OPTIMIZATION STRATEGIES OF A PARAMETRIC PRODUCT DESIGN FOR A CIRCULAR ECONOMY WITH APPLICATION TO AN ELECTRIC TRACTION MOTOR
In our daily lives, we rely on a multitude of discrete products to meet our needs. Traditional product design approaches have primarily focused on economic and technical aspects, often overlooking the pressing environmental and social challenges facing society. Recognizing the limitations of our ecological systems to cope with the waste generated by our current industrial processes, there is a growing need to anticipate the potential consequences of product design across technical, economic, environmental, and social dimensions to pave the way for a sustainable future. One promising strategy within this context is the integration of sustainability principles into optimization-based design models that consider a product's entire life cycle. While there have been previous efforts to optimize product life cycles, a comprehensive exploration of optimization-based design methods with a focus on multiple objectives for discrete products is essential. This dissertation explores the integration of sustainability principles with optimization-based design by taking the electric traction motor used in electric vehicles as a case study. This complex and environmentally significant technology is ideal for investigating the tradeoffs and benefits of incorporating sustainability objectives into the design process.
The key tasks undertaken in this study are as follows:
- Development of a parametric design and optimization framework for a surface-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motor. In this task, a special emphasis is placed on reducing reliance on materials with a high supply risk, such as rare earth elements.
- Creation of a parametric life cycle assessment model that combines life cycle assessment and optimization-based design to minimize a single-score environmental impact. This model offers insights into the environmental performance of product design and underscores the importance of minimizing environmental impact throughout a product's life cycle.
- Integration of a life cycle costing model, incorporating techno-economic assessment and total cost of ownership perspectives, into the parametric life cycle assessment and optimization-based design models. This model is used to minimize levelized production and driving costs, shedding light on the trade-offs within this family of cost metrics and the optimization of manufacturing systems for motor production.
- Proposal of a circular economy model/algorithm to assess the advantages of integrating the circular economy paradigm during the early design phase. All the mentioned objective functions are considered to study the impacts of applying the circular economy paradigm.
The contributions of this research can be summarized as follows:
- Utilized a diverse array of analytical methodologies to parameterize the design process of a motor, incorporating the integration of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA) models, as well as the incorporation of disassembly planning for informed decision-making in the early stages of design.
- Proposed a generalized objective function denoted as the Supply Risk-equivalent (SR-eq.), aimed at mitigating the risks associated with the dependency on critical materials in product manufacturing.
- Introduced a novel approach for visualizing non-dominated solutions within a multi-objective framework, with experimentation conducted on up to six distinct objectives.
- Substantiated the significance of decarbonizing the electric grid while maintaining competitive cost structures, the importance of advancing non-destructive evaluation (NDE) procedures for assessing the condition of end-of-life (EoL) subassemblies, and optimizing the collection rate of EoL motors.
Demonstrated that the optimization of technical metrics as surrogate indicators for economic and environmental performance does not necessarily yield designs that are concurrently optimal in economic and environmental terms.
This research was supported by the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), an Energy Innovation Hub funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office. CMI is led by Ames National Laboratory, operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Iowa State University of Science and Technology under Contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11358.
I acknowledge funding from DARPA’s EMBER (Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource) program through Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Environmental and Ecological Engineering
- West Lafayette