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Circular Vehicles – Sustainability and Resource Efficiency-Related Improvements in the Automotive Sector

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioeconomy of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2023) | Viewed by 4902

Special Issue Editors

Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. Da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: business models; electronic waste; sustainability; recycling; automotive engineering; green marketing; product development; innovation; sustainable development goals
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Guest Editor
Centro Universitario de la Defensa, Universidad de Zaragoza, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: circular economy applied to vehicles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
CIRCE Institute, University of Zaragoza, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: critical raw materials; eco-design; recycling; circular economy; sustainability; resource efficiency; thermodynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will include impactful papers focused on the sustainable use of raw materials in the automobile manufacturing industry.

A conventional car is made of more than 50 different types of metals, most of which are crucial in their design. In addition, the renovation of current cars to cleaner, safer and more comfortable ones will increase the demand for these crucial metals in the manufacturing of some components: batteries, LEDs for lighting, permanent magnets for motors, electronic units and different kinds of sensors. As a result, the availability of adequate raw materials is a matter of concern for the automobile industry; therefore, new sustainable and circular approaches must be applied as a matter of urgency.

This Special Issue aims to investigate how vehicles can become more sustainable in terms of raw materials and how more scarce metals mainly used in sensors or electronics car parts can be recovered.

We welcome contributions tackling this broad area of research and include, among others, the following topics:

  • ELV recycling improvements;
  • Metallurgical processes to recover critical raw materials;
  • Eco-design approaches;
  • Electronic waste recycling;
  • Reusability and retrofitting alternatives;
  • Opportunities that new technologies offer to improve vehicle recycling;
  • Industry 4.0 applied to recycling processes;
  • Disassemblability, recyclability and eco-design strategies;
  • Waste reduction;
  • Circular economy strategies applied to automobile manufacturing sector;
  • Circular business models;
  • Digitally enabled circular practices;
  • Circular supply chain management;
  • Circularity performance assessment tools;
  • Bioeconomy adoption in car manufacturing;
  • Digital technologies for sustainable manufacturing;
  • Product end-of-life management;
  • Waste management practices;
  • The economic assessment of circular manufacturing practices;
  • The environmental assessment of circular manufacturing practices;
  • The social assessment of circular manufacturing practices.

This Special Issue welcomes both theoretical and empirical papers that leverage various methodological approaches and are strongly supported by the management literature.

Dr. Paolo Rosa
Dr. Abel Ortego
Prof. Dr. Alicia Valero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • vehicle recycling
  • critical raw materials
  • circular economy
  • resource efficiency
  • sustainable vehicles
  • circular business models
  • circular supply chains
  • circular manufacturing
  • bio-based manufacturing
  • digitally enabled circular practices
  • Industry 4.0

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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22 pages, 4844 KiB  
Article
Criticality and Recyclability Assessment of Car Parts—A Thermodynamic Simulation-Based Approach
by Marta Iglesias-Émbil, Alejandro Abadías, Alicia Valero, Guiomar Calvo, Markus Andreas Reuter and Abel Ortego
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010091 - 21 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1766
Abstract
Using a thermodynamic approach, this paper identifies the most critical parts of a car, considering their composition. A total of 11 car parts that contain valuable and scarce materials have been selected using thermodynamic rarity, an indicator that helps assess elements and minerals [...] Read more.
Using a thermodynamic approach, this paper identifies the most critical parts of a car, considering their composition. A total of 11 car parts that contain valuable and scarce materials have been selected using thermodynamic rarity, an indicator that helps assess elements and minerals in exergy terms according to their relative scarcity in the crust and the energy required to extract and refine them. A recyclability analysis using a product-centric approach was then undertaken using dedicated software, HSC Chemistry. To that end, the dismantling of these car parts into three main fractions was performed. Each car part was divided into non-ferrous, steel, and aluminum flows. A general metallurgical process was developed and simulated for each flow, including all the required equipment to extract most of the minor but valuable metals. Of the 11 parts, only 7 have a recyclability potential higher than 85%. By treating these selected car parts appropriately, the raw materials’ value recovered from the car can increase by 6%. The approach used in this paper can help provide guidelines to improve the eco-design of cars and can also be applied to other sectors. Ultimately, this paper uniquely introduces simulation-based thermodynamic rarity analysis for thermodynamic based product “design for recycling”. Full article
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Review

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28 pages, 1774 KiB  
Review
Circular Economy Approaches for Electrical and Conventional Vehicles
by Claudiu Vasile Kifor and Niculina Alexandra Grigore
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 6140; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15076140 - 3 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2453
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to analyze the current state of the research and the trends in the field of Circular Economy (CE) for the automotive industry, with electric vehicles (EVs) and conventional vehicles (CVs), being analyzed separately. A systematic literature search [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to analyze the current state of the research and the trends in the field of Circular Economy (CE) for the automotive industry, with electric vehicles (EVs) and conventional vehicles (CVs), being analyzed separately. A systematic literature search was conducted using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) method, to screen and select articles from the Clarivate Web of Science database. For the detailed analysis, the information from the selected articles was structured based on such criteria as study objective, findings, limitations, and research proposals, and was further organized into nine categories for EVs, and into four categories for CVs. There were several CE strategies identified in the review, but a major challenge remains the evaluation of these strategies, in order to determine the most relevant, effective, and efficient ones, starting from the goal of minimizing the resource functionality loss. Future studies should focus on promoting new green technologies in the automotive industry, with an emphasis on circularity, in terms of raw materials, energy, production systems, product life extension, second use application, reuse, recycling, and end of life. Full article
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