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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reducing the Environmental Footprint and Economic Costs of Automotive Manufacturing through an Alternative Energy Supply

  • Author(s): Yuan, Chris
  • Dornfeld, David
  • et al.

The automotive industry consumes a significant amount of energy in the manufacturing stage and generates substantial greenhouse gas emissions and a variety of air pollutants. With more than two thirds of these emissions generated from purchased electricity, an effective way to reduce the environmental footprint of automotive manufacturing is to use alternative energies to partially supply the power needs for the current manufacturing processes. This paper assesses three alternative energy technologies, including solar photovoltaic, wind, and fuel cells, as potential power sources to reduce facility emissions from automotive manufacturing. In our assessment, we have the used the energy supply based on in Detroit, MI, region in the United States, where much of the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry is centered. Cost of ownership and environmental savings from the three technologies are evaluated and compared with the local electricity supply. The analysis results favor wind over solar and fuel cells in terms of both ownership cost and environmental savings.

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