A complete and fully consistent LCA-based comparison of a range of lightweighting options for compact passenger vehicles is presented and discussed, using advanced lightweight materials (Al, Mg and carbon fibre composites), and including all life cycle stages and a number of alternative end-of-life scenarios. Results underline the importance of expanding the analysis beyond the use phase, and point to maximum achievable reductions of environmental impact of approximately 7% in most impact categories. In particular, lightweighting strategies based on the use of aluminium were found to be the most robust and consistent in terms of reducing the environmental impacts (with the notable exception of a relatively high potential toxicity). The benefits of using magnesium instead appear to be less clear-cut, and strongly depend on achieving the complete phase-out of SF6 in the metal production process, as well as the establishment of a separate close-loop recycling scheme. Finally, the use of carbon fibre composites leads to similar environmental benefits to those achieved by using Al, albeit generally at a higher economic cost.
Morrey, DeniseHutchinson, AllanWinfield, Patricia
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Year of publication: 2015Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-06-08