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Tag: automotive

Press Release from ASG:

4 February 2014 [Santa Rosa, CA] – The Automotive Science Group (ASG) conducted a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of over 1,300 automobiles across nine categories to distinguish the BEST model year 2014 vehicles in environmental, economic, social and “all-around” performance. Auto consumers are now equipped with a car buying guide founded on principled facts, a departure from the notoriously subjective test drive “editor reviews” that have long been the industry norm. 

"ASG’s 2014 study found the Nissan Leaf to hold the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market (with minimum four person occupancy). This U.S. assembled, battery electric vehicle with an estimated 84 mile driving range is the best selling all-electric car in the world for good reason, and now consumers can be confident that the increased environmental impacts of manufacturing the battery electric technology is more than offset with increased environmental performance during operational life. While the electricity mix of the U.S. grid varies by region, the average mix in 2014 provides an energy source for the Nissan Leaf that is environmentally beneficial. Looking forward, energy forecasts identify a cleaner electricity mix across the U.S. grid, further increasing the environmental benefits of electric technologies in future years."

"From an economic standpoint, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark was revealed to have the lowest cost of ownership over a five-year economic forecast, taking into account purchase and operating costs of all model year 2014 automobiles available in the North American market (with minimum four person occupancy).

"And finally, from a social performance perspective – considering the rights of those charged with vehicle manufacture and assembly – the BMW Group and Nissan both produced award-winning vehicles in multiple classes, demonstrating sound corporate social responsibility initiatives."

Details of the study and the full press release can be found at the ASG website:


BETHESDA, MD— Lithium (Li-ion) batteries, used to power plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, show overall promise to “fuel” these vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but there are a few areas for improvement to reduce possible environmental and public health impacts, according to a “cradle to grave” study of advanced Li-ion batteries conducted by Abt Associates for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The study, carried out through a partnership with EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Li-ion battery industry, and academicians, was the first life cycle assessment (LCA) to bring together and use data directly provided by Li-ion battery suppliers, manufacturers, and recyclers. Its purpose was to identify the materials or processes within a Li-ion battery’s life cycle that most contribute to impacts on public health and the environment, so that battery manufacturers could use this information to improve the environmental profile of their products, while the technology is still emerging. It also sought to evaluate the potential impacts of a nanotechnology innovation (i.e., a carbon nanotube anode) that could improve battery performance.
“It is well established that Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles are definitely a step in the right direction from traditional gasoline fueled vehicles and nickel metal-hydride automotive batteries, but some of the materials and methods used to manufacture them could be improved,” said Jay Smith, an Abt senior analyst and co-lead of the LCA. “For example, our study showed that the batteries that use cathodes with nickel and cobalt, as well as solvent-based electrode processing, show the highest potential for environmental impacts, like resource depletion, global warming, and ecological toxicity, and human health impacts–primarily resulting from the production, processing, and use of cobalt and nickel metal compounds, which can cause adverse respiratory, pulmonary, and neurological effects in those exposed.” Smith added that there are viable ways to reduce these impacts, including cathode material substitution, solvent-less electrode processing, and recycling of metals from the batteries.
Among other findings, Shanika Amarakoon, an Abt associate who co-led the LCA with Smith, said global warming and other environmental and health impacts were shown to be influenced by the electricity grids used to charge the batteries when driving the vehicles.
“These impacts are sensitive to local and regional grid mixes,” said Amarakoon. “If the batteries in use are drawing power from the grids in the Midwest or South, much of the electricity will be coming from coal-fired plants. If it’s in New England or California, the grids rely more on renewables and natural gas, which emit less greenhouse gases and other toxic pollutants. Our report identifies the need for cleaner electricity generation, especially in regions where a larger number of electric vehicles are anticipated,” Amarakoon said. “However, impacts from the processing and manufacture of these batteries should not be overlooked.”
In terms of battery performance, Smith said that “the nanotechnology applications that we assessed were single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), which are currently being researched for use as anodes as they show promise for improving the energy density and ultimate performance of the Li-ion batteries in vehicles. What we found, however, is that the energy needed to produce the SWCNT anodes in these early stages of development is prohibitive. Over time, if researchers focus on reducing the energy intensity of the manufacturing process before commercialization, the overall environmental profile of the technology has the potential to improve dramatically.”
The LCA results and methodology are described in detail in the EPA/Abt report, “Lithium-ion Batteries and Nanotechnology for Electric Vehicles: A Life Cycle Assessment,” The research for the LCA was undertaken through the Lithium-ion Batteries and Nanotechnology for Electric Vehicles Partnership, which was led by EPA’s Design for the Environment Program in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and Toxics, and EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory in the Office of Research and Development. The Partnership also included industry partners (i.e., battery manufacturers, recyclers, and suppliers, and other industry groups), the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Lab, Arizona State University, and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

About Abt Associates

Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates was ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms in 2011 and also named one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in nearly 40 countries.







