The Automotive industry has matured strongly and accounted as an important pillar of the national and the global industry. India playing a predominant role in the global automotive industry stands as the sixth largest producer of automobiles according to recent studies. The industry is not only a growth driver and employment provider, but is a robust sector that drives technology, innovation and R&D globally. The industry which is as important for economic profitability is also an important arm of mobility, as road transport contributes largely to mobility of goods and services.
While the industry growth is promising and prospective (demand for passenger and goods is expected to grow between 8 and 12 % yearly and number of vehicles on road expected to double by 2020), there are sustainability issues prevailing in the industry. Sustainable mobility has assumed greater significance in the past decade mainly owing to depleting fossil fuel reserves and increasing carbon emissions. According to reports by international agencies, global energy consumption is likely to rise by 53% between 2006 and 2030, and about three-quarters of the projected increase in oil demand is likely to come from the transportation sector. Fossil fuel-based transportation constitutes the second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions globally. Extracts from reports inform that CO2 emissions from road transportation is expected to increase by 80 to 100 million tons Also, the rising cost of fuel is pushing OEMs to design and develop vehicles with alternate fuel, enhance engine efficiency, match environmental compliances etc. The same is followed in Aerospace & Defense Industry where a large number of vendors and OEMs are focusing their efforts to develop aircrafts with better energy efficiencies and longer lifecycles.
Owing to various factors of fuels, cost of fuel, emission norms etc world over, governments and automobile manufacturers invest heavily in developing vehicles based on alternative propulsion systems including hybrid and electric drives. Therefore the industry and market may witness some degree of alternative fuel transportation in the near future. It has to be noted that both the OEMs and component players must foresee and be prepared to modify their platforms and operations to support a variety of fuel technologies (Electric, PHEV etc). Further, the push towards alternative and fuel-efficient technologies will pose new challenges for the manufacturers in terms of revamping their core processes in preparation for mass-produced, non-internal combustion engine vehicles.
It may be agreed that the automotive industry contributes to various modes of pollutions, both at user level and at source of manufacturing. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from auto and auto ancillary sectors are major contributors to climate change. About 90% of GHG emissions in the life cycle of the vehicle happen at the stage of usage and the rest 10% GHG emissions are estimated to be from the manufacturing side, though small on the overall scale the end impact it has on the climate and environment are huge. With growing concern about the climate change auto manufacturers have already started mitigation measures through various approaches. Yet studies inform majority of this (10%) emission is happening at the supplier end (tier players) and hence sustainable measures may not yield better results without looping suppliers in to the green strategy and initiatives.
In all the cases technology plays a predominant role in addressing the major issues discussed above. Although technology may not be the only solution, it has to work in tandem with other parameters like industrial receptivity, favorable policies, customer acceptance, investment justification etc. Although we are aware that technology adoption is not always easy as it is a function of various parameters like investment, rate of return, skilled labour, technology management etc. In certain cases, availability of technologies is not known to industries especially tier II, tier III and further down the value chain. The same may be emphasized in perspective of Green Technologies.
Green manufacturing, a modern manufacturing mode considers both the environmental impact and the resource consumption during the whole product life cycle from design, fabrication, packaging, transportation, usage, recycling, to waste disposal. Green technologies imply application of advanced systems and services to a wide variety of operations in order to improve sustainability. Application of green technologies, systems and practices need not be especially high tech in nature. Even better design and engineering for a wide range of products that is lighter in weight, more recyclable, less reliant on petrochemicals and cutting down on the energy used will impact by reducing the carbon footprint.
Green technologies for the automotive sector embraces technology solutions and systems, both at user and manufacturing end. Studies estimate that a wide range of green vehicle technologies together could improve in fuel economy by 30 to 55% in the next decade. Whatever the future holds, automakers will need to be flexible in their core manufacturing processes to accommodate a range of transportation technologies, including alternative fuel vehicles, to stay on the path toward high performance.
On the other hand, technologies at the manufacturing end play a stronger role to wisely utilize the resources and adopting efficient processes to exploit resources and environment safely and sustainably, which is also an act of sustenance. In product development arena, Green aspect plays a key role in the product design for innovating better environment- friendly products offering high energy efficiency and a long useful life, Green Manufacturing with least environment impact, Green Procurement ensuring green supply chain, EOL management for proper waste disposal & RRR (Reuse, recover & recycle) and Life cycle Assessment covering carbon footprint prediction during the life of the product.
OEMs in pursuit of reducing the pollution and enhances the core competitiveness of automotive manufacturing industry are obliged to focus on the value chain in developing and managing a Green supply chain management. Increasing political and social demand for a more sustainable society, coupled with emerging global legislation is affecting the way products need to be designed, manufactured, used and also disposed off. This calls for Sustainability creation as an end-to-end continuous improvement program driven top-down across the entire enterprise panning supply chain and reverse supply chain spanning across, product, process and end-of-life.
Therefore automotive companies are increasingly adopting green practices in an attempt to benefit through long–term cost savings, brand enhancement with customers, better regulatory traction, greater ability to attract talent and higher investor interest. However, these benefits require a long term commitment and making tradeoffs against short term objectives, as the economics of green manufacturing is still evolving and not well understood as yet. Although considerable technologies and models of green energy related developments exist, better cost and operational justifications are still required to increase the pace of implementation.
In a scenario where green technology is in the interest of the nation and industries, the TNTDPC of CII organized this Conference on Green Technologies for Automotive Sector - a one day event on August 8th, 2014 at Chennai. The theme of the event is “Innovative Green Models for Profitability & Sustainability”. With automotive industry contributing remarkably to country’s manufacturing GDP, the conference aims to project sustainable technologies, systems and models to support and guide the industry in the sustainable path.
You will get access to following Knowledge Resources by subscribing to the Digital
Library of this event.