Life cycle assessment for sustainable use of CFRP structures
CFRP materials have excellent potential for use in lightweight constructions. In the transportation and mechanical engineering sectors, they can thus make a significant contribution to saving energy during the utilization phase. In the production phase, however, CFRP structures have higher energy demands as compared to metallic materials and reusing recycled fibers is not as common as using secondary aluminum or steel. Therefore, it has not been possible to verify the sustainability of the new material to a sufficient extent. Previous studies on the sustainability of CFRP materials suggest that resource-efficient use of this material class throughout the entire life cycle is feasible under certain circumstances, but the wide variety of CFRP materials and the associated manufacturing processes make it difficult to obtain an adequate supply of reproducible and traceable life cycle data, which is a prerequisite for an informative and useful life cycle assessment.
This project is intended to broaden the life cycle inventory (LCI) data generated during the course of the MAI Enviro project, and to analyze and critically evaluate different CFRP production process chains. To achieve this goal, CFRP-relevant process technologies will be studied in the project, LCI data derived from these values, and the existing potential with regard to optimizing resource-efficient process flows will be identified and quantified. In addition, the current life cycle assessment model for CFRP materials will be expanded on a modular basis to allow for a systematic and structured analysis of the various process chains and scenarios.
Figure: Cooperation and division of work along the value chain of CFRP within the project MAI Enviro 2.0
The project helps to identify general characteristic parameters and thus enables us to determine the specific course of action required for producing and using resource-conserving lightweight CFRP materials, entire process chains, and “end of life” (eol) scenarios.