Foundry products and their added value in life cycle assessments

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelForschungBegutachtung


Rising energy costs, new environmental regulations and concerns about energy security are causing industries to conduct efforts to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. The international and the national legislator are developing different legal framework conditions to support the implementation of energy saving strategies. A recent contribution to this issue is the commencement of the European Energy Efficiency Directive, which at Austrian national level finds its application in the form of the energy efficiency law. Particularly the energy-intensive industries (e.g. foundry industry) are faced to reduce their energyconsumption, to increase energy efficiency and improve their environmental performance. In order to fulfill the plans and targets given by the legislator's an integrated approach on energy efficiency measures has to be used with special focus on the technical, economic and ecologic methods and assessments.

For the investigation of the efficiency potential in the foundry industry, the modular- based, multilevel approach was developed. The model/approach was generated through collaboration between the experience and know-how of the Austrian Economic Chamber - Association of Austrian foundry industry and their commercial partners, and science, i.e. the Montanuniversitaet Leoben and the Austrian Foundry Research Institute (ÖGI). The approach enables the derivation of actual energy consumption of processes and corresponding manufactured products, and leads therefore to a better understanding of cost generation. Moreover, the methodology identifies energy efficiency potentials and merges them to a model based approach for the planning, evaluation and optimization of energy consumption in the foundry industry. These measures can show positive effects on the phases of the product lifecycle.

Aside the technical and economic measures, the life cycle assessment (LCA) represents an important part of the model development. LCA provides a method of assessing the environmental impacts of a product material and energy flows across the whole supply chain, from raw material extraction to end of life recycling or disposal. The method is based on ISO Norm 14040ff which describes the principles and framework for life cycle assessment (LCA) including: definition of the goal and scope of the LCA, the life cycle inventory analysis (LCI), the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) and the life cycle interpretation.

Regarding the aims of the project and research interests the model focuses on three impact indicators relevant for the foundry industry: (1) Global Warming Potential (GWP), (2) Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) and (3) Cumulative Material Demand (CMD). The benefits for the foundry industry from life cycle assessment include the identification of improvement potential of environmental characteristics of products, the purchase of information for strategic planning, priority setting, product and process development, as well as arguments for the marketing of products.
Seiten (von - bis)60-80
FachzeitschriftLivarski vestnik
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 4 Juli 2016

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