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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 25, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Automotive electrification holds the promise of mitigating transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, yet at the expense of growing demand for critical metals. Here, we analyze the trade-off between the decarbonization potential of the road transportation sector and its critical metal requirement from the demand-side perspective in 48 major countries committing to decarbonize their road transportation sectors aided by electric vehicles (EVs). Our results demonstrate that deploying EVs with 40–100% penetration by 2050 can increase lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese demands by 2909–7513%, 2127–5426%, 1039–2684%, and 1099–2838%, respectively, and grow platinum group metal requirement by 131–179% in the 48 investigated countries, relative to 2020. Higher EV penetration reduces GHG emissions from fuel use regardless of the transportation energy transition, while those from fuel production are more sensitive to energy-sector decarbonization and could reach nearly “net zero” by 2040.

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  3. Abstract

    This article addresses the sustainable design and synthesis of open‐loop recycling process of waste high‐density polyethylene (HDPE) under both environmental and economic criteria. We develop by far the most comprehensive superstructure for producing monomers, aromatic mixtures, and fuels from waste HDPE. The superstructure optimization problem is then formulated as a multi‐objective mixed‐integer nonlinear fractional programming (MINFP) problem to simultaneously optimize the unit net present value (NPV) and unit life cycle environmental impacts. A tailored global optimization algorithm integrating the inexact parametric algorithm with the branch‐and‐refine algorithm is applied to efficiently solve the resulting nonconvex MINFP problem. Results show that the optimal unit NPV ranges from $107.2 to $151.3 per ton of HDPE treated. Moreover, the unit life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of the most environmentally friendly HDPE recycling process are 0.40 ton CO2‐eq per ton of HDPE treated, which is 63% of that of the most economically competitive process design.

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