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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 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

  15. 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

  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. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  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. 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 ...

  3. 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...

  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 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

  11. 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

  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. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  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 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)

  15. 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 ...

  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. 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

  20. 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...

  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 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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)...

  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. 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.

  9. 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

  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. 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 ...

  4. 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...

  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. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  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 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  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 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

  3. 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.

  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. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  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 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  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 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  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 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  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 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

  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

  11. Evaluating new processes and concepts for energy and resource recovery from municipal wastewater with life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Remy, C; Boulestreau, M; Warneke, J; Jossa, P; Kabbe, C; Lesjean, B

    2016-01-01

    Energy and resource recovery from municipal wastewater is a pre-requisite for an efficient and sustainable water management in cities of the future. However, a sound evaluation of available processes and pathways is required to identify opportunities and short-comings of the different options and reveal synergies and potentials for optimization. For evaluating environmental impacts in a holistic view, the tool of life cycle assessment (LCA, ISO 14040/44) is suitable to characterize and quantify the direct and indirect effects of new processes and concepts. This paper gives an overview of four new processes and concepts for upgrading existing wastewater treatment plants towards energy positive and resource efficient wastewater treatment, based upon an evaluation of their environmental impacts with LCA using data from pilot and full-scale assessments of the considered processes. PMID:26942529

  12. Influence of data collection schemes on the Life Cycle Assessment of a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

    PubMed

    Yoshida, Hiroko; Clavreul, Julie; Scheutz, Charlotte; Christensen, Thomas H

    2014-06-01

    A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) was conducted to illustrate the effect of an emission inventory data collection scheme on the outcomes of an environmental impact assessment. Due to their burden in respect to data collection, LCAs often rely heavily on existing emission and operational data, which are gathered under either compulsory monitoring or reporting requirements under law. In this study, an LCA was conducted using three input data sources: Information compiled under compulsory disclosure requirements (the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry), compliance with national discharge limits, and a state-of-the-art emission data collection scheme conducted at the same WWTP. Parameter uncertainty for each collection scheme was assessed through Monte Carlo simulation. The comparison of the results confirmed that LCA results depend heavily on input data coverage. Due to the threshold on reporting value, the E-PRTR did not capture the impact for particulate matter emission, terrestrial acidification, or terrestrial eutrophication. While the current practice can capture more than 90% of non-carcinogenic human toxicity and marine eutrophication, an LCA based on the data collection scheme underestimates impact potential due to limitations of substance coverage. Besides differences between data collection schemes, the results showed that 3-13,500% of the impacts came from background systems, such as from the provisioning of fuel, electricity, and chemicals, which do not need to be disclosed currently under E-PRTR. The incidental release of pollutants was also assessed by employing a scenario-based approach, the results of which demonstrated that these non-routine emissions could increase overall WWTP greenhouse gas emissions by between 113 and 210%. Overall, current data collection schemes have the potential to provide standardized data collection and form the basis for a sound environmental impact assessment, but

  13. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT IN THE U.S. EPA

    EPA Science Inventory

    RECENT DEVELOPMENTS SUCH AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S GREEN PURCHASING MEASURE ARE STIMULATING NEW INTEREST IN LCA AT THE USEPA. ACTIVITIES UNDERWAY WILL HELP BUYERS MAKE ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCT CHOICES EASY ACCESS TO LCA DATA, AND PROVIDE A DATABASE/DECISION TOOL FOR MUNICIPAL WAST...

  14. Global warming implications of facade parameters: A life cycle assessment of residential buildings in Bahrain

    SciTech Connect

    Radhi, Hassan; Sharples, Stephen

    2013-01-15

    On a global scale, the Gulf Corporation Council Countries (GCCC), including Bahrain, are amongst the top countries in terms of carbon dioxide emissions per capita. Building authority in Bahrain has set a target of 40% reduction of electricity consumption and associated CO{sub 2} emissions to be achieved by using facade parameters. This work evaluates how the life cycle CO{sub 2} emissions of buildings are affected by facade parameters. The main focus is placed on direct and indirect CO{sub 2} emissions from three contributors, namely, chemical reactions during production processes (Pco{sub 2}), embodied energy (Eco{sub 2}) and operational energy (OPco{sub 2}). By means of the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, it has been possible to show that the greatest environmental impact occurs during the operational phase (80-90%). However, embodied CO{sub 2} emissions are an important factor that needs to be brought into the systems used for appraisal of projects, and hence into the design decisions made in developing projects. The assessment shows that masonry blocks are responsible for 70-90% of the total CO{sub 2} emissions of facade construction, mainly due to their physical characteristics. The highest Pco{sub 2} emissions factors are those of window elements, particularly aluminium frames. However, their contribution of CO{sub 2} emissions depends largely on the number and size of windows. Each square metre of glazing is able to increase the total CO{sub 2} emissions by almost 30% when compared with the same areas of opaque walls. The use of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) walls reduces the total life cycle CO{sub 2} emissions by almost 5.2% when compared with ordinary walls, while the use of thermal insulation with concrete wall reduces CO{sub 2} emissions by 1.2%. The outcome of this work offers to the building industry a reliable indicator of the environmental impact of residential facade parameters. - Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Life cycle

  15. High temperature abatement of acid gases from waste incineration. Part II: Comparative life cycle assessment study.

    PubMed

    Biganzoli, Laura; Racanella, Gaia; Marras, Roberto; Rigamonti, Lucia

    2015-01-01

    The performances of a new dolomitic sorbent, named Depurcal®MG, to be directly injected at high temperature in the combustion chamber of Waste-To-Energy (WTE) plants as a preliminary stage of deacidification, were experimentally tested during full-scale commercial operation. Results of the experimentations were promising, and have been extensively described in Biganzoli et al. (2014). This paper reports the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study performed to compare the traditional operation of the plants, based on the sole sodium bicarbonate feeding at low temperature, with the new one, where the dolomitic sorbent is injected at high temperature. In the latter the sodium bicarbonate is still used, but at lower rate because of the decreased load of acid gases entering the flue gas treatment line. The major goal of the LCA was to make sure that a burden shifting was not taking place somewhere in the life cycle stages, as it might be the case when a new material is used in substitution of another one. According to the comparative approach, only the processes which differ between the two operational modes were included in the system boundaries. They are the production of the two reactants and the treatment of the corresponding solid residues arising from the neutralisation of acid gases. The additional CO2 emission at the stack of the WTE plant due to the activation of the sodium bicarbonate was also included in the calculation. Data used in the modelling of the foreground system are primary, derived from the experimental tests described in Biganzoli et al. (2014) and from the dolomitic sorbent production plant. The results of the LCA show minor changes in the potential impacts between the two operational modes of the plants. These differences are for 8 impact categories in favour of the new operational mode based on the addition of the dolomitic sorbent, and for 7 impact categories in favour of the traditional operation. A final evaluation was conducted on the potential

  16. Including pathogen risk in life cycle assessment of wastewater management. 1. Estimating the burden of disease associated with pathogens.

    PubMed

    Harder, Robin; Heimersson, Sara; Svanström, Magdalena; Peters, Gregory M

    2014-08-19

    The environmental performance of wastewater and sewage sludge management is commonly assessed using life cycle assessment (LCA), whereas pathogen risk is evaluated with quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA). This study explored the application of QMRA methodology with intent to include pathogen risk in LCA and facilitate a comparison with other potential impacts on human health considered in LCA. Pathogen risk was estimated for a model wastewater treatment system (WWTS) located in an industrialized country and consisting of primary, secondary, and tertiary wastewater treatment, anaerobic sludge digestion, and land application of sewage sludge. The estimation was based on eight previous QMRA studies as well as parameter values taken from the literature. A total pathogen risk (expressed as burden of disease) on the order of 0.2-9 disability-adjusted life years (DALY) per year of operation was estimated for the model WWTS serving 28,600 persons and for the pathogens and exposure pathways included in this study. The comparison of pathogen risk with other potential impacts on human health considered in LCA is detailed in part 2 of this article series. PMID:25058492

  17. Life Cycle Assessment of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: Ethanol - Global Warming Potential and Environmental Emissions

    SciTech Connect

    Heath, G. A.; Hsu, D. D.; Inman, D.; Aden, A.; Mann, M. K.

