Automotive Lightweighting 

Automotive Lightweighting
The cleaner, greener ride

Greener Leaner Ride

Auto Aluminum Better than Steel to Save Energy and Cut Carbon

Material and Topology Optimization

A new study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) shows that opting for aluminum over steel in new automobile construction to improve fuel economy is also the best way to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. The study concluded that reducing vehicle weight with aluminum can result in the lowest total vehicle lifecycle environmental impact – cradle-to-grave – as compared to both traditional and advanced steels.

 

View Study Highlights

View Research Reports 

Aluminum’s Lifecycle Value in the Transportation Industry Helping to OffsetGHG Production

Aluminum’s Lifecycle Value in the Transportation Industry Helping to OffsetGHG Production
  • Lightweighting and recycling make a difference
  • Replacing 2 lbs. of steel with 1 lb. of aluminum in a car saves 20 lbs. of CO2 emissions over the life of the car
  • 60% of aluminum used in automobiles is from recycled aluminum

 

 

 

A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Magnesium Front End Autoparts

A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Magnesium Front End Autoparts

Detroit (April 13, 2010)—The Magnesium Front End Research and Development (MFERD) project under the sponsorship of Canada, China and USA aims to develop key technologies and a knowledge base for increased use of magnesium in automobile. Furthermore, the LCA results for aluminum based front end autopart are presented. While weight savings result in reductions in energy use and carbon dioxide emissions during the use of the car, the impacts of fabrication and recycling of lightweight materials are substantial in regard to steel.

 

View Abstract: “A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Magnesium Front End Autoparts" Paper (65 KB PDF)

Download White Paper at SAE website (paper no. 2010-01-0275) [10k]

View press release 

Alcoa Executive Emphasizes Aluminum Advantages for Commercial Vehicle Market at SAE Conference

The Aluminum Advantage: Commercial Vehicle Applications

Illinois (October 6, 2009)—Low weight aluminum offers real-world fuel economy and emissions benefits to manufacturers of commercial vehicles. That was the key message Todd Summe, Division Manager, Product Design & Development for Alcoa, told attendees at the SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering & Exhibition recently. Fleet and owner operators want increased payload, better fuel economy and reduced emissions – aluminum delivers on all fronts.

 

Download “The Aluminum Advantage: Commercial Vehicle Applications” Presentation slides (1.7 MB PDF)

View press release

Greater Aluminium Use Will Lower Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Worldwide, New Study Confirms


Dalian, China (July 26, 2007)—The world aluminium industry reported today that the application of automotive aluminium in passenger cars manufactured in 2006 will lead to potential global savings of approximately 140 million tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to energy savings equivalent to about 60 billion litres of crude oil over the lifecycle of these vehicles.

Download presentation by Alcoa Asia-Pacific president Jinya Chen

IAI Logo

These energy savings and emissions reduction numbers were included in a presentation by Marlen Bertram, IAI research associate, at the 2007 China Aluminium & Transportation Conference in Dalian, China, entitled "Improving Sustainability in the Transport Sector Through Weight Reduction and the Application of Aluminium"

 

Read the complete news announcement from from the Aluminum Association, EAA and IAI

Download the complete report
Download an Excel-based lifecycle analysis model (WinZip)

Scientific study shows the environmental benefits of lightweighting road and rail vehicles

Energy Savings by Lightweighting -- Part I

"Energy Savings by Light-Weighting"
IFEU - Institut für Energie und Umweltforschung
Heidelberg GmbH
Commissioned by the International Aluminium Institute (IAI)

 

This study provides an overview on the potential lifetime energy and CO2 savings accomplished by reducing the weight of transportation vehicles, with a special focus on road and rail.
view a summary graph

read the introduction
download the report (PDF, 736 KB)
download supplemental IFEU presentation on energy savings in European articulated trucks (PDF, 389 KB) 

Scientific study shows the environmental benefits of lightweighting marine and air transportation

Energy Savings by Light Weighting -- Part II

"Energy Savings by Light-Weighting -- Part II"
IFEU - Institut für Energie und Umweltforschung
Heidelberg GmbH
Commissioned by the International Aluminium Institute (IAI)

 

This study supplements and follows up Part I with additional analysis on road and rail vehicles. It also provides an overview of potential lifetime energy and CO2 savings accomplished by lightweighting additional vehicles including planes, ferry boats, ocean vessels and light duty trucks. Finally, the study estimates the total potential impact of lightweighting on a global level.
view a summary graph
read the Executive Summary
download the report (PDF, 736 KB)