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Research could help reduce carbon tax for major industries

Media release

A Curtin University study has revealed remanufactured refrigeration and air conditioning compressors produce up to 93 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than new original equipment manufactured (OEM) compressors.

Conducted by the  Director of Curtin’s Sustainable Engineering Group, Associate Professor Michele Rosano and Senior Lecturer, Dr Wahidul Biswas, the research has provided a case for the market development of remanufactured compressors as more sustainable alternatives to traditional OEMs.

Associate Professor Rosano said the study included a life cycle assessment of each stage of the remanufacturing process, including disassembly, cleaning and washing, machining, reassembling, and testing, to determine the environmental benefits associated with the potential substitution of a new OEM compressor with a remanufactured compressor.

“Through our analysis, we determined that remanufactured compressors produce about 89-93 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than those associated with a new OEM compressor,” Associate Professor Rosano said.

“The analysis also confirmed that additional reuse and less replacement of parts with new parts could further reduce the overall carbon footprint of remanufactured compressors.”

Associate Professor Rosano said the equivalent of 1,590kg of CO2 emissions were emitted from the production of a new OEM compressor.

“The replacement of a new OEM compressor with a remanufactured compressor can mitigate about 1,470kg of CO2 emissions, which is similar to the greenhouse gas emissions from 1.56MWh of electricity generation in WA, and 1.71MWh in Queensland and NSW,” she said.

“This electricity generation would meet the average electricity demand of an Australian household for three-and-a-half months.”

Associate Professor Rosano said results from the study also highlighted the importance of remanufacturing in reducing not only the resource intensity and carbon footprint, but also the cost associated with the purchase of a compressor.

“If the carbon price was set at $50 per tonne of CO2 emissions, a new OEM compressor would cost of $79.50 and a remanufactured compressor only $5.85,” she said.

“Coles Supermarkets, the second-largest supermarket chain in Australia, uses around 7500 compressors in their stores, with an average size of 27 kW. If these compressors were completely replaced with remanufactured compressors, 19,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions could be avoided.”

Associate Professor Rosano said the replacement of OEMs pre-used parts with new parts helped to avoid the disposal of entire units and achieved a significantly higher greenhouse gas management benefit for major industries.

“Including the final disposal of compressor units into a life-cycle assessment may become an increasing reality in the industrial market as further costs and limitations are placed on the landfill disposal of industrial wastes,” she said.

“In addition, as mining resources start to deplete, remanufacturing and recycling will increasingly become the norm for industrial machinery and componentry, both on an economic basis and with the need to increase greenhouse gas management of production activities in carbon-constrained economies.”

Associate Professor Rosano said achieving eco-efficient production required the recovery of resources from the waste stream at the end-of-life of a product.

“By using recovered end-of-life parts, remanufacturing should be able to reduce the environmental costs associated with both the manufacturing and disposal of heavy and material intensive industrial machinery,” she said.

“Also, by providing customers with remanufactured products, companies can provide the same level of service using fewer resources.

“In this way, remanufacturing can importantly reduce the resource intensity and increase the eco-efficiency of product systems.”

National remanufacturing company, Recom Engineering, provided financial support for the study, Engineering reduced greenhouse gas production: A Remanufacturing solution.

Associate Professor Rosano said the research could assist Recom Engineering to manage the carbon footprint of its remanufacturing business and assist in the market development of remanufactured compressors as more sustainable alternatives to the traditional purchase of new OEM compressors.

Contacts :

Associate Professor Michele Rosano, Director Sustainable Engineering Group, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4240, Email: m.rosano@curtin.edu.au   

Andrea Barnard, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mob: 0401 103 755, Email: andrea.barnard@curtin.edu.au

Web: www.curtin.edu.au

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