    2009-07-01

    The objective of this study is to use life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the global warming potential (GWP), water use, and net energy value (NEV) associated with the EISA-mandated 16 bgy cellulosic biofuels target, which is assumed in this study to be met by cellulosic-based ethanol, and the EISA-mandated 15 bgy conventional corn ethanol target. Specifically, this study compares, on a per-kilometer-driven basis, the GWP, water use, and NEV for the year 2022 for several biomass feedstocks.

  18. Quantifying the environmental impact of an integrated human/industrial-natural system using life cycle assessment; a case study on a forest and wood processing chain.

    PubMed

    Schaubroeck, Thomas; Alvarenga, Rodrigo A F; Verheyen, Kris; Muys, Bart; Dewulf, Jo

    2013-01-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to assess the environmental sustainability of a product; it quantifies the environmental impact of a product's life cycle. In conventional LCAs, the boundaries of a product's life cycle are limited to the human/industrial system, the technosphere. Ecosystems, which provide resources to and take up emissions from the technosphere, are not included in those boundaries. However, similar to the technosphere, ecosystems also have an impact on their (surrounding) environment through their resource usage (e.g., nutrients) and emissions (e.g., CH4). We therefore propose a LCA framework to assess the impact of integrated Techno-Ecological Systems (TES), comprising relevant ecosystems and the technosphere. In our framework, ecosystems are accounted for in the same manner as technosphere compartments. Also, the remediating effect of uptake of pollutants, an ecosystem service, is considered. A case study was performed on a TES of sawn timber production encompassing wood growth in an intensively managed forest ecosystem and further industrial processing. Results show that the managed forest accounted for almost all resource usage and biodiversity loss through land occupation but also for a remediating effect on human health, mostly via capture of airborne fine particles. These findings illustrate the potential relevance of including ecosystems in the product's life cycle of a LCA, though further research is needed to better quantify the environmental impact of TES. PMID:24195778

  19. Life cycle assessment of biochar cofiring with coal.

    PubMed

    Huang, Yu-Fong; Syu, Fu-Siang; Chiueh, Pei-Te; Lo, Shang-Lien

    2013-03-01

    This study used life cycle assessment software SimaPro 7.2 and impact assessment model IMPACT 2002+ to evaluate the environmental impact and benefits of a biochar cofiring supply chain used for electricity generation. The biochar was assumed to be produced by rice straw torrefaction and the case study was located in Taoyuan County, Taiwan. This supply chain may provide impact reduction benefits in five categories (aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, land occupation, global warming, and non-renewable energy) but cause higher impacts than coal firing systems in other categories. Damage assessment of cofiring systems indicated that damage to human health was higher while the damage categories of ecosystem quality, climate change, and resources were lower. Carbon reduction could be 4.32 and 4.68metric tons CO2eq/ha/yr at 10% and 20% cofiring ratios, respectively. The improvement of electricity generation efficiency of cofiring systems may be the most important factor for reducing its environmental impact. PMID:23347924

  20. Biogrouting compared to jet grouting: environmental (LCA) and economical assessment.

    PubMed

    Suer, Pascal; Hallberg, Niklas; Carlsson, Christel; Bendz, David; Holm, Goran

    2009-03-01

    In order to predict consequences of replacing jet grouting with biogrouting, and identify major contributors to the cost of both technologies, a large road project in Stockholm, Sweden, was used as a case study. Jet grouting had been used to seal the contact between sheet piling and bedrock, biogrouting for the same function was computed. A comparative environmental and economical assessment was carried out using life cycle assessment (LCA). The results show that biogrouting was cheaper than jet grouting and would have had lower environmental impact. The major difference was the transport and use of heavier equipment for jet grouting. Biogrouting also used less water and produced less landfilled waste. However, the production of urea and CaCl(2) for biogrouting required much energy. PMID:19184701

  1. Life cycle assessment integrated with thermodynamic analysis of bio-fuel options for solid oxide fuel cells.

    PubMed

    Lin, Jiefeng; Babbitt, Callie W; Trabold, Thomas A

    2013-01-01

    A methodology that integrates life cycle assessment (LCA) with thermodynamic analysis is developed and applied to evaluate the environmental impacts of producing biofuels from waste biomass, including biodiesel from waste cooking oil, ethanol from corn stover, and compressed natural gas from municipal solid wastes. Solid oxide fuel cell-based auxiliary power units using bio-fuel as the hydrogen precursor enable generation of auxiliary electricity for idling heavy-duty trucks. Thermodynamic analysis is applied to evaluate the fuel conversion efficiency and determine the amount of fuel feedstock needed to generate a unit of electrical power. These inputs feed into an LCA that compares energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of different fuel pathways. Results show that compressed natural gas from municipal solid wastes is an optimal bio-fuel option for SOFC-APU applications in New York State. However, this methodology can be regionalized within the U.S. or internationally to account for different fuel feedstock options. PMID:23201905

  2. Exergetic life cycle assessment of hydrogen production from renewables

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Granovskii, Mikhail; Dincer, Ibrahim; Rosen, Marc A.

    Life cycle assessment is extended to exergetic life cycle assessment and used to evaluate the exergy efficiency, economic effectiveness and environmental impact of producing hydrogen using wind and solar energy in place of fossil fuels. The product hydrogen is considered a fuel for fuel cell vehicles and a substitute for gasoline. Fossil fuel technologies for producing hydrogen from natural gas and gasoline from crude oil are contrasted with options using renewable energy. Exergy efficiencies and greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions are evaluated for all process steps, including crude oil and natural gas pipeline transportation, crude oil distillation and natural gas reforming, wind and solar electricity generation, hydrogen production through water electrolysis, and gasoline and hydrogen distribution and utilization. The use of wind power to produce hydrogen via electrolysis, and its application in a fuel cell vehicle, exhibits the lowest fossil and mineral resource consumption rate. However, the economic attractiveness, as measured by a "capital investment effectiveness factor," of renewable technologies depends significantly on the ratio of costs for hydrogen and natural gas. At the present cost ratio of about 2 (per unit of lower heating value or exergy), capital investments are about five times lower to produce hydrogen via natural gas rather than wind energy. As a consequence, the cost of wind- and solar-based electricity and hydrogen is substantially higher than that of natural gas. The implementation of a hydrogen fuel cell instead of an internal combustion engine permits, theoretically, an increase in a vehicle's engine efficiency of about of two times. Depending on the ratio in engine efficiencies, the substitution of gasoline with "renewable" hydrogen leads to (a) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of 12-23 times for hydrogen from wind and 5-8 times for hydrogen from solar energy, and (b) air pollution (AP) emissions reductions of 38

  3. Comparative life cycle assessment of three biohydrogen pathways.

    PubMed

    Djomo, Sylvestre Njakou; Blumberga, Dagnija

    2011-02-01

    A life cycle assessment was performed to quantify and compare the energetic and environmental performances of hydrogen from wheat straw (WS-H(2)), sweet sorghum stalk (SSS-H(2)), and steam potato peels (SPP-H(2)). Inventory data were derived from a pilot plant. Impacts were assessed using the impact 2002+ method. When co-product was not considered, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 5.60 kg CO(2eq) kg(-1) H(2) for WS-H(2), 5.32 kg CO(2eq) kg(-1) H(2) for SSS-H(2), and 5.18 kg CO(2eq) kg(-1) H(2) for SPP-H(2). BioH(2) pathways reduced GHG emissions by 52-56% compared to diesel and by 54-57% compared to steam methane reforming production of H(2). The energy ratios (ER) were also comparable: 1.08 for WS-H(2), 1.14 for SSS-H(2) and 1.17 for SPP-H(2). A shift from SPP-H(2) to WS-H(2) would therefore not affect the ER and GHG emissions of these BioH(2) pathways. When co-product was considered, a shift from SPP-H(2) to WS-H(2) or SSS-H(2) decreased the ER, while increasing the GHG emissions significantly. Co-product yield should be considered when selecting BioH(2) feedstocks. PMID:21112211

