Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan
Online ISSN : 1881-0519
Print ISSN : 1880-2761
ISSN-L : 1880-2761
Research Article
Dynamic Substance Flow Analysis of Rhenium Related to the Demand for Civil Aircrafts
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2020 Volume 16 Issue 1 Pages 29-39


Recently, nickel based superalloy is used for aero-engines to improve the fuel-efficiency and performance, and rhenium (Re) is an important material for superalloy, especially, to enhance the high temperature creep characteristic. However, the supply of Re is highly volatile because of the low reserves of natural resources. In this work, the authors estimated the demand, stock and recycle potential for Re for the civil aircraft from 1980 to 2017 by a substance flow analysis. As a result, Re demand for aircraft production and stock have kept increased since 1980. The maximum demand for new production and the stock were estimated as 49.9 t in 2016 and 708 t in 2017, respectively. And the demand for maintenance was depend on the maintenance cycle, and the maximum demand was estimated as 29.8 t (4 years), 18.3 t (6 years) and 12.2 (8 years) in 2017, respectively. The maximum recycle potential from retired aircraft was estimated as 15.3 t in 2015. Since 2013, the demand for new production of aircraft reached nearly the production of primary Re metal production, and the shortage of the supply was supposed to be covered by the scrap recycling from retired aircraft. However, the number of retired aircraft and the supply of old scrap was expected to decrease in the near future. Through this work, the importance to enhance the Re recovery from old scrap was suggested.

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© 2020 The Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan
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