Climate change stabilization at 1.5–2 °C requires the transition to low-carbon societies, which imposes the need to decarbonize automotive manufacturing in accordance with the Science-Based Target Initiative for industries. The decarbonization of an automotive factory requires a holistic and systemic understanding of all ecologically-relevant resource flows, the implementation of adequate mitigation solutions and a life-cycle thinking in planning and operation. The application of a life cycle perspective on a factory has merely been conceptual, which imposes the need for a the development of an adequate systemic understanding, a quantified analysis and the identification of challenges associated with decarbonization. A Life Cycle Assessment has been conducted to quantify the life cycle of a state-of-the-art automotive factory (for the first time), identify decarbonization challenges and provide a differentiated analysis as a basis for planning and decision-making in practice. The applied case study provided various insights: (i) the use stage represents the most GWP-intensive life cycle stage; (ii) efficiency, substitutional and compensation approaches are necessary to achieve a full decarbonization; (iii) use stage-related mitigation is not sufficient to achieve a low-pathway (iv) decarbonization requires the interplay of planners, operators and suppliers of process material, machinery and construction and (vi) electric vehicle production increases the GWP-intensity of the production. Despite uncertainties in data inventory and modelling - the presented case represents a first but valid approach to identify transformative challenges of an automotive factory life cycle for sustainable development.
- Automotive factory
- Life cycle