The automotive industry is major component of the American economy, but also is a very devastating one, which consumes in large quantities natural resources and generates a lot of waste. This industry contributes pollution with toxic substances and fossil fuels. By knowing the Life cycle implication of a specific design materials are the key point for managing and being able to have decision making strategy .The results of the Life cycle analysis of cars provide information on n environmental impact issues. The evaluation of automobiles fueled, new technologies such as electricity and gas units can prove the benefits and decrease the environmental impact. Although none of these alternatives is a clear winner, lowering emissions and improving sustainability is a priority of this industry.
Companies such as the Ford Motor Company need future regulation, government priorities and technological developments in order to achieve sustainability. For understanding the end-of-life on a Ford Motor Company vehicle we must define the life cycle concept. By material life cycle I refer to Consecutive and interlinked stages of a product or service system, from the extraction of natural resources to the final disposal. , as written in the International Organization of Standards (ISO) norm 14040.2. With the knowledge of the life cycle path we can define the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?which is also stated under the same above ISO regulation as This concept he ?Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is A systematic set of procedures for compiling and examining the inputs and outputs of materials and energy and the associated environmental impacts directly attributable to the functioning of a product or service system throughout its life cycle.
1. Life Cycle Assessment is a process to evaluate the environmental burdens associated with a product, process, or activity by identifying the quantity of energy and materials used and wastes released to the environment; and being able to assume the damage it causes to the environmental issues. Ford might make use of this tool for making a compression and to better understand their environmental, social and economical impact. Ford is actively developing and applying life cycle assessment methodologies that can be applied in the vehicle industry supporting Ford’s Design for Environment approaches LCA is a powerful decision making tool, which identifies the factor that will be used in his process to accomplish a great decision. This is used as an aid from the industry. The criteria may depend on who is making the decision. This tool is used for tracking system performance for a diversity of criteria like: emissions, energy use, and financial costs, among others. This tool can also evaluate environmental impacts from the process or the production of a product; it also helps to compare options between competition and consumers.
The aluminum, plastic and steel industries are developing new ideas and technologies with automakers in order to study the environmental impact of vehicles. By using the ?life cycle inventory (LCI) (The first step of the LCA the one that uses methods to estimate the environmental performance of a product or process over its entire life cycle) . – have studied the energy flows and its uses in extraction of the raw material from the original source , emissions, amount of fuel consumed and the end-of-live of the waste disposal . The average of aluminum has increased in the past decade, as an example is the ?increase from 64 kilograms to 113 per vehicle in 1999.
?”The aluminum, steel, plastics and auto industries are cooperating in developing a credible, authoritative database of information that the auto companies can use to meet their customers’ requirements and enhance the environmental performance of their vehicles,” said David Parker, president of the Aluminum Association. 2 As an example of the above explained issue I can make an explanation trough the aluminum use in vehicle assembly. Aluminum saves an equivalent of 20 kilograms of carbon dioxide emission over its lifetime. Due to the reduction of the weight, its recycling properties ( ?In North America, 96 percent of automobiles enter the recycling process,? said Andrew Sharkey, the American Iron and Steel Institute’s chief executive officer and president. 2) and energy sources.
The energy consumption for aluminum productions are non pollutant and it is very easy material to recycle. No additional scrap exists in aluminum recycling process. Aluminum reduce 10 % of the weight and with it, there is a fuel economy improvement between 6-8 %. Ford itself has reported a 4% improvement in fuel reduction from the 10% weight reduction. Ford produces 24 million cars and truck per year imagines how much they can save not only in an economical area but also the environmental benefit for not exhausting the natural sources and preserving the planet. In 1999, Ford used about 88 million pounds of recycled non-metallic materials in its products and has set a goal to use more than 132 million pounds of recycled non-metallic material by 2002.
A solution for this problem that nowadays it has been a little bit more taken in consideration is the use of alternative fuels and electric vehicles. Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) use internal combustion engines but run on fuels like compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, ethanol and many others. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) use electric motors for propulsion. The motors run on electricity stored on board the vehicles in batteries.? With projects like Hybrid vehicles – Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) combine conventional internal combustion and battery electric powertrains to take advantage of the capabilities of each and the synergies between them – and lightweigthing steels material the industry will make a huge contribution to reach sustainability.
Full cost accounting is a tool that tries to assign values to all of the society costs, but it is very difficult to apply it properly. Issues like Health management might be useful to understand better this tool. In a free-market society such as the American decisions are not done by a central planning organizations that optimizes the social costs or criteria for society issues , but on the basis of market prices of alternative products and technologies . Ultimately, comparisons between new technologies should be done based on lifecycle assessments for achieving sustainability or at lest an improvement on it.