The environmental benefit of the use of recycled polyamide for automotive applications has been validated by a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) jointly led by leading engineering plastics developer Rhodia (member of the Solvay group), Valeo, one of the world’s top automotive suppliers and car-maker PSA Peugeot Citroën.
Rhodia, Valeo and PSA combined their savoir-faire to carry out a multi-criteria analysis on the entire life cycle of the fan and shroud assembly, an important engine cooling component for the new Peugeot 208. The part is manufactured by Valeo using recycled Technyl polyamide (PA) from Rhodia Engineering Plastics.
The study, which was reviewed by an independent consultancy (BIO Intelligence Service) compared the environmental impact of using recycled Technyl PA in comparison with a standard Technyl grade. It took into account the whole value chain emphasizing seven key environmental criteria: climate change, the depletion of non-renewable resources, the impact on the diminution of the ozone layer, acidification, eutrophication, the consumption of primary energy and photochemical oxidation.
The results demonstrate that selecting and using recycled Technyl® PA significantly reduces the overall environmental impact of the component throughout its entire life cycle. In effect, for the seven targeted criteria the benefits range from -9% to -28%.
Furthermore, the results of the analysis indicate that the entire environmental benefit derives from Rhodia Engineering Plastics’ production phase for the manufacturing of the recycled polyamide. In addition, it is not altered in any way during the injection molding process or during part assemblage and use since the mechanical performance of the recycled Technyl® PA allows for cooling module components with an identical design, weight and part life to that made with a standard Technyl grade.
"The collaboration between partners such as Rhodia and Valeo, both strongly committed to sustainable development, represents a real advantage in surpassing the regulatory limits for CO2 emissions and further reducing the environmental impact of automobiles," commented Louis David, Assistant Director Paint, Materials and Process PSA Peugeot Citroën. "These significant results validate the importance of the right choice of technically high-performing recycled materials for better auto eco-design."
The recorded benefit is on the same scale to that of a large automotive series production run. For example, the use of Rhodia’s recycled Technyl PA for the annual estimated fan and shroud assembly production for the Peugeot 208 averts the generation of greenhouse gases (1) equivalent to that produced by 400,000 cars or photochemical oxidation (2) (responsible for ozone peaks) comparable to that made by 2,200,000 vehicles all traveling around Paris’ ring road.
On average, 20 percent of a car comprises 150 to 250kg of plastic parts. Therefore the collaborative initiative between Rhodia, Valeo and PSA scientifically confirms the potential of the growing use of recycled plastics to help answer the environmental challenges facing the automotive industry.
Environmental benefits of recycled Technyl polyamide