  4. Comparison of different building shells - life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Rixrath, Doris; Wartha, Christian

    2016-07-01

    The Renewable Energy and Efficiency Action (REACT) project is a European Union-funded cross-border cooperative venture featuring the participation of companies and researchers from the Austrian state of Burgenland and western Slovakia that is developing zero-energy concepts for newly built single-family homes. A variety of building structures are defined for family houses, and the different impacts they have on the environment are evaluated over the entire life cycle. This paper aims to compare the environmental impacts of different building shells during both the construction and the demolition phases. However, the operation phase of the building is not evaluated. One of the findings of the project thus far is that the demolition and disposal of building materials should be included in any such evaluation. For some environmental impact assessment categories, both demolition and disposal are important. The environmental impacts of various end-of-life scenarios can differ greatly based on the disposal method (e.g., landfill, incineration, recycling) chosen and on the proportion of recycled content. Furthermore, the results show that manufacturing building materials from renewable resources can have strong environmental impacts, particularly when substantial amounts of fossil fuel are required in their production. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2016;12:437-444. © 2016 SETAC. PMID:27332927

  5. Life cycle assessment as development and decision support tool for wastewater resource recovery technology.

    PubMed

    Fang, Linda L; Valverde-Pérez, Borja; Damgaard, Anders; Plósz, Benedek Gy; Rygaard, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been increasingly used in the field of wastewater treatment where the focus has been to identify environmental trade-offs of current technologies. In a novel approach, we use LCA to support early stage research and development of a biochemical system for wastewater resource recovery. The freshwater and nutrient content of wastewater are recognized as potential valuable resources that can be recovered for beneficial reuse. Both recovery and reuse are intended to address existing environmental concerns, for example, water scarcity and use of non-renewable phosphorus. However, the resource recovery may come at the cost of unintended environmental impacts. One promising recovery system, referred to as TRENS, consists of an enhanced biological phosphorus removal and recovery system (EBP2R) connected to a photobioreactor. Based on a simulation of a full-scale nutrient and water recovery system in its potential operating environment, we assess the potential environmental impacts of such a system using the EASETECH model. In the simulation, recovered water and nutrients are used in scenarios of agricultural irrigation-fertilization and aquifer recharge. In these scenarios, TRENS reduces global warming up to 15% and marine eutrophication impacts up to 9% compared to conventional treatment. This is due to the recovery and reuse of nutrient resources, primarily nitrogen. The key environmental concerns obtained through the LCA are linked to increased human toxicity impacts from the chosen end use of wastewater recovery products. The toxicity impacts are from both heavy metals release associated with land application of recovered nutrients and production of AlCl3, which is required for advanced wastewater treatment prior to aquifer recharge. Perturbation analysis of the LCA pinpointed nutrient substitution and heavy metals content of algae biofertilizer as critical areas for further research if the performance of nutrient recovery systems such as

  6. Life-cycle and freshwater withdrawal impact assessment of water supply technologies.

    PubMed

    Godskesen, B; Hauschild, M; Rygaard, M; Zambrano, K; Albrechtsen, H-J

    2013-05-01

    Four alternative cases for water supply were environmentally evaluated and compared based on the standard environmental impact categories from the life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology extended with a freshwater withdrawal category (FWI). The cases were designed for Copenhagen, a part of Denmark with high population density and relatively low available water resources. FWI was applied at local groundwater catchments based on data from the national implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. The base case of the study was the current practice of groundwater abstraction from well fields situated near Copenhagen. The 4 cases studied were: Rain & stormwater harvesting from several blocks in the city; Today's groundwater abstraction with compensating actions applied in the affected freshwater environments to ensure sufficient water flow in water courses; Establishment of well fields further away from the city; And seawater desalination. The standard LCA showed that the Rain & stormwater harvesting case had the lowest overall environmental impact (81.9 μPET/m(3)) followed by the cases relying on groundwater abstraction (123.5-137.8 μPET/m(3)), and that desalination had a relatively small but still important increase in environmental impact (204.8 μPET/m(3)). Rain & stormwater harvesting and desalination had a markedly lower environmental impact compared to the base case, due to the reduced water hardness leading to e.g. a decrease in electricity consumption in households. For a relevant comparison, it is therefore essential to include the effects of water hardness when comparing the environmental impacts of water systems of different hardness. This study also emphasizes the necessity of including freshwater withdrawal respecting the relevant affected geographical scale, i.e. by focusing the assessment on the local groundwater catchments rather than on the regional catchments. Our work shows that freshwater withdrawal methods previously used on a regional

  7. Applications of life cycle assessment and cost analysis in health care waste management

    SciTech Connect

    Soares, Sebastiao Roberto; Finotti, Alexandra Rodrigues; Prudencio da Silva, Vamilson; Alvarenga, Rodrigo A.F.

    2013-01-15

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Three Health Care Waste (HCW) scenarios were assessed through environmental and cost analysis. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer HCW treatment using microwave oven had the lowest environmental impacts and costs in comparison with autoclave and lime. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Lime had the worst environmental and economic results for HCW treatment, in comparison with autoclave and microwave. - Abstract: The establishment of rules to manage Health Care Waste (HCW) is a challenge for the public sector. Regulatory agencies must ensure the safety of waste management alternatives for two very different profiles of generators: (1) hospitals, which concentrate the production of HCW and (2) small establishments, such as clinics, pharmacies and other sources, that generate dispersed quantities of HCW and are scattered throughout the city. To assist in developing sector regulations for the small generators, we evaluated three management scenarios using decision-making tools. They consisted of a disinfection technique (microwave, autoclave and lime) followed by landfilling, where transportation was also included. The microwave, autoclave and lime techniques were tested at the laboratory to establish the operating parameters to ensure their efficiency in disinfection. Using a life cycle assessment (LCA) and cost analysis, the decision-making tools aimed to determine the technique with the best environmental performance. This consisted of evaluating the eco-efficiency of each scenario. Based on the life cycle assessment, microwaving had the lowest environmental impact (12.64 Pt) followed by autoclaving (48.46 Pt). The cost analyses indicated values of US$ 0.12 kg{sup -1} for the waste treated with microwaves, US$ 1.10 kg{sup -1} for the waste treated by the autoclave and US$ 1.53 kg{sup -1} for the waste treated with lime. The microwave disinfection presented the best eco-efficiency performance among those studied and provided a feasible

  8. Identifying improvement potentials in cement production with life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Boesch, Michael Elias; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2010-12-01

    Cement production is an environmentally relevant process responsible for 5% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and 7% of industrial fuel use. In this study, life cycle assessment is used to evaluate improvement potentials in the cement production process in Europe and the USA. With a current fuel substitution rate of 18% in Europe and 11% in the USA, both regions have a substantial potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save virgin resources by further increasing the coprocessing of waste fuels. Upgrading production technology would be particularly effective in the USA where many kiln systems with very low energy efficiency are still in operation. Using best available technology and a thermal substitution rate of 50% for fuels, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 9% for Europe and 18% for the USA per tonne of cement. Since clinker production is the dominant pollution producing step in cement production, the substitution of clinker with mineral components such as ground granulated blast furnace slag or fly ash is an efficient measure to reduce the environmental impact. Blended cements exhibit substantially lower environmental footprints than Portland cement, even if the substitutes feature lower grindability and require additional drying and large transport distances. The highest savings in CO(2) emissions and resource consumption are achieved with a combination of measures in clinker production and cement blending. PMID:21047057