From PR Newswire:


DETROIT, Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — WorldAutoSteel, the automotive group of the World Steel Association, with support from investor companies of the Steel Market Development Institute, today stressed the need to shift the basis of vehicle emissions regulations from tailpipe emissions to a total life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA considers emissions from all aspects of a vehicle's life including material and vehicle production, driving, and end-of-life-recycling and should become a factor in vehicle emissions regulations around the world, according to WorldAutoSteel.

"When vehicle emissions assessments are focused solely on the emissions produced during the driving phase (tailpipe), it encourages the use of greenhouse gas-intensive materials in the effort to reduce vehicle weight and fuel consumption," Cees ten Broek, director, WorldAutoSteel, said. "However, this may have the unintended consequence of increasing greenhouse gas emissions during the vehicle's total life cycle."

Alternative materials, such as aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber produce emissions during their manufacture that are five to 20 times greater than steel.

The United States is currently examining fuel economy and emissions requirements for 2017-2025, while the mid-term review of EU legislation on emission standards for new cars is expected next year and, in many Asia Pacific countries, vehicle efficiency standards also are being assessed. In light of these developments, the industry is calling for a shift from tailpipe emissions regulations to a LCA approach that effectively measures the carbon footprint of current and future cars.

"Regulations that focus only on one part of the vehicle's life cycle will become immediately out of date as the electric vehicle becomes more prominent on the road," said ten Broek. "We are only shifting the problem to other vehicle life cycle phases."

WorldAutoSteel recently released results of a global steel industry initiative, the FutureSteelVehicle (FSV), which features fully engineered steel body structure designs for electrified vehicles that reduce total life cycle emissions by nearly 70 percent and vehicle weight by 35 percent compared to a benchmark. FSV demonstrates that low life cycle emission vehicles are not only possible with steel, but more probable.

About the Steel Market Development Institute

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new-growth opportunities in emerging steel markets. For more news or information, visit

SMDI Automotive Applications Council Investors

  • AK Steel Corporation
  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • ArcelorMittal USA LLC
  • Nucor Corporation
  • Severstal North America Inc.
  • ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC
  • United States Steel Corporation



SOURCE Steel Market Development Institute

Range Rover has annouced that they've done an LCA of their Evoque SUV.  The "most sustainable Range Rover to date".  From an LCA perspective, can one justify such sophstication and capability to go fetch a gallon of milk at the corner market?  Let me know your thoughts.  Comment below. 

You can visit the facebook site here:

A full website is scheduled for release on 9/30/2011.

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DETROIT, Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Life cycle assessment (LCA) is critical to fully understanding and reducing vehicle emissions, Cees ten Broek, WorldAutoSteel director, said today at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a joint press conference with engineering firm, EDAG International. ten Broek presented the results of a global steel industry initiative, FutureSteelVehicle (FSV), developed by EDAG and supported by investors of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI).

“When vehicle emissions assessments are focused solely on what comes out of the tailpipe, this encourages use of low-density, greenhouse gas-intensive materials that may provide lighter weight components to improve tailpipe emissions,” ten Broek said. “However, their greenhouse gas intensity may have the unintended consequence of increasing greenhouse gas emissions on a life cycle basis.”

According to the recent study titled “Preparing for a Life Cycle CO2 Measure,” conducted by global engineering firm Ricardo for the United Kingdom’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, vehicle production, including materials manufacturing, accounts for approximately 25 percent of the life cycle emissions in today’s vehicles. These are the embedded emissions that occur before a vehicle is driven on the road.

The same study estimates that embedded emissions will grow to 57 percent of the total life cycle emissions in large part due to the introduction of battery powered vehicles. As energy sources used to power batteries increase in efficiencies, the material manufacturing portion of embedded emissions will increase in importance. Without a LCA strategy in place, material decision makers will not be aware of the environmental impact. According to ten Broek, this is why the FSV program is so important.

ten Broek and EDAG presented the FSV results, which demonstrated that body structure weights for battery and fuel cell vehicles are on par with aluminum designs and a 70 percent reduction in life cycle emissions over similarly sized vehicles using internal combustion engines.

