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Sample records for life-cycle assessment lca

  1. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology applied to energetic materials

    SciTech Connect

    Reardon, P.T.

    1995-03-01

    The objective of the Clean Agile Manufacturing of Propellants, Explosives, and pyrotechnics (CAMPEP) program is to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of using modeling, alternate materials and processing technology to reduce PEO life-cycle pollution by up to 90%. Traditional analyses of factory pollution treat the manufacturing facility as the singular pollution source. The life cycle of a product really begins with raw material acquisition and includes all activities through ultimate disposal. The life cycle thus includes other facilities besides the principal manufacturing facility. The pollution generated during the product life cycle is then integrated over the total product lifetime, or represents a ``cradle to grave`` accounting philosophy. This paper addresses a methodology for producing a life-cycle inventory assessment.

  2. Towards a meaningful assessment of marine ecological impacts in life cycle assessment (LCA).

    PubMed

    Woods, John S; Veltman, Karin; Huijbregts, Mark A J; Verones, Francesca; Hertwich, Edgar G

    2016-01-01

    Human demands on marine resources and space are currently unprecedented and concerns are rising over observed declines in marine biodiversity. A quantitative understanding of the impact of industrial activities on the marine environment is thus essential. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method for quantifying the environmental impact of products and processes. LCA was originally developed to assess the impacts of land-based industries on mainly terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. As such, impact indicators for major drivers of marine biodiversity loss are currently lacking. We review quantitative approaches for cause-effect assessment of seven major drivers of marine biodiversity loss: climate change, ocean acidification, eutrophication-induced hypoxia, seabed damage, overexploitation of biotic resources, invasive species and marine plastic debris. Our review shows that impact indicators can be developed for all identified drivers, albeit at different levels of coverage of cause-effect pathways and variable levels of uncertainty and spatial coverage. Modeling approaches to predict the spatial distribution and intensity of human-driven interventions in the marine environment are relatively well-established and can be employed to develop spatially-explicit LCA fate factors. Modeling approaches to quantify the effects of these interventions on marine biodiversity are less well-developed. We highlight specific research challenges to facilitate a coherent incorporation of marine biodiversity loss in LCA, thereby making LCA a more comprehensive and robust environmental impact assessment tool. Research challenges of particular importance include i) incorporation of the non-linear behavior of global circulation models (GCMs) within an LCA framework and ii) improving spatial differentiation, especially the representation of coastal regions in GCMs and ocean-carbon cycle models. PMID:26826362

  3. Terrestrial ecotoxicity and effect factors of metals in life cycle assessment (LCA).

    PubMed

    Haye, Sébastien; Slaveykova, Vera I; Payet, Jérôme

    2007-07-01

    Life cycle impact assessment aims to translate the amounts of substance emitted during the life cycle of a product into a potential impact on the environment, which includes terrestrial ecosystems. This work suggests some possible improvements in assessing the toxicity of metals on soil ecosystems in life cycle assessment (LCA). The current available data on soil ecotoxicity allow one to calculate the chronic terrestrial HC50(EC50) (hazardous concentration affecting 50% of the species at their EC50 level, i.e. the level where 50% of the individuals of the species are affected) of nine metals and metalloids (As(III) or (V), Be(II), Cr(III) or (VI), Sb(III) or (V), Pb(II), Cu(II), Zn(II) and Ni(II)). Contrarily to what is generally advised in LCIA, the terrestrial HC50 of metals shall not be extrapolated from the aquatic HC50, using the Equilibrium Partitioning method since the partition coefficient (K(d)) of metals is highly variable. The experimental ecotoxicology generally uses metallic salts to contaminate artificial soils but the comparison of the EC50 or NOEC obtained for the same metal with different salts reveals that the kind of salt used insignificantly influences these values. In contrast, depending on the metallic fraction of concern, the EC50 may vary, as for cadmium: the EC50 of Folsomia candida, expressed as free Cd in pore water is almost 2.5 orders of magnitude lower than that expressed as total metal. A similar result is obtained with Eisenia fetida, confirming the importance of metals speciation in assessing their impact on soils. By ranking the metals according to the difference between their terrestrial and aquatic HC50 values, two groups are distinguished, which match the hard soft acids and bases (HSAB) concept. This allows to estimate their affinity for soil components and potential toxicity according to their chemical characteristics. PMID:17467037

  4. Personal Metabolism (PM) coupled with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) model: Danish Case Study.

    PubMed

    Kalbar, Pradip P; Birkved, Morten; Kabins, Simon; Nygaard, Simon Elsborg

    2016-05-01

    Sustainable and informed resource consumption is the key to make everyday living sustainable for entire populations. An intelligent and strategic way of addressing the challenges related with sustainable development of the everyday living of consumers is to identify consumption-determined hotspots in terms of environmental and health burdens, as well as resource consumptions. Analyzing consumer life styles in terms of consumption patterns in order to identify hotspots is hence the focus of this study. This is achieved by taking into account the entire value chain of the commodities consumed in the context of environmental and human health burdens, as well as resource consumptions. A systematic commodity consumption, commodity disposal, and life style survey of 1281 persons living in urbanized Danish areas was conducted. The findings of the survey showed new impact dimensions in terms of Personal Metabolism (PM) patterns of residents living in urbanized areas of Denmark. Extending the PM analysis with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) provided a clear picture of the per capita environmental and human health burdens, as well as resource consumptions, and the exact origin hereof. A generic PM-LCA Model for all the 1281 persons was set-up in Gabi 6. The assessment results obtained applying the model on all 1281 personal consumption scenarios yielded the 1281 Personal Impact Profiles (PIPs). Consumption of food and energy (electricity and thermal energy) proved to be the primary impact sources of PM, followed by transport. The PIPs further revealed that behavioral factors (e.g. different diets, use of cars, household size) affect the profiles. Hence, behavioral changes are one means out of many that humanity will most likely have to rely on during the sustainable development process. The results of this study will help the Danish and other comparable populations to identify and prioritize the steps towards reducing their environmental, human health, and resource consumption

  5. Life cycle assessment (LCA) of solid waste management strategies in Tehran: landfill and composting plus landfill.

    PubMed

    Abduli, M A; Naghib, Abolghasem; Yonesi, Mansoor; Akbari, Ali

    2011-07-01

    As circumstances of operating and maintenance activities for landfilling and composting in Tehran metropolis differ from those of cities in developed countries, it was concluded to have an environmental impact comparison between the current solid waste management (MSW) strategies: (1) landfill, and (2) composting plus landfill. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to compare these scenarios for MSW in Tehran, Iran. The Eco-Indicator 99 is applied as an impact assessment method considering surplus energy, climate change, acidification, respiratory effect, carcinogenesis, ecotoxicity and ozone layer depletion points of aspects. One ton of municipal solid waste of Tehran was selected as the functional unit. According to the comparisons, the composting plus landfill scenario causes less damage to human health in comparison to landfill scenario. However, its damages to both mineral and fossil resources as well as ecosystem quality are higher than the landfill scenario. Thus, the composting plus landfill scenario had a higher environmental impact than landfill scenario. However, an integrated waste management will ultimately be the most efficient approach in terms of both environmental and economic benefits. In this paper, a cost evaluation shows that the unit cost per ton of waste for the scenarios is 15.28 and 26.40 US$, respectively. Results show landfill scenario as the preferable option both in environmental and economic aspects for Tehran in the current situation. PMID:20924666

  6. LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, is an environmental accounting and mangement approach that consider all the aspects of resource use and environmental releases associated with an industrial system from cradle-to-grave. Specifically, it is a holistic view of environmental interacti...

  7. Comparison of the organic waste management systems in the Danish-German border region using life cycle assessment (LCA).

    PubMed

    Jensen, Morten Bang; Møller, Jacob; Scheutz, Charlotte

    2016-03-01

    This study assessed the management of the organic household waste in the Danish-German border region and points out major differences between the systems and their potential effects on the environment using life cycle assessment (LCA). The treatment of organic waste from households in the Danish-German border region is very different on each side of the border; the Danish region only uses incineration for the treatment of organic household waste while the German region includes combined biogas production and composting, mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) and incineration. Data on all parts of the organic waste treatment was collected including waste composition data and data from treatment facilities and their respective energy systems. Based on that the organic waste management systems in the border region were modelled using the EASETECH waste management LCA-model. The main output is a life cycle assessment showing large differences in the environmental performance of the two different regions with the Danish region performing better in 10 out of 14 impact categories. Furthermore, the importance of the substituted district heating systems was investigated showing an impact up to 34% of the entire system for one impact category and showing large difference between each heating system substituted, e.g. in "Global Warming" the impact was from -16 to -1.1 milli person equivalent/tonne treated waste from substitution of centralised hard coal and decentralised natural gas, respectively. PMID:26856446

  8. STREAMLINED LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT: A FINAL REPORT FROM THE SETAC-NORTH AMERICA STREAMLINED LCA WORKGROUP

    EPA Science Inventory

    The original goal of the Streamlined LCA workgroup was to define and document a process for a shortened form of LCA. At the time, because of the large amount of data needed to do a cradle-to-grave evaluation, it was believed that in addition to such a "full" LCA approach there w...

  9. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE

    EPA Science Inventory

    The following document provides an introductory overview of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and describes the general uses and major components of LCA. This document is an update and merger of two previous EPA documents on LCA ("Life Cycle Assessment: Inventory Guidelines and Princip...

  10. IN LCA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION ON LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT: TOOLS FOR SUSTAINABILITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    LCA is being developed and applied internationally by corporations, governments, and environmental groups to incorporate environmental concerns into the decision-making process. It is being widely adopted as a means to evaluate commercial systems and develop sustainable solution...

  11. Hybrid life-cycle assessment (LCA) of CO2 emission with management alternatives for household food wastes in Japan.

    PubMed

    Inaba, Rokuta; Nansai, Keisuke; Fujii, Minoru; Hashimoto, Seiji

    2010-06-01

    In this study, we conducted a hybrid life-cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate reductions in CO(2) emissions by food waste biogasification of household food wastes in Japan. Two alternative scenarios were examined. In one alternative (Ref), all combustible municipal solid wastes (MSWs), including food waste, are incinerated. In the other (Bio), food waste is biogasified, while the other combustible wastes are incinerated. An inventory analysis of energy and material flow in the MSW management system was conducted. Subsequently, the inventory data were summarized into an input-output format, and a make-use input-output framework was applied. Furthermore, a production equilibrium model was established using a matrix representing the input- output relationship of energy and materials among the processes and sectors. Several levels of power generation efficiency from incineration were applied as a sensitivity analysis. The hybrid LCA indicated that the difference between the Bio and Ref scenarios, from the perspective of CO( 2) emissions, is relatively small. However, a 13-14% reduction of CO(2) emissions of the total waste management sector in Japan may be achieved by improving the efficiency of power generation from incineration from 10% to 25%. PMID:19942648

  12. Techno-Economics & Life Cycle Assessment (Presentation)

    SciTech Connect

    Dutta, A.; Davis, R.

    2011-12-01

    This presentation provides an overview of the techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) capabilities at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and describes the value of working with NREL on TEA and LCA.

  13. Evaluation of new alternatives in wastewater treatment plants based on dynamic modelling and life cycle assessment (DM-LCA).

    PubMed

    Bisinella de Faria, A B; Spérandio, M; Ahmadi, A; Tiruta-Barna, L

    2015-11-01

    With a view to quantifying the energy and environmental advantages of Urine Source-Separation (USS) combined with different treatment processes, five wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) scenarios were compared to a reference scenario using Dynamic Modelling (DM) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and an integrated DM-LCA framework was thus developed. Dynamic simulations were carried out in BioWin(®) in order to obtain a realistic evaluation of the dynamic behaviour and performance of plants under perturbation. LCA calculations were performed within Umberto(®) using the Ecoinvent database. A Python™ interface was used to integrate and convert simulation data and to introduce them into Umberto(®) to achieve a complete LCA evaluation comprising foreground and background processes. Comparisons between steady-state and dynamic simulations revealed the importance of considering dynamic aspects such as nutrient and flow peaks. The results of the evaluation highlighted the potential of the USS scenario for nutrient recovery whereas the Enhanced Primary Clarification (EPC) scenario gave increased biogas production and also notably decreased aeration consumption, leading to a positive energy balance. Both USS and EPC scenarios also showed increased stability of plant operation, with smaller daily averages of total nitrogen and phosphorus. In this context, USS and EPC results demonstrated that the coupled USS + EPC scenario and its combinations with agricultural spreading of N-rich effluent and nitritation/anaerobic deammonification could present an energy-positive balance with respectively 27% and 33% lower energy requirements and an increase in biogas production of 23%, compared to the reference scenario. The coupled scenarios also presented lesser environmental impacts (reduction of 31% and 39% in total endpoint impacts) along with effluent quality well within the specified limits. The marked environmental performance (reduction of global warming) when nitrogen is used

  14. The study of potable water treatment process in Algeria (boudouaou station) -by the application of life cycle assessment (LCA).

    PubMed

    Mohamed-Zine, Messaoud-Boureghda; Hamouche, Aksas; Krim, Louhab

    2013-01-01

    Environmental impact assessment will soon become a compulsory phase in future potable water production projects, in algeria, especially, when alternative treatment processes such sedimentation ,coagulation sand filtration and Desinfection are considered. An impact assessment tool is therefore developed for the environmental evaluation of potable water production. in our study The evaluation method used is the life cycle assessment (LCA) for the determination and evaluation of potential impact of a drink water station ,near algiers (SEAL-Boudouaoua).LCA requires both the identification and quantification of materials and energy used in all stages of the product's life, when the inventory information is acquired, it will then be interpreted into the form of potential impact " eco-indicators 99" towards study areas covered by LCA, using the simapro6 soft ware for water treatment process is necessary to discover the weaknesses in the water treatment process in order for it to be further improved ensuring quality life. The main source shown that for the studied water treatment process, the highest environmental burdens are coagulant preparation (30% for all impacts), mineral resource and ozone layer depletion the repartition of the impacts among the different processes varies in comparison with the other impacts. Mineral resources are mainly consumed during alumine sulfate solution preparation; Ozone layer depletion originates mostly from tetrachloromethane emissions during alumine sulfate production. It should also be noted that, despite the small doses needed, ozone and active Carbone treatment generate significant impacts with a contribution of 10% for most of the impacts.Moreover impacts of energy are used in producing pumps (20-25 GHC) for plant operation and the unitary processes (coagulation, sand filtration decantation) and the most important impacts are localized in the same equipment (40-75 GHC) and we can conclude that:- Pre-treatment, pumping and EDR (EDR: 0

  15. The study of potable water treatment process in Algeria (boudouaou station) -by the application of life cycle assessment (LCA)

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Environmental impact assessment will soon become a compulsory phase in future potable water production projects, in algeria, especially, when alternative treatment processes such sedimentation ,coagulation sand filtration and Desinfection are considered. An impact assessment tool is therefore developed for the environmental evaluation of potable water production. in our study The evaluation method used is the life cycle assessment (LCA) for the determination and evaluation of potential impact of a drink water station ,near algiers (SEAL-Boudouaoua). LCA requires both the identification and quantification of materials and energy used in all stages of the product’s life, when the inventory information is acquired, it will then be interpreted into the form of potential impact “ eco-indicators 99” towards study areas covered by LCA, using the simapro6 soft ware for water treatment process is necessary to discover the weaknesses in the water treatment process in order for it to be further improved ensuring quality life. The main source shown that for the studied water treatment process, the highest environmental burdens are coagulant preparation (30% for all impacts), mineral resource and ozone layer depletion the repartition of the impacts among the different processes varies in comparison with the other impacts. Mineral resources are mainly consumed during alumine sulfate solution preparation; Ozone layer depletion originates mostly from tetrachloromethane emissions during alumine sulfate production. It should also be noted that, despite the small doses needed, ozone and active Carbone treatment generate significant impacts with a contribution of 10% for most of the impacts. Moreover impacts of energy are used in producing pumps (20-25 GHC) for plant operation and the unitary processes (coagulation, sand filtration decantation) and the most important impacts are localized in the same equipment (40-75 GHC) and we can conclude that: – Pre-treatment, pumping and

  16. IMPORTANCE OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    This paper presents Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a tool to assist the waste professional with integrated waste management. CA can be the connection between the waste professional and designer/producer to permit the waste professional to encourage the design of products so mater...

  17. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT: AN INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used to evaluate environmental burdens associated with a product, process or activity by identifying and quantifying relevant inputs and outputs of the defined system and evaluating their potential impacts. This article outlines the four components ...

  18. How to conduct a proper sensitivity analysis in life cycle assessment: taking into account correlations within LCI data and interactions within the LCA calculation model.

    PubMed

    Wei, Wei; Larrey-Lassalle, Pyrene; Faure, Thierry; Dumoulin, Nicolas; Roux, Philippe; Mathias, Jean-Denis

    2015-01-01

    Sensitivity analysis (SA) is a significant tool for studying the robustness of results and their sensitivity to uncertainty factors in life cycle assessment (LCA). It highlights the most important set of model parameters to determine whether data quality needs to be improved, and to enhance interpretation of results. Interactions within the LCA calculation model and correlations within Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) input parameters are two main issues among the LCA calculation process. Here we propose a methodology for conducting a proper SA which takes into account the effects of these two issues. This study first presents the SA in an uncorrelated case, comparing local and independent global sensitivity analysis. Independent global sensitivity analysis aims to analyze the variability of results because of the variation of input parameters over the whole domain of uncertainty, together with interactions among input parameters. We then apply a dependent global sensitivity approach that makes minor modifications to traditional Sobol indices to address the correlation issue. Finally, we propose some guidelines for choosing the appropriate SA method depending on the characteristics of the model and the goals of the study. Our results clearly show that the choice of sensitivity methods should be made according to the magnitude of uncertainty and the degree of correlation. PMID:25436503

  19. BROAD-BASED ENVIRONMENTAL LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Pollution prevention through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a departure from evaluating waste management options that look mainly at single issues such as recyclability or reduced toxicity. An LCA is a snapshot in time of inputs and outputs. It can be used as an objective technic...

  20. Possibilities and limitations of life cycle assessment (LCA) in the development of waste utilization systems - Applied examples for a region in Northern Germany

    SciTech Connect

    Wittmaier, M. Langer, S.; Sawilla, B.

    2009-05-15

    Against the background of increasing concerns about climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has become an integral part of processes in both the waste management and the energy industries. This is reflected in the development of new waste treatment concepts, in which domestic and commercial waste is treated with the aim of utilizing its energy content, while at the same time recycling as much of its material content as possible. Life cycle assessment (LCA) represents a method of assessing the environmental relevance of a waste management system, the basis of which is a material flow analysis of the system in question. GHG emissions from different options for thermal treatment and energy recovery from waste as applied to a region in Northern Germany have been analyzed by the LCA approach and an indicative LCA, which only considers those emissions resulting from operating stages of the system. Operating stages have the main share of emissions compared to pre-processing stages. Results show that through specific separation of waste material flows and highly efficient energy recovery, thermal treatment and energy generation from waste can be optimized resulting in reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases. There are also other areas of waste utilization, currently given little attention, such as the solar drying of sewage sludge, which can considerably contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) of Parabolic Trough CSP: Materials Inventory and Embodied GHG Emissions from Two-Tank Indirect and Thermocline Thermal Storage (Presentation)

    SciTech Connect

    Heath, G.; Burkhardt, J.; Turchi, C.; Decker, T.; Kutscher, C.

    2009-07-20

    In the United States, concentrating solar power (CSP) is one of the most promising renewable energy (RE) technologies for reduction of electric sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and for rapid capacity expansion. It is also one of the most price-competitive RE technologies, thanks in large measure to decades of field experience and consistent improvements in design. One of the key design features that makes CSP more attractive than many other RE technologies, like solar photovoltaics and wind, is the potential for including relatively low-cost and efficient thermal energy storage (TES), which can smooth the daily fluctuation of electricity production and extend its duration into the evening peak hours or longer. Because operational environmental burdens are typically small for RE technologies, life cycle assessment (LCA) is recognized as the most appropriate analytical approach for determining their environmental impacts of these technologies, including CSP. An LCA accounts for impacts from all stages in the development, operation, and decommissioning of a CSP plant, including such upstream stages as the extraction of raw materials used in system components, manufacturing of those components, and construction of the plant. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is undertaking an LCA of modern CSP plants, starting with those of parabolic trough design.

  2. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT: INVENTORY GUIDELINES AND PRINCIPLES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is describing the process, the underlying data, and the Inherent assumptions Involved in conducting the Inventory component of a life-cycle assessment (LCA) In order to facilitate understanding by potential users. This Inventory...

  3. Life cycle thinking in impact assessment—Current practice and LCA gains

    SciTech Connect

    Bidstrup, Morten

    2015-09-15

    It has been advocated that life cycle thinking (LCT) should be applied in impact assessment (IA) to a greater extent, since some development proposals pose a risk of significant impacts throughout the interconnected activities of product systems. Multiple authors have proposed the usage of life cycle assessment (LCA) for such analytical advancement, but little to no research on this tool application has been founded in IA practice so far. The aim of this article is to elaborate further on the gains assigned to application of LCA. The research builds on a review of 85 Danish IA reports, which were analysed for analytical appropriateness and application of LCT. Through a focus on the non-technical summary, the conclusion and the use of specific search words, passages containing LCT were searched for in each IA report. These passages were then analysed with a generic framework. The results reveal that LCT is appropriate for most of the IAs, but that LCA is rarely applied to provide such a perspective. Without LCA, the IAs show mixed performance in regard to LCT. Most IAs do consider the product provision of development proposals, but they rarely relate impacts to this function explicitly. Many IAs do consider downstream impacts, but assessments of upstream, distant impacts are generally absent. It is concluded that multiple analytical gains can be attributed to greater application of LCA in IA practice, though some level of LCT already exists. - Highlights: • Life cycle thinking is appropriate across the types and topics of impact assessment. • Yet, life cycle assessment is rarely used for adding such perspective. • Impact assessment practice does apply some degree of life cycle thinking. • However, application of life cycle assessment could bring analytical gains.

  4. A new data architecture for advancing life cycle assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

    IntroductionLife cycle assessment (LCA) has a technical architecture that limits data interoperability, transparency, and automated integration of external data. More advanced information technologies offer promise for increasing the ease with which information can be synthesized...

  5. Life Cycle Assessment Software for Product and Process Sustainability Analysis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vervaeke, Marina

    2012-01-01

    In recent years, life cycle assessment (LCA), a methodology for assessment of environmental impacts of products and services, has become increasingly important. This methodology is applied by decision makers in industry and policy, product developers, environmental managers, and other non-LCA specialists working on environmental issues in a wide…

  6. STREAMLINING LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (SYSTEMS ANALYSIS BRANCH, SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY DIVISION, NRMRL)

    EPA Science Inventory

    After having completed work on investigating streamlining the life cycle inventory phase of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), research efforts focused on the impact phase of LCA in the third and final year of this cooperative agreement. A simplified life cycle impact assessment model,...

  7. LCACCESS: A GLOBAL DIRECTORY OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT RESOURCES

    EPA Science Inventory

    LCAccess is an EPA-sponsored website intended to promote the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in business decision-making by faciliatating access to data sources that are useful in developing a life cycle inventory (LCI). While LCAccess does not itself contain data, it is a sea...

  8. EVALUATING THE GREENNESS OF IONIC LIQUIDS VIA LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ionic Liquids have been suggested as "greener" replacements to traditional solvents. However, the environmental impacts of the life cycle phases have not been studied. Such a "cradle to gate" Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for comparing the environmental impact of various solvents...

  9. Energy life-cycle assessment of soybean biodiesel revisited

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A life-cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to quantify the energy flows associated with biodiesel production. A similar study conducted previously (Sheehan et al., Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus, Publication NREL/SR-580-24089, National Renewable Ener...

  10. Dealing with Emergy Algebra in the Life Cycle Assessment Framework

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) represents one of the four steps of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, which is a standardized procedure (ISO 14040:2006) to estimate the environmental impacts generated by the production, use and disposal of goods and services. In this co...

  11. The changing nature of life cycle assessment

    PubMed Central

    McManus, Marcelle C.; Taylor, Caroline M.

    2015-01-01

    LCA has evolved from its origins in energy analysis in the 1960s and 70s into a wide ranging tool used to determine impacts of products or systems over several environmental and resource issues. The approach has become more prevalent in research, industry and policy. Its use continues to expand as it seeks to encompass impacts as diverse as resource accounting and social well being. Carbon policy for bioenergy has driven many of these changes. Enabling assessment of complex issues over a life cycle basis is beneficial, but the process is sometimes difficult. LCA's use in framing is increasingly complex and more uncertain, and in some cases, irreconcilable. The charged environment surrounding biofuels and bioenergy exacerbates all of these. Reaching its full potential to help guide difficult policy discussions and emerging research involves successfully managing LCA's transition from attributional to consequential and from retrospective to prospective. This paper examines LCA's on-going evolution and its use within bioenergy deployment. The management of methodological growth in the context of the unique challenges associated with bioenergy and biofuels is explored. Changes seen in bioenergy LCA will bleed into other LCA arenas, especially where it is important that a sustainable solution is chosen. PMID:26664146

  12. ANALYZING SHORT CUT METHODS FOR LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT INVENTORIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Work in progress at the U.S. EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory is developing methods for quickly, easily, and inexpensively developing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) inventories. An LCA inventory represents the inputs and outputs from processes, including fuel and ...

  13. Guidance on Data Quality Assessment for Life Cycle Inventory Data

    EPA Science Inventory

    Data quality within Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a significant issue for the future support and development of LCA as a decision support tool and its wider adoption within industry. In response to current data quality standards such as the ISO 14000 series, various entities wit...

  14. Incorporating exposure science into life-cycle assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is used to estimate the potential for environmental damage that may be caused by a product or process, ideally before the product or process begins. LCA includes all of the steps from extracting natural resources through manufacturing through product u...

  15. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT SOPHISTICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    An international workshop was held in Brussels on 11/29-30/1998, to discuss LCIA Sophistication. LCA experts from North America, Europs, and Asia attended. Critical reviews of associated factors, including current limitations of available assessment methodologies, and comparison...

  16. Life Cycle Impact Assessment (videotape)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Originally developed for the US EPA Regions, this presentation is available to the general public via the internet. The presentation focuses on the basics of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) including the ISO 14040 series framework and a quick overview of each of the steps wi...

  17. Life cycle assessment analysis of supercritical coal power units

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziębik, Andrzej; Hoinka, Krzysztof; Liszka, Marcin

    2010-09-01

    This paper presents the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis concerning the selected options of supercritical coal power units. The investigation covers a pulverized power unit without a CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) installation, a pulverized unit with a "post-combustion" installation (MEA type) and a pulverized power unit working in the "oxy-combustion" mode. For each variant the net electric power amounts to 600 MW. The energy component of the LCA analysis has been determined. It describes the depletion of non-renewable natural resources. The energy component is determined by the coefficient of cumulative energy consumption in the life cycle. For the calculation of the ecological component of the LCA analysis the cumulative CO2 emission has been applied. At present it is the basic emission factor for the LCA analysis of power plants. The work also presents the sensitivity analysis of calculated energy and ecological factors.

  18. Life Cycle Assessment of Wall Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramachandran, Sriranjani

    Natural resource depletion and environmental degradation are the stark realities of the times we live in. As awareness about these issues increases globally, industries and businesses are becoming interested in understanding and minimizing the ecological footprints of their activities. Evaluating the environmental impacts of products and processes has become a key issue, and the first step towards addressing and eventually curbing climate change. Additionally, companies are finding it beneficial and are interested in going beyond compliance using pollution prevention strategies and environmental management systems to improve their environmental performance. Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) is an evaluative method to assess the environmental impacts associated with a products' life-cycle from cradle-to-grave (i.e. from raw material extraction through to material processing, manufacturing, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and finally, disposal or recycling). This study focuses on evaluating building envelopes on the basis of their life-cycle analysis. In order to facilitate this analysis, a small-scale office building, the University Services Building (USB), with a built-up area of 148,101 ft2 situated on ASU campus in Tempe, Arizona was studied. The building's exterior envelope is the highlight of this study. The current exterior envelope is made of tilt-up concrete construction, a type of construction in which the concrete elements are constructed horizontally and tilted up, after they are cured, using cranes and are braced until other structural elements are secured. This building envelope is compared to five other building envelope systems (i.e. concrete block, insulated concrete form, cast-in-place concrete, steel studs and curtain wall constructions) evaluating them on the basis of least environmental impact. The research methodology involved developing energy models, simulating them and generating changes in energy consumption due to the above mentioned

  19. AN INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT SOPHISTICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    On November 29-30,1998 in Brussels, an international workshop was held to discuss Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) Sophistication. Approximately 50 LCA experts attended the workshop from North America, Europe, and Asia. Prominant practicioners and researchers were invited to p...

  20. Life Cycle Assessment Framework for Indoor Emissions of Synthetic Nanoparticles

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well-established method to evaluate impacts of chemicals on the environment and human health along the lifespan of products. However, the increasingly produced and applied nanomaterials (defined as one dimension <100 nm) show particular characteri...

  1. Improvements to Emergy evaluations by using Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Rugani, Benedetto; Benetto, Enrico

    2012-05-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely recognized, multicriteria and standardized tool for environmental assessment of products and processes. As an independent evaluation method, emergy assessment has shown to be a promising and relatively novel tool. The technique has gained wide recognition in the past decade but still faces methodological difficulties which prevent it from being accepted by a broader stakeholder community. This review aims to elucidate the fundamental requirements to possibly improve the Emergy evaluation by using LCA. Despite its capability to compare the amount of resources embodied in production systems, Emergy suffers from its vague accounting procedures and lacks accuracy, reproducibility, and completeness. An improvement of Emergy evaluations can be achieved via (1) technical implementation of Emergy algebra in the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI); (2) selection of consistent Unit Emergy Values (UEVs) as characterization factors for Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA); and (3) expansion of the LCI system boundaries to include supporting systems usually considered by Emergy but excluded in LCA (e.g., ecosystem services and human labor). Whereas Emergy rules must be adapted to life-cycle structures, LCA should enlarge its inventory to give Emergy a broader computational framework. The matrix inversion principle used for LCAs is also proposed as an alternative to consistently account for a large number of resource UEVs. PMID:22489863

  2. Life Cycle Assessment as an Environmental Management Tool

    EPA Science Inventory

    Listed by Time Magazine as the method behind calculating “Ecological Intelligence,” one of “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now” (March 23, 2009), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the tool that is used to understand the environmental impacts of the products we make and sell. Jo...

  3. AN INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT SOPHISTICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    On November 29-30,1998 in Brussels, an international workshop was held to discuss Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) Sophistication. Approximately 50 LCA experts attended the workshop from North America, Europe, and Asia. Prominant practicioners and researchers were invited to ...