  9. Bridging the gap between LCA, LCC and CBA as sustainability assessment tools

    SciTech Connect

    Hoogmartens, Rob; Van Passel, Steven; Van Acker, Karel; Dubois, Maarten

    2014-09-15

    Increasing interest in sustainability has led to the development of sustainability assessment tools such as Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Cost–Benefit Analysis (CBA). Due to methodological disparity of these three tools, conflicting assessment results generate confusion for many policy and business decisions. In order to interpret and integrate assessment results, the paper provides a framework that clarifies the connections and coherence between the included assessment methodologies. Building on this framework, the paper further focuses on key aspects to adapt any of the methodologies to full sustainability assessments. Aspects dealt with in the review are for example the reported metrics, the scope, data requirements, discounting, product- or project-related and approaches with respect to scarcity and labor requirements. In addition to these key aspects, the review shows that important connections exist: (i) the three tools can cope with social inequality, (ii) processes such as valuation techniques for LCC and CBA are common, (iii) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is used as input in both LCA and CBA and (iv) LCA can be used in parallel with LCC. Furthermore, the most integrated sustainability approach combines elements of LCA and LCC to achieve the Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). The key aspects and the connections referred to in the review are illustrated with a case study on the treatment of end-of-life automotive glass. - Highlights: • Proliferation of assessment tools creates ambiguity and confusion. • The developed assessment framework clarifies connections between assessment tools. • Broadening LCA, key aspects are metric and data requirements. • Broadening LCC, key aspects are scope, time frame and discounting. • Broadening CBA, focus point, timespan, references, labor and scarcity are key.

  10. [Comparative life cycle environmental assessment between electric taxi and gasoline taxi in Beijing].

    PubMed

    Shi, Xiao-Qing; Sun, Zhao-Xin; Li, Xiao-Nuo; Li, Jin-Xiang; Yang, Jian-Xin

    2015-03-01

    Tailpipe emission of internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) is one of the main sources leading to atmospheric environmental problems such as haze. Substituting electric vehicles for conventional gasoline vehicles is an important solution for reducing urban air pollution. In 2011, as a pilot city of electric vehicle, Beijing launched a promotion plan of electric vehicle. In order to compare the environmental impacts between Midi electric vehicle (Midi EV) and Hyundai gasoline taxi (ICEV), this study created an inventory with local data and well-reasoned assumptions, and contributed a life cycle assessment (LCA) model with GaBi4.4 software and comparative life cycle environmental assessment by Life cycle impact analysis models of CML2001(Problem oriented) and EI99 (Damage oriented), which included the environmental impacts of full life cycle, manufacture phase, use phase and end of life. The sensitivity analysis of lifetime mileage and power structure was also provided. The results indicated that the full life cycle environmental impact of Midi EV was smaller than Hyundai ICEV, which was mainly due to the lower fossil fuel consumption. On the contrary, Midi EV exhibited the potential of increasing the environmental impacts of ecosystem quality influence and Human health influence. By CML2001 model, the results indicated that Midi EV might decrease the impact of Abiotic Depletion Potential, Global Warming Potential, Ozone Layer Depletion Potential and so on. However, in the production phase, the impact of Abiotic Depletion Potential, Acidification Potential, Eutrophication Potential, Global Warming Potential, Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential, Ozone Layer Depletion Potential, Marine Aquatic Ecotoxicity Potential, Terrestric Ecotoxicity Potential, Human Toxicity Potential of Midi EV were increased relative to Hyundai ICEV because of emissions impacts from its power system especially the battery production. Besides, in the use phase, electricity production was

  11. LIFE CYCLE DESIGN OF IN-MOLD SURFACING FILM

    EPA Science Inventory

    Since 1990, the NRMRL has been at the forefront in the development of Life Cycle Assessment as a methodology for environmental assessment. In 1994, NRMRL established an LCA Team to organize individual efforts into a comprehensive research program. The LCA Team coordinates work in...

  12. Environmental impacts of organic and conventional agricultural products--are the differences captured by life cycle assessment?

    PubMed

    Meier, Matthias S; Stoessel, Franziska; Jungbluth, Niels; Juraske, Ronnie; Schader, Christian; Stolze, Matthias

    2015-02-01

    Comprehensive assessment tools are needed that reliably describe environmental impacts of different agricultural systems in order to develop sustainable high yielding agricultural production systems with minimal impacts on the environment. Today, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is increasingly used to assess and compare the environmental sustainability of agricultural products from conventional and organic agriculture. However, LCA studies comparing agricultural products from conventional and organic farming systems report a wide variation in the resource efficiency of products from these systems. The studies show that impacts per area farmed land are usually less in organic systems, but related to the quantity produced impacts are often higher. We reviewed 34 comparative LCA studies of organic and conventional agricultural products to analyze whether this result is solely due to the usually lower yields in organic systems or also due to inaccurate modeling within LCA. Comparative LCAs on agricultural products from organic and conventional farming systems often do not adequately differentiate the specific characteristics of the respective farming system in the goal and scope definition and in the inventory analysis. Further, often only a limited number of impact categories are assessed within the impact assessment not allowing for a comprehensive environmental assessment. The most critical points we identified relate to the nitrogen (N) fluxes influencing acidification, eutrophication, and global warming potential, and biodiversity. Usually, N-emissions in LCA inventories of agricultural products are based on model calculations. Modeled N-emissions often do not correspond with the actual amount of N left in the system that may result in potential emissions. Reasons for this may be that N-models are not well adapted to the mode of action of organic fertilizers and that N-emission models often are built on assumptions from conventional agriculture leading to even greater

  13. Life Cycle Assessment of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites

    SciTech Connect

    Das, Sujit

    2011-01-01

    Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites is gaining momentum with the pressure to lightweight vehicles, however energy-intensity and cost remain some of the major barriers before this material could be used in large-scale automotive applications. A representative automotive part, i.e., a 30.8 kg steel floor pan having a 17% weight reduction potential with stringent cash performance requirements has been considered for the life cycle energy and emissions analysis based on the latest developments occurring in the precursor type (conventional textile-based PAN vs. renewable-based lignin), part manufacturing (conventional SMC vs. P4) and fiber recycling technologies. Carbon fiber production is estimated to be about 14 times more energy-intensive than conventional steel production, however life cycle primary energy use is estimated to be quite similar to the conventional part, i.e., 18,500 MJ/part, especially when considering the uncertainty in LCI data that exists from using numerous sources in the literature. Lignin P4 technology offers the most life cycle energy and CO2 emissions benefits compared to a conventional stamped steel technology. With a 20% reduction in energy use in the lignin conversion to carbon fiber and free availability of lignin as a by-product of ethanol and wood production, a 30% reduction in life cycle energy use could be obtained. A similar level of life cycle energy savings could also be obtained with a higher part weight reduction potential of 43%.

