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IFEU Heidelberg


1 Introduction

At the third session of the conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, the text of the so called “Kyoto Protocol” was adopted. With the “Kyoto Protocol” many states have made the commitment to comply with targets for climate protection and the conserva- tion of natural resources.

The transport sector contributes significantly to the total global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), nearly 26 % of the global energy production and nearly 58 % of the global oil production have been consumed by transport in 2001. In the industrialised OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries even one third of the energy is consumed by transport ([IEA 2002]).

This is a call for action for the transport sector to find ways to save primary energy re- sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction of the weight of transport vehicles is one important method to reduce the energy consumption and the CO2 emissions caused by the transport sector. It is particularly effective because if energy demand at the wheel is reduced all the energy consumption associated with up- stream processes such as the extraction and processing of fuels and electricity, the distribution and conversion into mechanical energy will be reduced over the whole op- erational life-time of the vehicle.

This study therefore aims to analyse the general energy savings by a weight reduction with a special focus on road and rail vehicles. This also allows for a comparison of the different potential energy and emission savings by weight reduction for different ve- hicles. The means by which the weight reduction is technically realised, e. g. if the weight reduction is achieved by the use of lighter materials or by other means, are not part of this study. This can be determined for interesting sub sectors with a high sav- ing potential on the basis of this study. This analysis, however, can help to identify the priorities regarding future usage of aluminium in the transport sector.

The study features an executive summary with an overview and a comparison of the results (2) at the beginning. The goal and scope definition (3) and the scientific and technical background (4) are explained in following sections and subsequently, an analysis for the different road (5) and rail (6) transport vehicles and a compari- son of subsystems (8) is undertaken. The conclusion (9) sums up the most important findings of the study.

Energy savings by light-weighting

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