Environmental Impact Calculator for Composite Parts
Composites are increasingly used due to their light weight at high strength, durability, cost effectiveness and capability to be used in structural and engineered applications. Often composites are uniquely enabling, as well as imparting light weight, thus reducing the eco impact during its service life. Until recently a user friendly method for determining the environmental impact or Life Cycle Analysis for composite parts based on European averages did not exist. The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) has undertaken the effort, with assistance of EY CSS and BiinC, to develop a web-based calculation tool, to be used by “the average professional” in composite technology, without a deep knowledge of Life Cycle Assessments. The model uses among others industry-based databases from eco-inventories for glass fibers and fillers, a variety of resins, both thermoplastic and thermosets, and additives provided by European sector groups and associations. More data have also been collected from a large group of European composite part manufacturers to allow an estimate for the overall environmental impact of a produced composite part, including the composite part production step. The methodology for the calculation tool has followed the LCA Guidelines as described in ISO 14040 and 14044 standards. The tool is web based and accessible through EuCIA website. The paper will review the tool, its capabilities as well as the potential to further include materials and processes of interest and importance for the composite industry.
Authors: Ir. Ben Drogt, Dr. JHA van der Woude, and Prof. R. Frassine
Conference: SAMPE Europe Conference 2016