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Technical Product-Service Systems: Analysis and reduction of the Cumulative Energy Demand

Glatt, Moritz F., Yi, Li, Mert, Gülsüm, Linke, Barbara S., Aurich, Jan C.
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.206 pp. 727-740
business enterprises, life cycle assessment, primary energy
Technical Product-Service Systems (PSS) consist of technical products that are enhanced by life cycle-oriented services. PSS enable companies to fulfill individual customer requirements and to build long-term customer relationships. Besides their economic advantages, PSS are attributed to positive effects on ecological sustainability. However, the complex structure of PSS challenges the quantification of their impact on all aspects of ecological sustainability. This leads to the demand for quantification methods with increased practical applicability compared to methods that encompass all aspects of ecological sustainability like the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). In this context, the Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) is an elaborated method that enables the comparison of different products or services regarding their primary energy demand. Since many aspects of ecological sustainability correlate to the primary energy demand, CED is seen as a suitable estimate of the results of an LCA with reduced efforts and complexity. In consequence, the adaption of the CED method to PSS is a promising research task that could support the design and operation of PSS with increased ecological sustainability. Therefore, this paper presents an approach to systematically analyze and reduce the CED of a PSS (CEDPSS). In order to validate the feasibility of the approach, a use case from agriculture machinery is carried out. The results indicate that the technical product is responsible for a large percentage of CEDPSS, while services have a relatively low impact. Despite their low primary energy demand, specifically designed services can reduce CEDPSS. This can be described as an energetic leverage effect of services in PSS.