Jurgeleit, Eva Sophie; Meilinger, Stefanie; Stieglitz, André
Using LCA to optimize the design and production of new products for the automotive industry is essential to building a sustainable future based on innovation. In our paper, we present an integrated approach to incorporate LCA as an integral part of research and product development, including the design of the production chain. In the BMWi-funded project NeLiPro (ZF Friedrichshafen AG – co-lead) an LCA-driven decarbonization and environmental optimization of the product as well as the production process is realized. Environmental impacts are considered throughout the entire product and production development process. The aim of the project is the environmentally friendly development of lightweight structural components and the corresponding production line. To this end, a modular system for innovative hybrid lightweight components in the commercial vehicle sector is being further developed and transferred to the rail vehicle sector. For a holistic and innovative view of the hybrid lightweight element, different variants of individual process innovations developed in the project are compared via parameterization in the LCA model. This method is intended to identify sustainable solutions for reducing the use of resources and significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions as early as the production stage. In addition, the environmental impact of the currently used metallic reference structure will be balanced along the life cycle for an ecological comparison. Other aspects being investigated in the project are the recycling possibilities of the lightweight component and the performance of sensitivity analyses to quantify uncertainties in the life cycle assessment models. Based on the results of the previous analyses, a strategy for CO2 compensation will be developed for the modular system of lightweight components. This will account for all life cycle phases and their environmental impacts and will be actively used as a decision-making tool for series implementation.