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Wood-based Components In The Car Save Up To 140,000 T Of Greenhouse Gases

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Wood-based Components In The Car Save Up To 140,000 T Of Greenhouse Gases
Wood-based Components In The Car Save Up To 140,000 T Of Greenhouse Gases

Video: Wood-based Components In The Car Save Up To 140,000 T Of Greenhouse Gases

Video: Wood-based Components In The Car Save Up To 140,000 T Of Greenhouse Gases
Video: Save the Planet. Ride URB-E. 2023, November

The “Wood-CAR - Computer Aided Research” project is about much more than elegant looks in the interior. The scientists also want to develop load-bearing structures. A patent has been filed for a side impact beam made entirely of wood composite and natural material.

At the Institute for Systems Science, Innovation and Sustainability Research (SIS) at the University of Graz, Tobias Stern and his team accompany the development of prototypes with analyzes in terms of ecological and social sustainability as well as the effects on the regional economy and employment. The Comet project is coordinated by the Innovation Center WEIZ and the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (Boku) Vienna, financed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the states of Styria and Tyrol.

6000 to 7000 more jobs

"The use of wood in vehicle construction could make a decisive contribution to securing Europe's automotive location", Tobias Stern is convinced. The innovation researcher with a focus on bioeconomy refers to the results of his working group: "Assuming that the European automotive industry also only receives 1% of its components from companies in the 'Basic metals and metal products' sector, but from companies in the' Wood and wood products' sector, 'then that would bring about 1 to 2 million more hours of work a year in the 27 EU countries, creating around 6000 to 7000 jobs.”

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And wood would also be profitable from a sustainability perspective: If 1% of the steel-based components were replaced with wood-based components, around 140,000 t of greenhouse gases, measured in CO2 equivalents, and around 990,000 t of fossil and mineral raw materials could be saved annually. At the same time, biomass use would increase by around 590,000 t per year, with the largest increase - 380,000 t - in the EU,”Stern summarizes.

Wood shouldn't make the car heavier

Wood is a high-performance material if you know how to treat or use it. It is used in conjunction with adhesives, plastics, metals and other renewable raw materials so that it meets the requirements for vehicles, for example in terms of resilience or durability. The experts at the Boku Institute for Wood Research in Vienna and Tulln under the direction of Dr. Ulrich Müller pioneering work. “Weight is also an important factor in this context. The use of wood must not make the car heavier. That would immediately have a negative impact on the life cycle assessment,”explains Claudia Mair. She is working on her dissertation as part of the project.

User meeting lightweight construction

Lightweight construction saves resources and weight and no longer only plays an important role in the automotive industry. The lightweight construction user meeting explains how constructions become light yet stable and what benefits they bring

Another major challenge is to calculate the behavior of wood, for example in the event of an impact. This is what experts at the "Virtual Vehicle" competence center and colleagues at the Institute for Vehicle Safety (VS) at TU Graz do. Their simulations enable prototypes to be built, which are then tested and continuously improved until they meet all requirements.

Hardwood best suited for vehicle construction

Hardwood is primarily needed for vehicle construction, which should not only travel overseas for ecological reasons, but also for economic reasons. Stern does not have any concerns that this could endanger our forests: “In Europe the forest areas are growing and due to progressive climate change, forestry in this country will increasingly switch to hardwood. With its objectives to integrate wood into completely new value chains, Wood-CAR represents an important initiative for research activities on the important topic of bioeconomy."