  4. Life cycle assessment of dairy farms.

    PubMed

    Taufiq, Fierly Muhammad; Padmi, Tri; Rahardyan, Dan Benno

    2016-03-01

    In 2013 the population of dairy cattle in Indonesia had reached 636,000 head with a 4.61% growth rate per year. The inputs were energy, water, and feed. These inputs produced outputs, such as emissions, solid waste and liquid waste. This research compared the maintenance systems in modern farms and local farms. The data were collected from 30 local farmers and one modern farm. This research used the life cycle assessment (LCA) method. LCA is based on ISO 14040. LCA consists of several stages: the goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation. This research used the cradle to gate concept and fat corrected milk (FCM) as the function unit. The impacts of these activities could generate global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP), and eutrophication potential (EP). The calculations showed that the systems in local farms had the greatest emissions result over all impacts. In the case of local farms, the GWP was 2.34 kg CO2 eq/L of milk FCM, AP was 0.12 g SO2 eq/L of milk FCM, and EP was 18.28 g PO43- $P{O_{\\rm{4}}}^{{\\rm{3}} - }$ eq/L milk FCM. While the impact from the modern farm was GWP of 1.52 kg CO2 eq/L of milk FCM, AP of 0.02 g SO2 eq/L of milk FCM, and EP of 0.353 g PO43- $P{O_{\\rm{4}}}^{{\\rm{3}} - }$ eq/L of milk FCM. Based on the total-weighted result, the GWP had the greatest impact from the overall life cycle phase of milk production. The total-weighted result obtained was of 0.298 EUR/L of FCM from a local farm and 0.189 EUR/L of FCM from the modern farm. This amount could be used to remediate the global warming, acidification, and eutrophication impacts of milk production. PMID:26953699

  5. Emerging approaches, challenges and opportunities in life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Hellweg, Stefanie; Milà i Canals, Llorenç

    2014-06-01

    In the modern economy, international value chains--production, use, and disposal of goods--have global environmental impacts. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) aims to track these impacts and assess them from a systems perspective, identifying strategies for improvement without burden shifting. We review recent developments in LCA, including existing and emerging applications aimed at supporting environmentally informed decisions in policy-making, product development and procurement, and consumer choices. LCA constitutes a viable screening tool that can pinpoint environmental hotspots in complex value chains, but we also caution that completeness in scope comes at the price of simplifications and uncertainties. Future advances of LCA in enhancing regional detail and accuracy as well as broadening the assessment to economic and social aspects will make it more relevant for producers and consumers alike. PMID:24904154

  6. Life cycle assessment part 2: current impact assessment practice.

    PubMed

    Pennington, D W; Potting, J; Finnveden, G; Lindeijer, E; Jolliet, O; Rydberg, T; Rebitzer, G

    2004-07-01

    Providing our society with goods and services contributes to a wide range of environmental impacts. Waste generation, emissions and the consumption of resources occur at many stages in a product's life cycle-from raw material extraction, energy acquisition, production and manufacturing, use, reuse, recycling, through to ultimate disposal. These all contribute to impacts such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, photooxidant formation (smog), eutrophication, acidification, toxicological stress on human health and ecosystems, the depletion of resources and noise-among others. The need exists to address these product-related contributions more holistically and in an integrated manner, providing complimentary insights to those of regulatory/process-oriented methodologies. A previous article (Part 1, Rebitzer et al., 2004) outlined how to define and model a product's life cycle in current practice, as well as the methods and tools that are available for compiling the associated waste, emissions and resource consumption data into a life cycle inventory. This article highlights how practitioners and researchers from many domains have come together to provide indicators for the different impacts attributable to products in the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase of life cycle assessment (LCA). PMID:15051247

  7. EVALUATION OF PUBLIC DATABASES AS SOURCES OF DATA FOR LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Methods to determine the environmental effects of production systems must encourage a comprehensive evaluation of all "upstream" and "downstream" effects and their interrelationships. This cradle-to-grave approach, called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), has led to the development...

  8. ENVIRONMENTAL COMPARISON METRICS FOR LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND PROCESS DESIGN

    EPA Science Inventory

    Metrics (potentials, potency factors, equivalency factors or characterization factors) are available to support the environmental comparison of alternatives in application domains like proces design and product life-cycle assessment (LCA). These metrics typically provide relative...

  9. Life cycle assessment of biogas upgrading technologies.

    PubMed

    Starr, Katherine; Gabarrell, Xavier; Villalba, Gara; Talens, Laura; Lombardi, Lidia

    2012-05-01

    This article evaluates the life cycle assessment (LCA) of three biogas upgrading technologies. An in-depth study and evaluation was conducted on high pressure water scrubbing (HPWS), as well as alkaline with regeneration (AwR) and bottom ash upgrading (BABIU), which additionally offer carbon storage. AwR and BABIU are two novel technologies that utilize waste from municipal solid waste incinerators - namely bottom ash (BA) and air pollution control residues (APC) - and are able to store CO(2) from biogas through accelerated carbonation processes. These are compared to high pressure water scrubbing (HPWS) which is a widely used technology in Europe. The AwR uses an alkaline solution to remove the CO(2) and then the solution - rich in carbonate and bicarbonate ions - is regenerated through carbonation of APC. The BABIU process directly exposes the gas to the BA to remove and immediately store the CO(2), again by carbonation. It was determined that the AwR process had an 84% higher impact in all LCA categories largely due to the energy intensive production of the alkaline reactants. The BABIU process had the lowest impact in most categories even when compared to five other CO(2) capture technologies on the market. AwR and BABIU have a particularly low impact in the global warming potential category as a result of the immediate storage of the CO(2). For AwR, it was determined that using NaOH instead of KOH improves its environmental performance by 34%. For the BABIU process the use of renewable energies would improve its impact since accounts for 55% of the impact. PMID:22230660

  10. Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Oil Palm Seeds.

    PubMed

    Muhamad, Halimah; Ai, Tan Yew; Khairuddin, Nik Sasha Khatrina; Amiruddin, Mohd Din; May, Choo Yuen

    2014-12-01

    The oil palm seed production unit that generates germinated oil palm seeds is the first link in the palm oil supply chain, followed by the nursery to produce seedling, the plantation to produce fresh fruit bunches (FFB), the mill to produce crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel, the kernel crushers to produce crude palm kernel oil (CPKO), the refinery to produce refined palm oil (RPO) and finally the palm biodiesel plant to produce palm biodiesel. This assessment aims to investigate the life cycle assessment (LCA) of germinated oil palm seeds and the use of LCA to identify the stage/s in the production of germinated oil palm seeds that could contribute to the environmental load. The method for the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is modelled using SimaPro version 7, (System for Integrated environMental Assessment of PROducts), an internationally established tool used by LCA practitioners. This software contains European and US databases on a number of materials in addition to a variety of European- and US-developed impact assessment methodologies. LCA was successfully conducted for five seed production units and it was found that the environmental impact for the production of germinated oil palm was not significant. The characterised results of the LCIA for the production of 1000 germinated oil palm seeds showed that fossil fuel was the major impact category followed by respiratory inorganics and climate change. PMID:27073598

  11. Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Oil Palm Seeds

    PubMed Central

    Muhamad, Halimah; Ai, Tan Yew; Khairuddin, Nik Sasha Khatrina; Amiruddin, Mohd Din; May, Choo Yuen

    2014-01-01

    The oil palm seed production unit that generates germinated oil palm seeds is the first link in the palm oil supply chain, followed by the nursery to produce seedling, the plantation to produce fresh fruit bunches (FFB), the mill to produce crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel, the kernel crushers to produce crude palm kernel oil (CPKO), the refinery to produce refined palm oil (RPO) and finally the palm biodiesel plant to produce palm biodiesel. This assessment aims to investigate the life cycle assessment (LCA) of germinated oil palm seeds and the use of LCA to identify the stage/s in the production of germinated oil palm seeds that could contribute to the environmental load. The method for the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is modelled using SimaPro version 7, (System for Integrated environMental Assessment of PROducts), an internationally established tool used by LCA practitioners. This software contains European and US databases on a number of materials in addition to a variety of European- and US-developed impact assessment methodologies. LCA was successfully conducted for five seed production units and it was found that the environmental impact for the production of germinated oil palm was not significant. The characterised results of the LCIA for the production of 1000 germinated oil palm seeds showed that fossil fuel was the major impact category followed by respiratory inorganics and climate change. PMID:27073598

  12. An evaluation of life cycle assessment of European milk production.

    PubMed

    Yan, Ming-Jia; Humphreys, James; Holden, Nicholas M

    2011-03-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a method regulated by ISO that conveys the environmental impact of products. LCA studies of the same product should be comparable to benefit environmental policy making. LCA of milk production has evaluated environmental issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, resource utilisation and land use change. Thirteen LCA studies of European milk production were analysed for comparability, and direct comparison was difficult due to technical issues, arbitrary choices and inconsistent assumptions. The strengths and weaknesses of LCA for evaluating an agricultural system are identified and improvements for comparability of future studies are also considered. Future LCA of milk production should ensure that: (1) the production system is appropriately characterized according to the goal of study; (2) a clear description of the system boundary and allocation procedures is provided according to ISO standards; (3) a common functional unit, probably Energy Corrected Milk, should be used or assumed fat and protein content presented to enable comparisons; (4) where appropriate, site-specific emission factors and characterization factors should be used in environmental hotspots (e.g. manure management, spreading of synthetic fertilizer, production of purchased feed), and phosphorous loss should be better addressed; (5) a range of impact categories including climate change, energy use, land use, acidification and eutrophication should be used to assess pollution swapping, all of which are subject to national or regional directives; perhaps in the future biodiversity should also be included; and (6) the sensitivity to choices of methods and uncertainty of final results should be evaluated. PMID:21055870

  13. A Life-Cycle Assessment of Biofuels: Tracing Energy and Carbon through a Fuel-Production System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Krauskopf, Sara

    2010-01-01

    A life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool used by engineers to make measurements of net energy, greenhouse gas production, water consumption, and other items of concern. This article describes an activity designed to walk students through the qualitative part of an LCA. It asks them to consider the life-cycle costs of ethanol production, in terms of…

  14. Comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of construction and demolition (C&D) derived biomass and U.S. northeast forest residuals gasification for electricity production.

    PubMed

    Nuss, Philip; Gardner, Kevin H; Jambeck, Jenna R

    2013-04-01

    With the goal to move society toward less reliance on fossil fuels and the mitigation of climate change, there is increasing interest and investment in the bioenergy sector. However, current bioenergy growth patterns may, in the long term, only be met through an expansion of global arable land at the expense of natural ecosystems and in competition with the food sector. Increasing thermal energy recovery from solid waste reduces dependence on fossil- and biobased energy production while enhancing landfill diversion. Using inventory data from pilot processes, this work assesses the cradle-to-gate environmental burdens of plasma gasification as a route capable of transforming construction and demolition (C&D) derived biomass (CDDB) and forest residues into electricity. Results indicate that the environmental burdens associated with CDDB and forest residue gasification may be similar to conventional electricity generation. Land occupation is lowest when CDDB is used. Environmental impacts are to a large extent due to coal cogasified, coke used as gasifier bed material, and fuel oil cocombusted in the steam boiler. However, uncertainties associated with preliminary system designs may be large, particularly the heat loss associated with pilot scale data resulting in overall low efficiencies of energy conversion to electricity; a sensitivity analysis assesses these uncertainties in further detail. PMID:23496419

  15. Comparison of energy-based indicators used in life cycle assessment tools for buildings

    EPA Science Inventory

    Traditionally, building rating systems focused on, among others, energy used during operational stage. Recently, there is a strong push by these rating systems to include the life cycle energy use of buildings, particularly using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), by offering credits t...

  16. Integrated Metrics for Improving the Life Cycle Approach to Assessing Product System Sustainability

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life cycle approaches are critical for identifying and managing to reduce burdens in the sustainability of product systems. While these methods can indicate potential environmental impacts of a product, current Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods fail to integrate the multiple im...

  17. LCACCESS: A U.S. EPA-SPONSORED WEBSITE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT INFORMATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    The EPA's Office of Research and Development has initiated a project with the aim of encouraging and supporting the use of life cycle assessments (LCA's) in environmental management. While LCA is being recognized internationally as an appropriate tool for dealing with environmen...

  18. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF GASOLINE BLENDING OPTIONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    A life cycle assessment has been done to compare the potential environmental impacts of various gasoline blends that meet octane and vapour pressure specifications. The main blending components of alkylate, cracked gasoline and reformate have different octane and vapour pressure...

  19. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT - A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Research within the field of life cycle impact assessment has greatly improved since the work of Heijungs and Guinee in 1992. Methodologies are currently available to address specific locations within North America, Europe and Asia. Internationally researchers are working togethe...

  20. Waste management through life cycle assessment of products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borodin, Yu V.; Aliferova, T. E.; Ncube, A.

    2015-04-01

    The rapid growth of a population in a country can contribute to high production of waste. Municipal waste and industrial waste can bring unhealthy and unpleasant environment or even diseases to human beings if the wastes are not managed properly.With increasing concerns over waste and the need for ‘greener’ products, it is necessary to carry out Life Cycle Assessments of products and this will help manufacturers take the first steps towards greener designs by assessing their product's carbon output. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a process to evaluate the environmental burdens associated with a product, process or activity by identifying and quantifying energy and materials used and wastes released to the environment, and to assess the impact of those energy and material used and released to the environment. The aim of the study was to use a life cycle assessment approach to determine which waste disposal options that will substantially reduce the environmental burdens posed by the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle. Several important observations can be made. 1) Recycling of the PET bottle waste can significantly reduce the energy required across the life cycle because the high energy inputs needed to process the requisite virgin materials greatly exceeds the energy needs of the recycling process steps. 2) Greenhouse gases can be reduced by opting for recycling instead of landfilling and incineration. 3) Quantity of waste emissions released from different disposal options was identified. 4) Recycling is the environmentally preferable disposal method for the PET bottle. Industry can use the tools and data in this study to evaluate the health, environmental, and energy implications of the PET bottle. LCA intends to aid decision-makers in this respect, provided that the scientific underpinning is available. Strategic incentives for product development and life cycle management can then be developed.

  1. Life cycle assessment: Existing building retrofit versus replacement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darabi, Nura

    The embodied energy in building materials constitutes a large part of the total energy required for any building (Thormark 2001, 429). In working to make buildings more energy efficient this needs to be considered. Integrating considerations about life cycle assessment for buildings and materials is one promising way to reduce the amount of energy consumption being used within the building sector and the environmental impacts associated with that energy. A life cycle assessment (LCA) model can be utilized to help evaluate the embodied energy in building materials in comparison to the buildings operational energy. This thesis takes into consideration the potential life cycle reductions in energy and CO2 emissions that can be made through an energy retrofit of an existing building verses demolition and replacement with a new energy efficient building. A 95,000 square foot institutional building built in the 1960`s was used as a case study for a building LCA, along with a calibrated energy model of the existing building created as part of a previous Masters of Building Science thesis. The chosen case study building was compared to 10 possible improvement options of either energy retrofit or replacement of the existing building with a higher energy performing building in order to see the life cycle relationship between embodied energy, operational energy, and C02 emissions. As a result of completing the LCA, it is shown under which scenarios building retrofit saves more energy over the lifespan of the building than replacement with new construction. It was calculated that energy retrofit of the chosen existing institutional building would reduce the amount of energy and C02 emissions associated with that building over its life span.

  2. Systematic Review Checklist: A Standardized Technique for Assessing and Reporting Reviews of Life Cycle Assessment Data

    PubMed Central

    Zumsteg, Jennifer M.; Cooper, Joyce S.; Noon, Michael S.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Systematic review, including meta-analysis, is increasingly utilized in life cycle assessment (LCA). There are currently no widely recognized guidelines for designing, conducting, or reporting systematic reviews in LCA. Other disciplines such as medicine, ecology, and software engineering have both recognized the utility of systematic reviews and created standardized protocols for conducting and reporting systematic reviews. Based largely on the 2009 Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement, which updated the preferred format for reporting of such reviews in biomedical research, we provide an introduction to the topic and a checklist to guide the reporting of future LCA reviews in a standardized format. The standardized technique for assessing and reporting reviews of LCA (STARR-LCA) checklist is a starting point for improving the utility of systematic reviews in LCA. PMID:26069437

  3. Temporal discounting in life cycle assessment: A critical review and theoretical framework

    SciTech Connect

    Yuan, Chris; Wang, Endong; Zhai, Qiang; Yang, Fan

    2015-02-15

    Temporal homogeneity of inventory data is one of the major problems in life cycle assessment (LCA). Addressing temporal homogeneity of life cycle inventory data is important in reducing the uncertainties and improving the reliability of LCA results. This paper attempts to present a critical review and discussion on the fundamental issues of temporal homogeneity in conventional LCA and propose a theoretical framework for temporal discounting in LCA. Theoretical perspectives for temporal discounting in life cycle inventory analysis are discussed first based on the key elements of a scientific mechanism for temporal discounting. Then generic procedures for performing temporal discounting in LCA is derived and proposed based on the nature of the LCA method and the identified key elements of a scientific temporal discounting method. A five-step framework is proposed and reported in details based on the technical methods and procedures needed to perform a temporal discounting in life cycle inventory analysis. Challenges and possible solutions are also identified and discussed for the technical procedure and scientific accomplishment of each step within the framework. - Highlights: • A critical review for temporal homogeneity problem of life cycle inventory data • A theoretical framework for performing temporal discounting on inventory data • Methods provided to accomplish each step of the temporal discounting framework.

  4. Life Cycle Assessment for desalination: a review on methodology feasibility and reliability.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jin; Chang, Victor W-C; Fane, Anthony G

    2014-09-15

    As concerns of natural resource depletion and environmental degradation caused by desalination increase, research studies of the environmental sustainability of desalination are growing in importance. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an ISO standardized method and is widely applied to evaluate the environmental performance of desalination. This study reviews more than 30 desalination LCA studies since 2000s and identifies two major issues in need of improvement. The first is feasibility, covering three elements that support the implementation of the LCA to desalination, including accounting methods, supporting databases, and life cycle impact assessment approaches. The second is reliability, addressing three essential aspects that drive uncertainty in results, including the incompleteness of the system boundary, the unrepresentativeness of the database, and the omission of uncertainty analysis. This work can serve as a preliminary LCA reference for desalination specialists, but will also strengthen LCA as an effective method to evaluate the environment footprint of desalination alternatives. PMID:24926621

  5. THE EPA'S EMERGING FOCUS ON LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    EPA has been actively engaged in LCA research since 1990 to help advance the methodology and application of life cycle thinking in decision making. Across the Agency consideration of the life cycle concept is increasing in the development of policies and programs. A major force i...

  6. Comparing life cycle assessments of different biofuel options.

    PubMed

    Kendall, Alissa; Yuan, Juhong

    2013-06-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) has shown that first generation biofuels provide a little to no benefit for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions compared to petroleum fuels, particularly when indirect effects are considered. Second generation fuels are intended to achieve greater GHG reductions and avoid other sustainability issues. LCAs of second generation biofuels exhibit great variability and uncertainty, leading to inconclusive results for the performance of particular pathways (combinations of feedstocks and fuels). Variability arises in part because of the prospective nature of LCAs for future fuels; however, a review of recent articles on biofuel LCA methodology indicates two additional sources of variability: real sources such as spatiotemporal heterogeneity, and methodological sources such as choices for co-product allocation methods and system boundary definition. PMID:23490811

  7. Background and Reflections on the Life Cycle Assessment Harmonization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Heath, G. A.; Mann, M. K.

    2012-04-01

    Despite the ever-growing body of life cycle assessment (LCA) literature on electricity generation technologies, inconsistent methods and assumptions hamper comparison across studies and pooling of published results. Synthesis of the body of previous research is necessary to generate robust results to assess and compare environmental performance of different energy technologies for the benefit of policy makers, managers, investors, and citizens. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory initiated the LCA Harmonization Project in an effort to rigorously leverage the numerous individual studies to develop collective insights. The goals of this project were to: (1) understand the range of published results of LCAs of electricity generation technologies, (2) reduce the variability in published results that stem from inconsistent methods and assumptions, and (3) clarify the central tendency of published estimates to make the collective results of LCAs available to decision makers in the near term. The LCA Harmonization Project's initial focus was evaluating life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generation technologies. Six articles from this first phase of the project are presented in a special supplemental issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology on Meta-Analysis of LCA: coal (Whitaker et al. 2012), concentrating solar power (Burkhardt et al. 2012), crystalline silicon photovoltaics (PVs) (Hsu et al. 2012), thin-film PVs (Kim et al. 2012), nuclear (Warner and Heath 2012), and wind (Dolan and Heath 2012). Harmonization is a meta-analytical approach that addresses inconsistency in methods and assumptions of previously published life cycle impact estimates. It has been applied in a rigorous manner to estimates of life cycle GHG emissions from many categories of electricity generation technologies in articles that appear in this special supplemental supplemental issue, reducing the variability and

  8. A Life Cycle Assessment of a Magnesium Automotive Front End

    SciTech Connect

    Das, Sujit; Dubreuil, Alain; Bushi, Lindita; Tharumarajah, Ambalavanar

    2009-01-01

    The Magnesium Front End Research and Development (MFERD) project under the sponsorship of Canada, China and USA aims to develop key technologies and a knowledge base for increased use of magnesium in automobile. The goal of this life cycle assessment (LCA) study is to compare the energy and potential environmental impacts of advanced magnesium based front end parts of a North America built 2007 GM-Cadillac CTS with the standard carbon steel based design. This LCA uses the 'cradle-to-grave' approach by including primary material production, semi-fabrication production, autoparts manufacturing and assembly, transportation, use phase and end-of-life processing of autoparts. This LCA study was done in compliance with international standards ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006. Furthermore, the LCA results for aluminum based front end autopart are presented. While weight savings result in reductions in energy use and carbon dioxide emissions during the use of the car, the impacts of fabrication and recycling of lightweight materials are substantial in regard to steel. Pathways for improving sustainability of magnesium use in automobiles through material management and technology improvements including recycling are also discussed.

  9. Life cycle assessment in market, research, and policy: Harmonization beyond standardization.

    PubMed

    Zamagni, Alessandra; Cutaia, Laura

    2015-07-01

    This article introduces the special series "LCA in Market Research and Policy: Harmonization beyond standardization," which was generated from the 19th SETAC Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Case Study Symposium held November 2013, in Rome, Italy. This collection of invited articles reflects the purpose of symposium and focuses on how LCA can support the decision-making process at all levels (i.e., in industry and policy contexts) and how LCA results can be efficiently communicated and used to support market strategies. PMID:26119764

  10. Life-Cycle inventory/impact Assessment in the context of Chemical Risk Assessment: An Informatics-driven Scoping Review

    EPA Science Inventory

    One of the goals of Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is to compare the full range of environmental effects assignable to products and services in order to improve processes, support policy and provide a sound “systems-thinking” basis for decision support. How in fact LCA can be incorp...

  11. Life-cycle impact assessment: A conceptual framework, key issues, and summary of existing methods

    SciTech Connect

    1995-07-01

    Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a holistic concept and approach for evaluating the environmental and human health impacts associated with a product, process, or activity. A complete LCA looks upstream and down stream, identifies inputs and outputs, and assesses the potential effects of those inputs and outputs on ecosystems, human health, and natural resoures. This report presents a conceptual framework for conducting a life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA), discusses major issues, and summarizes existing methods. It also identifies some of the advantages and disadvantages of various methods.

  12. Life cycle assessment of bagasse waste management options

    SciTech Connect

    Kiatkittipong, Worapon; Wongsuchoto, Porntip; Pavasant, Prasert

    2009-05-15

    Bagasse is mostly utilized for steam and power production for domestic sugar mills. There have been a number of alternatives that could well be applied to manage bagasse, such as pulp production, conversion to biogas and electricity production. The selection of proper alternatives depends significantly on the appropriateness of the technology both from the technical and the environmental points of view. This work proposes a simple model based on the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of various alternatives for dealing with bagasse waste. The environmental aspects of concern included global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential and photochemical oxidant creation. Four waste management scenarios for bagasse were evaluated: landfilling with utilization of landfill gas, anaerobic digestion with biogas production, incineration for power generation, and pulp production. In landfills, environmental impacts depended significantly on the biogas collection efficiency, whereas incineration of bagasse to electricity in the power plant showed better environmental performance than that of conventional low biogas collection efficiency landfills. Anaerobic digestion of bagasse in a control biogas reactor was superior to the other two energy generation options in all environmental aspects. Although the use of bagasse in pulp mills created relatively high environmental burdens, the results from the LCA revealed that other stages of the life cycle produced relatively small impacts and that this option might be the most environmentally benign alternative.

  13. Life Cycle Assessment of Biochar - EuroChar Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rack, M.; Woods, J.

    2012-04-01

    One of the most significant challenges faced by modern-day society is that of global warming. An exclusive focus on reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will not suffice and therefore technologies capable of removing CO2 directly from the atmosphere at low or minimal cost are gaining increased attention. The production and use of biochar is an example of such an emerging mitigation strategy. However, as with any novel product, process and technology it is vital to conduct an assessment of the entire life cycle in order to determine the environmental impacts of the new concept in addition to analysing the other sustainability criteria. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), standardized by ISO (2006a), is an example of a tool used to calculate the environmental impacts of a product or process. Imperial College London will follow the guidelines and recommendations of the ISO 14040 series (ISO 2002, ISO 2006a-b) and the International Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook (EC JRC IES, 2010a-e), and will use the SimaPro software to conduct a LCA of the biochar supply chains for the EuroChar project. EuroChar ('biochar for Carbon sequestration and large-scale removal of GHG from the atmosphere') is a project funded by the European Commission under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). EuroChar aims to investigate and reduce uncertainties around the impacts of, and opportunities for, biochar and, in particular, explore a possible introduction into modern agricultural systems in Europe, thereby moving closer to the determination of the true potential of biochar. EuroChar will use various feedstocks, ranging from wheat straw to olive residues and poplar, as feedstocks for biochar production and will focus on two conversion technologies, Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) and Thermochemical Carbonization (TC), followed by the application of the biochar in crop-growth field trials in England, France and Italy. In April 2012, the EuroChar project will be at its halfway mark and

  14. A Protocol for the Global Sensitivity Analysis of Impact Assessment Models in Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Cucurachi, S; Borgonovo, E; Heijungs, R

    2016-02-01

    The life cycle assessment (LCA) framework has established itself as the leading tool for the assessment of the environmental impact of products. Several works have established the need of integrating the LCA and risk analysis methodologies, due to the several common aspects. One of the ways to reach such integration is through guaranteeing that uncertainties in LCA modeling are carefully treated. It has been claimed that more attention should be paid to quantifying the uncertainties present in the various phases of LCA. Though the topic has been attracting increasing attention of practitioners and experts in LCA, there is still a lack of understanding and a limited use of the available statistical tools. In this work, we introduce a protocol to conduct global sensitivity analysis in LCA. The article focuses on the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), and particularly on the relevance of global techniques for the development of trustable impact assessment models. We use a novel characterization model developed for the quantification of the impacts of noise on humans as a test case. We show that global SA is fundamental to guarantee that the modeler has a complete understanding of: (i) the structure of the model and (ii) the importance of uncertain model inputs and the interaction among them. PMID:26595377

  15. Developing Anticipatory Life Cycle Assessment Tools to Support Responsible Innovation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wender, Benjamin

    Several prominent research strategy organizations recommend applying life cycle assessment (LCA) early in the development of emerging technologies. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Research Council, the Department of Energy, and the National Nanotechnology Initiative identify the potential for LCA to inform research and development (R&D) of photovoltaics and products containing engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). In this capacity, application of LCA to emerging technologies may contribute to the growing movement for responsible research and innovation (RRI). However, existing LCA practices are largely retrospective and ill-suited to support the objectives of RRI. For example, barriers related to data availability, rapid technology change, and isolation of environmental from technical research inhibit application of LCA to developing technologies. This dissertation focuses on development of anticipatory LCA tools that incorporate elements of technology forecasting, provide robust explorations of uncertainty, and engage diverse innovation actors in overcoming retrospective approaches to environmental assessment and improvement of emerging technologies. Chapter one contextualizes current LCA practices within the growing literature articulating RRI and identifies the optimal place in the stage gate innovation model to apply LCA. Chapter one concludes with a call to develop anticipatory LCA---building on the theory of anticipatory governance---as a series of methodological improvements that seek to align LCA practices with the objectives of RRI. Chapter two provides a framework for anticipatory LCA, identifies where research from multiple disciplines informs LCA practice, and builds off the recommendations presented in the preceding chapter. Chapter two focuses on crystalline and thin film photovoltaics (PV) to illustrate the novel framework, in part because PV is an environmentally motivated technology undergoing extensive R&D efforts and

  16. Model of environmental life cycle assessment for coal mining operations.

    PubMed

    Burchart-Korol, Dorota; Fugiel, Agata; Czaplicka-Kolarz, Krystyna; Turek, Marian

    2016-08-15

    This paper presents a novel approach to environmental assessment of coal mining operations, which enables assessment of the factors that are both directly and indirectly affecting the environment and are associated with the production of raw materials and energy used in processes. The primary novelty of the paper is the development of a computational environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) model for coal mining operations and the application of the model for coal mining operations in Poland. The LCA model enables the assessment of environmental indicators for all identified unit processes in hard coal mines with the life cycle approach. The proposed model enables the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) based on the IPCC method and the assessment of damage categories, such as human health, ecosystems and resources based on the ReCiPe method. The model enables the assessment of GHGs for hard coal mining operations in three time frames: 20, 100 and 500years. The model was used to evaluate the coal mines in Poland. It was demonstrated that the largest environmental impacts in damage categories were associated with the use of fossil fuels, methane emissions and the use of electricity, processing of wastes, heat, and steel supports. It was concluded that an environmental assessment of coal mining operations, apart from direct influence from processing waste, methane emissions and drainage water, should include the use of electricity, heat and steel, particularly for steel supports. Because the model allows the comparison of environmental impact assessment for various unit processes, it can be used for all hard coal mines, not only in Poland but also in the world. This development is an important step forward in the study of the impacts of fossil fuels on the environment with the potential to mitigate the impact of the coal industry on the environment. PMID:27092420

  17. Characterisation factors for life cycle impact assessment of sound emissions.

    PubMed

    Cucurachi, S; Heijungs, R

    2014-01-15

    Noise is a serious stressor affecting the health of millions of citizens. It has been suggested that disturbance by noise is responsible for a substantial part of the damage to human health. However, no recommended approach to address noise impacts was proposed by the handbook for life cycle assessment (LCA) of the European Commission, nor are characterisation factors (CFs) and appropriate inventory data available in commonly used databases. This contribution provides CFs to allow for the quantification of noise impacts on human health in the LCA framework. Noise propagation standards and international reports on acoustics and noise impacts were used to define the model parameters. Spatial data was used to calculate spatially-defined CFs in the form of 10-by-10-km maps. The results of this analysis were combined with data from the literature to select input data for representative archetypal situations of emission (e.g. urban day with a frequency of 63 Hz, rural night at 8000 Hz, etc.). A total of 32 spatial and 216 archetypal CFs were produced to evaluate noise impacts at a European level (i.e. EU27). The possibility of a user-defined characterisation factor was added to support the possibility of portraying the situation of full availability of information, as well as a highly-localised impact analysis. A Monte Carlo-based quantitative global sensitivity analysis method was applied to evaluate the importance of the input factors in determining the variance of the output. The factors produced are ready to be implemented in the available LCA databases and software. The spatial approach and archetypal approach may be combined and selected according to the amount of information available and the life cycle under study. The framework proposed and used for calculations is flexible enough to be expanded to account for impacts on target subjects other than humans and to continents other than Europe. PMID:24035845

  18. Conducting an Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment: Challenges and Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Caffrey, Kevin R.; Veal, Matthew W.

    2013-01-01

    Agriculture is a diverse field that produces a wide array of products vital to society. As global populations continue to grow the competition for natural resources will increase pressure on agricultural production of food, fiber, energy, and various high value by-products. With elevated concerns related to environmental impacts associated with the needs of a growing population, a life cycle assessment (LCA) framework can be used to determine areas of greatest impact and compare reduction strategies for agricultural production systems. The LCA methodology was originally developed for industrial operations but has been expanded to a wider range of fields including agriculture. There are various factors that increase the complexity of determining impacts associated with agricultural production including multiple products from a single system, regional and crop specific management techniques, temporal variations (seasonally and annually), spatial variations (multilocation production of end products), and the large quantity of nonpoint emission sources. The lack of consistent methodology of some impacts that are of major concern to agriculture (e.g., land use and water usage) increases the complexity of this analysis. This paper strives to review some of these issues and give perspective to the LCA practitioner in the field of agriculture. PMID:24391463

  19. Conducting an agricultural life cycle assessment: challenges and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Caffrey, Kevin R; Veal, Matthew W

    2013-01-01

    Agriculture is a diverse field that produces a wide array of products vital to society. As global populations continue to grow the competition for natural resources will increase pressure on agricultural production of food, fiber, energy, and various high value by-products. With elevated concerns related to environmental impacts associated with the needs of a growing population, a life cycle assessment (LCA) framework can be used to determine areas of greatest impact and compare reduction strategies for agricultural production systems. The LCA methodology was originally developed for industrial operations but has been expanded to a wider range of fields including agriculture. There are various factors that increase the complexity of determining impacts associated with agricultural production including multiple products from a single system, regional and crop specific management techniques, temporal variations (seasonally and annually), spatial variations (multilocation production of end products), and the large quantity of nonpoint emission sources. The lack of consistent methodology of some impacts that are of major concern to agriculture (e.g., land use and water usage) increases the complexity of this analysis. This paper strives to review some of these issues and give perspective to the LCA practitioner in the field of agriculture. PMID:24391463

  20. Hybrid life cycle assessment comparison of colloidal silica and cement grouted soil barrier remediation technologies.

