Carbon Fiber and Global Environment
Carbon fiber is an environmentally friendly material.
Carbon fiber is manufactured by refining oil to obtain acrylonitrile and then spinning this acrylonitrile and baking the spun yarn. Due to the high baking temperature of 1000℃ or more, 20 tons of CO2 are emitted to manufacture 1 ton of carbon fiber.
Carbon fiber offers excellent specific strength and specific modulus of elasticity, and its market is expected to grow significantly.
Carbon fiber contributes significantly to curbing of global warming.
The environmental impact of carbon fiber was evaluated using the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) method over is life cycle from digging of material to use and scrapping of carbon fiber product. The result is as follows. When the body structure of a car is made 30% lighter using carbon fiber, 50 tons of CO2 will be reduced per 1 ton of carbon fiber over a life cycle of 10 years; when the fuselage structure of aircraft is made 20% lighter using carbon fiber, on the other hand, 1400 tons of CO2 will be reduced under the same condition.
If passenger cars (42 million vehicles owned, excluding light automobiles) and passenger aircraft (430 planes owned) in Japan adopt carbon fiber to reduce weight and therefore improve fuel economy, 22 million tons of CO2 will be saved. This corresponds to approx. 1.5% of total CO2 emissions in Japan in 2006 (1.3 billion tons), which clearly shows why this cutting-edge material is a "trump card" in reducing CO2 and contributing to the global environment.