With almost one million electric bicycles sold in Germany in 2018, sales figures rose by 36 percent compared to the previous year, but what happens to electric bicycles at the end of their product life is often unclear at present. The “AddRE-Mo” project addresses this problem by researching the prototypical development of a value retention network for urban electromobility. The aim is to investigate the decentralized recycling of electric bicycles by combining additive manufacturing processes and remanufacturing.
Value retention networks for urban electromobility
The amount of resources used per vehicle, e.g., energy or material, plays a central role in sustainable market development. For this reason, the “AddRE-Mo” consortium, which consists of companies and research institutions, aims to develop value retention networks for urban electromobility.
In the future, used products (cores) will be remanufactured using additive manufacturing processes and remanufacturing to enable closed product cycles in a decentralized approach. Remanufacturing increases resource efficiency over the entire product service life and creates the opportunity to produce more cost-effective, remanufactured electric bicycles.
Suitable business models and solutions for the return of components and their remanufacturing are being developed to recycle components efficiently. Simulations and scenario analyses will be used to analyze ecological, economic, and social effects on the future value network
Conducted stakeholder analysis
The opinions of 513 users, 45 workshops, and 14 experts were collected for a comprehensive analysis of potentials and obstacles. In the process, important insights were gained for the future design of value retention networks. More than 80 % of the users surveyed expressed interest in purchasing products with remanufactured components. The experts and workshops surveyed also see great potential in remanufacturing. Around half of the workshops stated that the motor is a suitable component for remanufacturing and that damage occurs mainly in the two most cost-intensive components, the motor, and the accumulator.
The results of the stakeholder analysis were summarized in the study “Future trend sustainable electric bicycles? - Survey on the Circular Economy in the Electric Bicycle Industry”.
Design for additive Remanufacturing
The integration of additive manufacturing technologies into the remanufacturing process is essential for establishing a local and resource-efficient value retention network for electric bicycles. Based on the stakeholder analysis and the identified requirements for the design of future value retention networks, the project consortium evaluates selected components concerning their potential for remanufacturing using additive manufacturing processes.
The findings obtained cover the remanufacturing process, from creating a CAD file through the additive manufacturing process to comprehensive tests. The results are incorporated into guidelines for the design of additive remanufacturing.
The “AddRE-Mo” project consortium bundles the know-how to form future value retention networks. The industrial partner Electric Bike Solutions GmbH contributes its expertise in converting and repairing electric bicycles. The industrial partner O.R. Lasertechnologie GmbH develops recommendations for “Design for additive remanufacturing”. The Wuppertal Institute and the Project Group Process Innovation of the Fraunhofer IPA focus on the implementation of additive remanufacturing. Their findings are taken up by the Cluster of Environmental Technologies Bavaria and disseminated to the public.
C. Koop, J. Grosse Erdmann, J. Koller; F. Döpper, Circular Business Models for Remanufacturing in the Electric Bicycle Industry,Frontiers in Sustainability, 2021, 2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/frsus.2021.785036
C. Koop; J. Koller, J. Große, V. Klein, Kreislaufwirtschaft in der Elektrofahrradbranche: Untersuchung zur Refabrikation als Lösungsansatz für eine Kreislaufführung von Elektrofahrrädern, Müll und Abfall, 2021; p. 437 – 443. DOI: https://doi.org/10.37307/j.1863-9763.2021.08.05
C. Häfner, J. Koller, C. Koop, V. Klein, Zukunftstrend nachhaltige Elektrofahrräder? Erhebung zur Kreislaufwirtschaft in der Elektrofahrradbranche, Bayreuth, 2021.
Link to the study: https://www.ipa.fraunhofer.de/de/Publikationen/studien/zukunftstrend_nachhaltige_elektrofahrraeder.html in German
Interview: „Verbraucher unterstützen Remanufacturing“ (03/23/2021) in German
Project sheets of the funding measure (German) (August 2019)
The project sheets provide a brief overview of the individual projects and their goals.
Picture credits: AddRE-Mo