    PubMed

    Gallagher, Patricia M; Spatari, Sabrina; Cucura, Jeffrey

    2013-04-15

    Site remediation involves balancing numerous costs and benefits but often neglects the environmental impacts over the entire project life cycle. Life cycle assessment (LCA) offers a framework for inclusion of global environmental "systems-level" decision metrics in combination with technological and cost analysis. We compare colloidal silica (CS) and cement grouted soil barrier remediation technologies for soils affected by low level radionuclides at a U.S. Superfund site using hybrid LCA methods. CS is a new, high performance grouting material installed using permeation grouting techniques. Cement, a more traditional grouting material, is typically installed using jet grouting techniques. Life cycle impacts were evaluated using the US EPA TRACI 2 model. Results show the highest life cycle environmental impacts for the CS barrier occur during materials production and transportation to the site. In general, the life cycle impacts for the cement barrier were dominated by materials production; however, in the extreme scenario the life cycle impacts were dominated by truck transportation of spoils to a distant, off-site radioactive waste facility. It is only in the extreme scenario tested in which soils are transported by truck (Option 2) that spoils waste transport dominates LCIA results. Life cycle environmental impacts for both grout barriers were most sensitive to resource input requirements for manufacturing volumes and transportation. Uncertainty associated with the efficacy of new technology such as CS over its required design life indicates that barrier replacement could increase its life cycle environmental impact above that of the cement barrier. PMID:23500422

  1. RISK ASSESSMENT AND LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT (LCIA) FOR HUMAN HEALTH CANCEROUS AND NONCANCEROUS EMISSIONS: INTEGRATED AND COMPLEMENTARY WITH CONSISTENCY WITHIN THE USEPA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The historical parallels, complementary roles, and potential for integration of human health risk assessment (RA) and Life-Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) are explored. Previous authors have considered the comparison of LCA and risk assessment recognizing the inherent differences ...

  2. Environmental impact assessment as a complement of life cycle assessment. Case study: Upgrading of biogas.

    PubMed

    Morero, Betzabet; Rodriguez, María B; Campanella, Enrique A

    2015-08-01

    This work presents a comparison between an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a life cycle assessment (LCA) using a case study: upgrading of biogas. The upgrading of biogas is studied using three solvents: water, physical solvent and amine. The EIA follows the requirements of the legislation of Santa Fe Province (Argentina), and the LCA follows ISO 14040. The LCA results showed that water produces a minor impact in most of the considered categories whereas the high impact in the process with amines is the result of its high energy consumptions. The positive results obtained in the EIA (mainly associated with the cultural and socioeconomic components) make the project feasible and all the negative impacts can be mitigated by preventive and remedial measures. From the strengths and weaknesses of each tool, it is inferred that the EIA is a procedure that can complement the LCA. PMID:25971645

  3. Life-Cycle Assessment of Cookstove Fuels in India and China

    EPA Science Inventory

    A life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to compare the environmental footprint of current and possible fuels used for cooking within China and India. Current fuel mix profiles are compared to scenarios of projected differences in and/or cleaner cooking fuels. Results are repo...

  4. ENVIRONMENTAL LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF GASOLINE ALTERNATIVES: MTBE AND ETHANOL ADDITIVES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Currently, the U.S. is considering options for additives to reformulated gasoline. To inform this debate the U.S. EPA's Office of Research and Development is conducting a screening life cycle assessment (LCA) of three gasoline alternatives. These alternatives include gasoline w...

  5. Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment of Water Reuse Strategies in Residential Buildings

    EPA Science Inventory

    This paper evaluates the environmental sustainability and economic feasibility of four water reuse designs through economic input-output life cycle assessments (EIO-LCA) and benefit/cost analyses. The water reuse designs include: 1. Simple Greywater Reuse System for Landscape Ir...

  6. Life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from beef production systems in California

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Beef production is recognized as a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; however, little information exists on the net emission from production systems. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted using the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) to estimate whole-farm GHG emissions from representa...

  7. Maintaining quality critical peer review (CPR) as the demand for life cycle assessments increases

    EPA Science Inventory

    Environmental managers and government policy makers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to follow the holistic approach of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to move us in the right strategic direction to best achieve environmental sustainability. Along with this realization ha...

  8. Is the Critical Review Process Keeping Pace with the Growing Number of Life Cycle Assessments?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Environmental managers and government policy makers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to follow the holistic approach of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to move us in the right strategic direction to best achieve environmental sustainability. Along with this increasing real...

  9. Life cycle assessment comparison of photocatalytic coating and air purifier.

    PubMed

    Tichá, Marie; Žilka, Miroslav; Stieberová, Barbora; Freiberg, František

    2016-07-01

    This article presents a comparison of 2 very different options for removal of undesirable microorganisms and airborne pollutants from the indoor environment of hospitals, schools, homes, and other enclosed spaces using air purifiers and photocatalytic coatings based on nano titanium dioxide (TiO2 ). Both products were assessed by life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology from cradle-to-grave. The assessment also includes comparison of 2 different nano TiO2 production technologies, one by continuous hydrothermal synthesis and the other by a sulfate process. Results of the study showed a relatively large contribution of photocatalytic coatings to reducing the effects of selected indices in comparison with an air purifier, regardless of which nano TiO2 production method is used. Although the impacts of the sulfate process are significantly lower compared to those of hydrothermal synthesis when viewed in terms of production alone, taken in the context of the entire product life cycle, the net difference becomes less significant. The study has been elaborated within the Sustainable Hydrothermal Manufacturing of Nanomaterials (SHYMAN) project, which aims to develop competitive and sustainable continuous nanoparticle (NP) production technology based on supercritical hydrothermal synthesis. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2016;12:478-485. © 2016 SETAC. PMID:27082715

  10. The life cycle of rice: LCA of alternative agri-food chain management systems in Vercelli (Italy).

    PubMed

    Blengini, Gian Andrea; Busto, Mirko

    2009-03-01

    The Vercelli rice district in northern Italy plays a key role in the agri-food industry in a country which accounts for more than 50% of the EU rice production and exports roughly 70%. However, although wealth and jobs are created, the sector is said to be responsible for environmental impacts that are increasingly being perceived as topical. As a complex and comprehensive environmental evaluation is necessary to understand and manage the environmental impact of the agri-food chain, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology has been applied to the rice production system: from the paddy field to the supermarket. The LCA has pointed out the magnitude of impact per kg of delivered white milled rice: a CO2eq emission of 2.9 kg, a primary energy consumption of 17.8 MJ and the use of 4.9 m3 of water for irrigation purposes. Improvement scenarios have been analysed considering alternative rice farming and food processing methods, such as organic and upland farming, as well as parboiling. The research has shown that organic and upland farming have the potential to decrease the impact per unit of cultivated area. However, due to the lower grain yields, the environmental benefits per kg of the final products are greatly reduced in the case of upland rice production and almost cancelled for organic rice. LCA has proved to be an effective tool for understanding the eco-profile of Italian rice and should be used for transparent and credible communication between suppliers and their customers. PMID:19046619

  11. Biogas from Marine Macroalgae: a New Environmental Technology — Life Cycle Inventory for a Further LCA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Romagnoli, Francesco; Blumberga, Dagnija; Gigli, Emanuele

    2010-01-01

    The main goal of this paper is to analyze the innovative process of production of biogas (via fermentation processes) using marine macroalgae as feedstock in a pilot project plant in Augusta (Sicily, Italy). Algae, during their growth, have the capacity to assimilate nutrients and thus subsequent harvesting of the algal biomass recovers the nutrients from biowaste sources giving the possibility to transform negative environmental externalities in positive mainly in terms of eutrophication and climate change impact categories. The paper presents a novel environmental technology for the production of biogas and 2nd generation biofuel (liquid biomethane) after an upgrading process through the use of a cryogenic technology. The paper would also like to make the first attempt at understanding the possibility to implement this innovative technology in the Latvian context. The first calculations and assumptions for the Life Cycle Inventory for a further Life Cycle Assessment are presented.

  12. Life cycle assessments of urban water systems: a comparative analysis of selected peer-reviewed literature.

    PubMed

    Loubet, Philippe; Roux, Philippe; Loiseau, Eleonore; Bellon-Maurel, Veronique

    2014-12-15

    Water is a growing concern in cities, and its sustainable management is very complex. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been increasingly used to assess the environmental impacts of water technologies during the last 20 years. This review aims at compiling all LCA papers related to water technologies, out of which 18 LCA studies deals with whole urban water systems (UWS). A focus is carried out on these 18 case studies which are analyzed according to criteria derived from the four phases of LCA international standards. The results show that whereas the case studies share a common goal, i.e., providing quantitative information to policy makers on the environmental impacts of urban water systems and their forecasting scenarios, they are based on different scopes, resulting in the selection of different functional units and system boundaries. A quantitative comparison of life cycle inventory and life cycle impact assessment data is provided, and the results are discussed. It shows the superiority of information offered by multi-criteria approaches for decision making compared to that derived from mono-criterion. From this review, recommendations on the way to conduct the environmental assessment of urban water systems are given, e.g., the need to provide consistent mass balances in terms of emissions and water flows. Remaining challenges for urban water system LCAs are identified, such as a better consideration of water users and resources and the inclusion of recent LCA developments (territorial approaches and water-related impacts). PMID:25282088

  13. Life cycle assessment of overhead and underground primary power distribution.

    PubMed

    Bumby, Sarah; Druzhinina, Ekaterina; Feraldi, Rebe; Werthmann, Danae; Geyer, Roland; Sahl, Jack

    2010-07-15

    Electrical power can be distributed in overhead or underground systems, both of which generate a variety of environmental impacts at all stages of their life cycles. While there is considerable literature discussing the trade-offs between both systems in terms of aesthetics, safety, cost, and reliability, environmental assessments are relatively rare and limited to power cable production and end-of-life management. This paper assesses environmental impacts from overhead and underground medium voltage power distribution systems as they are currently built and managed by Southern California Edison (SCE). It uses process-based life cycle assessment (LCA) according to ISO 14044 (2006) and SCE-specific primary data to the extent possible. Potential environmental impacts have been calculated using a wide range of midpoint indicators, and robustness of the results has been investigated through sensitivity analysis of the most uncertain and potentially significant parameters. The studied underground system has higher environmental impacts in all indicators and for all parameter values, mostly due to its higher material intensity. For both systems and all indicators the majority of impact occurs during cable production. Promising strategies for impact reduction are thus cable failure rate reduction for overhead and cable lifetime extension for underground systems. PMID:20553042

  14. Life Cycle Impact Assessment Research Developments and Needs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) developments are explained along with key publications which record discussions which comprised ISO 14042 and SETAC document development, UNEP SETAC Life Cycle Initiative research, and research from public and private research institutions. It ...

  15. Life cycle assessment of electronic waste treatment

    SciTech Connect

    Hong, Jinglan; Shi, Wenxiao; Wang, Yutao; Chen, Wei; Li, Xiangzhi

    2015-04-15

    Highlights: • Life cycle assessment of electronic waste recycling is quantified. • Key factors for reducing the overall environmental impact are indentified. • End-life disposal processes provide significant environmental benefits. • Efficiently reduce the improper disposal amount of e-waste is highly needed. • E-waste incineration can generate significant environmental burden. - Abstract: Life cycle assessment was conducted to estimate the environmental impact of electronic waste (e-waste) treatment. E-waste recycling with an end-life disposal scenario is environmentally beneficial because of the low environmental burden generated from human toxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, freshwater ecotoxicity, and marine ecotoxicity categories. Landfill and incineration technologies have a lower and higher environmental burden than the e-waste recycling with an end-life disposal scenario, respectively. The key factors in reducing the overall environmental impact of e-waste recycling are optimizing energy consumption efficiency, reducing wastewater and solid waste effluent, increasing proper e-waste treatment amount, avoiding e-waste disposal to landfill and incineration sites, and clearly defining the duties of all stakeholders (e.g., manufacturers, retailers, recycling companies, and consumers)

  16. A Methodology for Robust Comparative Life Cycle Assessments Incorporating Uncertainty.

    PubMed

    Gregory, Jeremy R; Noshadravan, Arash; Olivetti, Elsa A; Kirchain, Randolph E

    2016-06-21

    We propose a methodology for conducting robust comparative life cycle assessments (LCA) by leveraging uncertainty. The method evaluates a broad range of the possible scenario space in a probabilistic fashion while simultaneously considering uncertainty in input data. The method is intended to ascertain which scenarios have a definitive environmentally preferable choice among the alternatives being compared and the significance of the differences given uncertainty in the parameters, which parameters have the most influence on this difference, and how we can identify the resolvable scenarios (where one alternative in the comparison has a clearly lower environmental impact). This is accomplished via an aggregated probabilistic scenario-aware analysis, followed by an assessment of which scenarios have resolvable alternatives. Decision-tree partitioning algorithms are used to isolate meaningful scenario groups. In instances where the alternatives cannot be resolved for scenarios of interest, influential parameters are identified using sensitivity analysis. If those parameters can be refined, the process can be iterated using the refined parameters. We also present definitions of uncertainty quantities that have not been applied in the field of LCA and approaches for characterizing uncertainty in those quantities. We then demonstrate the methodology through a case study of pavements. PMID:27219285

  17. Life cycle assessment in support of sustainable transportation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eckelman, Matthew J.

    2013-06-01

    In our rapidly urbanizing world, sustainable transportation presents a major challenge. Transportation decisions have considerable direct impacts on urban society, both positive and negative, for example through changes in transit times and economic productivity, urban connectivity, tailpipe emissions and attendant air quality concerns, traffic accidents, and noise pollution. Much research has been dedicated to quantifying these direct impacts for various transportation modes. Transportation planning decisions also result in a variety of indirect environmental and human health impacts, a portion of which can accrue outside of the transit service area and so outside of the local decision-making process. Integrated modeling of direct and indirect impacts over the life cycle of different transportation modes provides decision support that is more comprehensive and less prone to triggering unintended consequences than a sole focus on direct tailpipe emissions. The recent work of Chester et al (2013) in this journal makes important contributions to this research by examining the environmental implications of introducing bus rapid transit and light rail in Los Angeles using life cycle assessment (LCA). Transport in the LA region is dominated by automobile trips, and the authors show that potential shifts to either bus or train modes would reduce energy use and emissions of criteria air pollutants, on an average passenger mile travelled basis. This work compares not just the use of each vehicle, but also upstream impacts from its manufacturing and maintenance, as well as the construction and maintenance of the entire infrastructure required for each mode. Previous work by the lead author (Chester and Horvath 2009), has shown that these non-operational sources and largely non-local can dominate life cycle impacts from transportation, again on an average (or attributional) basis, for example increasing rail-related GHG emissions by >150% over just operational emissions

  18. What life-cycle assessment does and does not do in assessments of waste management

    SciTech Connect

    Ekvall, Tomas Assefa, Getachew; Bjoerklund, Anna; Eriksson, Ola; Finnveden, Goeran

    2007-07-01

    In assessments of the environmental impacts of waste management, life-cycle assessment (LCA) helps expanding the perspective beyond the waste management system. This is important, since the indirect environmental impacts caused by surrounding systems, such as energy and material production, often override the direct impacts of the waste management system itself. However, the applicability of LCA for waste management planning and policy-making is restricted by certain limitations, some of which are characteristics inherent to LCA methodology as such, and some of which are relevant specifically in the context of waste management. Several of them are relevant also for other types of systems analysis. We have identified and discussed such characteristics with regard to how they may restrict the applicability of LCA in the context of waste management. Efforts to improve LCA with regard to these aspects are also described. We also identify what other tools are available for investigating issues that cannot be adequately dealt with by traditional LCA models, and discuss whether LCA methodology should be expanded rather than complemented by other tools to increase its scope and applicability.

  19. FUNDAMENTALS OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT AND OFF-THE-SHELF SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    As the name implies, Life Cycle Assesssment (LCA) evaluates the entire life cycle of a product, process, activity, or service, not just simple economics at the time of delivery. This course on LCA covers the following issues:
    Basic principles of LCA for use in producing, des...

  20. Public participation in life cycle assessment and risk assessment: a shared need.

    PubMed

    Anex, Robert P; Focht, Will

    2002-10-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) and risk assessment are operationally different but share the common purpose of supporting decisions about reducing threats to human welfare. Both analysis methods also involve a complex mixture of science and value judgments reflecting epistemological as well as moral and esthetic values. The inability of risk assessment and LCA to be "value free" has been a source of considerable controversy in both communities. Recognition of the contingent and social nature of human interpretation of the risks and environmental impacts created by public and private decisions has led to an increased appreciation of the importance of involving interested and affected parties in risk characterization. Comparison of the value-based nature of LCA and risk assessment demonstrates the need for participation in LCA. Although the need for participation by affected parties in decision-making processes is gaining acceptance, there is little agreement as to how participation should be structured. Risk assessment and LCA have a shared need for research examining the design and analysis of participation processes appropriate to a given decision context. A proposed framework recommends participation strategies designed to enhance the effectiveness of policy-driven analyses such as risk assessment and LCA based on the level of trust that interested and affected parties have for other policy participants. PMID:12442985

  1. Life cycle assessment of CO2 capture and utilization: a tutorial review.

    PubMed

    von der Assen, Niklas; Voll, Philip; Peters, Martina; Bardow, André

    2014-12-01

    Capturing CO2 and using it as an alternative carbon feedstock for chemicals, fuels and materials has the potential to reduce both CO2 emissions and fossil resource depletion. To assess the actual environmental benefits of CO2 capture and utilization (CCU), life cycle assessment (LCA) is considered as suitable metric. To enhance the use of LCA of CCU, this tutorial review gives a jargon-free introduction of LCA of CCU directed at LCA novices. Nine particularly important aspects for conducting an LCA of CCU are identified and illustrated with CCU examples. These aspects, phrased as action items, can serve LCA novices as a checklist through all steps in LCA of CCU: from defining the LCA purpose and the system boundaries, over data collection and environmental impact computation, to interpretation and sensitivity analysis of the results. Finally, in the context of CCU, an outlook is given on recent developments in LCA that aim to cover all pillars of sustainability (people, planet, and profit). PMID:24441866

  2. Comparative life cycle assessment and life cycle costing of four disposal scenarios for used polyethylene terephthalate bottles in Mauritius.

    PubMed

    Foolmaun, Rajendra Kumar; Ramjeeawon, Toolseeram

    2012-09-01

    The annual rise in population growth coupled with the flourishing tourism industry in Mauritius has lead to a considerable increase in the amount of solid waste generated. In parallel, the disposal of non-biodegradable wastes, especially plastic packaging and plastic bottles, has also shown a steady rise. Improper disposal of used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles constitutes an eyesore to the environmental landscape and is a threat to the flourishing tourism industry. It is of utmost importance, therefore, to determine a suitable disposal method for used PET bottles which is not only environmentally efficient but is also cost effective. This study investigated the environmental impacts and the cost effectiveness of four selected disposal alternatives for used PET bottles in Mauritius. The four disposal routes investigated were: 100% landfilling; 75% incineration with energy recovery and 25% landfilling; 40% flake production (partial recycling) and 60% landfilling; and 75% flake production and 25% landfilling. Environmental impacts of the disposal alternatives were determined using ISO standardized life cycle assessment (LCA) and with the support of SimaPro 7.1 software. Cost effectiveness was determined using life cycle costing (LCC). Collected data were entered into a constructed Excel-based model to calculate the different cost categories, Net present values, damage costs and payback periods. LCA and LCC results indicated that 75% flake production and 25% landfilling was the most environmentally efficient and cost-effective disposal route for used PET bottles in Mauritius. PMID:23240194

  3. Prospective Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Nanosilver T-Shirts

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) is performed to compare nanosilver T-shirts with conventional T-shirts with and without biocidal treatment. For nanosilver production and textile incorporation, we investigate two processes: flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) and plasma polymerization with silver co-sputtering (PlaSpu). Prospective environmental impacts due to increased nanosilver T-shirt commercialization are estimated with six scenarios. Results show significant differences in environmental burdens between nanoparticle production technologies: The “cradle-to-gate” climate footprint of the production of a nanosilver T-shirt is 2.70 kg of CO2-equiv (FSP) and 7.67–166 kg of CO2-equiv (PlaSpu, varying maturity stages). Production of conventional T-shirts with and without the biocide triclosan has emissions of 2.55 kg of CO2-equiv (contribution from triclosan insignificant). Consumer behavior considerably affects the environmental impacts during the use phase. Lower washing frequencies can compensate for the increased climate footprint of FSP nanosilver T-shirt production. The toxic releases from washing and disposal in the life cycle of T-shirts appear to be of minor relevance. By contrast, the production phase may be rather significant due to toxic silver emissions at the mining site if high silver quantities are required. PMID:21506582

  4. Life Cycle Assessment modelling of stormwater treatment systems.

    PubMed

    O'Sullivan, Aisling D; Wicke, Daniel; Hengen, Tyler J; Sieverding, Heidi L; Stone, James J

    2015-02-01

    Stormwater treatment technologies to manage runoff during rain events are primarily designed to reduce flood risks, settle suspended solids and concurrently immobilise metals and nutrients. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is scarcely documented for stormwater systems despite their ubiquitous implementation. LCA modelling quantified the environmental impacts associated with the materials, construction, transport, operation and maintenance of different stormwater treatment systems. A pre-fabricated concrete vortex unit, a sub-surface sandfilter and a raingarden, all sized to treat a functional unit of 35 m(3) of stormwater runoff per event, were evaluated. Eighteen environmental mid-point metrics and three end-point 'damage assessment' metrics were quantified for each system's lifecycle. Climate change (kg CO2 eq.) dominated net environmental impacts, with smaller contributions from human toxicity (kg 1,4-DB eq.), particulate matter formation (kg PM10 eq.) and fossil depletion (kg oil eq.). The concrete unit had the highest environmental impact of which 45% was attributed to its maintenance while impacts from the sandfilters and raingardens were dominated by their bulky materials (57%) and transport (57%), respectively. On-site infiltrative raingardens, a component of green infrastructure (GI), had the lowest environmental impacts because they incurred lower maintenance and did not have any concrete which is high in embodied CO2. Smaller sized raingardens affording the same level of stormwater treatment had the lowest overall impacts reinforcing the principle that using fewer resources reduces environmental impacts. LCA modelling can serve as a guiding tool for practitioners making environmentally sustainable solutions for stormwater treatment. PMID:25463586

  5. Life cycle assessment of electronic waste treatment.

    PubMed

    Hong, Jinglan; Shi, Wenxiao; Wang, Yutao; Chen, Wei; Li, Xiangzhi

    2015-04-01

    Life cycle assessment was conducted to estimate the environmental impact of electronic waste (e-waste) treatment. E-waste recycling with an end-life disposal scenario is environmentally beneficial because of the low environmental burden generated from human toxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, freshwater ecotoxicity, and marine ecotoxicity categories. Landfill and incineration technologies have a lower and higher environmental burden than the e-waste recycling with an end-life disposal scenario, respectively. The key factors in reducing the overall environmental impact of e-waste recycling are optimizing energy consumption efficiency, reducing wastewater and solid waste effluent, increasing proper e-waste treatment amount, avoiding e-waste disposal to landfill and incineration sites, and clearly defining the duties of all stakeholders (e.g., manufacturers, retailers, recycling companies, and consumers). PMID:25623003

  6. Integrating Human Indoor Air Pollutant Exposure within Life Cycle Impact Assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Hellweg, Stefanie; Demou, Evangelia; Bruzzi, Raffaella; Meijer, Arjen; Rosenbaum, Ralph K.; Huijbregts, Mark A.J.; McKone, Thomas E.

    2008-12-21

    Neglecting health effects from indoor pollutant emissions and exposure, as currently done in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), may result in product or process optimizations at the expense of workers? or consumers? health. To close this gap, methods for considering indoor exposure to chemicals are needed to complement the methods for outdoor human exposure assessment already in use. This paper summarizes the work of an international expert group on the integration of human indoor and outdoor exposure in LCA, within the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. A new methodological framework is proposed for a general procedure to include human-health effects from indoor exposure in LCA. Exposure models from occupational hygiene and household indoor air quality studies and practices are critically reviewed and recommendations are provided on the appropriateness of various model alternatives in the context of LCA. A single-compartment box model is recommended for use as a default in LCA, enabling one to screen occupational and household exposures consistent with the existing models to assess outdoor emission in a multimedia environment. An initial set of model parameter values was collected. The comparison between indoor and outdoor human exposure per unit of emission shows that for many pollutants, intake per unit of indoor emission may be several orders of magnitude higher than for outdoor emissions. It is concluded that indoor exposure should be routinely addressed within LCA.

  7. Assessing burden of disease as disability adjusted life years in life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Yumi; Peters, Greg M; Ashbolt, Nicholas J; Shiels, Sean; Khan, Stuart J

    2015-10-15

    Disability adjusted life years (DALYs) have been used to quantify endpoint indicators of the human burden of disease in life cycle assessment (LCA). The purpose of this paper was to examine the current use of DALYs in LCA, and also to consider whether DALYs as used in LCA have the potential to be compatible with DALYs as used in quantitative risk assessment (QRA) to facilitate direct comparison of the results of the two approaches. A literature review of current usage of DALYs in LCA was undertaken. Two prominent methods were identified: ReCiPe 2008 and LIME2. The methods and assumptions used in their calculations were then critically reviewed. The assumptions used for the derivation of characterization factors in DALYs were found to be considerably different between LCA methods. In many cases, transparency of these calculations and assumptions is lacking. Furthermore, global average DALY values are often used in these calculations, but may not be applicable for impact categories where the local factors play a significant role. The concept of DALYs seems beneficial since it enables direct comparison and aggregation of different health impacts. However, given the different assumptions used in each LCA method, it is important that LCA practitioners are aware of the differences and select the appropriate method for the focus of their study. When applying DALYs as a common metric between LCA and QRA, understanding the background information on how DALYs were derived is crucial to ensure the consistency of DALYs used in LCA and QRA for resulting DALYs to be comparable and to minimize any double counting of effects. PMID:26042893

  8. Life cycle assessment in support of sustainable transportation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eckelman, Matthew J.

    2013-06-01

    In our rapidly urbanizing world, sustainable transportation presents a major challenge. Transportation decisions have considerable direct impacts on urban society, both positive and negative, for example through changes in transit times and economic productivity, urban connectivity, tailpipe emissions and attendant air quality concerns, traffic accidents, and noise pollution. Much research has been dedicated to quantifying these direct impacts for various transportation modes. Transportation planning decisions also result in a variety of indirect environmental and human health impacts, a portion of which can accrue outside of the transit service area and so outside of the local decision-making process. Integrated modeling of direct and indirect impacts over the life cycle of different transportation modes provides decision support that is more comprehensive and less prone to triggering unintended consequences than a sole focus on direct tailpipe emissions. The recent work of Chester et al (2013) in this journal makes important contributions to this research by examining the environmental implications of introducing bus rapid transit and light rail in Los Angeles using life cycle assessment (LCA). Transport in the LA region is dominated by automobile trips, and the authors show that potential shifts to either bus or train modes would reduce energy use and emissions of criteria air pollutants, on an average passenger mile travelled basis. This work compares not just the use of each vehicle, but also upstream impacts from its manufacturing and maintenance, as well as the construction and maintenance of the entire infrastructure required for each mode. Previous work by the lead author (Chester and Horvath 2009), has shown that these non-operational sources and largely non-local can dominate life cycle impacts from transportation, again on an average (or attributional) basis, for example increasing rail-related GHG emissions by >150% over just operational emissions

  9. The role of Life Cycle Assessment in identifying and reducing environmental impacts of CCS

    SciTech Connect

    Sathre, Roger; Masanet, Eric; Cain, Jennifer; Chester, Mikhail

    2011-04-20

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) should be used to assist carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) planners to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and avoid unintended environmental trade-offs. LCA is an analytical framework for determining environmental impacts resulting from processes, products, and services. All life cycle stages are evaluated including raw material sourcing, processing, operation, maintenance, and component end-of-life, as well as intermediate stages such as transportation. In recent years a growing number of LCA studies have analyzed CCS systems. We reviewed 50+ LCA studies, and selected 11 studies that compared the environmental performance of 23 electric power plants with and without CCS. Here we summarize and interpret the findings of these studies. Regarding overall climatemitigation effectiveness of CCS, we distinguish between the capture percentage of carbon in the fuels, the net carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction, and the net GHG emission reduction. We also identify trade-offs between the climate benefits and the potential increased non-climate impacts of CCS. Emissions of non-CO2 flue gases such as NOx may increase due to the greater throughput of fuel, and toxicity issues may arise due to the use of monoethanolamine (MEA) capture solvent, resulting in ecological and human health impacts. We discuss areas where improvements in LCA data or methods are needed. The decision to implement CCS should be based on knowledge of the overall environmental impacts of the technologies, not just their carbon capture effectiveness. LCA will be an important tool in providing that knowledge.

  10. Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Sediment Remediation at the London Olympic Park

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hou, D.; Al-Tabbaa, A.

    2013-12-01

    In recent years, there is an emerging 'green and sustainable remediation' (GSR) movement. It is drawing increasing attention from both the government and the industry, because this GSR movement is promising in accelerating process in addressing the contaminated land issue, by overcoming regulatory barriers, encouraging technological innovation, and balancing life cycle environmental stewardship with economic vitality and social well-being. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been increasingly used by both researchers and industrial practitioners in an initiative to make environmental remediation greener and more sustainable. Life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA), aiming at expanding the traditional LCA model in both breadth and depth (e.g. to incorporate both environmental and social-economic sustainability), is an important research direction in the existing LCA research field. The present study intends to develop a LCSA method based on a hybrid LCA model and economic input-output (EIO) data. The LCSA method is applied to a contaminated sediment remediation project conducted at the London Olympic Park site.

  11. Life cycle assessment of construction and demolition waste management

    SciTech Connect

    Butera, Stefania Christensen, Thomas H.; Astrup, Thomas F.

    2015-10-15

    Highlights: • LCA of C&DW utilisation in road vs. C&DW landfilling. • C&DW utilisation in road better than landfilling for most categories. • Transportation is the most important process in non-toxic impact categories. • Leaching of oxyanions is the critical process in toxic impact categories. • Modelling of Cr fate in the subsoil is highly influential to the results. - Abstract: Life cycle assessment (LCA) modelling of construction and demolition waste (C&DW) management was carried out. The functional unit was management of 1 Mg mineral, source separated C&DW, which is either utilised in road construction as a substitute for natural aggregates, or landfilled. The assessed environmental impacts included both non-toxic and toxic impact categories. The scenarios comprised all stages of the end-of-life management of C&DW, until final disposal of all residues. Leaching of inorganic contaminants was included, as was the production of natural aggregates, which was avoided because of the use of C&DW. Typical uncertainties related to contaminant leaching were addressed. For most impact categories, utilisation of C&DW in road construction was preferable to landfilling; however, for most categories, utilisation resulted in net environmental burdens. Transportation represented the most important contribution for most nontoxic impacts, accounting for 60–95 per cent of these impacts. Capital goods contributed with negligible impacts. Leaching played a critical role for the toxic categories, where landfilling had lower impacts than utilisation because of the lower levels of leachate per ton of C&DW reaching the groundwater over a 100-year perspective. Leaching of oxyanions (As, V and Sb) was critical with respect to leaching. Typical experimental uncertainties in leaching data did not have a pivotal influence on the results; however, accounting for Cr immobilisation in soils as part of the impact assessment was critical for modelling the leaching impacts. Compared

  12. Developments in life cycle assessment applied to evaluate the environmental performance of construction and demolition wastes.

    PubMed

    Bovea, M D; Powell, J C

    2016-04-01

    This paper provides a review of the literature that applies the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to the assessment of the environmental performance of the life cycle of construction and demolition waste (CDW) management systems. This article is focused on generating a general mapping of the literature and on identifying the best practices in compliance with LCA framework and proposing directions for future LCA studies in this field. The temporal evolution of the research in this field and the aim of the studies have grown in parallel with the legal framework related to waste and energy efficiency of buildings. Most studies have been published in Europe, followed by USA. Asia and Australia, being at an incipient application stage to the rest of the world. Topics related to "LCA of buildings, including their EoL" and "LCA of general CDW management strategies" are the most frequently analysed, followed by "LCA of EoL of construction elements" and "LCA of natural material vs recycled material". Regarding the strategies, recycling off-site and incineration, both combined with landfill for the rejected fractions, are the most commonly applied. Re-use or recycling on-site is the strategy least applied. The key aspect when LCA is applied to evaluate CDW management systems is the need to normalise which processes to include in the system boundary and the functional unit, the use of inventory data adapted to the context of the case study and the definition of a common set of appropriate impact assessment categories. Also, it is important to obtain results disaggregated by unit processes. This will allow the comparison between case studies. PMID:26919970

  13. Comparative life cycle assessments: The case of paper and digital media

    SciTech Connect

    Bull, Justin G. Kozak, Robert A.

