Dynamic life cycle assessment for electric propulsion with net-zero fuels

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2023
Thesis identifier
  • T16670
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 202063367
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • In recent decades, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been widely adopted as a method to determine the holistic environmental impacts of products and systems across various industrial and academic sectors. The methodological soundness of LCA has been demonstrated during this period. Although the marine industry was a latecomer to LCA, with few studies reported until 2000, there has since been a gradual increase in the number of LCA applications for marine ships and fuels. Initially developed as a standardised model to assess the holistic environmental impacts of static activities, LCA has been criticised for its inadequacy when applied to the maritime sector, where ships are subject to dynamic changes. Shipping activities operate in an ever-changing environment of wind speed and direction, solar radiation, ship speed, load, routes, and voyage schedules. As a result, it is essential to estimate the environmental impact of ships on a real-time basis. This thesis highlights the research gaps inherent in the conventional LCA method and their applications in the maritime sector, which can be summarised into two fundamental issues: 1) the traditional LCA is overly dependent on past data, and 2) their results are deterministic while no real-time processes are involved. To address these gaps, this thesis introduces Dynamic LCA, which comprises two packages of LCA models: Live-LCA and Real-time LCA. The effectiveness of these LCA models was evaluated through a series of case studies. Live-LCA was applied to ships using solar PV systems, revealing a difference of up to 44% in the environmental impacts of the case ship compared to the traditional LCA. This case study also contributed to demystifying the lifecycle impacts of PV systems for marine applications. The second case study with Live-LCA was conducted to determine the viability of alternative fuels for Scotland's short-route ferries. The study proved that a key feature of Live-LCA, data generation through simulations, was effective under circumstances where real data is not available. Unlike Live-LCA, Real-Time LCA (RT-LCA) was designed to be applied to case studies where real-time data is accessible. The real-time data was transmitted through a digital platform developed by LAB021, a Korean ship digital solution provider. The format of outcomes, as real-time observation, was shown to be highly appreciable, while possibly encouraging ship operators to take immediate action to reduce lifecycle emissions if they are plotted too high. Overall, a key novelty of this thesis is the introduction of Dynamic LCA, which has been proven effective in resolving the fundamental limitations of conventional LCA. Key findings through a series of demonstrative works via case studies are also believed to make a sound contribution to the maritime industry while providing valuable insights into maritime decarbonisation in a holistic way. Lastly, Dynamic LCA can be a new standardised LCA method, challenging rules and policymakers for future regulatory frameworks.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Jeong, Byongug
Resource Type