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Why are sustainable materials needed for the body?

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As the world becomes more environmentally conscious and concerned about CO2 emissions, experts are finding every way possible to reduce the CO2 emission concerns.

In an Arena Talk at the Automobile Industry Lightweight Summit 2021, the chief expert, ex-Audi Member Peter Mertens, discusses the need for more sustainability approaches in the automobile sector. 

“I had never experienced a time in my entire career when events in the industry, in the economy, and world politics had rushed as quickly as in the months between December 2020 and May 2021, when this work was written,” writes automotive industry veteran Peter Mertens in his book “Aufstieg aus der Blechliga”.

“If our automotive industry wants to survive, it has to radically restructure itself,” Mertens is convinced.

Also, Thomas Behr, head of Structural engineering, Material, Realization, and Tolerance at Mercedes-Benz, mentions, “Sustainable use of materials for the body in the context of the Mercedes corporate strategy Ambition 2039.” such as in the Mercedes S-Class.

As he describes the pros of lightweight aluminum and high-strength steel as significantly reducing the body weight compared to the predecessor,

“In the manufacture of conventional vehicles, the largest proportion of CO2 emissions occurs in the supply chain for the body materials,” explains Behr. 

The aim is to achieve a new CO2-neutral car fleet in 2039 with the combination of battery production for electric vehicles.

According to Mercedes-Benz, “between 2.0 and 2.5 kilograms of CO2  are produced per kilogram of flat steel in steel production using the classic blast furnace route in integrated steelworks.” To optimize the problem, CO2 emissions need to be reduced with possible gradual conversion to steel production via a direct reduction process in combination with an electric arc furnace.  

“Mini mills” are used in the process. With the help of “green” hydrogen in place of natural gas, emissions could be reduced even further. And to operate an electric arc furnace, if green electricity is used but with “green” semi-finished products, a balance can be struck between CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process to increase the functional requirements with an economical product in focus.

So, what do you think about the new approaches? And the new way of revolutionizing the entire supply chain of the automobile industry.

The door of the green revolution opened many valuable gates for new research opportunities and new concepts for the industry to move forward more strategically in the area of green resources and not just profit-making.

Companies can be idealized versions for finding new paths to address much-needed sustainable concerns with more innovative solutions.

As well as a road map for future generations 

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