    2014-02-15

    The consumption of the written word is changing, as media transitions from paper products to digital alternatives. We reviewed the life cycle assessment (LCA) research literature that compared the environmental footprint of digital and paper media. To validate the role of context in influencing LCA results, we assessed LCAs that did not compare paper and print, but focused on a product or component that is part of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Using a framework that identifies problems in LCA conduct, we assessed whether the comparative LCAs were accurate expressions of the environmental footprints of paper and print. We hypothesized that the differences between the product systems that produce paper and digital media weaken LCA's ability to compare environmental footprints. We also hypothesized that the characteristics of ICT as an industrial sector weaken LCA as an environmental assessment methodology. We found that existing comparative LCAs offered problematic comparisons of paper and digital media for two reasons — the stark material differences between ICT products and paper products, and the unique characteristics of the ICT sector. We suggested that the context of the ICT sector, best captured by the concept of “Moore's Law”, will continuously impede the ability of the LCA methodology to measure ICT products. -- Highlights: • We review the LCA research that compares paper and digital media. • We contrast the comparative LCAs with LCAs that examine only digital products. • Stark differences between paper and digital media weakens LCA findings. • Digital products in general challenge the LCA method's reliability. • Continuous innovation and global nature of digital products impedes LCA methodology.

  14. Life cycle assessment and residue leaching: The importance of parameter, scenario and leaching data selection

    SciTech Connect

    Allegrini, E.; Butera, S.; Kosson, D.S.; Van Zomeren, A.; Van der Sloot, H.A.; Astrup, T.F.

    2015-04-15

    Highlights: • Relevance of metal leaching in waste management system LCAs was assessed. • Toxic impacts from leaching could not be disregarded. • Uncertainty of toxicity, due to background activities, determines LCA outcomes. • Parameters such as pH and L/S affect LCA results. • Data modelling consistency and coverage within an LCA are crucial. - Abstract: Residues from industrial processes and waste management systems (WMSs) have been increasingly reutilised, leading to landfilling rate reductions and the optimisation of mineral resource utilisation in society. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a holistic methodology allowing for the analysis of systems and products and can be applied to waste management systems to identify environmental benefits and critical aspects thereof. From an LCA perspective, residue utilisation provides benefits such as avoiding the production and depletion of primary materials, but it can lead to environmental burdens, due to the potential leaching of toxic substances. In waste LCA studies where residue utilisation is included, leaching has generally been neglected. In this study, municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash (MSWI BA) was used as a case study into three LCA scenarios having different system boundaries. The importance of data quality and parameter selection in the overall LCA results was evaluated, and an innovative method to assess metal transport into the environment was applied, in order to determine emissions to the soil and water compartments for use in an LCA. It was found that toxic impacts as a result of leaching were dominant in systems including only MSWI BA utilisation, while leaching appeared negligible in larger scenarios including the entire waste system. However, leaching could not be disregarded a priori, due to large uncertainties characterising other activities in the scenario (e.g. electricity production). Based on the analysis of relevant parameters relative to leaching, and on general results

  15. Life cycle assessment applied to wastewater treatment: state of the art.

    PubMed

    Corominas, Ll; Foley, J; Guest, J S; Hospido, A; Larsen, H F; Morera, S; Shaw, A

    2013-10-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique to quantify the impacts associated with a product, service or process from cradle-to-grave perspective. Within the field of wastewater treatment (WWT) LCA was first applied in the 1990s. In the pursuit of more environmentally sustainable WWT, it is clear that LCA is a valuable tool to elucidate the broader environmental impacts of design and operation decisions. With growing interest from utilities, practitioners, and researchers in the use of LCA in WWT systems, it is important to make a review of what has been achieved and describe the challenges for the forthcoming years. This work presents a comprehensive review of 45 papers dealing with WWT and LCA. The analysis of the papers showed that within the constraints of the ISO standards, there is variability in the definition of the functional unit and the system boundaries, the selection of the impact assessment methodology and the procedure followed for interpreting the results. The need for stricter adherence to ISO methodological standards to ensure quality and transparency is made clear and emerging challenges for LCA applications in WWT are discussed, including: a paradigm shift from pollutant removal to resource recovery, the adaptation of LCA methodologies to new target compounds, the development of regional factors, the improvement of the data quality and the reduction of uncertainty. Finally, the need for better integration and communication with decision-makers is highlighted. PMID:23969400

  16. Life cycle assessment of the production of ethanol from eastern redcedar.

    PubMed

    Olukoya, Ife A; Ramachandriya, Karthikeyan D; Wilkins, Mark R; Aichele, Clint P

    2014-12-01

    This life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental impacts of an ethanol production system using eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) as the feedstock. Aspen Plus® was used to model the acid bisulfite pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation, and distillation steps. A cradle-to-gate LCA was conducted to evaluate the environmental impacts from cutting the trees to the production of anhydrous ethanol. The environmental impacts of the redcedar ethanol process were compared to those from the production of corn ethanol. Inventory data for the system were collected and used to calculate a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) using the IMPACT 2002+ and BEES+ framework in SimaPro 8.0.0. Four impact categories were evaluated: land occupation, water use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and non-renewable energy use. Results indicate that acid bisulfite pretreatment contributed to 65% of GHG emissions, 81% of non-renewable energy use, and 77% of water use of the overall process. PMID:25305654

  17. Life cycle assessment of active and passive groundwater remediation technologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bayer, Peter; Finkel, Michael

    2006-02-01

    Groundwater remediation technologies, such as pump-and-treat (PTS) and funnel-and-gate systems (FGS), aim at reducing locally appearing contaminations. Therefore, these methodologies are basically evaluated with respect to their capability to yield local improvements of an environmental situation, commonly neglecting that their application is also associated with secondary impacts. Life cycle assessment (LCA) represents a widely accepted method of assessing the environmental aspects and potential impacts related to a product, process or service. This study presents the set-up of a LCA framework in order to compare the secondary impacts caused by two conceptually different technologies at the site of a former manufactured gas plant in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. As a FGS is already operating at this site, a hypothetical PTS of the same functionality is adopted. During the LCA, the remediation systems are evaluated by focusing on the main technical elements and their significance with respect to resource depletion and potential adverse effects on ecological quality, as well as on human health. Seven impact categories are distinguished to address a broad spectrum of possible environmental loads. A main point of discussion is the reliability of technical assumptions and performance predictions for the future. It is obvious that a high uncertainty exists when estimating impact specific indicator values over operation times of decades. An uncertainty analysis is conducted to include the imprecision of the underlying emission and consumption data and a scenario analysis is utilised to contrast various possible technological variants. Though the results of the study are highly site-specific, a generalised relative evaluation of potential impacts and their main sources is the principle objective rather than a discussion of the calculated absolute impacts. A crucial finding that can be applied to any other site is the central role of steel, which particularly derogates

  18. Life cycle assessment for dredged sediment placement strategies.

    PubMed

    Bates, Matthew E; Fox-Lent, Cate; Seymour, Linda; Wender, Ben A; Linkov, Igor

    2015-04-01

    Dredging to maintain navigable waterways is important for supporting trade and economic sustainability. Dredged sediments are removed from the waterways and then must be managed in a way that meets regulatory standards and properly balances management costs and risks. Selection of a best management alternative often results in stakeholder conflict regarding tradeoffs between local environmental impacts associated with less expensive alternatives (e.g., open water placement), more expensive measures that require sediment disposal in constructed facilities far away (e.g., landfills), or beneficial uses that may be perceived as risky (e.g., beach nourishment or island creation). Current sediment-placement decisions often focus on local and immediate environmental effects from the sediment itself, ignoring a variety of distributed and long-term effects from transportation and placement activities. These extended effects have implications for climate change, resource consumption, and environmental and human health, which may be meaningful topics for many stakeholders not currently considered. Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) provides a systematic and quantitative method for accounting for this wider range of impacts and benefits across all sediment management project stages and time horizons. This paper applies a cradle-to-use LCA to dredged-sediment placement through a comparative analysis of potential upland, open water, and containment-island placement alternatives in the Long Island Sound region of NY/CT. Results suggest that, in cases dealing with uncontaminated sediments, upland placement may be the most environmentally burdensome alternative, per ton-kilometer of placed material, due to the emissions associated with diesel fuel combustion and electricity production and consumption required for the extra handling and transportation. These results can be traded-off with the ecosystem impacts of the sediments themselves in a decision-making framework. PMID:25553545

  19. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT FOR PC BLEND 2 AIRCRAFT RADOME DEPAINTER

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report describes the life cycle assessment on a potential replacement solvent blend for aircraft radome depainting at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base. The life cycle assessment is composed of three separate but interrelated components: life cy...

  20. Environmental life cycle assessment of Ethiopian rose cultivation.

    PubMed

    Sahle, Abiy; Potting, José

    2013-01-15

    A life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted for Ethiopian rose cultivation. The LCA covered the cradle-to-gate production of all inputs to Ethiopian rose cultivation up to, and including transport to the Ethiopian airport. Primary data were collected about materials and resources used as inputs to, and about the product outputs from 21 farms in 4 geographical regions (i.e. Holleta, Sebeta, Debre Ziet, and Ziway). The primary data were imported in, and analyzed with the SimaPro7.3 software. Data for the production of used inputs were taken from the EcoInvent®2.0 database. Emissions from input use on the farms were quantified based on estimates and emission factors from various studies and guidelines. The resulting life cycle inventory (LCI) table was next evaluated with the CML 2 baseline 2000 V2/world, 1990/characterization method to quantify the contribution of the rose cultivation chain to 10 environmental impact categories. The set of collected primary data was comprehensive and of high quality. The data point to an intensive use of fertilizers, pesticides, and greenhouse plastic. Production and use of these inputs also represent the major contributors in all environmental impact categories. The largest contribution comes from the production of the used fertilizers, specifically nitrogen-based fertilizers. The use of calcium nitrate dominates Abiotic Depletion (AD), Global Warming (GW), Human Toxicity (HT) and Marine Aquatic Ecotoxicity (MAET). It also makes a large contribution to Ozone Depletion (OD), Acidification (AD) and Fresh water Aquatic Ecotoxicity (FAET). Acidification (AC) and Eutrophication (EU) are dominated by the emission of fertilizers. The emissions from the use of pesticides, especially insecticides dominate Terrestrial Ecotoxicity (TE) and make a considerable contribution to Freshwater Aquatic Ecotoxicity (FAET) and Photochemical Oxidation (PhO). There is no visible contribution from the use of pesticides to the other toxicity categories

  1. A method for improving reliability and relevance of LCA reviews: the case of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of tap and bottled water.

    PubMed

    Fantin, Valentina; Scalbi, Simona; Ottaviano, Giuseppe; Masoni, Paolo

    2014-04-01

    The purpose of this study is to propose a method for harmonising Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) literature studies on the same product or on different products fulfilling the same function for a reliable and meaningful comparison of their life-cycle environmental impacts. The method is divided in six main steps which aim to rationalize and quicken the efforts needed to carry out the comparison. The steps include: 1) a clear definition of the goal and scope of the review; 2) critical review of the references; 3) identification of significant parameters that have to be harmonised; 4) harmonisation of the parameters; 5) statistical analysis to support the comparison; 6) results and discussion. This approach was then applied to the comparative analysis of the published LCA studies on tap and bottled water production, focussing on Global Warming Potential (GWP) results, with the aim to identify the environmental preferable alternative. A statistical analysis with Wilcoxon's test confirmed that the difference between harmonised GWP values of tap and bottled water was significant. The results obtained from the comparison of the harmonised mean GWP results showed that tap water always has the best environmental performance, even in case of high energy-consuming technologies for drinking water treatments. The strength of the method is that it enables both performing a deep analysis of the LCA literature and obtaining more consistent comparisons across the published LCAs. For these reasons, it can be a valuable tool which provides useful information for both practitioners and decision makers. Finally, its application to the case study allowed both to supply a description of systems variability and to evaluate the importance of several key parameters for tap and bottled water production. The comparative review of LCA studies, with the inclusion of a statistical decision test, can validate and strengthen the final statements of the comparison. PMID:24463258

  2. The Chicago Center for Green Technology: life-cycle assessment of a brownfield redevelopment project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brecheisen, Thomas; Theis, Thomas

    2013-03-01

    The sustainable development of brownfields reflects a fundamental, yet logical, shift in thinking and policymaking regarding pollution prevention. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool that can be used to assist in determining the conformity of brownfield development projects to the sustainability paradigm. LCA was applied to the process of a real brownfield redevelopment project, now known as the Chicago Center for Green Technology, to determine the cumulative energy required to complete the following redevelopment stages: (1) brownfield assessment and remediation, (2) building rehabilitation and site development and (3) ten years of operation. The results of the LCA have shown that operational energy is the dominant life-cycle stage after ten years of operation. The preservation and rehabilitation of the existing building, the installation of renewable energy systems (geothermal and photovoltaic) on-site and the use of more sustainable building products resulted in 72 terajoules (TJ) of avoided energy impacts, which would provide 14 years of operational energy for the site. Methodological note: data for this life-cycle assessment were obtained from project reports, construction blueprints and utility bills.

  3. Key issues in life cycle assessment of ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass: Challenges and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Singh, Anoop; Pant, Deepak; Korres, Nicholas E; Nizami, Abdul-Sattar; Prasad, Shiv; Murphy, Jerry D

    2010-07-01

    Progressive depletion of conventional fossil fuels with increasing energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have led to a move towards renewable and sustainable energy sources. Lignocellulosic biomass is available in massive quantities and provides enormous potential for bioethanol production. However, to ascertain optimal biofuel strategies, it is necessary to take into account environmental impacts from cradle to grave. Life cycle assessment (LCA) techniques allow detailed analysis of material and energy fluxes on regional and global scales. This includes indirect inputs to the production process and associated wastes and emissions, and the downstream fate of products in the future. At the same time if not used properly, LCA can lead to incorrect and inappropriate actions on the part of industry and/or policy makers. This paper aims to list key issues for quantifying the use of resources and releases to the environment associated with the entire life cycle of lignocellulosic bioethanol production. PMID:20015644

  4. Life cycle assessment part 1: framework, goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, and applications.

    PubMed

    Rebitzer, G; Ekvall, T; Frischknecht, R; Hunkeler, D; Norris, G; Rydberg, T; Schmidt, W-P; Suh, S; Weidema, B P; Pennington, D W

    2004-07-01

    Sustainable development requires methods and tools to measure and compare the environmental impacts of human activities for the provision of goods and services (both of which are summarized under the term "products"). Environmental impacts include those from emissions into the environment and through the consumption of resources, as well as other interventions (e.g., land use) associated with providing products that occur when extracting resources, producing materials, manufacturing the products, during consumption/use, and at the products' end-of-life (collection/sorting, reuse, recycling, waste disposal). These emissions and consumptions contribute to a wide range of impacts, such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, tropospheric ozone (smog) creation, eutrophication, acidification, toxicological stress on human health and ecosystems, the depletion of resources, water use, land use, and noise-among others. A clear need, therefore, exists to be proactive and to provide complimentary insights, apart from current regulatory practices, to help reduce such impacts. Practitioners and researchers from many domains come together in life cycle assessment (LCA) to calculate indicators of the aforementioned potential environmental impacts that are linked to products-supporting the identification of opportunities for pollution prevention and reductions in resource consumption while taking the entire product life cycle into consideration. This paper, part 1 in a series of two, introduces the LCA framework and procedure, outlines how to define and model a product's life cycle, and provides an overview of available methods and tools for tabulating and compiling associated emissions and resource consumption data in a life cycle inventory (LCI). It also discusses the application of LCA in industry and policy making. The second paper, by Pennington et al. (Environ. Int. 2003, in press), highlights the key features, summarises available approaches, and outlines the key

  5. Comparative analysis of the life cycle impact assessment of available cement inventories in the EU

    SciTech Connect

    Josa, Alejandro; Byars, Ewan

    2007-05-15

    Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is one of basic steps in life cycle assessment methodology (LCA). This paper presents a comparative study of the LCIA of different life cycle inventories (LCI) for EU cements. The analysis unit used is the manufacture of 1 kg of cement, from 'cradle to gate'. The impact categories considered are those resulting from the manufacture of cement and include greenhouse effects, acidification, eutrophication and summer and winter smog, amongst others. The results of the study highlighted some inconsistencies in existing inventories. As for the LCIA, the main environmental interventions related to cement manufacture were classified and characterised and their effect on different impact categories analysed. Differences observed in evaluation of the impact of cement type were essentially related to their clinker content.

  6. LIFE-CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT DEMONSTRATION FOR THE GBU-24

    EPA Science Inventory

    The primary goal of this project was to develop and demonstrate a life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) approach using existing life-cycle inventory (LCI) data on one of the propellants, energetics, and pyro-technic (PEP) materials of interest to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD...

  7. LIFE-CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT DEMONSTRATION FOR THE BGU-24

    EPA Science Inventory

    The primary goal of this project was to develop and demonstrate a life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) approach using existing life-cycle inventory (LCI) data on one of the propellants, energetics, and pyrotechnic (PEP) materials of interest to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)...

  8. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT AN INTRODUCTION AND INTERNATIONAL UPDATE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Research within the field of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) has greatly improved since the work of Heijungs and Guinee in 1992. Within the UNEP / SETAC Life Cycle Initiative an effort is underway to provide recommendations about the direction of research and selection of LC...

  9. Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Assessment of Aluminum-Intensive Vehicle Design

    SciTech Connect

    Das, Sujit

    2014-01-01

    Advanced lightweight materials are increasingly being incorporated into new vehicle designs by automakers to enhance performance and assist in complying with increasing requirements of corporate average fuel economy standards. To assess the primary energy and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) implications of vehicle designs utilizing these materials, this study examines the potential life cycle impacts of two lightweight material alternative vehicle designs, i.e., steel and aluminum of a typical passenger vehicle operated today in North America. LCA for three common alternative lightweight vehicle designs are evaluated: current production ( Baseline ), an advanced high strength steel and aluminum design ( LWSV ), and an aluminum-intensive design (AIV). This study focuses on body-in-white and closures since these are the largest automotive systems by weight accounting for approximately 40% of total curb weight of a typical passenger vehicle. Secondary mass savings resulting from body lightweighting are considered for the vehicles engine, driveline and suspension. A cradle-to-cradle life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted for these three vehicle material alternatives. LCA methodology for this study included material production, mill semi-fabrication, vehicle use phase operation, and end-of-life recycling. This study followed international standards ISO 14040:2006 [1] and ISO 14044:2006 [2], consistent with the automotive LCA guidance document currently being developed [3]. Vehicle use phase mass reduction was found to account for over 90% of total vehicle life cycle energy and CO2e emissions. The AIV design achieved mass reduction of 25% (versus baseline) resulting in reductions in total life cycle primary energy consumption by 20% and CO2e emissions by 17%. Overall, the AIV design showed the best breakeven vehicle mileage from both primary energy consumption and climate change perspectives.

  10. Accounting for ecosystem services in life cycle assessment, Part I: a critical review.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yi; Singh, Shweta; Bakshi, Bhavik R

    2010-04-01

    If life cycle oriented methods are to encourage sustainable development, they must account for the role of ecosystem goods and services, since these form the basis of planetary activities and human well-being. This article reviews methods that are relevant to accounting for the role of nature and that could be integrated into life cycle oriented approaches. These include methods developed by ecologists for quantifying ecosystem services, by ecological economists for monetary valuation, and life cycle methods such as conventional life cycle assessment, thermodynamic methods for resource accounting such as exergy and emergy analysis, variations of the ecological footprint approach, and human appropriation of net primary productivity. Each approach has its strengths: economic methods are able to quantify the value of cultural services; LCA considers emissions and assesses their impact; emergy accounts for supporting services in terms of cumulative exergy; and ecological footprint is intuitively appealing and considers biocapacity. However, no method is able to consider all the ecosystem services, often due to the desire to aggregate all resources in terms of a single unit. This review shows that comprehensive accounting for ecosystem services in LCA requires greater integration among existing methods, hierarchical schemes for interpreting results via multiple levels of aggregation, and greater understanding of the role of ecosystems in supporting human activities. These present many research opportunities that must be addressed to meet the challenges of sustainability. PMID:20178382

  11. Life cycle assessment of construction and demolition waste management.

    PubMed

    Butera, Stefania; Christensen, Thomas H; Astrup, Thomas F

    2015-10-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) modelling of construction and demolition waste (C&DW) management was carried out. The functional unit was management of 1 Mg mineral, source separated C&DW, which is either utilised in road construction as a substitute for natural aggregates, or landfilled. The assessed environmental impacts included both non-toxic and toxic impact categories. The scenarios comprised all stages of the end-of-life management of C&DW, until final disposal of all residues. Leaching of inorganic contaminants was included, as was the production of natural aggregates, which was avoided because of the use of C&DW. Typical uncertainties related to contaminant leaching were addressed. For most impact categories, utilisation of C&DW in road construction was preferable to landfilling; however, for most categories, utilisation resulted in net environmental burdens. Transportation represented the most important contribution for most nontoxic impacts, accounting for 60-95 per cent of these impacts. Capital goods contributed with negligible impacts. Leaching played a critical role for the toxic categories, where landfilling had lower impacts than utilisation because of the lower levels of leachate per ton of C&DW reaching the groundwater over a 100-year perspective. Leaching of oxyanions (As, V and Sb) was critical with respect to leaching. Typical experimental uncertainties in leaching data did not have a pivotal influence on the results; however, accounting for Cr immobilisation in soils as part of the impact assessment was critical for modelling the leaching impacts. Compared with the overall life cycle of building and construction materials, leaching emissions were shown to be potentially significant for toxicity impacts, compared with contributions from production of the same materials, showing that end-of-life impacts and leaching should not be disregarded when assessing environmental impacts from construction products and materials. CO2 uptake in the C

  12. Assessing Resource Intensity and Renewability of Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies using Eco-LCA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Recognizing the contributions of natural resources and the lack of their comprehensive accounting in life cycle assessment (LCA) of cellulosic ethanol, an in-depth analysis of the contribution of natural resources in the life cycle of cellulosic ethanol derived from five differen...

  13. Use of risk assessment and life cycle assessment in decision making: a common policy research agenda.

    PubMed

    Cowell, Sarah J; Fairman, Robyn; Lofstedt, Ragnar E

    2002-10-01

    Quantitative risk assessment (RA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) are both analytical tools used to support decision making in environmental management. They have been developed and used by largely separate groups of specialists, and it is worth considering whether there is a common research agenda that may increase the relevance of these tools in decision-making processes. The validity of drawing comparisons between use of the tools is established through examining key aspects of the two approaches for their similarities and differences, including the nature of each approach and contextual and methodological aspects. Six case studies involving use of each approach in public decision making are described and used to draw out concerns about using RA and LCA in this context. The following categories of concern can be distinguished: philosophical approach of the tools; quantitative versus qualitative assessment; stakeholder participation; the nature of the results; and the usefulness of the results in relation to time and financial resource requirements. These can be distilled into a common policy research agenda focusing on: the legitimacy of using tools built on a particular perspective in decision making; recognition and role of value judgments in RA and LCA; treatment of uncertainty and variability; the influence of analytical tools in focusing attention on particular aspects of a decision-making situation; and understandability of the results for nonspecialists. It is concluded that it is time to bring together the experiences of RA and LCA specialists and benefit from cross-fertilization of ideas. PMID:12442986

  14. Dynamic hybrid life cycle assessment of energy and carbon of multicrystalline silicon photovoltaic systems.

    PubMed

    Zhai, Pei; Williams, Eric D

    2010-10-15

    This paper advances the life cycle assessment (LCA) of photovoltaic systems by expanding the boundary of the included processes using hybrid LCA and accounting for the technology-driven dynamics of embodied energy and carbon emissions. Hybrid LCA is an extended method that combines bottom-up process-sum and top-down economic input-output (EIO) methods. In 2007, the embodied energy was 4354 MJ/m(2) and the energy payback time (EPBT) was 2.2 years for a multicrystalline silicon PV system under 1700 kWh/m(2)/yr of solar radiation. These results are higher than those of process-sum LCA by approximately 60%, indicating that processes excluded in process-sum LCA, such as transportation, are significant. Even though PV is a low-carbon technology, the difference between hybrid and process-sum results for 10% penetration of PV in the U.S. electrical grid is 0.13% of total current grid emissions. Extending LCA from the process-sum to hybrid analysis makes a significant difference. Dynamics are characterized through a retrospective analysis and future outlook for PV manufacturing from 2001 to 2011. During this decade, the embodied carbon fell substantially, from 60 g CO(2)/kWh in 2001 to 21 g/kWh in 2011, indicating that technological progress is realizing reductions in embodied environmental impacts as well as lower module price. PMID:20860380

  15. Sourcing Life Cycle Inventory Data

    EPA Science Inventory

    The collection and validation of quality lifecycle inventory (LCI) data can be the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of developing a life cycle assessment (LCA). Large amounts of process and production data are needed to complete the LCI. For many studies, the LCA analyst ...

  16. Integrating Hybrid Life Cycle Assessment with Multiobjective Optimization: A Modeling Framework.

    PubMed

    Yue, Dajun; Pandya, Shyama; You, Fengqi

    2016-02-01

    By combining life cycle assessment (LCA) with multiobjective optimization (MOO), the life cycle optimization (LCO) framework holds the promise not only to evaluate the environmental impacts for a given product but also to compare different alternatives and identify both ecologically and economically better decisions. Despite the recent methodological developments in LCA, most LCO applications are developed upon process-based LCA, which results in system boundary truncation and underestimation of the true impact. In this study, we propose a comprehensive LCO framework that seamlessly integrates MOO with integrated hybrid LCA. It quantifies both direct and indirect environmental impacts and incorporates them into the decision making process in addition to the more traditional economic criteria. The proposed LCO framework is demonstrated through an application on sustainable design of a potential bioethanol supply chain in the UK. Results indicate that the proposed hybrid LCO framework identifies a considerable amount of indirect greenhouse gas emissions (up to 58.4%) that are essentially ignored in process-based LCO. Among the biomass feedstock options considered, using woody biomass for bioethanol production would be the most preferable choice from a climate perspective, while the mixed use of wheat and wheat straw as feedstocks would be the most cost-effective one. PMID:26752618

  17. Life Cycle Assessment of Domestic and Agricultural Rainwater Harvesting Systems

    EPA Science Inventory

    To further understanding of the environmental implications of rainwater harvesting and its water savings potential relative to conventional U.S. water delivery infrastructure, we present a method to perform life cycle assessment of domestic rainwater harvesting (DRWH) and agricul...

  18. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE, II

    EPA Science Inventory

    Research within the field of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) has greatly improved since the work of Heijungs and Guinee in 1992. Methodologies are currently available to address specific locations within North America, Europe, and Asia. Internationally, researchers are work...

  19. Interest of the Theory of Uncertain in the Dynamic LCA- Fire Methodology to Assess Fire Effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chettouh, Samia; Hamzi, Rachida; Innal, Fares; Haddad, Djamel

    Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) is the third phase of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) described in ISO 14042. The purpose of LCIA is to assess a product system's life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) in order to better understand its environmental significance. However, LCIA typically excludes spatial, temporal, threshold and dose-response information, and combines emissions or activities over space and/or time. This may diminish the environmental relevance of the indicator result. The methodology, Dynamic LCA -Fire proposed in this paper to complete the International Standard ISO 14042 in the fire field, combines the LCA - Fire method with the Dispersion Numerical Model. It is based on the use of the plume model used to assess pollutant concentrations and thermal effects from fire accident scenarios. In this study, The Dynamic LCA - Fire methodology is applied to a case study for petroleum production process management.

