LCA of auto CO2 emissions would strengthen steel use

SBB 7 February 2011 New ways of measuring CO2 emissions across the full lifecycle of a vehicle could increase the attractiveness of high-strength steels compared with alternative materials, SBB hears from Cees Ten Broek, communications director of WorldAutoSteel, a unit of the World Steel Association.

“The current system of measuring emissions stimulates [competing] low-density materials at the expense of steel,” Ten Broek told a Eurofer conference.

A shift to total life cycle analysis (LCA), which would capture a vehicle’s complete carbon footprint including eventual recycling/scrapping, could alter this. Aluminium is responsible for around six times as many emissions as high-strength steels over its full life, Ten Broek noted. The comparisons for other materials are even starker: CO2 emissions from manganese are between 5 and 20 times higher than steel, while emissions arising from carbon fibre are up to 10 times higher.

Ten Broek said that LCA methodology is likely to be taken into account when new legislation was drawn up in North America and Europe.


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