EPA Publishes Case Study on Ultralight Steel Use in Automobiles

Washington, DC - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just published the American Iron and Steel Institute's (AISI) "green engineering" case study on its website, AISI announced. The case study, entitled "Reducing Automobile Emissions and Saving Energy: ULSAB-AVC," details the environmental benefits of new technologies coming out of AISI's ULSAB-AVC (UltraLight Steel Auto Body-Advanced Vehicle Concepts) program. "ULSAB-AVC revolutionizes the future of automotive engineering and production," said Ron Krupitzer, senior director of automotive applications at AISI. "The program demonstrates how advanced steels and manufacturing techniques can provide solutions to today's environmental problems in a safe and affordable manner. In fact, car manufacturers can take the ULSAB-AVC design concepts today and build a mid-sized sedan that will achieve 52-68 miles per gallon, while exceeding current safety standards."

"We think it's significant that EPA has included this case study— which explores the energy and environmental benefits of ULSAB-AVC designs, manufacturing costs, and results from crash modeling studies— so that engineers, academia and concerned citizens who are looking for solutions to automotive design challenges can access this information," Mr. Krupitzer said.

Green engineering is the design, commercialization, and use of processes and products which are feasible and economical while minimizing 1) generation of pollution at the source and 2) risk to human health and the environment. The discipline embraces the concept that decisions to protect human health and the environment can have the greatest impact and cost effectiveness when applied early to the design and development phase of a process or product.

It's not surprising how well ULSAB-AVC fits with green engineering. From start to finish, the end-goal for ULSAB-AVC was green: to provide a cost-effective design solution for auto manufacturers to build cars with substantially reduced engine emissions while meeting/exceeding U.S. safety standards. Utilizing the ULSAB-AVC designs, mid-size sedans will achieve 52 miles per gallon when powered with a gasoline engine and 68 miles per gallon if equipped with a diesel engine, reducing engine emissions by more than 50 percent. The ULSAB-AVC designs achieve "Five Star" crash safety ratings based on anticipated 2004 safety standards, and cost no more to build than traditionally engineered vehicles. By comparison, the 2000 fleet of mid-size automobiles in the USA averaged 28.6 mpg and was not designed to meet the same stringent safety requirements as ULSAB-AVC. The ULSAB-AVC designs utilize advanced high-tech steels and modern engineering and manufacturing techniques that are available to automobile and auto parts manufacturers. Developed by a consortium of 33 steelmakers from around the world, ULSAB-AVC is a complete conceptual design for steel-intensive compact and mid-size sedans.