  20. Algae biodiesel life cycle assessment using current commercial data.

    PubMed

    Passell, Howard; Dhaliwal, Harnoor; Reno, Marissa; Wu, Ben; Ben Amotz, Ami; Ivry, Etai; Gay, Marcus; Czartoski, Tom; Laurin, Lise; Ayer, Nathan

    2013-11-15

    Autotrophic microalgae represent a potential feedstock for transportation fuels, but life cycle assessment (LCA) studies based on laboratory-scale or theoretical data have shown mixed results. We attempt to bridge the gap between laboratory-scale and larger scale biodiesel production by using cultivation and harvesting data from a commercial algae producer with ∼1000 m(2) production area (the base case), and compare that with a hypothetical scaled up facility of 101,000 m(2) (the future case). Extraction and separation data are from Solution Recovery Services, Inc. Conversion and combustion data are from the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model (GREET). The LCA boundaries are defined as "pond-to-wheels". Environmental impacts are quantified as NER (energy in/energy out), global warming potential, photochemical oxidation potential, water depletion, particulate matter, and total NOx and SOx. The functional unit is 1 MJ of energy produced in a passenger car. Results for the base case and the future case show an NER of 33.4 and 1.37, respectively and GWP of 2.9 and 0.18 kg CO2-equivalent, respectively. In comparison, petroleum diesel and soy diesel show an NER of 0.18 and 0.80, respectively and GWP of 0.12 and 0.025, respectively. A critical feature in this work is the low algal productivity (3 g/m(2)/day) reported by the commercial producer, relative to the much higher productivities (20-30 g/m(2)/day) reported by other sources. Notable results include a sensitivity analysis showing that algae with an oil yield of 0.75 kg oil/kg dry biomass in the future case can bring the NER down to 0.64, more comparable with petroleum diesel and soy biodiesel. An important assumption in this work is that all processes are fully co-located and that no transport of intermediate or final products from processing stage to stage is required. PMID:23900083

  1. Life cycle assessment of engineered nanomaterials: state of the art and strategies to overcome existing gaps.

    PubMed

    Hischier, Roland; Walser, Tobias

    2012-05-15

    The use of engineered nanomaterials offers advantages as well as disadvantages from a sustainability perspective. It is important to identify such points as early as possible in order to be able to build on existing strengths, while counteracting disadvantages. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a suitable method to assess the environmental performance of a product or process. But so far studies applying LCA to the area of nanotechnology have been scarce. One reason might be that the LCA framework has a whole list of issues that need further precision in order to be applicable to nanotechnologies: system boundaries and a functional unit have to be chosen in a way that allows one to do a comparison of equal functionalities; adequate and comprehensive life cycle inventory data for engineered nanomaterials are the key on the level of inventory analysis; and the impact assessment step requires a clear definition of the degree of detail on the level of nanoparticle emissions. The LCA studies existing thus far in the area of nanotechnology have barely begun to cover all these aspects. Thus, in order to improve the current situation, the authors propose to go ahead in each of the LCA stages as far as scientific advances allow. For the inventory modelling this means e.g. that comprehensive, transparently documented and quality ensured data of the most important engineered nanomaterials should be collected and made available in a widely-accepted format. Concerning nanoparticle emissions, as many parameters as possible have to be collected pertaining to the production, use, and the disposal phase of these engineered nanomaterials. Furthermore, on the level of impact assessment, relevant physical characteristics have to be identified for a toxicity assessment of nanoparticles and a consensus has to be found for a limited but sufficient number of independent parameters influencing toxicity to be collected. PMID:22483746

  2. Use of life cycle assessments to evaluate the environmental footprint of contaminated sediment remediation.

    PubMed

    Sparrevik, Magnus; Saloranta, Tuomo; Cornelissen, Gerard; Eek, Espen; Fet, Annik Magerholm; Breedveld, Gijs D; Linkov, Igor

    2011-05-15

    Ecological and human risks often drive the selection of remedial alternatives for contaminated sediments. Traditional human and ecological risk assessment (HERA) includes assessing risk for benthic organisms and aquatic fauna associated with exposure to contaminated sediments before and after remediation as well as risk for human exposure but does not consider the environmental footprint associated with implementing remedial alternatives. Assessment of environmental effects over the whole life cycle (i.e., Life Cycle Assessment, LCA) could complement HERA and help in selecting the most appropriate sediment management alternative. Even though LCA has been developed and applied in multiple environmental management cases, applications to contaminated sediments and marine ecosystems are in general less frequent. This paper implements LCA methodology for the case of the polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and -furans (PCDD/F)-contaminated Grenland fjord in Norway. LCA was applied to investigate the environmental footprint of different active and passive thin-layer capping alternatives as compared to natural recovery. The results showed that capping was preferable to natural recovery when analysis is limited to effects related to the site contamination. Incorporation of impacts related to the use of resources and energy during the implementation of a thin layer cap increase the environmental footprint by over 1 order of magnitude, making capping inferior to the natural recovery alternative. Use of biomass-derived activated carbon, where carbon dioxide is sequestered during the production process, reduces the overall environmental impact to that of natural recovery. The results from this study show that LCA may be a valuable tool for assessing the environmental footprint of sediment remediation projects and for sustainable sediment management. PMID:21520943

  3. Towards Robust Energy Systems Modeling: Examinging Uncertainty in Fossil Fuel-Based Life Cycle Assessment Approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Venkatesh, Aranya

    Increasing concerns about the environmental impacts of fossil fuels used in the U.S. transportation and electricity sectors have spurred interest in alternate energy sources, such as natural gas and biofuels. Life cycle assessment (LCA) methods can be used to estimate the environmental impacts of incumbent energy sources and potential impact reductions achievable through the use of alternate energy sources. Some recent U.S. climate policies have used the results of LCAs to encourage the use of low carbon fuels to meet future energy demands in the U.S. However, the LCA methods used to estimate potential reductions in environmental impact have some drawbacks. First, the LCAs are predominantly based on deterministic approaches that do not account for any uncertainty inherent in life cycle data and methods. Such methods overstate the accuracy of the point estimate results, which could in turn lead to incorrect and (consequent) expensive decision-making. Second, system boundaries considered by most LCA studies tend to be limited (considered a manifestation of uncertainty in LCA). Although LCAs can estimate the benefits of transitioning to energy systems of lower environmental impact, they may not be able to characterize real world systems perfectly. Improved modeling of energy systems mechanisms can provide more accurate representations of reality and define more likely limits on potential environmental impact reductions. This dissertation quantitatively and qualitatively examines the limitations in LCA studies outlined previously. The first three research chapters address the uncertainty in life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with petroleum-based fuels, natural gas and coal consumed in the U.S. The uncertainty in life cycle GHG emissions from fossil fuels was found to range between 13 and 18% of their respective mean values. For instance, the 90% confidence interval of the life cycle GHG emissions of average natural gas consumed in the U.S was found to

  4. Potential for Integrating Diffusion of Innovation Principles into Life Cycle Assessment of Emerging Technologies.

    PubMed

    Sharp, Benjamin E; Miller, Shelie A

    2016-03-15

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) measures cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of a product. To assess impacts of an emerging technology, LCA should be coupled with additional methods that estimate how that technology might be deployed. The extent and manner that an emerging technology diffuses throughout a region shapes the magnitude and type of environmental impacts. Diffusion of innovation is an established field of research that analyzes the adoption of new innovations, and its principles can be used to construct scenario models that enhance LCA of emerging technologies. Integrating diffusion modeling techniques with an LCA of emerging technology can provide estimates for the extent of market penetration, the displacement of existing systems, and the rate of adoption. Two general perspectives of application are macro-level diffusion models that use a function of time to represent adoption, and microlevel diffusion models that simulate adoption through interactions of individuals. Incorporating diffusion of innovation concepts complement existing methods within LCA to inform proactive environmental management of emerging technologies. PMID:26820700

  5. Life cycle assessment of a packaging waste recycling system in Portugal.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, S; Cabral, M; da Cruz, N F; Simões, P; Marques, R C

    2014-09-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been used to assess the environmental impacts associated with an activity or product life cycle. It has also been applied to assess the environmental performance related to waste management activities. This study analyses the packaging waste management system of a local public authority in Portugal. The operations of selective and refuse collection, sorting, recycling, landfilling and incineration of packaging waste were considered. The packaging waste management system in operation in 2010, which we called "Baseline" scenario, was compared with two hypothetical scenarios where all the packaging waste that was selectively collected in 2010 would undergo the refuse collection system and would be sent directly to incineration (called "Incineration" scenario) or to landfill ("Landfill" scenario). Overall, the results show that the "Baseline" scenario is more environmentally sound than the hypothetical scenarios. PMID:24910140

  6. Ranking potential impacts of priority and emerging pollutants in urban wastewater through life cycle impact assessment.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Ivan; José Gómez, M; Molina-Díaz, Antonio; Huijbregts, Mark A J; Fernández-Alba, Amadeo R; García-Calvo, Eloy

    2008-12-01

    Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), a feature of the Life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, is used in this work outside the LCA framework, as a means to quantify the potential environmental impacts on ecotoxicity and human toxicity of wastewater containing priority and emerging pollutants. In order to do this, so-called characterisation factors are obtained for 98 frequently detected pollutants, using two characterisation models, EDIP97 and USES-LCA. The applicability of this methodology is shown in a case study in which wastewater influent and effluent samples from a Spanish wastewater treatment plant located in the Mediterranean coast were analysed. Characterisation factors were applied to the average concentration of each pollutant, obtaining impact scores for different scenarios: discharging wastewater to aquatic recipient, and using it for crop irrigation. The results show that treated wastewater involves a substantially lower environmental impact when compared to the influent, and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are very important contributors to toxicity in this wastewater. Ciprofloxacin, fluoxetine, and nicotine constitute the main PPCPs of concern in this case study, while 2,3,7,8-TCDD, Nickel, and hexachlorobenzene are the priority pollutants with highest contribution. Nevertheless, it must be stressed that the new characterisation factors are based on very limited data, especially with regard to toxicology, and therefore they must be seen as a first screening to be improved in the future when more and higher quality data is available. PMID:18951608

  7. Assessment of life cycle environmental benefits of an industrial symbiosis cluster in China.

    PubMed

    Yu, Fei; Han, Feng; Cui, Zhaojie

    2015-04-01

    Reusing industrial waste may have impressive potential environmental benefits, especially in terms of the total life cycle, and life cycle assessment (LCA) has been proved to be an effective method to evaluate industrial symbiosis (IS). Circular economy and IS have been developed for decades and have been successful in China. However, very few studies about the environmental benefit assessment of IS applied by LCA in China have been conducted. In the current article, LCA was used to evaluate the environmental benefits and costs of IS, compared with a no-IS scenario for four environmental impact categories. The results showed that four environmental benefits were avoided by the 11 symbiosis performances, namely, 41.6 thousand TJ of primary energy, 4.47 million t CO2e of greenhouse gasses, 19.7 thousand t SO2e of acidification, and 81.1 t PO4(3+)e of eutrophication. Among these IS performances, the comprehensive utilization of red mud produced the most visible benefit. The results also present that energy conservation was the distinctive feature of IS in China. PMID:25339529

  8. Evaluating greenhouse gas impacts of organic waste management options using life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Kong, Dung; Shan, Jilei; Iacoboni, Mario; Maguin, Stephen R

    2012-08-01

    Efforts to divert organics away from landfills are viewed by many as an important measure to significantly reduce the climate change impacts of municipal solid waste management. However, the actual greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of organics diversion from landfills have yet to be thoroughly evaluated and whether such a diversion provides significant environmental benefits in terms of GHG impacts must be answered. This study, using California-specific information, aimed to analyse the GHG impacts of organics diversion through a life-cycle assessment (LCA). This LCA considered all aspects of organics management including transportation, materials handling, GHG emissions, landfill gas capture/utilization, energy impacts, and carbon sequestration. The LCA study evaluated overall GHG impacts of landfilling, and alternative management options such as composting and anaerobic digestion for diverted organic waste. The LCA analysis resulted in net GHG reductions of 0.093, 0.048, 0.065 and 0.073 tonnes carbon equivalent per tonne organic waste for landfilling, windrow composting, aerated static pile composting, and anaerobic digestion, respectively. This study confirms that all three options for organics management result in net reductions of GHG emissions, but it also shows that organics landfilling, when well-managed, generates greater GHG reductions. The LCA provides scientific insight with regards to the environmental impacts of organics management options, which should be considered in decision and policy-making. The study also highlights the importance of how site and case-specific conditions influence project outcomes when considering organic waste management options. PMID:22588112

  9. A Review of Environmental Life Cycle Assessments of Liquid Transportation Biofuels in the Pan American Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shonnard, David R.; Klemetsrud, Bethany; Sacramento-Rivero, Julio; Navarro-Pineda, Freddy; Hilbert, Jorge; Handler, Robert; Suppen, Nydia; Donovan, Richard P.

    2015-12-01

    Life-cycle assessment (LCA) has been applied to many biofuel and bioenergy systems to determine potential environmental impacts, but the conclusions have varied. Different methodologies and processes for conducting LCA of biofuels make the results difficult to compare, in-turn making it difficult to make the best possible and informed decision. Of particular importance are the wide variability in country-specific conditions, modeling assumptions, data quality, chosen impact categories and indicators, scale of production, system boundaries, and co-product allocation. This study has a double purpose: conducting a critical evaluation comparing environmental LCA of biofuels from several conversion pathways and in several countries in the Pan American region using both qualitative and quantitative analyses, and making recommendations for harmonization with respect to biofuel LCA study features, such as study assumptions, inventory data, impact indicators, and reporting practices. The environmental management implications are discussed within the context of different national and international regulatory environments using a case study. The results from this study highlight LCA methodology choices that cause high variability in results and limit comparability among different studies, even among the same biofuel pathway, and recommendations are provided for improvement.

  10. A Review of Environmental Life Cycle Assessments of Liquid Transportation Biofuels in the Pan American Region.

    PubMed

    Shonnard, David R; Klemetsrud, Bethany; Sacramento-Rivero, Julio; Navarro-Pineda, Freddy; Hilbert, Jorge; Handler, Robert; Suppen, Nydia; Donovan, Richard P

    2015-12-01

    Life-cycle assessment (LCA) has been applied to many biofuel and bioenergy systems to determine potential environmental impacts, but the conclusions have varied. Different methodologies and processes for conducting LCA of biofuels make the results difficult to compare, in-turn making it difficult to make the best possible and informed decision. Of particular importance are the wide variability in country-specific conditions, modeling assumptions, data quality, chosen impact categories and indicators, scale of production, system boundaries, and co-product allocation. This study has a double purpose: conducting a critical evaluation comparing environmental LCA of biofuels from several conversion pathways and in several countries in the Pan American region using both qualitative and quantitative analyses, and making recommendations for harmonization with respect to biofuel LCA study features, such as study assumptions, inventory data, impact indicators, and reporting practices. The environmental management implications are discussed within the context of different national and international regulatory environments using a case study. The results from this study highlight LCA methodology choices that cause high variability in results and limit comparability among different studies, even among the same biofuel pathway, and recommendations are provided for improvement. PMID:26041501

  11. Life cycle assessment and residue leaching: the importance of parameter, scenario and leaching data selection.

    PubMed

    Allegrini, E; Butera, S; Kosson, D S; Van Zomeren, A; Van der Sloot, H A; Astrup, T F

    2015-04-01

    Residues from industrial processes and waste management systems (WMSs) have been increasingly reutilised, leading to landfilling rate reductions and the optimisation of mineral resource utilisation in society. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a holistic methodology allowing for the analysis of systems and products and can be applied to waste management systems to identify environmental benefits and critical aspects thereof. From an LCA perspective, residue utilisation provides benefits such as avoiding the production and depletion of primary materials, but it can lead to environmental burdens, due to the potential leaching of toxic substances. In waste LCA studies where residue utilisation is included, leaching has generally been neglected. In this study, municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash (MSWI BA) was used as a case study into three LCA scenarios having different system boundaries. The importance of data quality and parameter selection in the overall LCA results was evaluated, and an innovative method to assess metal transport into the environment was applied, in order to determine emissions to the soil and water compartments for use in an LCA. It was found that toxic impacts as a result of leaching were dominant in systems including only MSWI BA utilisation, while leaching appeared negligible in larger scenarios including the entire waste system. However, leaching could not be disregarded a priori, due to large uncertainties characterising other activities in the scenario (e.g. electricity production). Based on the analysis of relevant parameters relative to leaching, and on general results of the study, recommendations are provided regarding the use of leaching data in LCA studies. PMID:25573739

  12. Life Cycle Assessment of Biogas Production from Marine Macroalgae: a Latvian Scenario

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pilicka, Iluta; Blumberga, Dagnija; Romagnoli, Francesco

    2011-01-01

    There is potential environmental benefit to be gained from the use of algae because of their ability to fix CO2, no need for direct land use and utilization of bio-waste (rich in potassium, phosphate and nitrogen based compounds) as a nutrients. The aim of the research is to assess the impact of biogas production and the final use in a cogeneration unit system from a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in comparison with a similar reference system using a non-renewable source (e.g. natural gas). The paper is intended to be a preliminary study for understanding the implementation of this novel technology in a Latvian context.

  13. Bridging the gap between life cycle inventory and impact assessment for toxicological assessments of pesticides used in crop production.

    PubMed

    van Zelm, Rosalie; Larrey-Lassalle, Pyrène; Roux, Philippe

    2014-04-01

    In Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) provides emission data to the various environmental compartments and Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) determines the final distribution, fate and effects. Due to the overlap between the Technosphere (anthropogenic system) and Ecosphere (environment) in agricultural case studies, it is, however, complicated to establish what LCI needs to capture and where LCIA takes over. This paper aims to provide guidance and improvements of LCI/LCIA boundary definitions, in the dimensions of space and time. For this, a literature review was conducted to provide a clear overview of available methods and models for both LCI and LCIA regarding toxicological assessments of pesticides used in crop production. Guidelines are provided to overcome the gaps between LCI and LCIA modeling, and prevent the overlaps in their respective operational spheres. The proposed framework provides a starting point for LCA practitioners to gather the right data and use the proper models to include all relevant emission and exposure routes where possible. It is also able to predict a clear distinction between efficient and inefficient management practices (e.g. using different application rates, washing and rinsing management, etc.). By applying this framework for toxicological assessments of pesticides, LCI and LCIA can be directly linked, removing any overlaps or gaps in between the two distinct LCA steps. PMID:24314898

  14. Assessing biodiversity loss due to land use with Life Cycle Assessment: are we there yet?

    PubMed Central

    Souza, Danielle M; Teixeira, Ricardo FM; Ostermann, Ole P

    2015-01-01

    Ecosystems are under increasing pressure from human activities, with land use and land-use change at the forefront of the drivers that provoke global and regional biodiversity loss. The first step in addressing the challenge of how to reverse the negative outlook for the coming years starts with measuring environmental loss rates and assigning responsibilities. Pinpointing the global pressures on biodiversity is a task best addressed using holistic models such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is the leading method for calculating cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of products and services; it is actively promoted by many public policies, and integrated as part of environmental information systems within private companies. LCA already deals with the potential biodiversity impacts of land use, but there are significant obstacles to overcome before its models grasp the full reach of the phenomena involved. In this review, we discuss some pressing issues that need to be addressed. LCA mainly introduces biodiversity as an endpoint category modeled as a loss in species richness due to the conversion and use of land over time and space. The functional and population effects on biodiversity are mostly absent due to the emphasis on species accumulation with limited geographic and taxonomical reach. Current land-use modeling activities that use biodiversity indicators tend to oversimplify the real dynamics and complexity of the interactions of species among each other and with their habitats. To identify the main areas for improvement, we systematically reviewed LCA studies on land use that had findings related to global change and conservation ecology. We provide suggestion as to how to address some of the issues raised. Our overall objective was to encourage companies to monitor and take concrete steps to address the impacts of land use on biodiversity on a broader geographical scale and along increasingly globalized supply chains. PMID:25143302

  15. Combining agent-based modeling and life cycle assessment for the evaluation of mobility policies.

    PubMed

    Florent, Querini; Enrico, Benetto

    2015-02-01

    This article presents agent-based modeling (ABM) as a novel approach for consequential life cycle assessment (C-LCA) of large scale policies, more specifically mobility-related policies. The approach is validated at the Luxembourgish level (as a first case study). The agent-based model simulates the car market (sales, use, and dismantling) of the population of users in the period 2013-2020, following the implementation of different mobility policies and available electric vehicles. The resulting changes in the car fleet composition as well as the hourly uses of the vehicles are then used to derive consistent LCA results, representing the consequences of the policies. Policies will have significant environmental consequences: when using ReCiPe2008, we observe a decrease of global warming, fossil depletion, acidification, ozone depletion, and photochemical ozone formation and an increase of metal depletion, ionizing radiations, marine eutrophication, and particulate matter formation. The study clearly shows that the extrapolation of LCA results for the circulating fleet at national scale following the introduction of the policies from the LCAs of single vehicles by simple up-scaling (using hypothetical deployment scenarios) would be flawed. The inventory has to be directly conducted at full scale and to this aim, ABM is indeed a promising approach, as it allows identifying and quantifying emerging effects while modeling the Life Cycle Inventory of vehicles at microscale through the concept of agents. PMID:25587896

  16. Evaluation of Life-Cycle Assessment Studies of Chinese Cement Production: Challenges and Opportunities

    SciTech Connect

    Lu, Hongyou; Masanet, Eric; Price, Lynn

    2009-05-29

    The use of life-cycle assessment (LCA) to understand the embodied energy, environmental impacts, and potential energy-savings of manufactured products has become more widespread among researchers in recent years. This paper reviews recent LCA studies in the cement industry in China and in other countries and provides an assessment of the methodology used by the researchers compared to ISO LCA standards (ISO 14040:2006, ISO 14044:2006, and ISO/TR 14048:2002). We evaluate whether the authors provide information on the intended application, targeted audience, functional unit, system boundary, data sources, data quality assessment, data disaggregation and other elements, and draw conclusions regarding the level of adherence to ISO standards for the papers reviewed. We found that China researchers have gained much experience during last decade, but still have room for improvement in establishing boundaries, assessing data quality, identifying data sources, and explaining limitations. The paper concludes with a discussion of directions for future LCA research in China.

  17. Life cycle assessment of urban wastewater systems: Quantifying the relative contribution of sewer systems.

    PubMed

    Risch, Eva; Gutierrez, Oriol; Roux, Philippe; Boutin, Catherine; Corominas, Lluís

    2015-06-15

    This study aims to propose a holistic, life cycle assessment (LCA) of urban wastewater systems (UWS) based on a comprehensive inventory including detailed construction and operation of sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). For the first time, the inventory of sewers infrastructure construction includes piping materials and aggregates, manholes, connections, civil works and road rehabilitation. The operation stage comprises energy consumption in pumping stations together with air emissions of methane and hydrogen sulphide, and water emissions from sewer leaks. Using a real case study, this LCA aims to quantify the contributions of sewer systems to the total environmental impacts of the UWS. The results show that the construction of sewer infrastructures has an environmental impact (on half of the 18 studied impact categories) larger than both the construction and operation of the WWTP. This study highlights the importance of including the construction and operation of sewer systems in the environmental assessment of centralised versus decentralised options for UWS. PMID:25839834

  18. An approach to incorporate risks into a product`s life-cycle assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Pirhonen, P.

    1995-12-31

    Life-cycle assessment is usually based on regular discharges that occur at a more or less constant rate. Nevertheless, the more factors that are taken into account in the LCA the better picture it gives on the environmental aspects of a product. In this study an approach to incorporate accidental releases into a products` life-cycle assessment was developed. In this approach accidental releases are divided into two categories. The first category consists of those unplanned releases which occur with a predicted level and frequency. Due to the high frequency and small release size at a time, these accidental releases can be compared to continuous emissions. Their global impacts are studied in this approach. Accidental releases of the second category are sudden, unplanned releases caused by exceptional situations, e.g. technical failure, action error or disturbances in process conditions. These releases have a singular character and local impacts are typical of them. As far as the accidental releases of the second category are concerned, the approach introduced in this study results in a risk value for every stage of a life-cycle, the sum of which is a risk value for the whole life-cycle. Risk value is based on occurrence frequencies of incidents and potential environmental damage caused by releases. Risk value illustrates the level of potential damage caused by accidental releases related to the system under study and is meant to be used for comparison of these levels of two different products. It can also be used to compare the risk levels of different stages of the life-cycle. An approach was illustrated using petrol as an example product. The whole life-cycle of petrol from crude oil production to the consumption of petrol was studied.

  19. Life Cycle Impact Assessment for Land Use

    EPA Science Inventory

    According to the Millennium Assessment: “Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel. This has ...

  20. A closed-loop life cycle assessment of recycled aggregate concrete utilization in China.

    PubMed

    Ding, Tao; Xiao, Jianzhuang; Tam, Vivian W Y

    2016-10-01

    This paper studies the potential environmental impact of recycled coarse aggregate (RCA) for concrete production in China. According to the cradle-to-cradle theory, a closed-loop life cycle assessment (LCA) on recycled aggregate concrete (RAC) utilization in China with entire local life cycle inventory (LCI) is performed, regarding the environmental influence of cement content, aggregate production, transportation and waste landfilling. Special attention is paid on the primary resource and energy conservation, as well as climate protection induced by RAC applications. Environmental impact between natural aggregate concrete (NAC) and RAC are also compared. It is shown that cement proportion and transportation are the top two contributors for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and energy consumption for both NAC and RAC. Sensitivity analysis also proves that long delivery distances for natural coarse aggregate (NCA) leave a possible opportunity for lowering environmental impact of RAC in China. PMID:27297045

  1. THE EMERGING FOCUS ON LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT IN THE U. S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

    EPA Science Inventory

    EPA has been actively engaged in LCA research since 1990 to help advance the methodology and application of life cycle thinking in decision-making. Across the Agency consideration of the life cycle concept is increasing in the development of policies and programs. A major force i...

  2. Methodological issues in life cycle assessment of mixed-culture polyhydroxyalkanoate production utilising waste as feedstock.

    PubMed

    Heimersson, Sara; Morgan-Sagastume, Fernando; Peters, Gregory M; Werker, Alan; Svanström, Magdalena

    2014-06-25

    Assessing the environmental performance of emerging technologies using life cycle assessment (LCA) can be challenging due to a lack of data in relation to technologies, application areas or other life cycle considerations, or a lack of LCA methodology that address the specific concerns. Nevertheless, LCA can be a valuable tool in the environmental optimisation in the technology development phase. One emerging technology is the mixed-culture production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). PHA production by pure microbial cultures has been developed and assessed in several LCAs during the previous decade. Recent developments within mixed-culture PHA production call for environmental assessment to guide in technology development. Mixed-culture PHA production can use the organic content in wastewater as a feedstock; the production may then be integrated with wastewater treatment (WWT) processes. This means that mixed-culture PHA is produced as a by-product from services in the WWT. This article explores different methodological challenges for LCA of mixed-culture PHA production using organic material in wastewater as feedstock. LCAs of both pure- and mixed-culture PHA production were reviewed. Challenges, similarities and differences when assessing PHA production by mixed- or pure-cultures were identified and the resulting implications for methodological choices in LCA were evaluated and illustrated, using a case study with mixed- and pure-culture PHA model production systems, based on literature data. Environmental impacts of processes producing multiple products or services need to be allocated between the different products or services. Such situations occur both in feedstock production and when the studied system is providing multiple functions. The selection of allocation method is shown to determine the LCA results. The type of data used, for electricity in the energy system, is shown to be important for the results, which indicates, a strong regional dependency of

  3. POLLUTION PREVENTION AND LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (CHAPTER 15): BOOK CHAPTER

    EPA Science Inventory

    BOOK NRMRL-CIN-1088 Curran*, M.A., and Schenck, R.C. "Pollution Prevention and Life Cycle Assessment (Chapter 15)." Published in: Handbook of Pollution Control and Waste Minimization, A. Ghassemi (Ed.),New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2001, p. 289-320. /2000 Much has been ac...

  4. ENVIRONMENTAL COMPARISON OF GASOLINE BLENDING OPTIONS USING LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    A life cycle assessment has been done on various gasoline blends, The purpose of this study is to compare several gasoline blends of 95 and 98 octaine, that meet the vapour pressure upper limit requirement of 60 kPa. This study accounts for the gasoline losses due to evaporation ...

  5. Life cycle assessment of wastewater treatment options for small and decentralized communities.

    PubMed

    Machado, A P; Urbano, L; Brito, A G; Janknecht, P; Salas, J J; Nogueira, R

    2007-01-01

    Sustainability has strong implications on the practice of engineering. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an appropriate methodology for assessing the sustainability of a wastewater treatment plant design. The present study used a LCA approach for comparing alternative wastewater treatment processes for small and decentralised rural communities. The assessment was focused on two energy-saving systems (constructed wetland and slow rate infiltration) and a conventional one (activated sludge process). The low environmental impact of the energy-saving wastewater treatment plants was demonstrated, the most relevant being the global warming indicator. Options for reduction of life cycle impacts were assessed including materials used in construction and operational lifetime of the systems. A 10% extension of operation lifetime of constructed wetland and slow rate infiltration systems led to a 1% decrease in CO2 emissions, in both systems. The decrease in the abiotic depletion was 5 and 7%, respectively. Also, replacing steel with HDPE in the activated sludge tank resulted in a 1% reduction in CO2 emission and 1% in the abiotic depletion indicator. In the case of the Imhoff tank a 1% reduction in CO2 emissions and 5% in the abiotic depletion indicator were observed when concrete was replaced by HDPE. PMID:17802833

  6. Indoor Air Pollutant Exposure for Life Cycle Assessment: Regional Health Impact Factors for Households.

    PubMed

    Rosenbaum, Ralph K; Meijer, Arjen; Demou, Evangelia; Hellweg, Stefanie; Jolliet, Olivier; Lam, Nicholas L; Margni, Manuele; McKone, Thomas E

    2015-11-01

    Human exposure to indoor pollutant concentrations is receiving increasing interest in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). We address this issue by incorporating an indoor compartment into the USEtox model, as well as by providing recommended parameter values for households in four different regions of the world differing geographically, economically, and socially. With these parameter values, intake fractions and comparative toxicity potentials for indoor emissions of dwellings for different air tightness levels were calculated. The resulting intake fractions for indoor exposure vary by 2 orders of magnitude, due to the variability of ventilation rate, building occupation, and volume. To compare health impacts as a result of indoor exposure with those from outdoor exposure, the indoor exposure characterization factors determined with the modified USEtox model were applied in a case study on cooking in non-OECD countries. This study demonstrates the appropriateness and significance of integrating indoor environments into LCA, which ensures a more holistic account of all exposure environments and allows for a better accountability of health impacts. The model, intake fractions, and characterization factors are made available for use in standard LCA studies via www.usetox.org and in standard LCA software. PMID:26444519

  7. Life-cycle assessment of the beef cattle production system for the northern great plains, USA.

    PubMed

    Lupo, Christopher D; Clay, David E; Benning, Jennifer L; Stone, James J

    2013-09-01

    A life-cycle assessment (LCA) model was developed to estimate the environmental impacts associated with four different U.S. Northern Great Plains (NPG) beef production systems. The LCA model followed a "cradle-to-gate" approach and incorporated all major unit processes, including mineral supplement production. Four distinct operation scenarios were modeled based on production strategies common to the NGP, and a variety of impacts were determined. The scenarios include a normal operation, early weaning of the calf, fast-tack backgrounding, and grassfed. Enteric emissions and manure emissions and handling were consistently the largest contributors to the LCA impacts. There was little variability between production scenarios except for the grassfed, where the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 37% higher due to a longer finishing time and lower finishing weight. However, reductions to GHG emissions (15-24%) were realized when soil organic carbon accrual was considered and may be a more realistic estimate for the NGP. Manure emissions and handing were primary contributors to potential eutrophication and acidification impacts. Mitigation strategies to reduce LCA impacts, including diet manipulation and management strategies (i.e., treatment of manure), were considered from a whole-systems perspective. Model results can be used for guidance by NGP producers, environmental practitioners, and policymakers. PMID:24216416

  8. Quantitative uncertainty analysis of Life Cycle Assessment for algal biofuel production.

    PubMed

    Sills, Deborah L; Paramita, Vidia; Franke, Michael J; Johnson, Michael C; Akabas, Tal M; Greene, Charles H; Tester, Jefferson W

    2013-01-15

    As a result of algae's promise as a renewable energy feedstock, numerous studies have used Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to quantify the environmental performance of algal biofuels, yet there is no consensus of results among them. Our work, motivated by the lack of comprehensive uncertainty analysis in previous studies, uses a Monte Carlo approach to estimate ranges of expected values of LCA metrics by incorporating parameter variability with empirically specified distribution functions. Results show that large uncertainties exist at virtually all steps of the biofuel production process. Although our findings agree with a number of earlier studies on matters such as the need for wet lipid extraction, nutrients recovered from waste streams, and high energy coproducts, the ranges of reported LCA metrics show that uncertainty analysis is crucial for developing technologies, such as algal biofuels. In addition, the ranges of energy return on (energy) invested (EROI) values resulting from our analysis help explain the high variability in EROI values from earlier studies. Reporting results from LCA models as ranges, and not single values, will more reliably inform industry and policy makers on expected energetic and environmental performance of biofuels produced from microalgae. PMID:23237457

  9. Integrating life-cycle environmental and economic assessment with transportation and land use planning.

    PubMed

    Chester, Mikhail V; Nahlik, Matthew J; Fraser, Andrew M; Kimball, Mindy A; Garikapati, Venu M

    2013-01-01

    The environmental outcomes of urban form changes should couple life-cycle and behavioral assessment methods to better understand urban sustainability policy outcomes. Using Phoenix, Arizona light rail as a case study, an integrated transportation and land use life-cycle assessment (ITLU-LCA) framework is developed to assess the changes to energy consumption and air emissions from transit-oriented neighborhood designs. Residential travel, commercial travel, and building energy use are included and the framework integrates household behavior change assessment to explore the environmental and economic outcomes of policies that affect infrastructure. The results show that upfront environmental and economic investments are needed (through more energy-intense building materials for high-density structures) to produce long run benefits in reduced building energy use and automobile travel. The annualized life-cycle benefits of transit-oriented developments in Phoenix can range from 1.7 to 230 Gg CO2e depending on the aggressiveness of residential density. Midpoint impact stressors for respiratory effects and photochemical smog formation are also assessed and can be reduced by 1.2-170 Mg PM10e and 41-5200 Mg O3e annually. These benefits will come at an additional construction cost of up to $410 million resulting in a cost of avoided CO2e at $16-29 and household cost savings. PMID:24053574

  10. Climate impacts of bioenergy: Inclusion of carbon cycle and albedo dynamics in life cycle impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Bright, Ryan M. Cherubini, Francesco; Stromman, Anders H.

    2012-11-15

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be an invaluable tool for the structured environmental impact assessment of bioenergy product systems. However, the methodology's static temporal and spatial scope combined with its restriction to emission-based metrics in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) inhibits its effectiveness at assessing climate change impacts that stem from dynamic land surface-atmosphere interactions inherent to all biomass-based product systems. In this paper, we focus on two dynamic issues related to anthropogenic land use that can significantly influence the climate impacts of bioenergy systems: i) temporary changes to the terrestrial carbon cycle; and ii) temporary changes in land surface albedo-and illustrate how they can be integrated within the LCA framework. In the context of active land use management for bioenergy, we discuss these dynamics and their relevancy and outline the methodological steps that would be required to derive case-specific biogenic CO{sub 2} and albedo change characterization factors for inclusion in LCIA. We demonstrate our concepts and metrics with application to a case study of transportation biofuel sourced from managed boreal forest biomass in northern Europe. We derive GWP indices for three land management cases of varying site productivities to illustrate the importance and need to consider case- or region-specific characterization factors for bioenergy product systems. Uncertainties and limitations of the proposed metrics are discussed. - Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer A method for including temporary surface albedo and carbon cycle changes in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) is elaborated. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Concepts are applied to a single bioenergy case whereby a range of feedstock productivities are shown to influence results. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Results imply that case- and site-specific characterization factors can be essential for a more informed impact assessment. Black

  11. A framework for energy use indicators and their reporting in life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Arvidsson, Rickard; Svanström, Magdalena

    2016-07-01

    Energy use is a common impact category in life cycle assessment (LCA). Many different energy use indicators are used in LCA studies, accounting for energy use in different ways. Often, however, the choice behind which energy use indicator is applied is poorly described and motivated. To contribute to a more purposeful selection of energy use indicators and to ensure consistent and transparent reporting of energy use in LCA, a general framework for energy use indicator construction and reporting in LCA studies will be presented in this article. The framework differentiates between 1) renewable and nonrenewable energies, 2) primary and secondary energies, and 3) energy intended for energy purposes versus energy intended for material purposes. This framework is described both graphically and mathematically. Furthermore, the framework is illustrated through application to a number of energy use indicators that are frequently used in LCA studies: cumulative energy demand (CED), nonrenewable cumulative energy demand (NRCED), fossil energy use (FEU), primary fossil energy use (PFEU), and secondary energy use (SEU). To illustrate how the application of different energy use indicators may lead to different results, cradle-to-gate energy use of the bionanomaterial cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) is assessed using 5 different indicators and showing a factor of 3 differences between the highest and lowest results. The relevance of different energy use indicators to different actors and contexts will be discussed, and further developments of the framework are then suggested. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2016;12:429-436. © 2015 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC. PMID:26551582

  12. Life cycle assessment of a packaging waste recycling system in Portugal

    SciTech Connect

    Ferreira, S.; Cabral, M.; Cruz, N.F. da; Simões, P.; Marques, R.C.

