The Value of Remanufactured Engines: Life Cycle Environmental and Economic Perspectives

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Remanufacturing restores used automotive engines to likenew condition, providing engines that are functionally equivalent to a new engine at much lower environmental and economic costs than the manufacture of a new engine. A life-cycle assessment (LCA) model was developed to investigate the energy savings and pollution prevention that are achieved in the United States through remanufacturing a midsized automotive gasoline engine compared to an original equipment manufacturer manufacturing a new one. A typical full-service machine shop, which is representative of 55% of the engine remanufacturers in the United States, was inventoried, and three scenarios for part replacement were analyzed. The lifecycle model showed that the remanufactured engine could be produced with 68% to 83% less energy and 73% to 87% fewer carbon dioxide emissions. The life-cycle model showed signifi- cant savings for other air emissions as well, with 48% to 88% carbon monoxide (CO) reductions, 72% to 85% nitrogen oxide (NOx) reductions, 71% to 84% sulfur oxide (SOx) reductions, and 50% to 61% nonmethane hydrocarbon reductions. Raw material consumption was reduced by 26% to 90%, and solid waste generation was reduced by 65% to 88%. The comparison of environmental burdens is accompanied by an economic survey of suppliers of new and remanufactured automotive engines showing a price difference for the consumer of between 30% and 53% for the remanufactured engine, with the greatest savings realized when the remanufactured engine is purchased directly from the remanufacturer.

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Journal Article
Journal of Industrial Ecology
Date Published: 
January 2004
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DOI: 10.1162/1088198041269463
Full Citation: 
Smith, Vanessa M. and Gregory A. Keoleian. 2003. The Value of Remanufactured Engines: Life Cycle Environmental and Economic Perspectives. Journal of Industrial Ecology 8(1-2): 193-221.
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