CLEVELAND – Alcoa released the findings of a peer-reviewed lifecycle assessment (LCA) which concludes that Alcoa aluminum wheels substantially cut the carbon footprint of commercial vehicles. In North America, the study found that substituting 18 conventional steel truck wheels with Alcoa aluminum wheels cut carbon emissions by 16.3 metric tons over the lifetime of the wheels. In Europe, replacing 12 steel wheels with aluminum cut 13.3 metric tons of carbon emissions. In addition, the study found that the use of Alcoa forged aluminum wheels over steel wheels can be viewed as an active and highly efficient investment into the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the commercial vehicle sector.

“Lifecycle assessment is the universally accepted method to comprehensively assess the environmental impact of a product,” said Dr. Christoph Koffler, technical director of PE International, Inc. & Five Winds Strategic Consulting, who conducted the study. “Our findings are based on the full life cycle of Alcoa forged aluminum wheels—from the raw materials, through the production, distribution, use, disposal, and recycling of the product.”

This analysis is the most comprehensive and transparent comparative LCA ever conducted on aluminum and steel truck wheels, according to Alcoa. It analyzed the entire “cradle-to-grave” production process of commercial vehicle wheels — from bauxite mining to wheel manufacturing, through a truck wheel’s use phase and end-of-life, including recycling and land filling. The study incorporated the latest available information on energy and material consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental releases. Alcoa provided primary data for aluminum wheel production from five facilities: two in the United States (Cleveland and Barberton, Ohio), one in Mexico, Hungary, and Japan. PE International provided upstream data for fuels, raw materials, and steel wheel manufacturing processes, including primary metals and chemicals. The study conformed to ISO methodology and was peer reviewed by respected professionals in the LCA community, including experts from the world-renowned Technische Universitat Berlin and the University of Michigan.