    2014-09-15

    Highlights: • We modeled a real packaging waste recycling system. • The analysis was performed using the life cycle assessment methodology. • The 2010 situation was compared with scenarios where the materials were not recycled. • The “Baseline” scenario seems to be more beneficial to the environment. - Abstract: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been used to assess the environmental impacts associated with an activity or product life cycle. It has also been applied to assess the environmental performance related to waste management activities. This study analyses the packaging waste management system of a local public authority in Portugal. The operations of selective and refuse collection, sorting, recycling, landfilling and incineration of packaging waste were considered. The packaging waste management system in operation in 2010, which we called “Baseline” scenario, was compared with two hypothetical scenarios where all the packaging waste that was selectively collected in 2010 would undergo the refuse collection system and would be sent directly to incineration (called “Incineration” scenario) or to landfill (“Landfill” scenario). Overall, the results show that the “Baseline” scenario is more environmentally sound than the hypothetical scenarios.

  13. Nanotoxicity and Life Cycle Assessment: First attempt towards the determination of characterization factors for carbon nanotubes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodriguez-Garcia, Gonzalo; Zimmermann, Benedikt; Weil, Marcel

    2014-08-01

    Carbon materials, whether at macro, micro or at nanoscale, play an important role in the battery industry, as they can be used as electrodes, electrode enhancers, bipolar separators, or current collectors. When conducting a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of novel batteries manufacturing processes, we also need to consider the fate of potentially emitted carbon based nanomaterials. However, the knowledge generated in the last decade regarding the behavior of such materials in the environment and its toxicological effects has yet to be included in the Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methodologies. Conventional databases of chemical products (e.g. ECHA, ECOTOX) offer little information regarding engineered nanomaterials (ENM). It is thus necessary to go one step further and compile physicochemical and toxicological data directly from scientific literature. Such studies do not only differ in their results, but also in their methodologies, and several calls have been made towards a more consistent approach that would allow us model the fate of ENM in the environment as well as their potentially harmful effects. Trying to overcome these limitations we have developed a tool based on Microsoft Excel® combining several methods for the estimation of physicochemical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNT). The information generated with this tool is combined with degradation rates and toxicological data consistent with the methods followed by the USEtox methodology. Thus, it is possible to calculate the characterization factors of CNTs and integrate them as a first proxy in future LCA of products including these ENM.

  14. Life cycle assessment of gas atomised sponge nickel for use in alkaline hydrogen fuel cell applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Benjamin P.; Lavery, Nicholas P.; Jarvis, David J.; Anttila, Tomi; Rantanen, Jyri; Brown, Stephen G. R.; Adkins, Nicholas J.

    2013-12-01

    This paper presents a cradle-to-grave comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of new gas atomised (GA) sponge nickel catalysts and evaluates their performance against the both cast and crush (CC) sponge nickel and platinum standards currently used in commercial alkaline fuel cells (AFC). The LCA takes into account the energy used and emissions throughout the entire life cycle of sponge nickel catalysts - ranging from the upstream production of materials (mainly aluminium and nickel), to the manufacturing, to the operation and finally to the recycling and disposal. Through this assessment it was found that the energy and emissions during the operational phase associated with a given catalyst considerably outweigh the primary production, manufacturing and recycling. Primary production of the nickel (and to a lesser extent dopant materials) also has a significant environmental impact but this is offset by operational energy savings over the electrode's estimated lifetime and end of life recyclability. From the results it can be concluded that higher activity spongy nickel catalysts produced by gas atomisation could have a significantly lower environmental impact than either CC nickel or platinum. Doped GA sponge nickel in particular showed comparable performance to that of the standard platinum electrode used in AFCs.

  15. Comparison of algae cultivation methods for bioenergy production using a combined life cycle assessment and life cycle costing approach.

    PubMed

    Resurreccion, Eleazer P; Colosi, Lisa M; White, Mark A; Clarens, Andres F

    2012-12-01

    Algae are an attractive energy source, but important questions still exist about the sustainability of this technology on a large scale. Two particularly important questions concern the method of cultivation and the type of algae to be used. This present study combines elements of life cycle analysis (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) to evaluate open pond (OP) systems and horizontal tubular photobioreactors (PBRs) for the cultivation of freshwater (FW) or brackish-to-saline water (BSW) algae. Based on the LCA, OPs have lower energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions than PBRs; e.g., 32% less energy use for construction and operation. According to the LCC, all four systems are currently financially unattractive investments, though OPs are less so than PBRs. BSW species deliver better energy and GHG performance and higher profitability than FW species in both OPs and PBRs. Sensitivity analyses suggest that improvements in critical cultivation parameters (e.g., CO(2) utilization efficiency or algae lipid content), conversion parameters (e.g., anaerobic digestion efficiency), and market factors (e.g., costs of CO(2) and electricity, or sale prices for algae biodiesel) could alter these results. PMID:23117186

  16. Life cycle assessment of first-generation biofuels using a nitrogen crop model.

    PubMed

    Gallejones, P; Pardo, G; Aizpurua, A; del Prado, A

    2015-02-01

    This paper presents an alternative approach to assess the impacts of biofuel production using a method integrating the simulated values of a new semi-empirical model at the crop production stage within a life cycle assessment (LCA). This new approach enabled us to capture some of the effects that climatic conditions and crop management have on soil nitrous oxide (N₂O) emissions, crop yields and other nitrogen (N) losses. This analysis considered the whole system to produce 1 MJ of biofuel (bioethanol from wheat and biodiesel from rapeseed). Non-renewable energy use, global warming potential (GWP), acidification, eutrophication and land competition are considered as potential environmental impacts. Different co-products were handled by system expansion. The aim of this study was (i) to evaluate the variability due to site-specific conditions of climate and fertiliser management of the LCA of two different products: biodiesel from rapeseed and bioethanol from wheat produced in the Basque Country (Northern Spain), and (ii) to improve the estimations of the LCA impacts due to N losses (N₂O, NO₃, NH₃), normally estimated with unspecific emission factors (EFs), that contribute to the impact categories analysed in the LCA of biofuels at local scale. Using biodiesel and bioethanol derived from rapeseed and wheat instead of conventional diesel and gasoline, respectively, would reduce non-renewable energy dependence (-55%) and GWP (-40%), on average, but would increase eutrophication (42 times more potential). An uncertainty analysis for GWP impact showed that the variability associated with the prediction of the major contributor to global warming potential (soil N₂O) can significantly affect the results from the LCA. Therefore the use of a model to account for local factors will improve the precision of the assessment and reduce the uncertainty associated with the convenience of the use of biofuels. PMID:25461117

  17. Environmental impact of an agro-waste based polygeneration without and with CO2 storage: Life cycle assessment approach.

    PubMed

    Jana, Kuntal; De, Sudipta

    2016-09-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the most scientific tool to measure environmental sustainability. Poly-generation is a better option than single-utility generation due to its higher resource utilization efficiency and more flexibility. Also biomass based polygeneration with CO2 capture and storage may be useful being 'net negative' greenhouse gas emission option. But this 'negativity' should be studied and confirmed through LCA. In this paper, cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of a straw based polygeneration without and with CO2 storage is studied. Results show that captured CO2 of this polygeneration should be stored to get a net negative energy system. However, biomass distribution density, ethanol production rate and CO2 transportation distance affect the net GHG emission. For this polygeneration system, exergy based allocation should be preferred. PMID:27336697

  18. The life cycle assessment of alternative fuel chains for urban buses and trolleybuses.

    PubMed

    Kliucininkas, L; Matulevicius, J; Martuzevicius, D

    2012-05-30

    This paper describes a comparative analysis of public transport alternatives in the city of Kaunas, Lithuania. An LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) inventory analysis of fuel chains was undertaken using the midi urban bus and a similar type of trolleybus. The inventory analysis of fuel chains followed the guidelines provided by the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards. The ReCiPe Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methodology was used to quantify weighted damage originating from five alternative fuel chains. The compressed biogas fuel chain had the lowest weighted damage value, namely 45.7 mPt/km, whereas weighted damage values of the fuel chains based on electricity generation for trolleybuses were 60.6 mPt/km (for natural gas) and 78.9 mPt/km (for heavy fuel oil). The diesel and compressed natural gas fuel chains exhibited considerably higher damage values of 114.2 mPt/km and 132.6 mPt/km, respectively. The comparative life cycle assessment of fuel chains suggested that biogas-powered buses and electric trolleybuses can be considered as the best alternatives to use when modernizing the public transport fleet in Kaunas. PMID:22326758

  19. Life-cycle assessment of selected management options for air pollution control residues from waste incineration.

    PubMed

    Fruergaard, Thilde; Hyks, Jiri; Astrup, Thomas

    2010-09-15

    Based on available technology and emission data seven selected management options for air-pollution-control (APC) residues from waste incineration were evaluated by life-cycle assessment (LCA) using the EASEWASTE model. Scenarios were evaluated with respect to both non-toxicity impact categories (e.g. global warming) and toxicity related impact categories (e.g. ecotoxicity and human toxicity). The assessment addressed treatment and final placement of 1 tonne of APC residue in seven scenarios: 1) direct landfilling without treatment (baseline), 2) backfilling in salt mines, 3) neutralization of waste acid, 4) filler material in asphalt, 5) Ferrox stabilization, 6) vitrification, and 7) melting with automobile shredder residues (ASR). The management scenarios were selected as examples of the wide range of different technologies available worldwide while at the same time using realistic technology data. Results from the LCA were discussed with respect to importance of: energy consumption/substitution, material substitution, leaching, air emissions, time horizon aspects for the assessment, and transportation distances. The LCA modeling showed that thermal processes were associated with the highest loads in the non-toxicity categories (energy consumption), while differences between the remaining alternatives were small and generally considered insignificant. In the toxicity categories, all treatment/utilization options were significantly better than direct landfilling without treatment (lower leaching), although the thermal processes had somewhat higher impacts than the others options (air emissions). Transportation distances did not affect the overall ranking of the management alternatives. PMID:20599249

  20. Assessing relationships among life-cycle environmental impacts with dimension reduction techniques.

    PubMed

    Gutiérrez, Ester; Lozano, Sebastián; Moreira, M Teresa; Feijoo, Gumersindo

    2010-01-01

    Nowadays, there is a trend in many countries towards more environmentally benign products and processes. Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a quantitative analysis tool developed and utilized for the evaluation of environmental impacts occurring throughout the entire life-cycle of a product, process or activity. LCA requires a large amount of data in its different phases and can also generate large amounts of results which may be hard to interpret. In order to uncover and visualize the structure of large multidimensional data sets, Multivariate Analysis techniques can help. Hence, in this paper, a methodology using Principal Component Analysis and Multi-Dimensional Scaling is proposed and illustrated by means of two case studies. The first case study evaluates the operation of several wastewater treatment plants. The second case study deals with the environmental evaluation of the cultivation, processing and consumption of mussels. In both case studies, the redundancy present in the data allowed a dimensionality reduction from seven and ten to two dimensions, with a small loss of information. Plotting the environmental impact data in these two dimensions can help visualize, interpret and communicate them. PMID:20042268

  1. Life-Cycle Assessment of Biodiesel Produced from Grease Trap Waste.

    PubMed

    Hums, Megan E; Cairncross, Richard A; Spatari, Sabrina

    2016-03-01

    Grease trap waste (GTW) is a low-quality waste material with variable lipid content that is an untapped resource for producing biodiesel. Compared to conventional biodiesel feedstocks, GTW requires different and additional processing steps for biodiesel production due to its heterogeneous composition, high acidity, and high sulfur content. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is used to quantify greenhouse gas emissions, fossil energy demand, and criteria air pollutant emissions for the GTW-biodiesel process, in which the sensitivity to lipid concentration in GTW is analyzed using Monte Carlo simulation. The life-cycle environmental performance of GTW-biodiesel is compared to that of current GTW disposal, the soybean-biodiesel process, and low-sulfur diesel (LSD). The disposal of the water and solid wastes produced from separating lipids from GTW has a high contribution to the environmental impacts; however, the impacts of these processed wastes are part of the current disposal practice for GTW and could be excluded with consequential LCA system boundaries. At lipid concentrations greater than 10%, most of the environmental metrics studied are lower than those of LSD and comparable to soybean biodiesel. PMID:26811919

  2. Life Cycle Assessment of mechanical biological pre-treatment of Municipal Solid Waste: a case study.

    PubMed

    Beylot, Antoine; Vaxelaire, Stéphane; Zdanevitch, Isabelle; Auvinet, Nicolas; Villeneuve, Jacques

    2015-05-01

    The environmental performance of mechanical biological pre-treatment (MBT) of Municipal Solid Waste is quantified using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), considering one of the 57 French plants currently in operation as a case study. The inventory is mostly based on plant-specific data, extrapolated from on-site measurements regarding mechanical and biological operations (including anaerobic digestion and composting of digestate). The combined treatment of 46,929 tonnes of residual Municipal Solid Waste and 12,158 tonnes of source-sorted biowaste (as treated in 2010 at the plant) generates 24,550 tonnes CO2-eq as an impact on climate change, 69,943kg SO2-eq on terrestrial acidification and 19,929kg NMVOC-eq on photochemical oxidant formation, in a life-cycle perspective. On the contrary MBT induces environmental benefits in terms of fossil resource depletion, human toxicity (carcinogenic) and ecotoxicity. The results firstly highlight the relatively large contribution of some pollutants, such as CH4, emitted at the plant and yet sometimes neglected in the LCA of waste MBT. Moreover this study identifies 4 plant-specific operation conditions which drive the environmental impact potentials induced by MBT: the conditions of degradation of the fermentable fraction, the collection of gaseous flows emitted from biological operations, the abatement of collected pollutants and NOx emissions from biogas combustion. Finally the results underline the relatively large influence of the operations downstream the plant (in particular residuals incineration) on the environmental performance of waste MBT. PMID:25708404

  3. Improvement actions in waste management systems at the provincial scale based on a life cycle assessment evaluation

    SciTech Connect

    Rigamonti, L. Falbo, A.; Grosso, M.

    2013-11-15

    Highlights: • LCA was used for evaluating the performance of four provincial waste management systems. • Milano, Bergamo, Pavia and Mantova (Italy) are the provinces selected for the analysis. • Most of the data used to model the systems are primary. • Significant differences were found among the provinces located in the same Region. • LCA was used as a decision-supporting tool by Regione Lombardia. - Abstract: This paper reports some of the findings of the ‘GERLA’ project: GEstione Rifiuti in Lombardia – Analisi del ciclo di vita (Waste management in Lombardia – Life cycle assessment). The project was devoted to support Lombardia Region in the drafting of the new waste management plan by applying a life cycle thinking perspective. The present paper mainly focuses on four Provinces in the Region, which were selected based on their peculiarities. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was adopted as the methodology to assess the current performance of the integrated waste management systems, to discuss strengths and weaknesses of each of them and to design their perspective evolution as of year 2020. Results show that despite a usual business approach that is beneficial to all the provinces, the introduction of technological and management improvements to the system provides in general additional energy and environmental benefits for all four provinces. The same improvements can be easily extended to the whole Region, leading to increased environmental benefits from the waste management sector, in line with the targets set by the European Union for 2020.

  4. Life cycle assessment of TV sets in China: A case study of the impacts of CRT monitors

    SciTech Connect

    Song Qingbin; Wang Zhishi; Li Jinhui; Zeng Xianlai

    2012-10-15

    Along with the rapid increase in both production and use of TV sets in China, there is an increasing awareness of the environmental impacts related to the accelerating mass production, electricity use, and waste management of these sets. This paper aims to describe the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) to investigate the environmental performance of Chinese TV sets. An assessment of the TV set device (focusing on the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor) was carried out using a detailed modular LCA based on the international standards of the ISO 14040 series. The LCA was constructed using SimaPro software version 7.2 and expressed with the Eco-indicator' 99 life cycle impact assessment method. For a sensitivity analysis of the overall LCA results, the CML method was used in order to estimate the influence of the choice of the assessment method on the results. Life cycle inventory information was compiled by Ecoinvent 2.2 databases, combined with literature and field investigations on the current Chinese situation. The established LCA study shows that the use stage of such devices has the highest environmental impact, followed by the manufacturing stage. In the manufacturing stage, the CRT and the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) are those components contributing the most environmental impacts. During the use phase, the environmental impacts are due entirely to the methods of electricity generation used to run them, since no other aspects were taken into account for this phase. The final processing step-the end-of-life stage-can lead to a clear environmental benefit when the TV sets are processed through the formal dismantling enterprises in China.

  5. Life cycle assessment as an analytical tool in strategic environmental assessment. Lessons learned from a case study on municipal energy planning in Sweden

    SciTech Connect

    Bjoerklund, Anna

    2012-01-15

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is explored as an analytical tool in strategic environmental assessment (SEA), illustrated by case where a previously developed SEA process was applied to municipal energy planning in Sweden. The process integrated decision-making tools for scenario planning, public participation and environmental assessment. This article describes the use of LCA for environmental assessment in this context, with focus on methodology and practical experiences. While LCA provides a systematic framework for the environmental assessment and a wider systems perspective than what is required in SEA, LCA cannot address all aspects of environmental impact required, and therefore needs to be complemented by other tools. The integration of LCA with tools for public participation and scenario planning posed certain methodological challenges, but provided an innovative approach to designing the scope of the environmental assessment and defining and assessing alternatives. - Research highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer LCA was explored as analytical tool in an SEA process of municipal energy planning. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer The process also integrated LCA with scenario planning and public participation. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Benefits of using LCA were a systematic framework and wider systems perspective. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Integration of tools required some methodological challenges to be solved. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer This proved an innovative approach to define alternatives and scope of assessment.

  6. Alternative "global warming" metrics in life cycle assessment: a case study with existing transportation data.

    PubMed

    Peters, Glen P; Aamaas, Borgar; T Lund, Marianne; Solli, Christian; Fuglestvedt, Jan S

    2011-10-15

    The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) impact category "global warming" compares emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases (LLGHGs) using Global Warming Potential (GWP) with a 100-year time-horizon as specified in the Kyoto Protocol. Two weaknesses of this approach are (1) the exclusion of short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) and biophysical factors despite their established importance, and (2) the use of a particular emission metric (GWP) with a choice of specific time-horizons (20, 100, and 500 years). The GWP and the three time-horizons were based on an illustrative example with value judgments and vague interpretations. Here we illustrate, using LCA data of the transportation sector, the importance of SLCFs relative to LLGHGs, different emission metrics, and different treatments of time. We find that both the inclusion of SLCFs and the choice of emission metric can alter results and thereby change mitigation priorities. The explicit inclusion of time, both for emissions and impacts, can remove value-laden assumptions and provide additional information for impact assessments. We believe that our results show that a debate is needed in the LCA community on the impact category "global warming" covering which emissions to include, the emission metric(s) to use, and the treatment of time. PMID:21936535

  7. Life Cycle Assessment of Pavements: A Critical Review of Existing Literature and Research

    SciTech Connect

    Santero, Nicholas; Masanet, Eric; Horvath, Arpad

    2010-04-20

    This report provides a critical review of existing literature and modeling tools related to life-cycle assessment (LCA) applied to pavements. The review finds that pavement LCA is an expanding but still limited research topic in the literature, and that the existing body of work exhibits methodological deficiencies and incompatibilities that serve as barriers to the widespread utilization of LCA by pavement engineers and policy makers. This review identifies five key issues in the current body of work: inconsistent functional units, improper system boundaries, imbalanced data for asphalt and cement, use of limited inventory and impact assessment categories, and poor overall utility. This review also identifies common data and modeling gaps in pavement LCAs that should be addressed in future work. These gaps include: the use phase (rolling resistance, albedo, carbonation, lighting, leachate, and tire wear and emissions), asphalt fumes, feedstock energy of bitumen, traffic delay, the maintenance phase, and the end-of-life phase. This review concludes with a comprehensive list of recommendations for future research, which shed light on where improvements in knowledge can be made that will benefit the accuracy and comprehensiveness of pavement LCAs moving forward.

  8. Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Solar Photovoltaics (Fact Sheet)

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    2012-11-01

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently led the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Harmonization Project, a study that helps to clarify inconsistent and conflicting life cycle GHG emission estimates in the published literature and provide more precise estimates of life cycle GHG emissions from PV systems.

  9. Dose-Response Modeling for Life Cycle Impact Assessment: Findingsof the Portland Review Workshop

    SciTech Connect

    McKone, Thomas E.; Kyle, Amy D.; Jolliet, Olivier; Olsen, StigIrving; Hauschild, Michael

    2006-06-01

    The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative aims at putting life cycle thinking into practice and at improving the supporting tools for this process through better data and indicators. The initiative has thus launched three programs with associated working groups (see http://www.uneptie.org/pc/sustain/lcinitiative/). The Task Force on Toxic Impacts was established under the Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) program to establish recommended practice and guidance for use in human toxicity, ecosystem toxicity, and related categories with direct effects on human health and ecosystem health. The workshop consisted of three elements. (A) presentations summarizing (1) the goals of the LCIA Task Force (2) historical approaches to exposure and toxic impacts in LCIA (3) current alternative proposals for addressing human health impacts. Viewgraphs from two of these presentations are provided in Appendix B to this report. (B) Discussion among a panel of experts about the scientific defensibility of these historical and proposed approaches in the context of the goals of the LCIA Task Force 3 on toxicity impacts. (C) Development of the recommendations to the LCIA program and working group for optimum short- and long-term strategies for addressing human health impacts in LCA.

  10. Life cycle assessment of the application of nanoclays in wire coating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tellaetxe, A.; Blázquez, M.; Arteche, A.; Egizabal, A.; Ermini, V.; Rose, J.; Chaurand, P.; Unzueta, I.

    2012-09-01

    A life cycle assessment (LCA) is carried out to compare nanoclay-reinforced polymer wire coatings with conventional ones. While the conventional wire coatings contain standard halogen free retardants, in reinforced coatings, montmorillonite (nanoclay) is incorporated into electric cable linings as a rheological agent for an increased resistance to fire. In addition, a reduced load of standard halogen free retardants is obtained. The synergistic effect of the montmorillonite on traditional flame retardant additives (by the formation of a three-dimensional char network) can lead to a revolution in wire production. The application of nanoclays contributes also to anti-dripping effect and flexibility increase [1]. Some producers have already started commercializing wire with nanotechnology-based coating; in the short term the use of nanoclay in wire coating production will probably reach a significant market share replacing traditional formulations. The main aim of this study is to compare the environmental impacts along the life cycle of a traditional wire coating (mineral flame retardants like ATH or MDH in a polymer matrix) with the nanoclay-reinforced wire coating, where the montmorillonite replaces a low percentage of the mineral flame retardant. The system boundaries of the study include the following unit processes: nanoclay production, thermoplastic material and mineral flame retardants production, cable coating manufacturing by extrusion and different end of life scenarios (recycling, incineration and landfill disposal). Whereas nanoreinforced composites have shown and increased fire retardance, the addition of nanomaterials seems to have no significant relevance in the environmental assessment. However, the lack of nano-specific characterization factors for nanomaterials and emission rates associated to the different life cycle stages -mainly in the extrusion and use phase, where accidental combustions can take place- still remains a challenge for realistic

  11. Life Cycle Assessment of Switchgrass Cellulosic Ethanol Production in the Wisconsin and Michigan Agricultural Contexts

    SciTech Connect

    Sinistore, Julie C.; Reinemann, D. J.; Izaurralde, Roberto C.; Cronin, Keith R.; Meier, Paul J.; Runge, Troy M.; Zhang, Xuesong

    2015-04-25

    Spatial variability in yields and greenhouse gas emissions from soils has been identified as a key source of variability in life cycle assessments (LCAs) of agricultural products such as cellulosic ethanol. This study aims to conduct an LCA of cellulosic ethanol production from switchgrass in a way that captures this spatial variability and tests results for sensitivity to using spatially averaged results. The Environment Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model was used to calculate switchgrass yields, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and nitrogen and phosphorus emissions from crop production in southern Wisconsin and Michigan at the watershed scale. These data were combined with cellulosic ethanol production data via ammonia fiber expansion and dilute acid pretreatment methods and region-specific electricity production data into an LCA model of eight ethanol production scenarios. Standard deviations from the spatial mean yields and soil emissions were used to test the sensitivity of net energy ratio, global warming potential intensity, and eutrophication and acidification potential metrics to spatial variability. Substantial variation in the eutrophication potential was also observed when nitrogen and phosphorus emissions from soils were varied. This work illustrates the need for spatially explicit agricultural production data in the LCA of biofuels and other agricultural products.

  12. Life cycle assessment of the waste hierarchy--a Danish case study on waste paper.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Jannick H; Holm, Peter; Merrild, Anne; Christensen, Per

    2007-01-01

    The waste hierarchy is being widely discussed these days, not only by cost-benefit analysts, but a growing number of life cycle assessments (LCA) have also begun to question it. In this article, we investigate the handling of waste paper in Denmark and compare the present situation with scenarios of more waste being recycled, incinerated or consigned to landfill. The investigations are made in accordance with ISO 14040-43 and based on the newly launched methodology of consequential LCA and following the recent guidelines of the European Centre on Waste and Material Flows. The LCA concerns the Danish consumption of paper in 1999, totalling 1.2 million tons. The results of the investigation indicate that the waste hierarchy is reliable; from an environmental point of view recycling of paper is better than incineration and landfilling. For incineration, the reason for the advantage of landfilling mainly comes from the substitution of fossil fuels, when incinerators provide heat and electricity. For recycling, the advantage is related to the saved wood resources, which can be used for generating energy from wood, i.e., from renewable fuel which does not contribute to global warming. PMID:17112716

  13. Process based life-cycle assessment of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

    PubMed

    Dale, Alexander T; Khanna, Vikas; Vidic, Radisav D; Bilec, Melissa M

    2013-05-21

    The Marcellus Shale (MS) represents a large potential source of energy in the form of tightly trapped natural gas (NG). Producing this NG requires the use of energy and water, and has varying environmental impacts, including greenhouse gases. One well-established tool for quantifying these impacts is life-cycle assessment (LCA). This study collected information from current operating companies to perform a process LCA of production for MS NG in three areas--greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy consumption, and water consumption--under both present (2011-2012) and past (2007-2010) operating practices. Energy return on investment (EROI) was also calculated. Information was collected from current well development operators and public databases, and combined with process LCA data to calculate per-well and per-MJ delivered impacts, and with literature data on combustion for calculation of impacts on a per-kWh basis during electricity generation. Results show that GHG emissions through combustion are similar to conventional natural gas, with an EROI of 12:1 (90% confidence interval of 4:1-13:1), lower than conventional fossil fuels but higher than unconventional oil sources. PMID:23611587

  14. Life Cycle Assessment of Thermal Energy Storage: Two-Tank Indirect and Thermocline

    SciTech Connect

    Heath, G.; Turchi, C.; Burkhardt, J.; Kutscher, C.; Decker, T.

    2009-07-01

    In the United States, concentrating solar power (CSP) is one of the most promising renewable energy (RE) technologies for reduction of electric sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and for rapid capacity expansion. It is also one of the most price-competitive RE technologies, thanks in large measure to decades of field experience and consistent improvements in design. One of the key design features that makes CSP more attractive than many other RE technologies, like solar photovoltaics and wind, is the potential for including relatively low-cost and efficient thermal energy storage (TES), which can smooth the daily fluctuation of electricity production and extend its duration into the evening peak hours or longer. Because operational environmental burdens are typically small for RE technologies, life cycle assessment (LCA) is recognized as the most appropriate analytical approach for determining their environmental impacts of these technologies, including CSP. An LCA accounts for impacts from all stages in the development, operation, and decommissioning of a CSP plant, including such upstream stages as the extraction of raw materials used in system components, manufacturing of those components, and construction of the plant. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is undertaking an LCA of modern CSP plants, starting with those of parabolic trough design.

  15. Life cycle assessment of thermal waste-to-energy technologies: review and recommendations.

    PubMed

    Astrup, Thomas Fruergaard; Tonini, Davide; Turconi, Roberto; Boldrin, Alessio

    2015-03-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used extensively within the recent decade to evaluate the environmental performance of thermal Waste-to-Energy (WtE) technologies: incineration, co-combustion, pyrolysis and gasification. A critical review was carried out involving 250 individual case-studies published in 136 peer-reviewed journal articles within 1995 and 2013. The studies were evaluated with respect to critical aspects such as: (i) goal and scope definitions (e.g. functional units, system boundaries, temporal and geographic scopes), (ii) detailed technology parameters (e.g. related to waste composition, technology, gas cleaning, energy recovery, residue management, and inventory data), and (iii) modeling principles (e.g. energy/mass calculation principles, energy substitution, inclusion of capital goods and uncertainty evaluation). Very few of the published studies provided full and transparent descriptions of all these aspects, in many cases preventing an evaluation of the validity of results, and limiting applicability of data and results in other contexts. The review clearly suggests that the quality of LCA studies of WtE technologies and systems including energy recovery can be significantly improved. Based on the review, a detailed overview of assumptions and modeling choices in existing literature is provided in conjunction with practical recommendations for state-of-the-art LCA of Waste-to-Energy. PMID:25052337

  16. Including the introduction of exotic species in life cycle impact assessment: the case of inland shipping.

    PubMed

    Hanafiah, Marlia M; Leuven, Rob S E W; Sommerwerk, Nike; Tockner, Klement; Huijbregts, Mark A J

    2013-12-17

    While the ecological impact of anthropogenically introduced exotic species is considered a major threat for biodiversity and ecosystems functioning, it is generally not accounted for in the environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of products. In this article, we propose a framework that includes exotic species introduction in an LCA context. We derived characterization factors for exotic fish species introduction related to the transport of goods across the Rhine-Main-Danube canal. These characterization factors are expressed as the potentially disappeared fraction (PDF) of native freshwater fish species in the rivers Rhine and Danube integrated over space and time per amount of goods transported (PDF·m(3)·yr·kg(-1)). Furthermore, we quantified the relative importance of exotic fish species introduction compared to other anthropogenic stressors in the freshwater environment (i.e., eutrophication, ecotoxicity, greenhouse gases, and water consumption) for transport of goods through the Rhine-Main-Danube waterway. We found that the introduction of exotic fish species contributed to 70-85% of the total freshwater ecosystem impact, depending on the distance that goods were transported. Our analysis showed that it is relevant and feasible to include the introduction of exotic species in an LCA framework. The proposed framework can be further extended by including the impacts of other exotic species groups, types of water bodies and pathways for introduction. PMID:24251685

  17. Life Cycle Assessment Projection of Photovoltaic Cells: A Case Study on Energy Demand of Quantum Wire Based Photovoltaic Technology Research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mukherjee, Shilpi

    With increasing clean-energy demand, photovoltaic (PV) technologies have gained attention as potential long-term alternative to fossil fuel energy. However, PV research and manufacture still utilize fossil fuel-powered grid electricity. With continuous enhancement of solar conversion efficiency, it is imperative to assess whether overall life cycle efficiency is also being enhanced. Many new-material PV technologies are still in their research phase, and life cycle analyses of these technologies have not yet been performed. For best results, grid dependency must be minimized for PV research, and this can be accomplished by an analytical instrument called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is the study of environmental impacts of a product throughout its life cycle. While there are some non-recoverable costs of research, energy is precious, and the PV research community should be aware of its energy consumption. LCA can help identify options for energy conservation through process optimization. A case study was conducted on the energy demand of a test-bed emerging PV technology using life cycle assessment methodology. The test-bed system chosen for this study was a new-material PV cell. The objective was to quantify the total energy demand for the research phase of the test-bed solar cell's life cycle. The objective was accomplished by collecting primary data on energy consumption for each process in the development of this solar cell. It was found that 937 kWh of energy was consumed for performing research on a single sample of the solar cell. For comparison, this energy consumption is 83% of Arkansas's average monthly residential electricity consumption. Life cycle inventory analysis showed that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning consumed the bulk of the energy of research. It is to be noted that the processes studied as part of the solar cell test-bed system are representative of a research process only. Life cycle thinking can identify energy hot-spots and

  18. Life cycle assessment of lignocellulosic ethanol: a review of key factors and methods affecting calculated GHG emissions and energy use.

