Presenter: Claire Boland, MS, Sustainable Systems
Client: Ford Motor Company
Adviser: Gregory Keoleian
My thesis used life cycle assessment to evaluate the energy and emissions associated with the substitution of conventional materials with bio-based materials on vehicles. Traditional materials, such as glass fiber reinforced composites, were replaced with natural fiber reinforced composites that have the same mechanical properties. Each stage of the life cycle, from raw material extraction, including growing the fiber, through to the scrapping of the car, was modeled. The sourcing of materials from various supplier locations was also considered. This analysis was then incorporated into a Material Selection Tool, where different vehicles, components and materials could be modeled. Using this dynamic tool, a better understanding of which vehicles should be targets for lightweight materials can be drawn.