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Resource Efficiency Assessment—Comparing a Plug-In Hybrid with a Conventional Combustion Engine

Henßler, Martin; Bach, Vanessa; Berger, Markus; Finkbeiner, Matthias; Ruhland, Klaus; Schmidt, Mario (Contributor)

The strong economic growth in recent years has led to an intensive use of natural resources, which causes environmental stress as well as restrictions on the availability of resources. Therefore, a more efficient use of resources is necessary as an important contribution to sustainable development. The ESSENZ method presented in this article comprehensively assesses a product’s resource efficiency by going beyond existing approaches and considering the pollution of the environment as well as the physical and socio-economic availability of resources. This paper contains a short description of the ESSENZ methodology as well as a case study of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W 205)—comparing the conventional C 250 (petrol engine) with the C 350 e Plug-In Hybrid (electric motor and petrol engine). By applying the ESSENZ method it can be shown that the use of more and different materials for the Plug-In-Hybrid influences the dimensions physical and socio-economic availability significantly. However, for environmental impacts, especially climate change and summer smog, clear advantages of the C 350 e occur due to lower demand of fossil energy carriers. As shown within the case study, the when applying the ESSENZ method a comprehensive evaluation of the used materials and fossil energy carriers can be achieved.
Published in: Resources, 10.3390/resources5010005, MDPI