    PubMed

    Gerbrandt, Kelsey; Chu, Pei Lin; Simmonds, Allison; Mullins, Kimberley A; MacLean, Heather L; Griffin, W Michael; Saville, Bradley A

    2016-04-01

    Lignocellulosic ethanol has potential for lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline and conventional grain-based ethanol. Ethanol production 'pathways' need to meet economic and environmental goals. Numerous life cycle assessments of lignocellulosic ethanol have been published over the last 15 years, but gaps remain in understanding life cycle performance due to insufficient data, and model and methodological issues. We highlight key aspects of these issues, drawing on literature and a case study of corn stover ethanol. Challenges include the complexity of feedstock/ecosystems and market-mediated aspects and the short history of commercial lignocellulosic ethanol facilities, which collectively have led to uncertainty in GHG emissions estimates, and to debates on LCA methods and the role of uncertainty in decision making. PMID:26807514

  19. Supporting Sustainable Markets Through Life Cycle Assessment: Evaluating emerging technologies, incorporating uncertainty and the consumer perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merugula, Laura

    As civilization's collective knowledge grows, we are met with the realization that human-induced physical and biological transformations influenced by exogenous psychosocial and economic factors affect virtually every ecosystem on the planet. Despite improvements in energy generation and efficiencies, demand of material goods and energy services increases with no sign of a slowing pace. Sustainable development requires a multi-prong approach that involves reshaping demand, consumer education, sustainability-oriented policy, and supply chain management that does not serve the expansionist mentality. Thus, decision support tools are needed that inform developers, consumers, and policy-makers for short-term and long-term planning. These tools should incorporate uncertainty through quantitative methods as well as qualitatively informing the nature of the model as imperfect but necessary and adequate. A case study is presented of the manufacture and deployment of utility-scale wind turbines evaluated for a proposed change in blade manufacturing. It provides the first life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluating impact of carbon nanofibers, an emerging material, proposed for integration to wind power generation systems as blade reinforcement. Few LCAs of nanoproducts are available in scientific literature due to research and development (R&D) for applications that continues to outpace R&D for environmental, health, and safety (EHS) and life cycle impacts. LCAs of emerging technologies are crucial for informing developers of potential impacts, especially where market growth is swift and dissipative. A second case study is presented that evaluates consumer choice between disposable and reusable beverage cups. While there are a few studies that attempt to make the comparison using LCA, none adequately address uncertainty, nor are they representative for the typical American consumer. By disaggregating U.S. power generation into 26 subregional grid production mixes and evaluating

  20. Assessing the Life Cycle Impact of Four Groundwater Remediation Technologies: P&T, EIB, PRB, and ISM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hou, D.; Al-Tabbaa, A.

    2012-12-01

    As sustainable remediation draws attention from both industry and academia, there is growing interest in evaluating the environmental sustainability of various environmental remediation technologies. This study aims at assessing four groundwater remediation technologies from a life cycle impact perspective: pump and treat (P&T), enhanced in-situ bioremediation (EIB), permeable reactive barrier (PRB), and in-situ soil mixing (ISM). The technologies were compared under a variety of scenarios, with site location, plume dimension, hydrology, and chemistry and geochemistry parameters changing in a wide range. This life cycle assessment (LCA) has chosen chlorinated ethylene as the study subject because chlorinated solvents are the most prevalent organic contaminants in soil and groundwater. The USEPA TRACI method was used in the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). A multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) score is used to rank the four remediation technologies. The assessment results indicated that P&T tended to have the highest life cycle impact under most scenarios. The other three technologies can all be the most desired technology (with lowest life cycle impact), under different distributional, hydrogeological, and chemical conditions: PRB was the most desired when treatment zone was long, hydraulic gradient or hydraulic conductivity was low, or contaminants degraded fast in the reactive media; ISM became the most desirable when hydraulic gradient or hydraulic conductivity was very high; and EIB was most desirable under most other conditions.

  1. Including Life Cycle Assessment for decision-making in controlling wastewater nutrient removal systems.

    PubMed

    Corominas, Lluís; Larsen, Henrik F; Flores-Alsina, Xavier; Vanrolleghem, Peter A

    2013-10-15

    This paper focuses on the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate the performance of seventeen control strategies in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). It tackles the importance of using site-specific factors for nutrient enrichment when decision-makers have to select best operating strategies. Therefore, the LCA evaluation is repeated for three different scenarios depending on the limitation of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), or both, when evaluating the nutrient enrichment impact in water bodies. The LCA results indicate that for treated effluent discharged into N-deficient aquatic systems (e.g. open coastal areas) the most eco-friendly strategies differ from the ones dealing with discharging into P-deficient (e.g. lakes and rivers) and N&P-deficient systems (e.g. coastal zones). More particularly, the results suggest that strategies that promote increased nutrient removal and/or energy savings present an environmental benefit for N&P and P-deficient systems. This is not the case when addressing N-deficient systems for which the use of chemicals (even for improving N removal efficiencies) is not always beneficial for the environment. A sensitivity analysis on using weighting of the impact categories is conducted to assess how value choices (policy decisions) may affect the management of WWTPs. For the scenarios with only N-limitation, the LCA-based ranking of the control strategies is sensitive to the choice of weighting factors, whereas this is not the case for N&P or P-deficient aquatic systems. PMID:23856224

  2. Life cycle assessment of a national policy proposal - The case of a Swedish waste incineration tax

    SciTech Connect

    Bjoerklund, Anna E. Finnveden, Goeran

    2007-07-01

    At the core of EU and Swedish waste policy is the so-called waste hierarchy, according to which waste should first be prevented, but should otherwise be treated in the following order of prioritisation: reuse, recycling when environmentally motivated, energy recovery, and last landfilling. Some recent policy decisions in Sweden aim to influence waste management in the direction of the waste hierarchy. In 2001 a governmental commission assessed the economic and environmental impacts of introducing a weight-based tax on waste incineration, the purpose of which would be to encourage waste reduction and increase materials recycling and biological treatment. This paper presents the results of a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the waste incineration tax proposal. It was done in the context of a larger research project concerning the development and testing of a framework for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The aim of this paper is to assess the life cycle environmental impacts of the waste incineration tax proposal, and to investigate whether there are any possibilities of more optimal design of such a tax. The proposed design of the waste incineration tax results in increased recycling, but only in small environmental improvements. A more elaborate tax design is suggested, in which the tax level would partly be related to the fossil carbon content of the waste.

  3. Life-Cycle Assessment of Advanced Nutrient Removal Technologies for Wastewater Treatment.

    PubMed

    Rahman, Sheikh M; Eckelman, Matthew J; Onnis-Hayden, Annalisa; Gu, April Z

    2016-03-15

    Advanced nutrient removal processes, while improving the water quality of the receiving water body, can also produce indirect environmental and health impacts associated with increases in usage of energy, chemicals, and other material resources. The present study evaluated three levels of treatment for nutrient removal (N and P) using 27 representative treatment process configurations. Impacts were assessed across multiple environmental and health impacts using life-cycle assessment (LCA) following the Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impacts (TRACI) impact-assessment method. Results show that advanced technologies that achieve high-level nutrient removal significantly decreased local eutrophication potential, while chemicals and electricity use for these advanced treatments, particularly multistage enhanced tertiary processes and reverse osmosis, simultaneously increased eutrophication indirectly and contributed to other potential environmental and health impacts including human and ecotoxicity, global warming potential, ozone depletion, and acidification. Average eutrophication potential can be reduced by about 70% when Level 2 (TN = 3 mg/L; TP = 0.1 mg/L) treatments are employed instead of Level 1 (TN = 8 mg/L; TP = 1 mg/L), but the implementation of more advanced tertiary processes for Level 3 (TN = 1 mg/L; TP = 0.01 mg/L) treatment may only lead to an additional 15% net reduction in life-cycle eutrophication potential. PMID:26871301

  4. Fabrication and life cycle assessment of organic photovoltaics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anctil, Annick

    2011-12-01

    Increasing demand for renewable energy has resulted in a new interest for alternative technologies such as organic photovoltaics. With efficiencies exceeding 8% for both polymer and small molecule photovoltaics, organic photovoltaics are now being commercialized due to their flexibility and low weight which allow for their adoption in new applications such as portable electronics, smart fabrics, and building-integrated photovoltaics. To date, most research efforts have been focused on increasing power efficiency with little assessment of potential negative impacts associated with their large scale production. It is generally assumed that organic photovoltaics have low environmental impacts and are by nature inexpensive to produce since they are often solution processed. In the present work, a comprehensive analysis of the life cycle embodied energy for C60 and C70 fullerenes which are the most common acceptor molecules in organic photovoltaics, has been performed from cradle-to-gate, including the relative contributions from synthesis, separation, purification, and functionalization processes. The embodied energy of all fullerenes was calculated to be an order of magnitude higher than most bulk chemicals. These results have enabled the life cycle impact associated with the production of various types of organic photovoltaics to be calculated, including polymer, small molecule and multi-junction devices. An outcome of the life cycle assessment for organic photovoltaics shows that small molecule devices require significant fabrication energy from high vacuum processing and their efficiency is limited by poor absorption in the near-infrared (NIR). Therefore, a solution processing approach with novel NIR absorbing molecules in multi-junction devices has been developed in order to minimize the total cumulative energy. The combined efforts have led to the first demonstration of a spray-coated small molecule photovoltaic NIR device, using a combination of ZnPc and Al

  5. An Integrated Approach to Life Cycle Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chytka, T. M.; Brown, R. W.; Shih, A. T.; Reeves, J. D.; Dempsey, J. A.

    2006-01-01

    Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is the evaluation of the impacts that design decisions have on a system and provides a framework for identifying and evaluating design benefits and burdens associated with the life cycles of space transportation systems from a "cradle-to-grave" approach. Sometimes called life cycle assessment, life cycle approach, or "cradle to grave analysis", it represents a rapidly emerging family of tools and techniques designed to be a decision support methodology and aid in the development of sustainable systems. The implementation of a Life Cycle Analysis can vary and may take many forms; from global system-level uncertainty-centered analysis to the assessment of individualized discriminatory metrics. This paper will focus on a proven LCA methodology developed by the Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate (SACD) at NASA Langley Research Center to quantify and assess key LCA discriminatory metrics, in particular affordability, reliability, maintainability, and operability. This paper will address issues inherent in Life Cycle Analysis including direct impacts, such as system development cost and crew safety, as well as indirect impacts, which often take the form of coupled metrics (i.e., the cost of system unreliability). Since LCA deals with the analysis of space vehicle system conceptual designs, it is imperative to stress that the goal of LCA is not to arrive at the answer but, rather, to provide important inputs to a broader strategic planning process, allowing the managers to make risk-informed decisions, and increase the likelihood of meeting mission success criteria.

  6. The impact of soil amendments on greenhouse gas emissions: a comprehensive life cycle assessment approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeLonge, M. S.; Ryals, R.; Silver, W. L.

    2011-12-01

    Soil amendments, such as compost and manure, can be applied to grasslands to improve soil conditions and enhance aboveground net primary productivity. Applying such amendments can also lead to soil carbon (C) sequestration and, when materials are diverted from waste streams (e.g., landfills, manure lagoons), can offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, amendment production and application is also associated with GHG emissions, and the net impact of these amendments remains unclear. To investigate the potential for soil amendments to reduce net GHG emissions, we developed a comprehensive, field-scale life cycle assessment (LCA) model. The LCA includes GHG (i.e., CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions of soil amendment production, application, and ecosystem response. Emissions avoided by diverting materials from landfills or manure management systems are also considered. We developed the model using field observations from grazed annual grassland in northern California (e.g., soil C; above- and belowground net primary productivity; C:N ratios; trace gas emissions from soils, manure piles, and composting), CENTURY model simulations (e.g., long-term soil C and trace gas emissions from soils under various land management strategies), and literature values (e.g., GHG emissions from transportation, inorganic fertilizer production, composting, and enteric fermentation). The LCA quantifies and contrasts the potential net GHG impacts of applying compost, manure, and commercial inorganic fertilizer to grazing lands. To estimate the LCA uncertainty, sensitivity tests were performed on the most widely ranging or highly uncertain parameters (e.g., compost materials, landfill emissions, manure management system emissions). Finally, our results are scaled-up to assess the feasibility and potential impacts of large-scale adoption of soil amendment application as a land-management strategy in California. Our base case results indicate that C sinks and emissions offsets associated with

  7. A Life Cycle Assessment of integrated dairy farm-greenhouse systems in British Columbia.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Siduo; Bi, Xiaotao Tony; Clift, Roland

    2013-12-01

    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the anticipated environmental benefits from integrating a dairy farm and a greenhouse; the integration is based on anaerobic digestion of manures to produce biogas energy, biogenic CO2, and digested slurry. A full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been conducted on six modeled cases applicable in British Columbia, to evaluate non-renewable energy consumption, climate change, acidification, eutrophication, respiratory effects and human toxicity. Compared to conventional practice, an integrated system has the potential to nearly halve eutrophication and respiratory effects caused by inorganic emissions and to reduce non-renewable energy consumption, climate change, and acidification by 65-90%, while respiratory effects caused by organic emissions become negative as co-products substitute for other materials. Co-digestion of other livestock manures, greenhouse plant waste, or food and food processing waste with dairy manure can further improve the performance of the integrated system. PMID:24138886

  8. Life cycle assessment modelling of waste-to-energy incineration in Spain and Portugal.

    PubMed

    Margallo, M; Aldaco, R; Irabien, A; Carrillo, V; Fischer, M; Bala, A; Fullana, P

    2014-06-18

    In recent years, waste management systems have been evaluated using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. A main shortcoming of prior studies was the focus on a mixture of waste with different characteristics. The estimation of emissions and consumptions associated with each waste fraction in these studies presented allocation problems. Waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration is a clear example in which municipal solid waste (MSW), comprising many types of materials, is processed to produce several outputs. This paper investigates an approach to better understand incineration processes in Spain and Portugal by applying a multi-input/output allocation model. The application of this model enabled predictions of WTE inputs and outputs, including the consumption of ancillary materials and combustibles, air emissions, solid wastes, and the energy produced during the combustion of each waste fraction. PMID:24951550

  9. Life cycle assessment on biogas production from straw and its sensitivity analysis.

    PubMed

    Wang, Qiao-Li; Li, Wei; Gao, Xiang; Li, Su-Jing

    2016-02-01

    This study aims to investigate the synthetically environmental impacts and Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) of straw-based biogas production process via cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA) technique. Eco-indicator 99 (H) and IPCC 2007 GWP with three time horizons are utilized. The results indicate that the biogas production process shows beneficial effect on synthetic environment and is harmful to GWPs. Its harmful effects on GWPs are strengthened with time. Usage of gas-fired power which burns the self-produced natural gas (NG) can create a more sustainable process. Moreover, sensitivity analysis indicated that total electricity consumption and CO2 absorbents in purification unit have the largest sensitivity to the environment. Hence, more efforts should be made on more efficient use of electricity and wiser selection of CO2 absorbent. PMID:26649899

  10. Life cycle assessment of biofuel production from brown seaweed in Nordic conditions.

    PubMed

    Alvarado-Morales, Merlin; Boldrin, Alessio; Karakashev, Dimitar B; Holdt, Susan L; Angelidaki, Irini; Astrup, Thomas

    2013-02-01

    The use of algae for biofuel production is expected to play an important role in securing energy supply in the next decades. A consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) and an energy analysis of seaweed-based biofuel production were carried out in Nordic conditions to document and improve the sustainability of the process. Two scenarios were analyzed for the brown seaweed (Laminaria digitata), namely, biogas production (scenario 1) and bioethanol+biogas production (scenario 2). Potential environmental impact categories under investigation were Global Warming, Acidification and Terrestrial Eutrophication. The production of seaweed was identified to be the most energy intensive step. Scenario 1 showed better performance compared to scenario 2 for all impact categories, partly because of the energy intensive bioethanol separation process and the consequently lower overall efficiency of the system. For improved environmental performance, focus should be on optimization of seaweed production, bioethanol distillation, and management of digestate on land. PMID:23238340

  11. Life cycle assessment of flexibly fed biogas processes for an improved demand-oriented biogas supply.

    PubMed

    Ertem, Funda Cansu; Martínez-Blanco, Julia; Finkbeiner, Matthias; Neubauer, Peter; Junne, Stefan

    2016-11-01

    This paper analyses concepts to facilitate a demand oriented biogas supply at an agricultural biogas plant of a capacity of 500kWhel, operated with the co-digestion of maize, grass, rye silage and chicken manure. In contrast to previous studies, environmental impacts of flexible and the traditional baseload operation are compared. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed to detect the environmental impacts of: (i) variety of feedstock co-digestion scenarios by substitution of maize and (ii) loading rate scenarios with a focus on flexible feedstock utilization. Demand-driven biogas production is critical for an overall balanced power supply to the electrical grid. It results in lower amounts of emissions; feedstock loading rate scenarios resulted in 48%, 20%, 11% lower global warming (GWP), acidification (AP) and eutrophication potentials, and a 16% higher cumulative energy demand. Substitution of maize with biogenic-waste regarding to feedstock substitution scenarios could create 10% lower GWP and AP. PMID:27522120

  12. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment Model for Soil Bioengineering Measures on Infrastructure Slopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoerbinger, Stephan; Obriejetan, Michael

    2015-04-01

    Soil bioengineering techniques can be a helpful instrument for civil engineers taking into account not only technical but also ecological, socio-economic and sustainability aspects. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models can serve as supplementary evaluation methods to economic analyses, taking into account the resource demand and environmental burdens of engineering structures. The presented LCA model includes the functional grade of structures in addition to environmental aspects. When using vegetation as living construction material, several factors have to be considered. There is the provision of ecosystem services of plants, such as the stabilization of the slope through its root-system, CO2 sequestration through biomass production et cetera. However, it must be noted that vegetation can cause security issues on infrastructure facilities and entail costs through the necessity of maintenance works. For this reason, it is necessary to already define the target systems during the planning phase of a soil bioengineering structure. In this way, necessary measures can be adapted in all life cycles of a structure. The objective of the presented LCA model is to serve as a basis for the definition of target systems. In the designed LCA model the soil bioengineering structures are divided into four life phases; construction phase, operational phase, end of life phase and subsequent use phase. A main objective of the LCA model is the understanding of the "Cumulative Energy Demand" (CED) and "Global Warming Potential" (GWP) of soil bioengineering structures during all life cycle phases. Additionally, the biomass production and the CO2 sequestration potential of the used plants are regarded as well as the functional integrity of the soil bioengineering system. In the life phase of soil bioengineering structures, a major part of the energy input is required during the construction phase. This is mainly due to the cumulative energy demand of the inert materials

  13. Comparison of Overall Resource Consumption of Biosolids Management System Processes Using Exergetic Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Alanya, Sevda; Dewulf, Jo; Duran, Metin

    2015-08-18

    This study focused on the evaluation of biosolids management systems (BMS) from a natural resource consumption point of view. Additionally, the environmental impact of the facilities was benchmarked using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to provide a comprehensive assessment. This is the first study to apply a Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment (CEENE) method for an in-depth resource use assessment of BMS where two full-scale BMS and seven system variations were analyzed. CEENE allows better system evaluation and understanding of how much benefit is achievable from the products generated by BMS, which have valorization potential. LCA results showed that environmental burden is mostly from the intense electricity consumption. The CEENE analysis further revealed that the environmental burden is due to the high consumption of fossil and nuclear-based natural resources. Using Cumulative Degree of Perfection, higher resource-use efficiency, 53%, was observed in the PTA-2 where alkaline stabilization rather than anaerobic digestion is employed. However, an anaerobic digestion process is favorable over alkaline stabilization, with 35% lower overall natural resource use. The most significant reduction of the resource footprint occurred when the output biogas was valorized in a combined heat and power system. PMID:26218291

  14. Life cycle assessment and carbon footprint in the wine supply-chain.

    PubMed

    Pattara, Claudio; Raggi, Andrea; Cichelli, Angelo

    2012-06-01

    Global warming represents one of the most critical internationally perceived environmental issues. The growing, and increasingly global, wine sector is one of the industries which is under increasing pressure to adopt approaches for environmental assessment and reporting of product-related greenhouse gas emissions. The International Organization for Vine and Wine has recently recognized the need to develop a standard and objective methodology and a related tool for calculating carbon footprint (CF). This study applied this tool to a wine previously analyzed using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The objective was to test the tool as regards both its potential and possible limitations, and thus to assess its suitability as a standard tool. Despite the tool's user-friendliness, a number of limitations were noted including the lack of accurate baseline data, a partial system boundary and the impossibility of dealing with the multi-functionality issue. When the CF and LCA results are compared in absolute terms, large discrepancies become obvious due to a number of different assumptions, as well as the modeling framework adopted. Nonetheless, in relative terms the results seem to be quite consistent. However, a critical limitation of the CF methodology was its focus on a single issue, which can lead to burden shifting. In conclusion, the study confirmed the need for both further improvement and adaptation to additional contexts and further studies to validate the use of this tool in different companies. PMID:22525986

  15. Life cycle assessment of innovative technology for energy production from automotive shredder residue.

    PubMed

    Rinaldi, Caterina; Masoni, Paolo; Salvati, Fabio; Tolve, Pietro

    2015-07-01

    Automotive Shredder Residue (ASR) is a problematic waste material remaining after shredding and recovery processes of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). Its heterogeneous grain size and composition make difficult its recovery or disposal. Although ASR accounts for approximately 20% to 25% of the weight of an ELV, the European Union (EU)'s ELV Directive (2000/53/EC) requires that by 2015 a minimum 95% of the weight of an ELV must be reused or recovered, including a 10% weight energy recovery. The quantity of ASR is relevant: Approximately 2.4 million tons are generated in the EU each year and most of it is sent to landfills. This article describes a life cycle model of the "TEKNE-Fluff" process designed to make beneficial use of ASR that is based on the results of an experimental pilot plant for pyro-gasification, combustion, cogeneration, and emissions treatment of ASR. The goal of the research was the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to identify the environmental hot spots of the "TEKNE system" and use scenario analysis to check solutions to improve its environmental profile, supporting the design and industrialization process. The LCA was conducted based on data modeled from the experimental campaign. Moreover, different scenarios on shares of electricity and thermal energy produced by the cogeneration system and alternative treatment processes for the waste produced by the technology were compared. Despite the limitation of the research (results based on scaling up experimental data by modeling), impact assessment results are promising and sufficiently robust, as shown by Monte Carlo analysis. The TEKNE technology may become an interesting solution for the problem of ASR management: Besides representing an alternative to landfill disposal, the energy produced could avoid significant impacts on fossil resources depletion (a plant of 40,000 tons/y capacity could produce ∼ 147,000 GJ/yr, covering the annual need of ∼ 13,500 households). PMID

  16. Environmental Impacts of Surgical Procedures: Life Cycle Assessment of Hysterectomy in the United States

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The healthcare sector is a driver of economic growth in the U.S., with spending on healthcare in 2012 reaching $2.8 trillion, or 17% of the U.S. gross domestic product, but it is also a significant source of emissions that adversely impact environmental and public health. The current state of the healthcare industry offers significant opportunities for environmental efficiency improvements, potentially leading to reductions in costs, resource use, and waste without compromising patient care. However, limited research exists that can provide quantitative, sustainable solutions. The operating room is the most resource-intensive area of a hospital, and surgery is therefore an important focal point to understand healthcare-related emissions. Hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to quantify environmental emissions from four different surgical approaches (abdominal, vaginal, laparoscopic, and robotic) used in the second most common major procedure for women in the U.S., the hysterectomy. Data were collected from 62 cases of hysterectomy. Life cycle assessment results show that major sources of environmental emissions include the production of disposable materials and single-use surgical devices, energy used for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and anesthetic gases. By scientifically evaluating emissions, the healthcare industry can strategically optimize its transition to a more sustainable system. PMID:25517602

  17. Environmental impacts of remediation of a trichloroethene-contaminated site: life cycle assessment of remediation alternatives.

    PubMed

    Lemming, Gitte; Hauschild, Michael Z; Chambon, Julie; Binning, Philip J; Bulle, Cécile; Margni, Manuele; Bjerg, Poul L

    2010-12-01

    The environmental impacts of remediation of a chloroethene-contaminated site were evaluated using life cycle assessment (LCA). The compared remediation options are (i) in situ bioremediation by enhanced reductive dechlorination (ERD), (ii) in situ thermal desorption (ISTD), and (iii) excavation of the contaminated soil followed by off-site treatment and disposal. The results showed that choosing the ERD option will reduce the life-cycle impacts of remediation remarkably compared to choosing either ISTD or excavation, which are more energy-demanding. In addition to the secondary impacts of remediation, this study includes assessment of local toxic impacts (the primary impact) related to the on-site contaminant leaching to groundwater and subsequent human exposure via drinking water. The primary human toxic impacts were high for ERD due to the formation and leaching of chlorinated degradation products, especially vinyl chloride during remediation. However, the secondary human toxic impacts of ISTD and excavation are likely to be even higher, particularly due to upstream impacts from steel production. The newly launched model, USEtox, was applied for characterization of primary and secondary toxic impacts and combined with a site-dependent fate model of the leaching of chlorinated ethenes from the fractured clay till site. PMID:21053954

  18. Life cycle assessment of municipal solid waste management methods: Ankara case study.

    PubMed

    Ozeler, D; Yetiş, U; Demirer, G N

    2006-04-01

    Different solid waste management system scenarios were developed and compared for the Municipal Solid Waste Management System of Ankara by using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The solid waste management methods considered in the scenarios were collection and transportation of wastes, source reduction, Material Recovery Facility (MRF)/Transfer Stations (TS), incineration, anaerobic digestion and landfilling. The goal of the study was to determine the most environmentally friendly option of MSWM system for Ankara. The functional unit of the study was the amount of solid waste generated in the system area of concern, which are the districts of Ankara. The life cycle inventory analysis was carried out by IWM Model-1. The inputs and outputs of each management stage were defined and the inventory emissions calculated by the model were classified in to impact categories; non-renewable energy sources exhausting potential, final solid waste as hazardous and non-hazardous, global warming, acidification, eutrophication and human toxicity. The impacts were quantified with the weighing factors of each category to develop the environmental profiles of each scenario. In most of the categories, Source Reduction Scenario was found to be the most feasible management method, except the global warming category. The lowest contribution to GWP was calculated for the anaerobic digestion process. In the interpretation and improvement assessment stage, the results were further evaluated and recommendations were made to improve the current solid waste management system of Ankara. PMID:16310852

  19. Using Life Cycle Assessment methodology to assess UHT milk production in Portugal.

    PubMed

    González-García, Sara; Castanheira, Erica G; Dias, Ana Cláudia; Arroja, Luis

    2013-01-01

    Milk and dairy products constitute an important ingredient in the human diet. Ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk is the main dairy product consumed in Portugal and its production entails large inputs of resources which derive on negative environmental effects such as nutrient enrichment of the ecosystem and climate change. In this study, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was considered for the environmental assessment of packaged UHT milk produced in Portugal, including simple (whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed) and cocoa milk from a cradle-to-gate perspective and to identify the environmental hot spots. Results showed that the production of the raw milk in the dairy farm is the main hot spot in almost all the categories under assessment mainly due to the emissions from enteric fermentation, manure management and fertilisers production and application. Furthermore, on-site emissions derived from dairy factory are remarkable together with the packages and energy requirements production. The values reported in this study are in the range of other related papers. However, differences were also identified due to several reasons such as allocation approach, data sources, characterisation factors, farm management regimes and assumptions considered. Therefore, these aspects should be carefully addressed and sensitivity to the assumptions and uncertainty of the results should be evaluated. PMID:23178782

  20. Life cycle assessment of biodiesel production in China.

    PubMed

    Liang, Sai; Xu, Ming; Zhang, Tianzhu

    2013-02-01

    This study aims to evaluate energy, economic, and environmental performances of seven categories of biodiesel feedstocks by using the mixed-unit input-output life cycle assessment method. Various feedstocks have different environmental performances, indicating potential environmental problem-shift. Jatropha seed, castor seed, waste cooking oil, and waste extraction oil are preferred feedstocks for biodiesel production in the short term. Positive net energy yields and positive net economic benefits of biodiesel from these four feedstocks are 2.3-52.0% of their life cycle energy demands and 74.1-448.4% of their economic costs, respectively. Algae are preferred in the long term mainly due to their less arable land demands. Special attention should be paid to potential environmental problems accompanying feedstock choice: freshwater use, ecotoxicity potentials, photochemical oxidation potential, acidification potential and eutrophication potential. Moreover, key processes are identified by sensitivity analysis to direct future technology improvements. Finally, supporting measures are proposed to optimize China's biodiesel development. PMID:23238338

  1. Life cycle assessment of domestic and agricultural rainwater harvesting systems.

    PubMed

    Ghimire, Santosh R; Johnston, John M; Ingwersen, Wesley W; Hawkins, Troy R

    2014-04-01

    To further understanding of the environmental implications of rainwater harvesting and its water savings potential relative to conventional U.S. water delivery infrastructure, we present a method to perform life cycle assessment of domestic rainwater harvesting (DRWH) and agricultural rainwater harvesting (ARWH) systems. We also summarize the design aspects of DRWH and ARWH systems adapted to the Back Creek watershed, Virginia. The baseline design reveals that the pump and pumping electricity are the main components of DRWH and ARWH impacts. For nonpotable uses, the minimal design of DRWH (with shortened distribution distance and no pump) outperforms municipal drinking water in all environmental impact categories except ecotoxicity. The minimal design of ARWH outperforms well water in all impact categories. In terms of watershed sustainability, the two minimal designs reduced environmental impacts, from 58% to 78% energy use and 67% to 88% human health criteria pollutants, as well as avoiding up to 20% blue water (surface/groundwater) losses, compared to municipal drinking water and well water. We address potential environmental and human health impacts of urban and rural RWH systems in the region. The Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) model-based life cycle inventory data were used for this study. PMID:24605844

  2. Life-Cycle Assessment of Pyrolysis Bio-Oil Production*

    SciTech Connect

    Steele, Philip; Puettmann, Maureen E.; Penmetsa, Venkata Kanthi; Cooper, Jerome E.

    2012-07-01

    As part ofthe Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials' Phase I life-cycle assessments ofbiofuels, lifecycle inventory burdens from the production of bio-oil were developed and compared with measures for residual fuel oil. Bio-oil feedstock was produced using whole southern pine (Pinus taeda) trees, chipped, and converted into bio-oil by fast pyrolysis. Input parameters and mass and energy balances were derived with Aspen. Mass and energy balances were input to SimaPro to determine the environmental performance of bio-oil compared with residual fuel oil as a heating fuel. Equivalent functional units of 1 MJ were used for demonstrating environmental preference in impact categories, such as fossil fuel use and global warming potential. Results showed near carbon neutrality of the bio-oil. Substituting bio-oil for residual fuel oil, based on the relative carbon emissions of the two fuels, estimated a reduction in CO2 emissions by 0.075 kg CO2 per MJ of fuel combustion or a 70 percent reduction in emission over residual fuel oil. The bio-oil production life-cycle stage consumed 92 percent of the total cradle-to-grave energy requirements, while feedstock collection, preparation, and transportation consumed 4 percent each. This model provides a framework to better understand the major factors affecting greenhouse gas emissions related to bio-oil production and conversion to boiler fuel during fast pyrolysis.

  3. Life cycle impact assessment of various waste conversion technologies.

    PubMed

    Khoo, Hsien H

    2009-06-01

    Advanced thermal treatment technologies utilizing pyrolysis or gasification, as well as a combined approach, are introduced as sustainable methods to treat wastes in Singapore. Eight different technologies are evaluated: pyrolysis-gasification of MSW; pyrolysis of MSW; thermal cracking gasification of granulated MSW; combined pyrolysis, gasification and oxidation of MSW; steam gasification of wood; circulating fluidized bed (CFB) gasification of organic wastes; gasification of RDF; and the gasification of tyres. Life cycle assessment is carried out to determine the environmental impacts of the various waste conversion systems including global warming potential, acidification potential, terrestrial eutrophication and ozone photochemical formation. The normalization and weighting results, calculated according to Singapore national emission inventories, showed that the two highest impacts are from thermal cracking gasification of granulated MSW and the gasification of RDF; and the least are from the steam gasification of wood and the pyrolysis-gasification of MSW. A simplified life cycle cost comparison showed that the two most costs-effective waste conversion systems are the CFB gasification of organic waste and the combined pyrolysis, gasification and oxidation of MSW. The least favorable - highest environmental impact as well as highest costs - are the thermal cracking gasification of granulated MSW and the gasification of tyres. PMID:19157835

  4. Indirect water management through Life Cycle Assessment: Fostering sustainable production in developing countries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pfister, S.; Bayer, P.; Koehler, A.; Hellweg, S.

