Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Life Cycle and Energy Assessment of Automotive Components Manufacturing: The Dilemma Between Aluminium and Cast Iron

Version 1 : Received: 6 June 2019 / Approved: 11 June 2019 / Online: 11 June 2019 (06:39:26 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Salonitis, K.; Jolly, M.; Pagone, E.; Papanikolaou, M. Life-Cycle and Energy Assessment of Automotive Component Manufacturing: The Dilemma Between Aluminum and Cast Iron. Energies 2019, 12, 2557. Salonitis, K.; Jolly, M.; Pagone, E.; Papanikolaou, M. Life-Cycle and Energy Assessment of Automotive Component Manufacturing: The Dilemma Between Aluminum and Cast Iron. Energies 2019, 12, 2557.

Journal reference: Energies 2019, 12, 2557
DOI: 10.3390/en12132557

Abstract

Considering the manufacturing of automotive components, there exists a dilemma around the substitution of traditional Cast Iron (CI) with lighter metals. Nowadays, aluminium alloys, being lighter compared to traditional materials, are considered as a more environmentally friendly solution. However, the energy required for the extraction of the primary materials and manufacturing of components is usually not taken into account in this debate. In this study, an extensive literature review has been performed to estimate the overall energy required for the manufacturing of an engine cylinder block using (a) cast iron and (b) aluminium alloys. Moreover, data from over 100 automotive companies, ranging from mining companies to consultancy firms, have been collected in order to support the soundness of this investigation. The environmental impact of the manufacturing of engine blocks made of these materials is presented with respect to the energy burden; the “cradle-to-grave approach” has been implemented to take into account the energy input of each stage of the component lifecycle starting from the resource extraction and reaching to the end-of-life processing stage. Our results indicate that although aluminium components contribute towards reduced fuel consumption during their use phase, the vehicle distance needed to be covered in order to compensate for the up-front energy consumption related to the primary material production and manufacturing phases is very high. Thus, the substitution of traditional materials with lightweight ones in the automotive industry should be very thoughtfully evaluated.

Subject Areas

manufacturing; energy efficiency; life cycle assessment; aluminium; cast-iron

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