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Life cycle assessment as an engineering tool in the automotive industry

Lebensdauer-Voraussage als Konstruktionswerkzeug in der Automobilindustrie


International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 1 (1996), No.1, pp.15-21
ISSN: 0948-3349
ISSN: 1614-7502
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ICT ()
automotive industry; Engineering tool; life cycle assessment

For this study, the following conclusions for improvement can be drawn: The usage phase is dominated by the fuel consumption and the CO(2) emissions arising from this, for other emissions the production phase and the recycling is also of great importance, light product weight is a possibility for improving energy use and limiting the contribution to global warming, lightweight products may require higher environmental investments in the production or recycling phase, In some cases these investments are very useful, recycling is more important for expensive and energy intensive materials. From other studies and the results not reported here, the following conclusions can be made: The fuel production has great impact and is not well known today, the best basis for the decision making is a supplier specific LCA, close cooperations between producers and suppliers are necessary. The possibilities offered by LCA studies are large. Starting from comparative studies, the assessment and choice of processes, materials, parts or even systems is possible with daily practise. Even location or supplier choices are possible. The systematic process of a LCA study ensures transparency and repeatability. Judgement and decision making support is also possible. LCA studies offer a good basis for the decision making process. Improvement considerations and weak point analysis methods offer the opportunity not only to identify environmental improvement possibilities. Practise shows that economical benefits can be identified as well. However, there are also limitations: The boundary conditions and system definitions have great influence in the study, result? Data quality dominates the result reliability. Ranges may lead to uncertainties. Today's studies are time and labour intensive, and therefore expensive. Every single study is a snapshot and only valid within a certain time frame. Data gaps always exist and have to be closed.