  14. Life cycle assessment of gasoline production and use in Chile.

    PubMed

    Morales, Marjorie; Gonzalez-García, Sara; Aroca, Germán; Moreira, María Teresa

    2015-02-01

    Gasoline is the second most consumed fuel in Chile, accounting for 34% of the total fuel consumption in transportation related activities in 2012. Chilean refineries process more than 97% of the total gasoline commercialized in the national market. When it comes to evaluating the environmental profile of a Chilean process or product, the analysis should consider the characteristics of the Chilean scenario for fuel production and use. Therefore, the identification of the environmental impacts of gasoline production turns to be very relevant for the determination of the associated environmental impacts. For this purpose, Life Cycle Assessment has been selected as a useful methodology to assess the ecological burdens derived from fuel-based systems. In this case study, five subsystems were considered under a "well-to-wheel" analysis: crude oil extraction, gasoline importation, refinery, gasoline storage and distribution/use. The distance of 1 km driven by a middle size passenger car was chosen as functional unit. Moreover, volume, economic and energy-based allocations were also considered in a further sensitivity analysis. According to the results, the main hotspots were the refining activities as well as the tailpipe emissions from car use. When detailing by impact category, climate change was mainly affected by the combustion emissions derived from the gasoline use and refining activities. Refinery was also remarkable in toxicity related categories due to heavy metals emissions. In ozone layer and mineral depletion, transport activities played an important role. Refinery was also predominant in photochemical oxidation and water depletion. In terms of terrestrial acidification and marine eutrophication, the combustion emissions from gasoline use accounted for large contributions. This study provides real inventory data for the Chilean case study and the environmental results give insight into their influence of the assessment of products and processes in the country

  15. Life cycle assessment of waste prevention in the delivery of pasta, breakfast cereals, and rice.

    PubMed

    Dolci, Giovanni; Nessi, Simone; Rigamonti, Lucia; Grosso, Mario

    2016-07-01

    Waste prevention is the top priority of the European waste management strategy. In fact, as indicated in the latest Waste Framework Directive, the best option to deal with waste is not to generate it at all. In this framework, the distribution of loose dry food products through self-dispensing systems (so-called "loose distribution") is being considered worldwide as a practice to reduce the generation of packaging waste. This life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental convenience of the loose distribution of dry pasta, breakfast cereals, and rice, in comparison with the traditional method of distribution. For each product, several baseline scenarios based on single-use packaging were compared with different waste prevention scenarios in which the product is distributed loose. The comparison addressed waste generation, 13 impact categories on the environment and human health, and the Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) indicator. The results are significantly different for the 3 products. The loose distribution of pasta allows a 50% waste reduction and a decrease in the potential impacts only when compared with single-use cartonboard boxes. Conversely, when the comparison is made with single-use polypropylene bags, the loose distribution can even cause an increase in waste generation (up to 15%) and in the potential life cycle impacts. For breakfast cereals, the loose distribution allows a significant reduction in both the amount of waste (up to 84%) and the potential impacts, compared to the sale of traditional single-use bag-in-box packages. Finally, the loose distribution of rice permits a reduction in both waste generation (up to 86%) and most of the potential impacts. In particular, the impact reduction is higher when the reference single-use packaging that is replaced includes a cartonboard box. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2016;12:445-458. © 2016 SETAC. PMID:26762500

  16. Analysis and Assessment of Environmental Load of Vending Machines by a LCA Method, and Eco-Improvement Effect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimura, Yukio; Sadamichi, Yucho; Maruyama, Naoki; Kato, Seizo

    These days the environmental impact due to vending machines'(VM) diffusion has greatly been discussed. This paper describes the numerical evaluation of the environmental impact by using the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) scheme and then proposes eco-improvements' strategy toward environmentally conscious products(ECP). A new objective and universal consolidated method for the LCA-evaluation, so-called LCA-NETS(Numerical Eco-load Standardization ) developed by the authors is applied to the present issue. As a result, the environmental loads at the 5years' operation and the material procurement stages are found to dominate others over the life cycle. Further eco-improvement is realized by following the order of the LCA-NETS magnitude; namely, energy saving, materials reducing, parts' re-using, and replacing with low environmental load material. Above all, parts' re-using is specially recommendable for significant reduction of the environmental loads toward ECP.

  17. Space Transportation Systems Life Cycle Cost Assessment and Control

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robinson, John W.; Rhodes, Russell E.; Zapata, Edgar; Levack, Daniel J. H.; Donahue, Benjaamin B.; Knuth, William

    2008-01-01

    Civil and military applications of space transportation have been pursued for just over 50 years and there has been, and still is, a need for safe, dependable, affordable, and sustainable space transportation systems. Fully expendable and partially reusable space transportation systems have been developed and put in operation that have not adequately achieved this need. Access to space is technically achievable, but presently very expensive and will remain so until there is a breakthrough in the way we do business. Since 1991 the national Space Propulsion Synergy Team (SPST) has reviewed and assessed the lessons learned from the major U.S. space programs of the past decades focusing on what has been learned from the assessment and control of Life Cycle Cost (LCC) from these systems. This paper presents the results of a selected number of studies and analyses that have been conducted by the SPST addressing the need, as well as the solutions, for improvement in LCC. The major emphasis of the SPST processes is on developing the space transportation system requirements first (up front). These requirements must include both the usual system flight performance requirements and also the system functional requirements, including the infrastructure on Earth's surface, in-space and on the Moon and Mars surfaces to determine LCC. This paper describes the development of specific innovative engineering and management approaches and processes. This includes a focus on flight hardware maturity for reliability, ground operations approaches, and business processes between contractor and government organizations. A major change in program/project cost control is being proposed by the SPST to achieve a sustainable space transportation system LCC - controlling cost as a program metric in addition to the existing practice of controlling performance and weight. Without a firm requirement and methodically structured cost control, it is unlikely that an affordable and sustainable space

  18. Life cycle assessment of a biomass gasification combined-cycle power system

    SciTech Connect

    Mann, M.K.; Spath, P.L.

    1997-12-01

    The potential environmental benefits from biomass power are numerous. However, biomass power may also have some negative effects on the environment. Although the environmental benefits and drawbacks of biomass power have been debated for some time, the total significance has not been assessed. This study serves to answer some of the questions most often raised in regard to biomass power: What are the net CO{sub 2} emissions? What is the energy balance of the integrated system? Which substances are emitted at the highest rates? What parts of the system are responsible for these emissions? To provide answers to these questions, a life cycle assessment (LCA) of a hypothetical biomass power plant located in the Midwest United States was performed. LCA is an analytical tool for quantifying the emissions, resource consumption, and energy use, collectively known as environmental stressors, that are associated with converting a raw material to a final product. Performed in conjunction with a technoeconomic feasibility study, the total economic and environmental benefits and drawbacks of a process can be quantified. This study complements a technoeconomic analysis of the same process, reported in Craig and Mann (1996) and updated here. The process studied is based on the concept of power Generation in a biomass integrated gasification combined cycle (BIGCC) plant. Broadly speaking, the overall system consists of biomass production, its transportation to the power plant, electricity generation, and any upstream processes required for system operation. The biomass is assumed to be supplied to the plant as wood chips from a biomass plantation, which would produce energy crops in a manner similar to the way food and fiber crops are produced today. Transportation of the biomass and other materials is by both rail and truck. The IGCC plant is sized at 113 MW, and integrates an indirectly-heated gasifier with an industrial gas turbine and steam cycle. 63 refs., 34 figs., 32 tabs.

  19. Life cycle assessment of resource recovery from municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash.

    PubMed

    Allegrini, Elisa; Vadenbo, Carl; Boldrin, Alessio; Astrup, Thomas Fruergaard

    2015-03-15

    Bottom ash, the main solid output from municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI), has significant potential for the recovery of resources such as scrap metals and aggregates. The utilisation of these resources ideally enables natural resources to be saved. However, the quality of the recovered scrap metals may limit recycling potential, and the utilisation of aggregates may cause the release of toxic substances into the natural environment through leaching. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to a full-scale MSWI bottom ash management and recovery system to identify environmental breakeven points beyond which the burdens of the recovery processes outweigh the environmental benefits from valorising metals and mineral aggregates. Experimental data for the quantity and quality of individual material fractions were used as a basis for LCA modelling. For the aggregates, three disposal routes were compared: landfilling, road sub-base and aggregate in concrete, while specific leaching data were used as the basis for evaluating toxic impacts. The recovery and recycling of aluminium, ferrous, stainless steel and copper scrap were considered, and the importance of aluminium scrap quality, choice of marginal energy technologies and substitution rates between primary and secondary aluminium, stainless steel and ferrous products, were assessed and discussed. The modelling resulted in burdens to toxic impacts associated with metal recycling and leaching from aggregates during utilisation, while large savings were obtained in terms of non-toxic impacts. However, by varying the substitution rate for aluminium recycling between 0.35 and 0.05 (on the basis of aluminium scrap and secondary aluminium alloy market value), it was found that the current recovery system might reach a breakeven point between the benefits of recycling and energy expended on sorting and upgrading the scrap. PMID:25555136