    2009-04-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) represents a methodological framework for analyzing the total environmental impact of any product or service of our daily life. After tracking all associated emissions and the consumption of resources, this impact is expressed with respect to a few common impact categories. These are supposed to reflect major societal and environmental priorities. However, despite their central role in environmental processes, to date hydrological as well as hydrogeological aspects are only rarely considered in LCA. Compared with standard impact categories within LCA, water is special. In contrast to other abiotic resources such as crude oil, it can be replenished. Total freshwater resources are immense, but not evenly distributed and often scarce in regions of high demand. Consequently, threads to natural water bodies have immense spatial dependency. Setting up functional relationships in order to derive a generally valid and practicable evaluation is tedious due to the complex, insufficiently understood, and uncertain natural processes involved. LCA that includes the environmental effects of water consumption means global indirect water resource management. It supports goal-directed consumer behaviour that aims to reduce pressure on natural water systems. By developing a hydrologically-based assessment of potential impacts from human interaction with natural water bodies, "greener" products can be prioritised. More sustainable and environmentally friendly water management is the result. The proposed contribution presents an operational assessment method of global surface water consumption for impacts on human health and ecosystem quality within a LCA framework. A major focus is the issue of how such global assessment helps to quantify potential impacts from water-intensive production in developing countries, where the means for proper water management are often limited. We depict a compensation scheme for impacts related to water consumption that

  5. Life cycle assessment and economic analysis of a low concentrating photovoltaic system.

    PubMed

    De Feo, G; Forni, M; Petito, F; Renno, C

    2016-10-01

    Many new photovoltaic (PV) applications, such as the concentrating PV (CPV) systems, are appearing on the market. The main characteristic of CPV systems is to concentrate sunlight on a receiver by means of optical devices and to decrease the solar cells area required. A low CPV (LCPV) system allows optimizing the PV effect with high increase of generated electric power as well as decrease of active surface area. In this paper, an economic analysis and a life cycle assessment (LCA) study of a particular LCPV scheme is presented and its environmental impacts are compared with those of a PV traditional system. The LCA study was performed with the software tool SimaPro 8.0.2, using the Econinvent 3.1 database. A functional unit of 1 kWh of electricity produced was chosen. Carbon Footprint, Ecological Footprint and ReCiPe 2008 were the methods used to assess the environmental impacts of the LCPV plant compared with a corresponding traditional system. All the methods demonstrated the environmental convenience of the LCPV system. The innovative system allowed saving 16.9% of CO2 equivalent in comparison with the traditional PV plant. The environmental impacts saving was 17% in terms of Ecological Footprint, and, finally, 15.8% with the ReCiPe method. PMID:26935857

  6. Life Cycle Assessment of Biogas Production in Small-scale Household Digesters in Vietnam

    PubMed Central

    Vu, T. K. V.; Vu, D. Q.; Jensen, L. S.; Sommer, S. G.; Bruun, S.

    2015-01-01

    Small-scale household digesters have been promoted across Asia as a sustainable way of handling manure. The major advantages are that they produce biogas and reduce odor. However their disadvantages include the low recycling of nutrients, because digestate is dilute and therefore difficult to transport, and the loss of biogas as a result of cracks and the intentional release of excess biogas. In this study, life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was used to assess the environmental impacts associated with biogas digesters in Vietnam. Handling 1,000 kg of liquid manure and 100 kg of solid manure in a system with a biogas digester reduced the impact potential from 4.4 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents to 3.2 kg CO2 equivalents compared with traditional manure management. However, this advantage could easily be compromised if digester construction is considered in the LCA or in situations where there is an excess of biogas which is intentionally released. A sensitivity analysis showed that biogas digesters could be a means of reducing global warming if methane emissions can be kept low. In terms of eutrophication, farms with biogas digesters had 3 to 4 times greater impacts. In order to make biogas digesters sustainable, methods for recycling digestates are urgently required. PMID:25715690

  7. Life Cycle Assessment of Biogas Production in Small-scale Household Digesters in Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Vu, T K V; Vu, D Q; Jensen, L S; Sommer, S G; Bruun, S

    2015-05-01

    Small-scale household digesters have been promoted across Asia as a sustainable way of handling manure. The major advantages are that they produce biogas and reduce odor. However their disadvantages include the low recycling of nutrients, because digestate is dilute and therefore difficult to transport, and the loss of biogas as a result of cracks and the intentional release of excess biogas. In this study, life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was used to assess the environmental impacts associated with biogas digesters in Vietnam. Handling 1,000 kg of liquid manure and 100 kg of solid manure in a system with a biogas digester reduced the impact potential from 4.4 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents to 3.2 kg CO2 equivalents compared with traditional manure management. However, this advantage could easily be compromised if digester construction is considered in the LCA or in situations where there is an excess of biogas which is intentionally released. A sensitivity analysis showed that biogas digesters could be a means of reducing global warming if methane emissions can be kept low. In terms of eutrophication, farms with biogas digesters had 3 to 4 times greater impacts. In order to make biogas digesters sustainable, methods for recycling digestates are urgently required. PMID:25715690

  8. Environmental life cycle assessment of grain maize production: An analysis of factors causing variability.

    PubMed

    Boone, Lieselot; Van Linden, Veerle; De Meester, Steven; Vandecasteele, Bart; Muylle, Hilde; Roldán-Ruiz, Isabel; Nemecek, Thomas; Dewulf, Jo

    2016-05-15

    To meet the growing demand, high yielding, but environmentally sustainable agricultural plant production systems are desired. Today, life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly used to assess the environmental impact of these agricultural systems. However, the impact results are very diverse due to management decisions or local natural conditions. The impact of grain maize is often generalized and an average is taken. Therefore, we studied variation in production systems. Four types of drivers for variability are distinguished: policy, farm management, year-to-year weather variation and innovation. For each driver, scenarios are elaborated using ReCiPe and CEENE (Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment) to assess the environmental footprint. Policy limits fertilisation levels in a soil-specific way. The resource consumption is lower for non-sandy soils than for sandy soils, but entails however more eutrophication. Farm management seems to have less influence on the environmental impact when considering the CEENE only. But farm management choices such as fertiliser type have a large effect on emission-related problems (e.g. eutrophication and acidification). In contrast, year-to-year weather variation results in large differences in the environmental footprint. The difference in impact results between favourable and poor environmental conditions amounts to 19% and 17% in terms of resources and emissions respectively, and irrigation clearly is an unfavourable environmental process. The best environmental performance is obtained by innovation as plant breeding results in a steadily increasing yield over 25 years. Finally, a comparison is made between grain maize production in Flanders and a generically applied dataset, based on Swiss practices. These very different results endorse the importance of using local data to conduct LCA of plant production systems. The results of this study show decision makers and farmers how they can improve the

  9. Life-Cycle Assessments of Selected NASA Ground-Based Test Facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sydnor, George Honeycutt

    2012-01-01

    In the past two years, two separate facility-specific life cycle assessments (LCAs) have been performed as summer student projects. The first project focused on 13 facilities managed by NASA s Aeronautics Test Program (ATP), an organization responsible for large, high-energy ground test facilities that accomplish the nation s most advanced aerospace research. A facility inventory was created for each facility, and the operational-phase carbon footprint and environmental impact were calculated. The largest impacts stemmed from electricity and natural gas used directly at the facility and to generate support processes such as compressed air and steam. However, in specialized facilities that use unique inputs like R-134a, R-14, jet fuels, or nitrogen gas, these sometimes had a considerable effect on the facility s overall environmental impact. The second LCA project was conducted on the NASA Ames Arc Jet Complex and also involved creating a facility inventory and calculating the carbon footprint and environmental impact. In addition, operational alternatives were analyzed for their effectiveness at reducing impact. Overall, the Arc Jet Complex impact is dominated by the natural-gas fired boiler producing steam on-site, but alternatives were provided that could reduce the impact of the boiler operation, some of which are already being implemented. The data and results provided by these LCA projects are beneficial to both the individual facilities and NASA as a whole; the results have already been used in a proposal to reduce carbon footprint at Ames Research Center. To help future life cycle projects, several lessons learned have been recommended as simple and effective infrastructure improvements to NASA, including better utility metering and data recording and standardization of modeling choices and methods. These studies also increased sensitivity to and appreciation for quantifying the impact of NASA s activities.

  10. Life cycle assessment of solid waste management options for Eskisehir, Turkey.

    PubMed

    Banar, Mufide; Cokaygil, Zerrin; Ozkan, Aysun

    2009-01-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was used to determine the optimum municipal solid waste (MSW) management strategy for Eskisehir city. Eskisehir is one of the developing cities of Turkey where a total of approximately 750tons/day of waste is generated. An effective MSW management system is needed in this city since the generated MSW is dumped in an unregulated dumping site that has no liner, no biogas capture, etc. Therefore, five different scenarios were developed as alternatives to the current waste management system. Collection and transportation of waste, a material recovery facility (MRF), recycling, composting, incineration and landfilling processes were considered in these scenarios. SimaPro7 libraries were used to obtain background data for the life cycle inventory. One ton of municipal solid waste of Eskisehir was selected as the functional unit. The alternative scenarios were compared through the CML 2000 method and these comparisons were carried out from the abiotic depletion, global warming, human toxicity, acidification, eutrophication and photochemical ozone depletion points of view. According to the comparisons and sensitivity analysis, composting scenario, S3, is the more environmentally preferable alternative. In this study waste management alternatives were investigated only on an environmental point of view. For that reason, it might be supported with other decision-making tools that consider the economic and social effects of solid waste management. PMID:18280731

  11. Life cycle assessment of solid waste management options for Eskisehir, Turkey

    SciTech Connect

    Banar, Mufide Cokaygil, Zerrin; Ozkan, Aysun

    2009-01-15

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was used to determine the optimum municipal solid waste (MSW) management strategy for Eskisehir city. Eskisehir is one of the developing cities of Turkey where a total of approximately 750 tons/day of waste is generated. An effective MSW management system is needed in this city since the generated MSW is dumped in an unregulated dumping site that has no liner, no biogas capture, etc. Therefore, five different scenarios were developed as alternatives to the current waste management system. Collection and transportation of waste, a material recovery facility (MRF), recycling, composting, incineration and landfilling processes were considered in these scenarios. SimaPro7 libraries were used to obtain background data for the life cycle inventory. One ton of municipal solid waste of Eskisehir was selected as the functional unit. The alternative scenarios were compared through the CML 2000 method and these comparisons were carried out from the abiotic depletion, global warming, human toxicity, acidification, eutrophication and photochemical ozone depletion points of view. According to the comparisons and sensitivity analysis, composting scenario, S3, is the more environmentally preferable alternative. In this study waste management alternatives were investigated only on an environmental point of view. For that reason, it might be supported with other decision-making tools that consider the economic and social effects of solid waste management.

  12. Life-cycle-assessment of fuel-cells-based landfill-gas energy conversion technologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lunghi, P.; Bove, R.; Desideri, U.

    Landfill-gas (LFG) is produced as result of the biological reaction of municipal solid waste (MSW). This gas contains about 50% of methane, therefore it cannot be released into the atmosphere as it is because of its greenhouse effect consequences. The high percentage of methane encouraged researchers to find solutions to recover the related energy content for electric energy production. The most common technologies used at the present time are internal combustion reciprocating engines and gas turbines. High conversion efficiency guaranteed by fuel cells (FCs) enable to enhance the energy recovery process and to reduce emissions to air, such as NO x and CO. In any case, in order to investigate the environmental advantages associated with the electric energy generation using fuel cells, it is imperative to consider the whole "life cycle" of the system, "from cradle-to-grave". In fact, fuel cells are considered to be zero-emission devices, but, for example, emissions associated with their manufacture or for hydrogen production must be considered in order to evaluate all impacts on the environment. In the present work a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) system for LFG recovery is considered and a life cycle assessment (LCA) is conducted for an evaluation of environmental consequences and to provide a guide for further environmental impact reduction.

  13. Industry-Cost-Curve Approach for Modeling the Environmental Impact of Introducing New Technologies in Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Kätelhön, Arne; von der Assen, Niklas; Suh, Sangwon; Jung, Johannes; Bardow, André

    2015-07-01

    The environmental costs and benefits of introducing a new technology depend not only on the technology itself, but also on the responses of the market where substitution or displacement of competing technologies may occur. An internationally accepted method taking both technological and market-mediated effects into account, however, is still lacking in life cycle assessment (LCA). For the introduction of a new technology, we here present a new approach for modeling the environmental impacts within the framework of LCA. Our approach is motivated by consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA) and aims to contribute to the discussion on how to operationalize consequential thinking in LCA practice. In our approach, we focus on new technologies producing homogeneous products such as chemicals or raw materials. We employ the industry cost-curve (ICC) for modeling market-mediated effects. Thereby, we can determine substitution effects at a level of granularity sufficient to distinguish between competing technologies. In our approach, a new technology alters the ICC potentially replacing the highest-cost producer(s). The technologies that remain competitive after the new technology's introduction determine the new environmental impact profile of the product. We apply our approach in a case study on a new technology for chlor-alkali electrolysis to be introduced in Germany. PMID:26061620

  14. Development of the method and U.S. normalization database for Life Cycle Impact Assessment and sustainability metrics.

    PubMed

    Bare, Jane; Gloria, Thomas; Norris, Gregory

    2006-08-15

    Normalization is an optional step within Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) that may be used to assist in the interpretation of life cycle inventory data as well as life cycle impact assessment results. Normalization transforms the magnitude of LCI and LCIA results into relative contribution by substance and life cycle impact category. Normalization thus can significantly influence LCA-based decisions when tradeoffs exist. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a normalization database based on the spatial scale of the 48 continental U.S. states, Hawaii, Alaska, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico with a one-year reference time frame. Data within the normalization database were compiled based on the impact methodologies and lists of stressors used in TRACI-the EPA's Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and other environmental Impacts. The new normalization database published within this article may be used for LCIA case studies within the United States, and can be used to assist in the further development of a global normalization database. The underlying data analyzed for the development of this database are included to allow the development of normalization data consistent with other impact assessment methodologies as well. PMID:16955915

  15. Life cycle assessment of fuel selection for power generation in Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Yang, Ying-Hsien; Lin, Sue-Jane; Lewis, Charles

    2007-11-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to performance data from 1997-2002 to evaluate the environmental impacts of the energy input, airborne emission, waterborne emission, and solid waste inventories for Taiwan's electric power plants. Eco-indicator 95 was used to compare the differences among the generation processes and fuel purification. To better understand the environmental trends related to Taiwan's electric power industry, three fuel scenarios were selected for LCA system analysis. Results indicate that there are differences in characteristic environmental impact among the 13 power plants. Scenario simulation provided a basis for minimizing environmental impacts from fuel selection targets. Fuel selection priority should be a gas-fired combined cycle substituted for a coal-fired steam turbine to be more environmentally friendly, particularly in the areas of the greenhouse effect, acidification, winter smog, and solid waste. Furthermore, based purely on economic and environmental criteria, it is recommended that the gas-fired combined cycle be substituted for the oil-fired steam turbine. PMID:18069462

  16. Operational Phase Life Cycle Assessment of Select NASA Ground Test Facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sydnor, George H.; Marshall, Timothy J.; McGinnis, Sean

    2011-01-01

    NASA's Aeronautics Test Program (ATP) is responsible for many large, high-energy ground test facilities that accomplish the nation s most advanced aerospace research. In order to accomplish these national objectives, significant energy and resources are consumed. A select group of facilities was analyzed using life-cycle assessment (LCA) to determine carbon footprint and environmental impacts. Most of these impacts stem from electricity and natural gas consumption, used directly at the facility and to generate support processes such as compressed air and steam. Other activities were analyzed but determined to be smaller in scale and frequency with relatively negligible environmental impacts. More specialized facilities use R-134a, R-14, jet fuels, or nitrogen gas, and these unique inputs can have a considerable effect on a facility s overall environmental impact. The results of this LCA will be useful to ATP and NASA as the nation looks to identify its top energy consumers and NASA looks to maximize research output and minimize environmental impact. Keywords: NASA, Aeronautics, Wind tunnel, Keyword 4, Keyword 5

  17. Pyrolysis biochar systems for recovering biodegradable materials: A life cycle carbon assessment.

    PubMed

    Ibarrola, Rodrigo; Shackley, Simon; Hammond, James

    2012-05-01

    A life cycle assessment (LCA) focused on biochar and bioenergy generation was performed for three thermal treatment configurations (slow pyrolysis, fast pyrolysis and gasification). Ten UK biodegradable wastes or residues were considered as feedstocks in this study. Carbon (equivalent) abatement (CA) and electricity production indicators were calculated. Slow pyrolysis systems offer the best performance in terms of CA, with net results varying from 0.07 to 1.25tonnes of CO(2)eq.t(-1) of feedstock treated. On the other hand, gasification achieves the best electricity generation outputs, with results varying around 0.9MWhet(-1) of feedstock. Moreover, selection of a common waste treatment practice as the reference scenario in an LCA has to be undertaken carefully as this will have a key influence upon the CA performance of pyrolysis or gasification biochar systems (P/GBS). Results suggest that P/GBS could produce important environmental benefits in terms of CA, but several potential pollution issues arising from contaminants in the biochar have to be addressed before biochar and bioenergy production from biodegradable waste can become common practice. PMID:22119050

  18. Life cycle assessment on microalgal biodiesel production using a hybrid cultivation system.

    PubMed

    Adesanya, Victoria O; Cadena, Erasmo; Scott, Stuart A; Smith, Alison G

    2014-07-01

    A life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed on a putative biodiesel production plant in which the freshwater alga Chlorella vulgaris, was grown using an existing system similar to a published commercial-scale hybrid cultivation. The hybrid system couples airlift tubular photobioreactors with raceway ponds in a two-stage process for high biomass growth and lipid accumulation. The results show that microalgal biodiesel production would have a significantly lower environmental impact than fossil-derived diesel. Based on the functional unit of 1 ton of biodiesel produced, the hybrid cultivation system and hypothetical downstream process (base case) would have 42% and 38% savings in global warming potential (GWP) and fossil-energy requirements (FER) when compared to fossil-derived diesel, respectively. Sensitivity analysis was performed to identify the most influential process parameters on the LCA results. The maximum reduction in GWP and FER was observed under mixotrophic growth conditions with savings of 76% and 75% when compared to conventional diesel, respectively. PMID:24852435

  19. Beyond the throwaway society: A life cycle-based assessment of the environmental benefit of reuse.

    PubMed

    Castellani, Valentina; Sala, Serenella; Mirabella, Nadia

    2015-07-01

    In the context of a circular economy, sustainable consumption is often seen as the antithesis of current consumption patterns, which have led to the definition of the so-called throwaway society. Reuse may provide a preferred alternative to other waste management options, because it promotes resource efficiency and may significantly reduce environmental impacts. To appraise the environmental benefits related to reuse of goods, a methodology adopting life cycle assessment (LCA) has been developed. A standardized procedure has been developed, identifying reference products within product category subject to reuse, and collecting reliable inventory data as a basis for calculating environmental impact through LCA. A case study on a second-hand shop is presented, and the avoided impacts are quantified. Inventory data were taken both from the literature and directly from sales and surveys submitted to customers. The results are presented, highlighting: 1) for each product category, the average avoided impacts for 1 unit of reused product considered; and 2) for the overall activities of the second-hand shop, the cumulative avoided impacts in 1 yr. In the case study, the higher contribution to avoided impacts comes from the apparel sector, due to the high amount of items sold, followed by the furniture sector, because of the high amount of environmental impacts avoided by the reuse of each single item. PMID:25557152

  20. Life Cycle Assessment of Gasoline and Diesel Produced via Fast Pyrolysis and Hydroprocessing

    SciTech Connect

    Hsu, D. D.

    2011-03-01

    In this work, a life cycle assessment (LCA) estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and net energy value (NEV) of the production of gasoline and diesel from forest residues via fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing, from production of the feedstock to end use of the fuel in a vehicle, is performed. The fast pyrolysis and hydrotreating and hydrocracking processes are based on a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) design report. The LCA results show GHG emissions of 0.142 kg CO2-equiv. per km traveled and NEV of 1.00 MJ per km traveled for a process using grid electricity. Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis shows a range of results, with all values better than those of conventional gasoline in 2005. Results for GHG emissions and NEV of gasoline and diesel from pyrolysis are also reported on a per MJ fuel basis for comparison with ethanol produced via gasification. Although pyrolysis-derived gasoline and diesel have lower GHG emissions and higher NEV than conventional gasoline does in 2005, they underperform ethanol produced via gasification from the same feedstock. GHG emissions for pyrolysis could be lowered further if electricity and hydrogen are produced from biomass instead of from fossil sources.

  1. Hybrid life-cycle assessment of algal biofuel production.

    PubMed

    Malik, Arunima; Lenzen, Manfred; Ralph, Peter J; Tamburic, Bojan

    2015-05-01

    The objective of this work is to establish whether algal bio-crude production is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. To this end, an economic multi-regional input-output model of Australia was complemented with engineering process data on algal bio-crude production. This model was used to undertake hybrid life-cycle assessment for measuring the direct, as well as indirect impacts of producing bio-crude. Overall, the supply chain of bio-crude is more sustainable than that of conventional crude oil. The results indicate that producing 1 million tonnes of bio-crude will generate almost 13,000 new jobs and 4 billion dollars' worth of economic stimulus. Furthermore, bio-crude production will offer carbon sequestration opportunities as the production process is net carbon-negative. PMID:25465782

  2. Innovation strategies in a fruit growers association impacts assessment by using combined LCA and s-LCA methodologies.

    PubMed

    Tecco, Nadia; Baudino, Claudio; Girgenti, Vincenzo; Peano, Cristiana

    2016-10-15

    In the challenging world of territorial transformations within the agriculture, there is an increasing need for an integrated methodological framework of assessment that is able to reconcile the demand for solutions that are both economically sustainable and contribute to environmental and social improvement. This study aims to assess the introduction of innovation into agro-food systems by combining an environmental life cycle (LCA) assessment and a social life cycle assessment (s-LCA) to support the decision making process of a fruit growers co-op for the adoption of mulching and covering in raspberry farming. LCA and s-LCA have been applied independently under specific consistency requirements, selecting two scenarios to compare the impact with (1) and without (2) the innovation and then combined within a cause-effect chain. The interactions between the environment and socioeconomic components were considered within a nested frameset of business and territorial features. The total emissions from raspberry production in Scenario 1, according to the Global Warming Potential (GWP) Impact Category amounted to 2.2840kg of CO2 eq. In Scenario 2, the impact of production was associated with a GWP of 0.1682kg of CO2 eq. Social repercussions analysis from Scenario 1 compared to Scenario 2 indicate more satisfaction for working conditions and the management of climate risks. The mulching and covering, implemented within a given framework of farm activity, created conditions for the preservation of a model in which raspberry production contributes to landscape protection, the business sustainability of farms and the creation of employment. The combined use of the two methods contributes to the development of a strategy planning due to its ability to deliver, as well as specific analysis at a functional level, a wider framework for assessing the consistency of the impacts related to innovation in raspberry production. PMID:27295596

  3. USING LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT TOOLS FOR INTEGRATED PRODUCT POLICY

    EPA Science Inventory

    The European Union's new Integrated Product Policy directs governments and companies to consider the entire product life cycle, from cradle to grave, in their environmental decision-making process. A life-cycle based approach is intended to lead toward true environmental improvem...

  4. Life cycle assessment of molten carbonate fuel cells: State of the art and strategies for the future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mehmeti, Andi; Santoni, Francesca; Della Pietra, Massimiliano; McPhail, Stephen J.

    2016-03-01

    This study aims to review and provide an up to date international life cycle thinking literature with particular emphasis on life cycle assessment (LCA), applied to Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFCs), a technology forcefully entering the field of decentralized heat and power generation. Critical environmental issues, comparison of results between studies and improvement strategies are analyzed and highlighted. The findings stress that MCFC environmental performance is heavily influenced by the current use of non-renewable energy and high material demand of rare minerals which generate high environmental burdens in the manufacturing stage, thereby confirming the prominent role of these processes in a comprehensive LCA study. The comparison of operational phases highlights that MCFCs are robust and able to compete with other mature technologies contributing substantially to airborne emissions reduction and promoting a switch to renewable fuels, however, further progress and market competitiveness urges adoption of an eco-efficiency philosophy to forge the link between environmental and economic concerns. Adopting a well-organized systematic research driven by life cycle models and eco-efficiency principles stakeholders will glean valuable information to make well balanced decisions for improving performance towards the concept 'producing more quality with less resources' and accelerate market penetration of the technology.

  5. Environmental sustainability assessments of pharmaceuticals: an emerging need for simplification in life cycle assessments.

    PubMed

    De Soete, Wouter; Debaveye, Sam; De Meester, Steven; Van der Vorst, Geert; Aelterman, Wim; Heirman, Bert; Cappuyns, Philippe; Dewulf, Jo

    2014-10-21

    The pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries are eager to strive toward innovative products and technologies. This study first derives hotspots in resource consumption of 2839 Basic Operations in 40 Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient synthesis steps through Exergetic Life Cycle Assessment (ELCA). Second, since companies are increasingly obliged to quantify the environmental sustainability of their products, two alternative ways of simplifying (E)LCA are discussed. The usage of averaged product group values (R(2) = 3.40 × 10(-30)) is compared with multiple linear regression models (R(2) = 8.66 × 10(-01)) in order to estimate resource consumption of synthesis steps. An optimal set of predictor variables is postulated to balance model complexity and embedded information with usability and capability of merging models with existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data systems. The amount of organic solvents used, molar efficiency, and duration of a synthesis step were shown to be the most significant predictor variables. Including additional predictor variables did not contribute to the predictive power and eventually weakens the model interpretation. Ideally, an organization should be able to derive its environmental impact from readily available ERP data, linking supply chains back to the cradle of resource extraction, excluding the need for an approximation with product group averages. PMID:25244162

  6. Can comprehensive climate impact assessment of terrestrial ecosystems be included in Life Cycle Assessment to support policy decisions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bright, R. M.; Cherubini, F.; Strømman, A. H.

    2014-12-01

    Decisions resulting in land use change (LUC) or land management change (LMC) rarely consider the changes to surface biophysical properties that lead to immediate land-atmosphere feedbacks and subsequent local- to regional-scale climate changes. This is likely because the sign and magnitude of the various feedback mechanisms depend largely on a multitude of highly site-specific meteorological, eco-physiological, structural, and topographic factors, making them difficult to quantify in the absence of sophisticated models with high spatial and temporal resolution. In a world increasingly dependent on biomass (and thus land) resources for energy and materials, it is unacceptable to continue ignoring important biogeophysical factors linked to land use activities in climate impact assessment studies. Although a number of useful land-atmosphere impact assessment methodologies and metrics have been proposed in recent years, they are rarely applied in the decision making process. Over the last 10-15 years, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has emerged as a prominent decision-support tool that relies on well-established IPCC climate metrics, yet land-atmosphere climate metrics are rarely applied. Here, we present a review of the literature enveloping methods and metrics for quantifying or characterizing climate change impacts in terrestrial ecosystems. We highlight their merits and discuss practical limitations with respect to their integration into the LCA framework. We conclude by proposing some solutions for overcoming the integration barrier and suggest some practical ways forward for both climate modelers/metric developers and LCA practitioners.

  7. Limitations of toxicity characterization in life cycle assessment: Can adverse outcome pathways provide a new foundation?

    PubMed

    Gust, Kurt A; Collier, Zachary A; Mayo, Michael L; Stanley, Jacob K; Gong, Ping; Chappell, Mark A

    2016-07-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) has considerable merit for holistic evaluation of product planning, development, production, and disposal, with the inherent benefit of providing a forecast of potential health and environmental impacts. However, a technical review of current life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods revealed limitations within the biological effects assessment protocols, including: simplistic assessment approaches and models; an inability to integrate emerging types of toxicity data; a reliance on linear impact assessment models; a lack of methods to mitigate uncertainty; and no explicit consideration of effects in species of concern. The purpose of the current study is to demonstrate that a new concept in toxicological and regulatory assessment, the adverse outcome pathway (AOP), has many useful attributes of potential use to ameliorate many of these problems, to expand data utility and model robustness, and to enable more accurate and defensible biological effects assessments within LCIA. Background, context, and examples have been provided to demonstrate these potential benefits. We additionally propose that these benefits can be most effectively realized through development of quantitative AOPs (qAOPs) crafted to meet the needs of the LCIA framework. As a means to stimulate qAOP research and development in support of LCIA, we propose 3 conceptual classes of qAOP, each with unique inherent attributes for supporting LCIA: 1) mechanistic, including computational toxicology models; 2) probabilistic, including Bayesian networks and supervised machine learning models; and 3) weight of evidence, including models built using decision-analytic methods. Overall, we have highlighted a number of potential applications of qAOPs that can refine and add value to LCIA. As the AOP concept and support framework matures, we see the potential for qAOPs to serve a foundational role for next-generation effects characterization within LCIA. Integr Environ Assess Manag

  8. LCA: a decision support tool for environmental assessment of MSW management systems.

    PubMed

    Liamsanguan, Chalita; Gheewala, Shabbir H

    2008-04-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be successfully applied to municipal solid waste (MSW) management systems to identify the overall environmental burdens and to assess the potential environmental impacts. In this study, two methods used for current MSW management in Phuket, a province of Thailand, landfilling (without energy recovery) and incineration (with energy recovery), are compared from both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission points of view. The comparisons are based on a direct activity consideration and also a life cycle perspective. In both cases as well as for both parameters considered, incineration was found to be superior to landfilling. However, the performance of incineration was much better when a life cycle perspective was used. Also, landfilling reversed to be superior to incineration when methane recovery and electricity production were introduced. This study reveals that a complete picture of the environmental performance of MSW management systems is provided by using a life cycle perspective. PMID:17350748

  9. Life cycle assessment applied to the sector of microelectronic devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matarazzo, Agata; Ingrao, Carlo; Clasadonte, Maria Teresa

    2016-07-01

    This work is about the application of LCA to the ends of the environmental assessment of pure-silicon wafers production. The input-data quantification is realized studying two microelectronic devices and presenting schematically tables and graphs, to be easily interpreted. This will allow help the reader to individuate, clearly and immediately, the materials flows and the relationships among the different steps of the production process. The material flows, in terms of raw materials use and energy consumption, were studied using the data provided by a firm involved in the microelectronic device production field. The two devices environmental analysis was developed considering potential effects such as Acidification, Eutrophication, Ozone reduction, Global warming, Ozone photochemical formation, Human Toxicity.

  10. Life Cycle Assessment of Mixed Municipal Solid Waste: Multi-input versus multi-output perspective.

    PubMed

    Fiorentino, G; Ripa, M; Protano, G; Hornsby, C; Ulgiati, S

    2015-12-01

    This paper analyses four strategies for managing the Mixed Municipal Solid Waste (MMSW) in terms of their environmental impacts and potential advantages by means of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. To this aim, both a multi-input and a multi-output approach are applied to evaluate the effect of these perspectives on selected impact categories. The analyzed management options include direct landfilling with energy recovery (S-1), Mechanical-Biological Treatment (MBT) followed by Waste-to-Energy (WtE) conversion (S-2), a combination of an innovative MBT/MARSS (Material Advanced Recovery Sustainable Systems) process and landfill disposal (S-3), and finally a combination of the MBT/MARSS process with WtE conversion (S-4). The MARSS technology, developed within an European LIFE PLUS framework and currently implemented at pilot plant scale, is an innovative MBT plant having the main goal to yield a Renewable Refined Biomass Fuel (RRBF) to be used for combined heat and power production (CHP) under the regulations enforced for biomass-based plants instead of Waste-to-Energy systems, for increased environmental performance. The four scenarios are characterized by different resource investment for plant and infrastructure construction and different quantities of matter, heat and electricity recovery and recycling. Results, calculated per unit mass of waste treated and per unit exergy delivered, under both multi-input and multi-output LCA perspectives, point out improved performance for scenarios characterized by increased matter and energy recovery. Although none of the investigated scenarios is capable to provide the best performance in all the analyzed impact categories, the scenario S-4 shows the best LCA results in the human toxicity and freshwater eutrophication categories, i.e. the ones with highest impacts in all waste management processes. PMID:26257056