Life Cycle Assessment and Circular Economy Indicators to Design Sustainable Electric Outboards: Results From Workshops With Industrial Experts

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Saidani, Michael (1); Bayless, John (2); Huey, Dylan (1); Kim, Harrison (1); Anderson, Kevin (2)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; 2: Brunswick Corporation
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2445-2454
DOI number:


To help industries in their sustainable and circular transition from internal combustion engine production to electric motor production, the deployment of (i) a sound environmental impact assessment methodology, such as life cycle analysis, coupled with (ii) Design for Re-X tools, such as circularity indicators, is instrumental. To demonstrate the industrial relevance and complementary of both approaches, two consecutive workshops are conducted with a major original equipment manufacturer of recreational boats and their associated engines. On this basis, two circularity indicator-based tools were used to quantify and enhance (i) the circularity potential of the electric outboard as a whole, and (ii) the circularity performance of the two most impactful components, based on the LCA results: the electric motor unit and the lithium-ion battery pack. In all, the practice sessions supported the generation of strategic and operational ideas to improve the circularity of the electric outboard. As the industrial participants found both frameworks easy to use and efficient, all the details and resources used to conduct, replicate, or adapt such workshops in other industrial contexts are shared.

Keywords: Sustainability, Circular economy, Design for X (DfX)

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