  20. Life Cycle Assessment of the MBT plant in Ano Liossia, Athens, Greece

    SciTech Connect

    Abeliotis, Konstadinos; Kalogeropoulos, Alexandros; Lasaridi, Katia

    2012-01-15

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer We model the operation of an MBT plant in Greece based on LCA. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer We compare four different MBT operating scenarios (among them and with landfilling). Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Even the current operation of the MBT plant is preferable to landfilling. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Utilization of the MBT compost and metals generates the most environmental gains. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Thermal exploitation of RDF improves further the environmental performance of the plant. - Abstract: The aim of this paper is the application of Life Cycle Assessment to the operation of the MBT facility of Ano Liossia in the region of Attica in Greece. The region of Attica is home to almost half the population of Greece and the management of its waste is a major issue. In order to explicitly analyze the operation of the MBT plant, five scenarios were generated. Actual operation data of the MBT plant for the year 2008 were provided by the region of Attica and the LCA modeling was performed via the SimaPro 5.1 software while impact assessment was performed utilizing the Eco-indicator'99 method. The results of our analysis indicate that even the current operation of the MBT plant is preferable to landfilling. Among the scenarios of MBT operation, the one with complete utilization of the MBT outputs, i.e. compost, RDF, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, is the one that generates the most environmental gains. Our analysis indicates that the exploitation of RDF via incineration is the key factor towards improving the environmental performance of the MBT plant. Our findings provide a quantitative understanding of the MBT plant. Interpretation of results showed that proper operation of the modern waste management systems can lead to substantial reduction of environmental impacts and savings of resources.

  1. Life cycle assessment of a biomass gasification combined-cycle power system

    SciTech Connect

    Mann, M.K.; Spath, P.L.

    1997-12-01

    The potential environmental benefits from biomass power are numerous. However, biomass power may also have some negative effects on the environment. Although the environmental benefits and drawbacks of biomass power have been debated for some time, the total significance has not been assessed. This study serves to answer some of the questions most often raised in regard to biomass power: What are the net CO{sub 2} emissions? What is the energy balance of the integrated system? Which substances are emitted at the highest rates? What parts of the system are responsible for these emissions? To provide answers to these questions, a life cycle assessment (LCA) of a hypothetical biomass power plant located in the Midwest United States was performed. LCA is an analytical tool for quantifying the emissions, resource consumption, and energy use, collectively known as environmental stressors, that are associated with converting a raw material to a final product. Performed in conjunction with a t echnoeconomic feasibility study, the total economic and environmental benefits and drawbacks of a process can be quantified. This study complements a technoeconomic analysis of the same process, reported in Craig and Mann (1996) and updated here. The process studied is based on the concept of power Generation in a biomass integrated gasification combined cycle (BIGCC) plant. Broadly speaking, the overall system consists of biomass production, its transportation to the power plant, electricity generation, and any upstream processes required for system operation. The biomass is assumed to be supplied to the plant as wood chips from a biomass plantation, which would produce energy crops in a manner similar to the way food and fiber crops are produced today. Transportation of the biomass and other materials is by both rail and truck. The IGCC plant is sized at 113 MW, and integrates an indirectly-heated gasifier with an industrial gas turbine and steam cycle. 63 refs., 34 figs., 32 tabs.

  2. Selection of odour removal technologies in wastewater treatment plants: a guideline based on Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Alfonsín, Carolina; Lebrero, Raquel; Estrada, José M; Muñoz, Raúl; Kraakman, N J R Bart; Feijoo, Gumersindo; Moreira, M Teresa

    2015-02-01

    This paper aims at analysing the environmental benefits and impacts associated with the treatment of malodorous emissions from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was applied to two biological treatments, namely biofilter (BF) and biotrickling filter (BTF), two physical/chemical alternatives, namely activated carbon tower (AC) and chemical scrubber (CS), and a hybrid combination of BTF + AC. The assessment provided consistent guidelines for technology selection, not only based on removal efficiencies, but also on the environmental impact associated with the treatment of emissions. The results showed that biological alternatives entailed the lowest impacts. On the contrary, the use of chemicals led to the highest impacts for CS. Energy use was the main contributor to the impact related to BF and BTF, whereas the production of glass fibre used as infrastructure material played an important role in BTF impact. Production of NaClO entailed the highest burdens among the chemicals used in CS, representing ∼ 90% of the impact associated to chemicals. The frequent replacement of packing material in AC was responsible for the highest environmental impacts, granular activated carbon (GAC) production and its final disposal representing more than 50% of the impact in most categories. Finally, the assessment of BTF + AC showed that the hybrid technology is less recommendable than BF and BTF, but friendlier to the environment than physical/chemical treatments. PMID:25463573

  3. Integrated earth system dynamic modeling for life cycle impact assessment of ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Arbault, Damien; Rivière, Mylène; Rugani, Benedetto; Benetto, Enrico; Tiruta-Barna, Ligia

    2014-02-15

    Despite the increasing awareness of our dependence on Ecosystem Services (ES), Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) does not explicitly and fully assess the damages caused by human activities on ES generation. Recent improvements in LCIA focus on specific cause-effect chains, mainly related to land use changes, leading to Characterization Factors (CFs) at the midpoint assessment level. However, despite the complexity and temporal dynamics of ES, current LCIA approaches consider the environmental mechanisms underneath ES to be independent from each other and devoid of dynamic character, leading to constant CFs whose representativeness is debatable. This paper takes a step forward and is aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of using an integrated earth system dynamic modeling perspective to retrieve time- and scenario-dependent CFs that consider the complex interlinkages between natural processes delivering ES. The GUMBO (Global Unified Metamodel of the Biosphere) model is used to quantify changes in ES production in physical terms - leading to midpoint CFs - and changes in human welfare indicators, which are considered here as endpoint CFs. The interpretation of the obtained results highlights the key methodological challenges to be solved to consider this approach as a robust alternative to the mainstream rationale currently adopted in LCIA. Further research should focus on increasing the granularity of environmental interventions in the modeling tools to match current standards in LCA and on adapting the conceptual approach to a spatially-explicit integrated model. PMID:24291626

  4. Life cycle assessment of bioethanol production from woodchips with modifications in the pretreatment process.

    PubMed

    Shadbahr, Jalil; Zhang, Yan; Khan, Faisal

    2015-01-01

    Pretreatment as a crucial step in the process of ethanol production has significant influences on the process efficiency and on the environmental performance of the bioethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. In present life cycle analysis (LCA) study, two cases for pretreatment of woodchips were considered as the focal point of the ethanol plant. One was assumed as base scenario whereas the second is the proposed alternative by implementation of modifications on the base design. In the first stage, LCA results of pretreatment unit showed lower environmental impacts in respiratory inorganics and land use than in new scenario, while the base scenario revealed better performance in fossil fuels. The results of the second stage of LCA study demonstrated improvement in proposed design in most categories of environmental impacts such as 18.5 % in land use as well as 17 % improvement in ecosystem quality. PMID:25367284

  5. USING LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT TOOLS FOR INTEGRATED PRODUCT POLICY

    EPA Science Inventory

    There is a growing awareness that a single issue approach to an environmental problem may not lead to an effective long-term strategy. Instead, governments and industries around the world are seeing the value and need to look at the entire life cycle of products and processes fro...

  6. LCACCESS: PROMOTING THE USE OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Evaluating environmental impacts holistically from raw material acquisition, through manufacture, to use and disposal using a life cycle perspective is gradually being viewed by environmental managers and decision-makers as an important element in the tools that are used to achie...

