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Life Cycle Inventory & Impact Assessment

November 2016

Download: Life cycle assessment of CFGF – Continuous Filament Glass Fibre Products (1.1 Mb)

GlassFibreEurope, the European Glass Fibre Producers Association commissioned PwC to prepare the report that presents the cradle–to-gate life-cycle inventory and life-cycle impact assessment results of several continuous filament glass fiber products (direct and assembled rovings, wet and dry chopped strands, as well as chopped strand mats and continuous filament mats).

Data were collected from 11 plants based in the European Union and Norway. Companies who took part to the data collection include: 3B the fiberglass company, Saint Gobain-Vetrotex Deutschland, Johns Manville Europe, Lanxess Deutschland, European Owens Corning Fiberglass, PPG Industries Fiber Glas bv.

Continuous filament glass fiber products are mainly used in the reinforcement of thermosetting and thermoplastic resins. These composite materials are used in a wide variety of applications: the automotive and transport sectors, the electrical/electronics industry and the construction industry. Other markets for composite materials include pipes and tanks, agricultural equipment, industrial machinery, wind-turbine blades and the sports, leisure and marine sectors. The second most important end-use is the manufacture of yarns, which are used in markets similar to those of composites, although clearly for different applications.

The present study is an update of a first study performed 5 years ago and has been conducted according to the requirements of International Standards (ISO 14040 and ISO 14044). An external critical review will be carried out by an independent LCA expert, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Angela Schindler, who was already in charge of the critical review of the first study in 2011.

Results show that most of the energy consumption, depletion of non renewable resources, increase of greenhouse gas emissions, acidification, air emissions of heavy metals come from the glass melting stage. By contrast, downstream process stages, where Continuous Filament Glass Fibre (CFGF) products are adapted so as to correspond to the customer requirements (coating by chemicals, chopping, …) play a limited role on the LCA results. Consequently, the LCA results of the CFGF products studied are only 10-25% apart.