Browse Publications Technical Papers 2018-37-0029

Take-Home Messages from the Applications of Life Cycle Assessment on Lightweight Automotive Components 2018-37-0029

During the last few decades, the European regulations concerning CO2 emissions and vehicle recyclability/recoverability rates are leading OEMs to develop and apply several technological strategies to increase environmental performances of vehicles. In this context, the lightweighting is a key concern because it effectively contributes to reduce vehicle mass, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions during the operation stage of vehicle. The research advancements are enhancing the applicability of a diverse set of innovative materials (e.g. polymers, bio-composites) to different vehicle assemblies and so the mass reduction with the same mechanical performances.
This paper deals with the implementation of LCA methodological approach in the design phase of components of Magneti Marelli® allowing a wider environmental conscious related to the usage of innovative materials and related manufacturing processes.
The most significant lightweight cases, and related LCA evaluations, developed until now are here reviewed and analyzed to: i) identify rooms for improvement reached by the application of light innovative materials to a diverse set of vehicle components; ii) detect the most sensitive parameters influencing the LCA results.
The results from the presented case studies demonstrated that particularly when lightweight strategy involves a complete substitution of heavy metals with polymer-based materials, it is not possible to predict benefits from lightweighting in a certain way due to the trade-off between use and production stages. Moreover, assumptions on the final treatment of EoL waste and the inclusion of secondary effects from component mass saving demonstrated to be the parameters most affecting the comparison between reference and lightweight design solutions.


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