, while keeping the PEs embodied value high. The WP5 operates as an in-ground confrontation of the environmentally LC science-based propositions guarantying the potential integration of the PE systems LC scenarios in product designers activities.

Circular PEs implementations will have to cope with the international target of staying under planetary boundaries, as part of a circular economy effectively managed in medium to long-term objectives. The planetary boundaries are essentially characterizing the ecosystems limits conditioning a sustainable human way of life, aligned with the engineering vision of the industrial world. The WP3 integrates the WP1-2-4 specific parameters aligned with their adapted tools for each value chain actor to support his/her capacity into examining the potential value of PE devices in subsystems, components, so as to make decisions in regard to the environmental, social and economic consequences. This systemic vision in addition to useful indicators for analyzing the life cycle scenarios will be co-developed with WPs from the beginning of VIVAE. An iterative interaction will ensure some trade-offs to be taken in regard to the consequences of the WP technical decisions. In addition, a special attention will be taken by the companies’ capacity to follow the “circular” recommendations emerging from this complex analysis. This WP will provide a number of key points to guide the WP5 experimental process in real case studies. A gradation of indicator and tool per industrial context, value chain singularities, technical issues, practical adaptability, knowledge and known-how lacks, etc. are envisaged to simulate real ground issues that would affect the global performance of PE based devices life cycle value chains.

WP3.1 action : model innovative life cycle design scenarios in regard to circularity issues

An approach to model innovative circular life cycle scenarios will be proposed taking into account multi-criteria, multiactors, technical constraints, material variability, environmental & cost impact, uncertainty result for decision making while adopting a systemic vision. Here, the work will consist in:

  • identifying the actors and their roles, in the value chain organization depending on scenarios (WP1), on technical issues (WP2) and on possible industrial processes (WP4) but also the necessary expertise in circularity (material circularity, energy efficiency, complex systems interactions, …)
  • building-up design for X methods and tools, addressing Knowledge and known-how (“X” stands for any life cycle stage or purpose, such as reuse, maintain, remanufacture, recycle)
  • modeling a dedicated “argus” as a multi-criterion evaluation supporting functional economy
  • setting-up models to be confronted on the ground (WP5) : capturing LCI, goal and scope definition for LCA of a-d scenarios based product systems

WP3.2 action : integrate circular visions in the value chain activities

The assessment of the new value chains will be possible while considering contextual parameters established in the previous model to support decision making with relevant indicators. We will focus on:

  • designing scenarios integration (Who, When, How, Why, Where, …)
  • tools and methods to support material circularity and energy efficiency in a-d scenarios
  • knowledge, and known-how that are lacking in designers activities
  • relevant indicators to prevent unwanted environmental impacts generations, and to minimize environmental impacts in a systemic manner/vision.

WP3.3 action : monitor/evaluate scenario a-d based LCA in an iterative manner scenarios, and by confrontation to technical, business, social context parameters

Once the life cycle models and scenarios established, the lacks and weaknesses will be identified to propose opportunities pathways. We will propose solutions to:

  • improve tools and methods to support material circularity and energy efficiency in a-d scenarios
  • build and capitalize new/emerging/identified knowledge, and known-how that are lacking in designers activities at key moments
  • support the interpretation of the environmental impact assessment (LCA) results within each contexts expressed in the related indicators

At the end of the project, LCA issues for PE based product integration in an “ideal” circular society (within uncertain material flow circular process based development and energy efficient product systems integration) will be identified. Improving design for circularity initial proposal within technical, environmental and business parameters could support emerging issues in LCA models and methods: uncertainties in attributional LCA, models to cope with planetary boundaries, parameters to develop consequential LCA models adapted to the a-d PE based scenarios in a circular vision of electronics in medium terms perspectives, “prospective” PSS…

Expected deliverables for the WP3

An in depth set of indicators models and tools to go towards circular economy in the field of power electronics engineering. We will be able to estimate indicators on the residual life state of products according to the chosen scenarios. The proposed analysis model could be used for design decision making, whether at the product, process or organizational level.