Browse Publications Technical Papers 2018-36-0067

Life cycle assessment of aluminum in recycling end of life vehicles 2018-36-0067

The survival of humanity in the upcoming decades will depend on the sustainability of the consumed products. There is a global effort to develop solutions to reduce environmental and energy impacts with the production of these products. This paper presents a careful analysis of automotive recycling and the role of aluminum in the life cycle of these vehicles. It is known that the number of vehicles is getting close to 1 billion units while the number of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) has also been increasing dramatically throughout the entire planet. The average car has between 30 to 150 kg of aluminum, there is an increasing trend in this amount in exchange of a reduced final weight of the vehicle. Aluminum can be recycled repeatedly without losing its physical-chemical properties. There are two ways of obtaining the metal; one is by the direct extraction of natural resources through the mining of bauxite and the second through its recycling. The two processes are analyzed through existing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in the literature. In an unprecedented way, the Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) tool will be directly applied to the LCA, pursuing to point out the most important details of the impact assessment. A comparison of their environmental and energy impact will show the global economic benefits of a systemic recycling of ELV and aluminum.


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