The U.S. EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory has sponsored the development of the life cycle design framework, principles and tools as well as demonstration projects for the testing and refinement of life cycle design techniques. Demonstration projects with industrial partners have targeted a wide range of products. Automotive products investigated include oil filters (AlliedSignal), air intake manifolds (Ford), transmission cases (Ford), fuel tanks (GM), automotive film (3M), instrument panels (Chrysler, Ford, GM, U.S. EPA Common Sense Initiative); electronic products include business telephones (AT&T), flat panel displays (Optical Imaging Systems), photovoltaic modules (United Solar Systems Corporation); and other systems studied include milk and juice packaging (Dow), and wet technologies for garment cleaning.
There's a dedicated web page for this project!
Life cycle inventory analysis has been applied in many of demonstration projects indicated above. In addition, our research team is participating in a life cycle inventory analysis of a generic vehicle. This study is sponsored by the U.S. Auto Materials Partnership (USAMP), which is a program under US Consortium for Automotive Research (USCAR). The objective of this project is to develop a baseline inventory of a mid-sized vehicle including energy consumption, solid waste generation, and air and water pollutant emissions.
Industrial Ecology of the Automobile Seminar Series was organized with funding from the AT&T Industrial Ecology Faculty Fellowship program to both characterize the environmental burdens associated with the automobile life cycle and identify opportunities for improvement through technology and design, policy and regulation, and changes in usage patterns. The seminar series brought together experts from industry (OEMs and suppliers), government (US EPA and MDEQ), environmental organizations, and academics (Engineering, Physics, Public Health, Business, Economics, Policy). The multistakeholder process proved constructive in identifying common as well as divergent perspectives.
Ford, GM, Dow, American Iron and Steel Institute, American Plastics Council, Alcoa
US EPA, Vehicle Emissions Laboratory; Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Ecology Center of Ann Arbor; Center for Environmental Studies, Grand Rapids, MI
University of Michigan, Schools: Business Administration, Engineering, Natural Resources and Environment, Physics, Public Health, Public Policy; Office of Automotive Studies