  7. Life cycle assessment of central softening of very hard drinking water.

    PubMed

    Godskesen, B; Hauschild, M; Rygaard, M; Zambrano, K; Albrechtsen, H-J

    2012-08-30

    Many consumers prefer softened water due to convenience issues such as avoidance of removing limescale deposits from household appliances and surfaces, and to reduce consumption of cleaning agents and laundry detergents leading to lower household expenses. Even though central softening of drinking water entailed an increased use of energy, sand and chemicals at the waterworks, the distributed and softened drinking water supported a decrease in consumption of energy and chemical agents in the households along with a prolonged service life of household appliances which heat water. This study used Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to quantify the environmental impacts of central softening of drinking water considering both the negative effects at the waterworks and the positive effects imposed by the changed water quality in the households. The LCA modeling considered central softening of drinking water from the initial hardness of the region of study (Copenhagen, Denmark) which is 362 mg/L as CaCO(3) to a final hardness as CaCO(3) of 254 (a softening depth of 108) mg/L or 145 (a softening depth of 217) mg/L. Our study showed that the consumer preference can be met together with reducing the impact on the environment and the resource consumption. Environmental impacts decreased by up to 3 mPET (milli Personal Equivalent Targeted) and the break-even point from where central softening becomes environmentally beneficial was reached at a softening depth of only 22 mg/L as CaCO(3). Both energy-related and chemically related environmental impacts were reduced as well as the consumption of resources. Based on scarcity criteria, nickel was identified as the most problematic non-renewable resource in the system, and savings of up to 8 mPR (milli Person Reserve) were found. PMID:22534192

  8. Environmental impact associated with activated carbon preparation from olive-waste cake via life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Hjaila, K; Baccar, R; Sarrà, M; Gasol, C M; Blánquez, P

    2013-11-30

    The life cycle assessment (LCA) environmental tool was implemented to quantify the potential environmental impacts associated with the activated carbon (AC) production process from olive-waste cakes in Tunisia. On the basis of laboratory investigations for AC preparation, a flowchart was developed and the environmental impacts were determined. The LCA functional unit chosen was the production of 1 kg of AC from by-product olive-waste cakes. The results showed that impregnation using H3PO4 presented the highest environmental impacts for the majority of the indicators tested: acidification potential (62%), eutrophication (96%), ozone depletion potential (44%), human toxicity (64%), fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity (90%) and terrestrial ecotoxicity (92%). One of the highest impacts was found to be the global warming potential (11.096 kg CO2 eq/kg AC), which was equally weighted between the steps involving impregnation, pyrolysis, and drying the washed AC. The cumulative energy demand of the AC production process from the by-product olive-waste cakes was 167.63 MJ contributed by impregnation, pyrolysis, and drying the washed AC steps. The use of phosphoric acid and electricity in the AC production were the main factors responsible for the majority of the impacts. If certain modifications are incorporated into the AC production, such as implementing synthesis gas recovery and reusing it as an energy source and recovery of phosphoric acid after AC washing, additional savings could be realized, and environmental impacts could be minimized. PMID:24091159

  9. Environmental balance of the UK biogas sector: An evaluation by consequential life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Styles, David; Dominguez, Eduardo Mesa; Chadwick, Dave

    2016-08-01

    Anaerobic digestion (AD) is expanding rapidly in the UK. Previous life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have highlighted the sensitivity of environmental outcomes to feedstock type, fugitive emissions, biomethane use, energy conversion efficiency and digestate management. We combined statistics on current and planned AD deployment with operational data from a survey of biogas plant operators to evaluate the environmental balance of the UK biogas sector for the years 2014 and 2017. Consequential LCA was applied to account for all major environmental credits and burdens incurred, including: (i) substitution of composting, incineration, sewer disposal, field decomposition and animal feeding of wastes; (ii) indirect land use change (ILUC) incurred by the cultivation of crops used for biogas production and to compensate for bakery and brewery wastes diverted from animal feed. In 2014, the UK biogas sector reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 551-755Gg CO2e excluding ILUC, or 238-755Gg CO2e including ILUC uncertainty. Fossil energy depletion was reduced by 8.9-10.8PJe, but eutrophication and acidification burdens were increased by 1.8-3.4Gg PO4e and 8.1-14.6Gg SO2e, respectively. Food waste and manure feedstocks dominate GHG abatement, largely through substitution of in-vessel composting and manure storage, whilst food waste and crop feedstocks dominate fossil energy credit, primarily through substitution of natural gas power generation. Biogas expansion is projected to increase environmental credits and loadings by a factor of 2.4 by 2017. If all AD bioelectricity replaced coal generation, or if 90% of biomethane replaced transport diesel or grid natural gas, GHG abatement would increase by 131%, 38% and 20%, respectively. Policies to encourage digestion of food waste and manures could maximize GHG abatement, avoiding the risk of carbon leakage associated with use of crops and wastes otherwise used to feed livestock. Covering digestate stores could largely mitigate

  10. Environmental & economic life cycle assessment of current & future sewage sludge to energy technologies.

    PubMed

    Mills, N; Pearce, P; Farrow, J; Thorpe, R B; Kirkby, N F

    2014-01-01

    The UK Water Industry currently generates approximately 800GWh pa of electrical energy from sewage sludge. Traditionally energy recovery from sewage sludge features Anaerobic Digestion (AD) with biogas utilisation in combined heat and power (CHP) systems. However, the industry is evolving and a number of developments that extract more energy from sludge are either being implemented or are nearing full scale demonstration. This study compared five technology configurations: 1 - conventional AD with CHP, 2 - Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP) AD with CHP, 3 - THP AD with bio-methane grid injection, 4 - THP AD with CHP followed by drying of digested sludge for solid fuel production, 5 - THP AD followed by drying, pyrolysis of the digested sludge and use of the both the biogas and the pyrolysis gas in a CHP. The economic and environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) found that both the post AD drying options performed well but the option used to create a solid fuel to displace coal (configuration 4) was the most sustainable solution economically and environmentally, closely followed by the pyrolysis configuration (5). Application of THP improves the financial and environmental performance compared with conventional AD. Producing bio-methane for grid injection (configuration 3) is attractive financially but has the worst environmental impact of all the scenarios, suggesting that the current UK financial incentive policy for bio-methane is not driving best environmental practice. It is clear that new and improving processes and technologies are enabling significant opportunities for further energy recovery from sludge; LCA provides tools for determining the best overall options for particular situations and allows innovation resources and investment to be focused accordingly. PMID:24060290

  11. Environmental life cycle assessment of different domestic wastewater streams: policy effectiveness in a tropical urban environment.

    PubMed

    Ng, Bernard J H; Zhou, Jin; Giannis, Apostolos; Chang, Victor W-C; Wang, Jing-Yuan

    2014-07-01

    To enhance local water security, the Singapore government promotes two water conservation policies: the use of eco-friendly toilets to reduce yellow water (YW) disposal and the installation of water efficient devices to minimize gray water (GW) discharge. The proposed water conservation policies have different impacts on the environmental performance of local wastewater management. The main purpose of this study is to examine and compare the impacts of different domestic wastewater streams and the effectiveness of two water conservation policies by means of life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is used to compare three scenarios, including a baseline scenario (BL), YW-reduced scenario (YWR) and GW-reduced scenario (GWR). The BL is designed based on the current wastewater management system, whereas the latter two scenarios are constructed according to the two water conservation policies that are proposed by the Singapore government. The software SIMPARO 7.3 with local data and an eco-invent database is used to build up the model, and the functional unit is defined as the daily wastewater disposal of a Singapore resident. Due to local water supply characteristics, the system boundary is extended to include the sewage sludge management and tap water production processes. The characterization results indicate that the GWR has a significant impact reduction (22-25%) while the YWR has only a 2-4% impact reduction compared with the BL. The contribution analysis reveals that the GW dominates many impact categories except eutrophication potential. The tap water production is identified as the most influential process due to its high embodied energy demand in a local context. Life cycle costing analysis shows that both YWR and GWR are financially favorable. It is also revealed that the current water conservation policies could only achieve Singapore's short-term targets. Therefore, two additional strategies are recommended for achieving long-term goals. This study provides a

