1998-11-30

Alcoa's Worldwide Life Cycle Information Initiative 982177

Important opportunities exist to improve the resource and environmental impacts of the automobile over its product life cycle. The use of aluminum in automobile designs is increasing, which offers ways to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during vehicle use via light weighting. However, to fully capture lifecycle reductions in environmental loadings and impacts, material suppliers, parts manufacturers and automakers must also understand which of their own operations and facilities offer opportunities for environmental improvements through investments in process or technology advances.
Quantifying these opportunities across the comprehensive life cycle of vehicle systems and components can be a challenging task because of the complexity of today's extended supply chain.
For instance, even quantifying opportunities from the front end-aluminum material supply-requires gathering, verifying and acting upon information from facilities throughout the world. For instance:
  • bauxite mining in Australia, Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean,
  • smelting of aluminum metal in North America, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and
  • aluminum parts fabrication and assembly in North America, Asia, Europe and throughout the world.
This paper highlights how the Aluminum Company of America is developing a new company-wide, worldwide information system to address this challenge. The aim of this worldwide information initiative is to identify environmentally significant opportunities in aluminum processing, product design, and recycling as more aluminum is incorporated into cars of the future.

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