Chemical industry needs to help carmakers go green, says Frost & Sullivan
Led by Frost & Sullivan's global programme manager for transportation chemicals, Robert Outram, the study suggests that plastics and composites need to be greener, more recyclable and sustainably sourced in order to meet future end of life of vehicle (ELV) legislation targets and escape fiscal penalties.
Despite pressure to lighten vehicles in order to meet CO2 emissions targets, metal remains the material of choice for automotive manufacturers, not only because it is traditional and easy to work with, but also because it may well be the best material to address increasingly stringent ELV legislation.
Mr Outram added: 'Therefore, recycling, performance and sustainable production should be key focus points of R&D programmes with clear objectives and targets based on unmet needs.'
According to the study, to increase the uptake of non-metallic parts in vehicles, chemical companies should be developing a strong, light and economically recyclable product made from sustainable sources and doing more to specifically address the needs of the automotive industry.
'BMW’s joint venture with SGL Group to provide composites for its new electric vehicle fleet, Nissan starting its own electric battery production for its UK electric vehicles plant and Caterpillar producing its own line of hydraulic fluids for its plant vehicles are recent examples of OEMs taking matters into their own hands because the chemicals industry has failed to provide adequate materials for the automotive industry to use in future vehicle projects,' said Mr Outram.
Frost & Sullivan's research also outlines how in addition to focusing more on innovation, the chemical industry needs to collaborate more closely in order to secure favourable legislation and to better educate the public and government about the green aspects of chemicals and materials, for example plastics incineration as an alternative means of vehicle disposal. It adds that chemical companies should consider pushing harder for enforcement of ELV legislation and also for the automotive industry to be subject to tight life cycle emissions measurements.
In a statement, Frost & Sullivan concludes: 'Taking example from the agricultural sector, which has always dynamically leveraged its environmental lobbying capabilities to shape markets, the chemicals industry should lead from the front whilst lobbying about energy generation and green practices to shape the industry in favour of its own financial interest.'