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An Integrated Model to Conduct Multi-Criteria Technology Assessments: The Case of Electric Vehicle Batteries

Lookup NU author(s): Joris Baars, Professor Oliver Heidrich



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society. The large-scale adoption of low-carbon technologies can result in trade-offs between technical, socio-economic, and environmental aspects. To assess such trade-offs, discipline-specific models typically used in isolation need to be integrated to support decisions. Integrated modeling approaches, however, usually remain at the conceptual level, and operationalization efforts are lacking. Here, we propose an integrated model and framework to guide the assessment and engineering of technical, socio-economic, and environmental aspects of low-carbon technologies. The framework was tested with a case study of design strategies aimed to improve the material sustainability of electric vehicle batteries. The integrated model assesses the trade-offs between the costs, emissions, material criticality, and energy density of 20,736 unique material design options. The results show clear conflicts between energy density and the other indicators: i.e., energy density is reduced by more than 20% when the costs, emissions, or material criticality objectives are optimized. Finding optimal battery designs that balance between these objectives remains difficult but is essential to establishing a sustainable battery system. The results exemplify how the integrated model can be used as a decision support tool for researchers, companies, and policy makers to optimize low-carbon technology designs from various perspectives.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Baars J, Cerdas F, Heidrich O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science and Technology

Year: 2023

Volume: 57

Issue: 12

Pages: 5056-5067

Print publication date: 28/03/2023

Online publication date: 13/03/2023

Acceptance date: 27/02/2023

Date deposited: 31/03/2023

ISSN (print): 0013-936X

ISSN (electronic): 1520-5851

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.2c04080


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FITG Newcastle 18