Posted in | Transportation

High-Strength Steels to Improve Vehicle Fuel Economy and Lower Emissions

To help vehicle manufacturers in their pursuit to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) offered insight on the benefits of steel in a seminar on world class manufacturing today at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.

In a presentation titled "Steel and Fuel Economy," Ron Krupitzer, vice president automotive applications for AISI, discussed innovative ways steel can help the automotive industry to meet new environmental requirements for fuel economy, emissions and recyclability.

"We have shown that with the use of current advanced high-strength steels, a vehicle's body structure mass can be reduced by at least 25 percent," Krupitzer said. "However, with the new third generation steels now under development, we expect to achieve more than 35 percent in structural mass reduction, which will significantly help automakers improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Krupitzer also discussed how the U.S. steel industry, in collaboration with its global counterparts, has embarked on aggressive research and development programs to develop the next generation of iron and steelmaking technologies that will drastically reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions throughout the total life cycle of the vehicle.

According to Krupitzer, steel has a relatively low greenhouse gas emissions level for production in comparison to other lower density materials.

"During the production stage of a vehicle, a low-density material, such as aluminum, will emit significantly more greenhouse gas emissions to the environment than steel," he said.

Krupitzer also discussed a multi-million dollar initiative called Future Steel Vehicle (FSV) that will develop steel automotive body concepts that address alternative powertrains, such as advanced hybrid, electric and fuel cell systems. The goal of the research is to demonstrate safe, light-weight steel bodies for future vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the entire life cycle. The fifth in a series of global automotive steel research projects, FSV focuses on radical change and builds upon the success of four earlier projects UltraLight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB), UltraLight Steel Auto Closures, Suspensions and ULSAB-Advanced Vehicle Concepts.

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