Case studies - automotive parts and beverage cans
We use Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to identify ways to improve the environmental performance of existing products and those in development. Below are three studies on aluminium automotive hoods, beverage cans and Crash Management Systems.
We wanted to investigate the effects of using an aluminium car hood produced by Constellium instead of a traditional steel version. Assessed by a third party critical review led by Quantis and using real manufacturing data from plant processes and metal supply, the LCA showed that the proposed aluminium hood had significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than its steel alternative.
More precisely, GHG impacts of the aluminium hood (156kg CO2 eq.) based on our material were found to be 37% lower than for a steel one (247kg CO2 eq.). Despite higher impacts associated with the upstream aluminium processes, the aluminium hood showed lower overall impacts throughout the whole life-cycle. This is mainly because the combination of strength and lightness of aluminium achieves major weight savings, and hence lower fuel consumption during use. Its efficient recycling also helps to recover a significant part of the initial investment.
Aluminium beverage cans
We were also keen to understand the effects of recycling rates on carbon emissions for aluminium cans manufactured with our metal. Once again using real manufacturing data, we proved that an average recycling rate of 69.5% yields a carbon footprint of 80g CO2 eq. for our own cans. This is a favorable figure when compared to the European average of 94g CO2 eq.
Based on a recycling rate of 90%, which is representative of many European countries, this figure further reduces to 67g CO2 eq. per can.These results highlight the vital importance of increasing endof- life recycling rates to improve the sustainability of the industry, and confirm Constellium’s strong position relative to competitors.
Crash Management Systems
We expanded our car component assessments to include the extruded and machined parts in Crash Management Systems (CMS). The results show that over a full-life -cycle, the aluminium product produced significantly fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than its steel counterpart.