Analysis of CO2 emissions of processes in laser materials processing
Life Cycle Assessment to reveal CO2 footprint of developed processes
It is an ambitious project: The European Union is aiming to be climate-neutral by 2050. Achieving this goal is essential to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and CO2 emissions in Europe must be therefore drastically reduced. ”Green manufacturing” will play an increasingly important role for companies and thus also for Fraunhofer IWS customers. At the institute, a new project focuses on the possibilities of CO2 balancing of in-house developed processes.
The starting point is a life cycle assessment (LCA). It examines the energy flows and thus the environmental impact of a product from manufacturing to recycling. The project team aims to comprehensively analyze the specific CO2 emissions for material processing, such as welding or cutting. ”We are identifying the process-related potential for new research and solution approaches at the institute, which will later provide the basis for green process routes,” explains Dr. Dirk Dittrich, group manager of the team Laser Welding and co-initiator of the project. The scientists are developing strategies for CO2- and cost-efficient processes to be used later in forward-looking and environmentally friendly technologies.
LCA software is used to evaluate the processes being developed at the institute. The software visualizes the process flow in detail in terms of material and energy flows, making CO2-critical process steps become visible. “We are currently creating methods and strategies to generate the necessary database and provide our customers with significant results,“ explains Dittrich. The customers will later be able to use the data to increase the sustainability level of their products.