Towards Standardising Methods for Reporting the Embodied Energy Content of Aerospace Products 2017-01-9002
Within the aerospace industry there is a growing interest in evaluating and reducing the environmental impacts of products and related risks to business. Consequently, requests from governments, customers, manufacturers, and other interested stakeholders, for environmental information about aerospace products are becoming widespread. Presently, requests are inconsistent and this limits the ability of the aerospace industry to meet the informational needs of various stakeholders and reduce the environmental impacts of their products in a cost-effective manner. Energy consumption is a significant business cost, risk, and a simple proxy value for overall environmental impact. This paper presents the initial research carried out by an academic and industry consortium to develop standardised methods for calculating and reporting the embodied manufacturing energy content of aerospace products. Following an action research approach, three potential methods are identified and applied in a real manufacturing environment. Suitability for use across the aerospace value chain is assessed. The benefits, implementations issues, areas of data uncertainty, and differences in results are outlined. Results show companies could be over/under reporting the embodied manufacturing energy content of parts by a factor of 10. The subsequent business and EU policy implications for industry reporting and evaluating product risks are discussed. The paper concludes the novel research outcomes will be valuable to businesses and other interested stakeholders seeking to report or understand the embodied energy content of aerospace products and associated data uncertainty, as well as inform the development of future industry standards.