Life Cycle Assessment of Tyre Manufacturing Process
Due to the phenomenal growth in the transport sector as a part of rapid urbanization, especially in the Indian sub-continent where transportation of goods and people are essentially done through the existing road network, tyre industries have seen a rapid growth. In view of this, it is important that sustainability of tyre industry is maintained without its adverse effect on the environment. The objectives of this particular study are to identify and quantify the potential environmental impacts associated with production of tyres and to identify the grey areas in which enough scope is there for further improvements. Life Cycle Assessment is a tool to evaluate the environmental impacts of any product or a process. In this work, Life Cycle Assessment has been used to identify the environmental impacts associated with the tyre manufacturing process. The gate-to-gate approach has been used for this study of tyre production. The detailed data required for this study were obtained from MRF Industries, Usgao, Goa, India. Computations of the Life Cycle Impact Assessment results are achieved using Simapro software with Impact 2002+ method. From the results it is noted that there is a significant impact on the environment due to emissions from the generation of electrical energy and steam in the plant under study along with emissions due to various operations in the tyre production process. The major environmental impact categories which are affected due to these processes are respiratory inorganics, aquatic acidification, terrestrial acidification / nitrification and to some extent aquatic eutrophication. Further, it is also observed that there is significant emission of particulate matter from the Banbary section of the tyre production process. This study reveals that the emissions of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide from tyre production process are significant. The life cycle assessment results obtained for the MRF tyre are compared with the life cycle assessment results of the Tweel tyre invented by Michelin, Bridgestone tyre, Goodyear tyre, Nokia tyre and comparative life cycle assessment results for a conventional tyre and a guayule rubber-based tyre. From a comparison among all above mentioned case studies, it is observed that major environmental impacts of tyres depend primarily on product design and usage. Significant reduction in environmental impact due to tyre production is possible if the source of electricity is nonconventional. Reduction in weight and rolling resistance of the tyre will also lead in significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions during its use.