Life Cycle Analysis

Assignment 1 Ben Foster University of Canterbury 5 March 2012 Table of Contents 1. Summary2 2. Introduction2 3. Technical Information3 1 Roles of Engineers3 2 Life cycle in regards to emissions4 4. Conclusions5 5. References6 * * 1. Summary This report will consider the life cycle of a motor vehicle in regards to the emissions, while discussing the roles of engineers. This report finds that CO? emissions are continuing to rise and no step of the life cycle is exempt of pollution. * 2. Introduction

Globally both professional and non professional engineers are involved throughout the life cycle of a motor vehicle, from the steel production, to disposal and decommissioning. With a growing global population which is increasing at a rate of 3% per annum (about. com geography, 2011). The current population is estimated to be 6,928,198,253; the use of motor vehicles is steady increasing and the reliance on fossil fuels, with 43. 4% of the world’s energy consumption coming from fossil fuels (environmental literacy council, 2008).

With the use of fossil fuels such as petroleum in cars, the emissions and subsequent pollution to the environment is increasing. Car exhaust is a large contributor to the emissions along with the mining or harvesting of the raw materials. Petroleum is involved in the construction of rubber, plastics and nylon. It involves the hydrocarbon burning of fossil fuels, significantly contributing to the problem. This report considers the roles of professional and non professional engineers in all steps of cycle, as well as the impacts of emissions. * 3. Technical Information 3. Roles of Engineers Both professional and non professional engineers are involved in a cars life cycle. Mining and harvesting raw materials, such as ore for steel and aluminium involves Civil engineers. They provide the roading, ponds and a vast range of the infrastructure. While a non professional engineer such as the miner will pull the ore out. A process engineer will be used to pull the minerals out the ore and the geotechnical engineer will then control the disposal of the waste in an environmentally renewable way. The interaction of engineers continues through the design process.

The fabrication of a motor-vehicle has many engineering intensive tasks. The rubber used in Dunlop tyres involves chemical engineers. The fabrication of motor-vehicles involves a range of non professional engineers. These include automotive engineers and technicians combine with floor workers. Engineers are responsible for putting an estimated 600,000,000 cars on the road (Low carbon economy, 2008). While the mechanical, chemical and electrical engineers design and specify the parts, it is the non professional engineers that put the cars together.

In the use and maintenance of motor vehicles there is a large involvement of non professional engineers, such as the automotive technicians for servicing and warrants of fitness. The decommissioning and disposal of cars is increasing, engineers play an important part in making the process environmentally sound. The average car life is approximately between 165,000 and 200,000 km (US department of transportation, 2011) this means that there is a growing need to reuse and recycle the car parts. The metals are cleaned and smelted down into other objects, and the plastics are sent away to be recycled.

The figure 1 shows how kerbside recycling is increasing and thus helping decrease pollution. Figure 1: Statistics of kerbside recycling services over two different time periods in New Zealand. Data from Statistics New Zealand, 2011 Years evaluated Figure 2: Chart of the Recyclable parts of a car from the minerals, metals and materials society, 2003. Figure 3 depicts the different stages that engineer’s both professional and non professional are involved in. Recycle Mining Harvesting Primary Processing Secondary Processing Fabrication Use Disposal Landfill Reuse

Figure 3: The life cycle of a motor-vehicle. 3. 2 Life Cycle of a Motor Vehicle in Terms of Emissions Table 1. 0: Pollution emitted by the average passenger car, (data from United States Environmental Protection agency) Throughout each of the steps in the life cycle of a motor vehicle, emissions are produced. CO? being the main by product. This has a negative environmental impact. Just in New Zealand alone it is estimated to be anywhere from 17-24% increase in the production of CO? for 2011, since the 1990 figure of 62 million tonnes of CO? (New Zealand climate change office, 2011).

This contributes to increasing the size of the ozone hole, which has been directly linked to global warming. Each step has emissions, mining and harvesting has a large amount of CO? being produced. CO? emissions continue to be produced through the primary and secondary processing stages, as the refining of the metal ore into steel and aluminium takes place. It is not only the refining of metals but the fabrication of rubber and plastics from petroleum. This process involves the burning of hydrocarbons and fossil fuels. Similarly through the fabrication, further hydrocarbons are burnt by the machinery.

But it is in the use of motor vehicles that the majority of emissions are produced, table 1 shows the composition of the exhaust fumes from an average passenger car. Component| Emission Rate and Fuel Consumption per mile (mi)? | Calculation| Total Annual Pollution Emitted and Fuel Consumed| Hydrocarbons| 2. 80 grams (g)| (2. 80g/mi)x(12,500mi) x(1lb/454g)| 77. 1 pounds of hydrocarbons| Carbon Monoxide| 20. 9 grams (g)| (20. 9g/mi)x(12,500mi) x(1lb/454g)| 575 pounds of carbon monoxide| Oxides of Nitrogen| 1. 39 grams (g)| (1. 39g/mi)x(12,500mi) x(1lb/454g)| 38. pounds of oxides of nitrogen| Carbon Dioxide? | 0. 916 pounds (lb)| (0. 916lb/mi)x(12,500)| 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide| Gasoline| 0. 0465 gallon| (0. 0465gallon/mi)x(12,500mi)| 581 gallons of gasoline| Table 1: The Total annual pollutants emitted by an average passenger car from the United States environmental protection agency, 2011 Table 1 clearly shows that a large amount of pollutants are emitted over the life span of a car. Finally in the disposal of a motor vehicle more emissions are produced through the heavy machinery relying on fossil fuels. * 4. Conclusion

Throughout a motor vehicle’s life cycle there is a production of emissions, such as CO? , which harm the environment. In terms of emissions there is a law change that took place in New Zealand in 2008 where imported vehicles have to be older that a certain year, and thus improving the CO? emissions produced (VTNZ 2007). The growing population and reliance on transport increasing, engineers need to develop sustainable ideas to provide for the future.

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