Industry Info

Steel Group Issues Statement Regarding Aluminum Association-Funded Report

The Steel Market Development Institute’s (SMDI) President Lawrence W. Kavanagh issued the following statement regarding the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Life Cycle Assessment – Energy and CO2 Emissions of Aluminum-Intensive Vehicles funded by the Aluminum Association.

“For years SMDI has studied life cycle assessment (LCA) and has recommended its use as a decision-making and future regulatory tool for automobiles. LCA considers all phases of a vehicle’s life—manufacturing, driving and recycling—and, as vehicles become more fuel efficient, it is the only way to be certain that future automobiles result in a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Last week the Aluminum Association released a ‘study’ in the form of a slide presentation developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory claiming a life cycle emissions advantage for aluminum versus steel vehicles. On first read, we noted concerns with certain claims but we decided to withhold judgment until we could see the full report and read the peer reviewers’ comments. Unfortunately, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory there is no detailed report supporting the slide presentation. Without a detailed report subjected to peer-review, you must seriously question the transparency of the work and the validity of the findings. The ISO standard cited by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the slide presentation specifically calls for ‘critical review’ of comparative LCAs, which was the case with SMDI’s most recent ISO-compliant LCA dealing with steel and wood utility poles.

“Reports without substantiation of assumptions and conclusions, and transparent review damage the credibility of LCA as a scientific tool for bettering our environment. Without these controls, LCA can be misused and become nothing more than a marketing gimmick. The steel industry is committed to advancing LCA for the future sustainability of our environment and it is clear, at this time, that we need consensus on a standard and transparent methodology for automotive LCA. We invite our colleagues in academia, standards bodies, EPA, the automotive industry and other materials manufacturers to join us in this process.”

The Steel Market Development Institute, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new growth opportunities in emerging steel markets.

Source Steel Market Development Institute