“Because steel manufacturing has one-fifth to one-twentieth the emissions of alternate materials, these designs are truly a breakthrough, enabling reductions through the entire life cycle from manufacturing to tailpipe to recyclability,” ten Broek said.

Specifically, the FSV program delivered significant mass savings in four proposed vehicles for 2015 to 2020: a compact battery electric vehicle; plug-in hybrid (PHEV); mid-size-class PHEV; and mid-size fuel cell electric options. The heaviest powertrain of the four options has a body structure that weighs 188 kg. These aggressive weight reductions were possible by incorporating high-strength and advanced high-strength steels in 97 percent of the structure in tandem with steel manufacturing technologies and a state-of-the-future biometric design methodology. Biometric designs are those that mimic nature in their precision and function, and – in the case of FSV – allowed the combinations of gauge, grade and geometry to be optimized. The resulting design was accomplished at no cost premium. FSV’s battery electric body structure can be manufactured for $1,115.

“SMDI and WorldAutoSteel are actively pursuing the advancement of LCA-based vehicle designs because we believe it is the only way that vehicle emissions can truly be reduced for meaningful impact, today and tomorrow,” Ronald Krupitzer, vice president, automotive applications, SMDI, said.

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new-growth opportunities in emerging steel markets. For more news or information, visit

WorldAutoSteel, the automotive group of the World Steel Association, is comprised of 17 major global steel producers from around the world. WorldAutoSteel’s mission is to advance and communicate steel’s unique ability to meet the automotive industry’s needs and challenges in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way. WorldAutoSteel is committed to a low carbon future, the principles of which are embedded in our continuous research, manufacturing processes, and ultimately, in the advancement of automotive steel products, for the benefit of society and future generations. To learn more about WorldAutoSteel and its projects, visit

SOURCE Steel Market Development Institute

Mike Berners-Lee posts on the Guardian his findings.  As it turns out riding a bike is about 1/10th the carbon footprint driving a car when taking into consideration the full life cycle of both transporation choices.

Mike presents a nice discussion on the points to consider when making this comparison, such as, differences in quality of life.  The full blog post can be found here on The Guardian website:

REMINDER: Call for Abstracts for Going Green – CARE INNOVATION 2010, Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna (Austria, Europe), November 8 – 11, 2010. The deadline for submitting your abstracts is coming up in only 2 weeks (May 31, 2010).

Speaker opportunities are still available.  For more information visit the conference website HERE.

Press release – March 3, 2010

Bridgestone’s takes a global view of the environmental impact of tires – the so called “cradle to grave” approach – covering the whole product life cycle from raw materials, production and distribution to tyre usage and end-of-life disposal.

All research, and particularly the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study conducted by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association, shows that the tire usage phase has the largest impact on the environment. While Bridgestone is taking important steps to minimize environmental impact in all tyre life stages (documented in the Bridgestone Europe “Environmental Commitment and Performance” brochure and elsewhere), the company is currently engaged in a major development programme in the tire usage stage.

Tire manufacturers working within the BLIC (European Association of the Rubber Industry) carried out a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in 2000/2001 for a standard size passenger car tire (195/65 R15, speed index H, summer) representative of the European market. The referenced tire LCA study clearly showed that the impact of tires on the environment and human health is mostly due to fuel consumption, and thus to rolling resistance and not to the tire production phase or end-of-life collection and management.

The press release can be found here:

The US Department of Energy (DOE), National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has just released its baseline LCA model for energy.  This model calculates the 2005 national average life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for petroleum-based fuels sold or distributed in the United States in the year 2005. Specifically, the model reports, by life cycle stage, the life cycle GHG emissions for conventional gasoline, conventional diesel fuel, and kerosene-based jet fuel. The model served as the primary calculation tool for the results reported in the NETL November 26, 2008, report entitled “Development of Baseline Data and Analysis of Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Petroleum-Based Fuels”. The model was created in Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and requires macros to be enabled to solve iterative calculation functions.

A download of the model can be found here:

Researchers at the University of California Berkeley, have just completed a LCA study of compressed air powered vs. electric vehicles.  The study concludes that even assuming best case scenario conditions, an all pneumatic vehicle is less efficient that an electric. However, hybrid technology is technically feasible and inexpensive and could compete agains hybrid electrics.   See the study on the open access journal for environmental science:

Creutzig F. et al. (2009) Economic and environmental evaluation of compressed-air cars, Environ. Res. Lett. 4 (October-December 2009) 044011