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Advanced high-strength steel cuts car emissions
The International Molybdenum Association (IMOA) has published a study demonstrating that lightweight components manufactured from advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) can reduce attributable greenhouse gas emissions by around 29% compared with traditional component designs.
The study, conducted by PE International, measured the lifetime environmental impact of replacing the B-Pillar in the latest Ford Fusion model with a new AHSS design. The B-Pillar is one of the most critical components in a vehicle body, protecting occupants by helping to maintain structural integrity in a side impact.
Traditionally made from press-hardened boron steel, it has been replaced in the new model with a hydro-formed component made from a mix of DP800 and DP1000 steels. The molybdenum in the steel supports modern forming processes while imparting exceptional strength, reducing the amount of steel required and making the new B-Pillar just as strong but 4kg lighter.
The environmental benefit was calculated using life cycle assessment (LCA) to measure the total lifetime environmental impact from manufacture and use through to end-of-life. A number of environmental metrics relevant to vehicle performance were used, covering climate change, air pollution and energy resource use.
The results generated indicate that the new design has a lower impact across all environmental metrics assessed, with a saving of 29% in Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared with the previous component. Over an estimated lifetime mileage of 200,000 km, this equates to a GWP saving for both B-Pillars of 165 kg CO2e for a petrol drivetrain and 141 kg CO2e for a diesel drivetrain. This is a saving equivalent to the emissions from driving the vehicle for over 1,000 km. The new B-Pillar also performs better in side impact crash tests and Ford estimate that it has yielded a significant cost saving.
Commenting on the study Tim Outteridge, IMOA Secretary-General said:” This study shows that replacing traditional steel with molybdenum-alloyed AHSS in vehicle manufacture generates significant benefits across the three pillars of sustainable development – environmental, economic and social. It is important to remember that this study examined B-Pillars alone and further savings are likely to be attributable to AHSS and other molybdenum-alloyed steels in a number of other components.”
The report can be viewed in full on the IMOA website at www.imoa.info/sustainability/LCA-studies.php
Notes for editors
IMOA is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of most of the world’s molybdenum producers and converters, as well as consumers and traders.
Molybdenum is added to steels and cast irons to improve strength, toughness, hardenability and weldability for numerous applications in the automotive, shipbuilding, construction, mining, chemical, oil & gas and energy generation industries.
In stainless steels and superalloys, it improves corrosion resistance and high-temperature performance and finds uses in many industrial applications. It is also used in a variety of products from catalysts and lubricants to pigments and paint.
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