Life cycle assessment on a passenger’s airbag at Volvo cars
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Industrial ecology (MPTSE), MSc
Environmental concerns have received considerable attention in recent decades, and there is a greater understanding of how human activities affect and degrade the environment. In recent decades, transportation systems have been one of the major contributors to poor air quality, noise, and climate change. It is also well known that the automotive sector confronts major environmental challenges not only for fuel consumption in terms of emissions during usage but also during manufacturing processes. Due to the importance of both safety and sustainability standards, Volvo Cars is concerned about reducing the environmental impact of its products. A life cycle assessment (LCA) can help them gain a better understanding of the environmental performance of some of their products. The aim of the study was to analyse, assess and provide relevant information regarding the environmental performance of a car airbag during its manufacturing process, with this objective, an LCA has been performed from cradle to gate for each of the ingoing parts of a passenger airbag. The study demonstrated that the bag, inflator and housing of the airbag were the components that contributed most to the environmental impact. The selected impact categories were climate impact, depletion of abiotic resources and freshwater consumption. More specifically, the production and use of plastics such polyamide-6,6 (PA-6,6) and polypropylene, and other materials such as steel and glass fibre production contributed significantly. Some improvements with the objective of minimizing these impacts may be implemented based on the findings of this LCA study. Increasing the recycling content of materials like plastic and steel could be very advantageous, but this is only achievable when the recycling content exceeds 50%.
Life cycle assessment , airbag , carbon footprint , water use , resource depletion