Life Cycle Analysis of a Ceramic Three-Way Catalytic Converter

Posted by aykut_terzi
Type: 
article
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2012
Language: 
English
Code: 
Vehicles/Fuels
Product: 
Three-Way Catalytic Converter
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Yes
Practitioner(s): 
Elizabeth Lynn Belcastro
Practitioner(s): 
David E. Clark, Chair
Practitioner(s): 
Sean P. McGinnis
Practitioner(s): 
Gary R. Pickrell
Practitioner(s): 
Michele M. Holbrook
Practitioner(s) type: 
University
Summary
Functional unit: 
The average lifetime of a catalytic converter (whose guaranteed service lifetime is 80,000 miles) for a typical light passenger car.
Goal and scope of the summary: 
The goal of this life cycle analysis is to compare the pollutants of a car with and without a catalytic converter. The system boundaries include the inputs and outputs of energy, materials, and transportation for all phases of the LCI. The emissions that are primarily analyzed in this study are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. The system boundaries exclude all capital goods, human labor and incidentals.

At the end of the study, it is found that a car with a catalytic converter has important advantages in terms of certain environmental impacts compared to a car without a catalytic converter. According to the life cycle inventory generated, a significant decrease in carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions is observed through the use of a catalytic converter. On the other hand, an increase in the cardon dioxide emissions is determined. All in all, despite their disadvantage for global warming, catalytic converters appear to be helpful to prevent atmospheric pollution in short term.

Material impact(s): 
Global warming
Raw material impact level: 
Low
Manufacturing impact(s): 
Global warming
Manufacturing impact level: 
Low
Usage impact(s): 
Global warming
Usage impact level: 
High

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