  12. Global and local health burden trade-off through the hybridisation of quantitative microbial risk assessment and life cycle assessment to aid water management.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Yumi; Peters, Greg M; Ashbolt, Nicholas J; Heimersson, Sara; Svanström, Magdalena; Khan, Stuart J

    2015-08-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) and quantitative risk assessment (QRA) are commonly used to evaluate potential human health impacts associated with proposed or existing infrastructure and products. Each approach has a distinct objective and, consequently, their conclusions may be inconsistent or contradictory. It is proposed that the integration of elements of QRA and LCA may provide a more holistic approach to health impact assessment. Here we examine the possibility of merging LCA assessed human health impacts with quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) for waterborne pathogen impacts, expressed with the common health metric, disability adjusted life years (DALYs). The example of a recent large-scale water recycling project in Sydney, Australia was used to identify and demonstrate the potential advantages and current limitations of this approach. A comparative analysis of two scenarios - with and without the development of this project - was undertaken for this purpose. LCA and QMRA were carried out independently for the two scenarios to compare human health impacts, as measured by DALYs lost per year. LCA results suggested that construction of the project would lead to an increased number of DALYs lost per year, while estimated disease burden resulting from microbial exposures indicated that it would result in the loss of fewer DALYs per year than the alternative scenario. By merging the results of the LCA and QMRA, we demonstrate the advantages in providing a more comprehensive assessment of human disease burden for the two scenarios, in particular, the importance of considering the results of both LCA and QRA in a comparative assessment of decision alternatives to avoid problem shifting. The application of DALYs as a common measure between the two approaches was found to be useful for this purpose. PMID:25965885

  13. Life Cycle Assessment of the MBT plant in Ano Liossia, Athens, Greece.

    PubMed

    Abeliotis, Konstadinos; Kalogeropoulos, Alexandros; Lasaridi, Katia

    2012-01-01

    The aim of this paper is the application of Life Cycle Assessment to the operation of the MBT facility of Ano Liossia in the region of Attica in Greece. The region of Attica is home to almost half the population of Greece and the management of its waste is a major issue. In order to explicitly analyze the operation of the MBT plant, five scenarios were generated. Actual operation data of the MBT plant for the year 2008 were provided by the region of Attica and the LCA modeling was performed via the SimaPro 5.1 software while impact assessment was performed utilizing the Eco-indicator'99 method. The results of our analysis indicate that even the current operation of the MBT plant is preferable to landfilling. Among the scenarios of MBT operation, the one with complete utilization of the MBT outputs, i.e. compost, RDF, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, is the one that generates the most environmental gains. Our analysis indicates that the exploitation of RDF via incineration is the key factor towards improving the environmental performance of the MBT plant. Our findings provide a quantitative understanding of the MBT plant. Interpretation of results showed that proper operation of the modern waste management systems can lead to substantial reduction of environmental impacts and savings of resources. PMID:21975302

  14. High temperature abatement of acid gases from waste incineration. Part II: Comparative life cycle assessment study

    SciTech Connect

    Biganzoli, Laura; Racanella, Gaia; Marras, Roberto; Rigamonti, Lucia

    2015-01-15

    Highlights: • Two scenarios of acid gases removal in WTE plants were compared in an LCA study. • A detailed inventory based on primary data has been reported for the production of the new dolomitic sorbent. • Results show that the comparison between the two scenarios does not show systematic differences. • The potential impacts are reduced only if there is an increase in the energy efficiency of the WTE plant. - Abstract: The performances of a new dolomitic sorbent, named Depurcal®MG, to be directly injected at high temperature in the combustion chamber of Waste-To-Energy (WTE) plants as a preliminary stage of deacidification, were experimentally tested during full-scale commercial operation. Results of the experimentations were promising, and have been extensively described in Biganzoli et al. (2014). This paper reports the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study performed to compare the traditional operation of the plants, based on the sole sodium bicarbonate feeding at low temperature, with the new one, where the dolomitic sorbent is injected at high temperature. In the latter the sodium bicarbonate is still used, but at lower rate because of the decreased load of acid gases entering the flue gas treatment line. The major goal of the LCA was to make sure that a burden shifting was not taking place somewhere in the life cycle stages, as it might be the case when a new material is used in substitution of another one. According to the comparative approach, only the processes which differ between the two operational modes were included in the system boundaries. They are the production of the two reactants and the treatment of the corresponding solid residues arising from the neutralisation of acid gases. The additional CO{sub 2} emission at the stack of the WTE plant due to the activation of the sodium bicarbonate was also included in the calculation. Data used in the modelling of the foreground system are primary, derived from the experimental tests described in

  15. The work environment disability-adjusted life year for use with life cycle assessment: a methodological approach

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a systems-based method used to determine potential impacts to the environment associated with a product throughout its life cycle. Conclusions from LCA studies can be applied to support decisions regarding product design or public policy, therefore, all relevant inputs (e.g., raw materials, energy) and outputs (e.g., emissions, waste) to the product system should be evaluated to estimate impacts. Currently, work-related impacts are not routinely considered in LCA. The objectives of this paper are: 1) introduce the work environment disability-adjusted life year (WE-DALY), one portion of a characterization factor used to express the magnitude of impacts to human health attributable to work-related exposures to workplace hazards; 2) outline the methods for calculating the WE-DALY; 3) demonstrate the calculation; and 4) highlight strengths and weaknesses of the methodological approach. Methods The concept of the WE-DALY and the methodological approach to its calculation is grounded in the World Health Organization’s disability-adjusted life year (DALY). Like the DALY, the WE-DALY equation considers the years of life lost due to premature mortality and the years of life lived with disability outcomes to estimate the total number of years of healthy life lost in a population. The equation requires input in the form of the number of fatal and nonfatal injuries and illnesses that occur in the industries relevant to the product system evaluated in the LCA study, the age of the worker at the time of the fatal or nonfatal injury or illness, the severity of the injury or illness, and the duration of time lived with the outcomes of the injury or illness. Results The methodological approach for the WE-DALY requires data from various sources, multi-step instructions to determine each variable used in the WE-DALY equation, and assumptions based on professional opinion. Conclusions Results support the use of the WE-DALY in a

  16. Environmental assessment of digestate treatment technologies using LCA methodology.

    PubMed

    Vázquez-Rowe, Ian; Golkowska, Katarzyna; Lebuf, Viooltje; Vaneeckhaute, Céline; Michels, Evi; Meers, Erik; Benetto, Enrico; Koster, Daniel

    2015-09-01

    The production of biogas from energy crops, organic waste and manure has augmented considerably the amounts of digestate available in Flanders. This has pushed authorities to steadily introduce legislative changes to promote its use as a fertilising agent. There is limited arable land in Flanders, which entails that digestate has to compete with animal manure to be spread. This forces many anaerobic digestion plants to further treat digestate in such a way that it can either be exported or the nitrogen be removed. Nevertheless, the environmental impact of these treatment options is still widely unknown, as well as the influence of these impacts on the sustainability of Flemish anaerobic digestion plants in comparison to other regions where spreading of raw digestate is allowed. Despite important economic aspects that must be considered, the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is suggested in this study to identify the environmental impacts of spreading digestate directly as compared to four different treatment technologies. Results suggest relevant environmental gains when the digestate mix is treated using the examined conversion technologies prior to spreading, although important trade-offs between impact categories were observed and discussed. The promising results of digestate conversion technologies suggest that further LCA analyses should be performed to delve into, for instance, the appropriateness to shift to nutrient recovery technologies rather than digestate conversion treatments. PMID:26092475

  17. Life cycle assessment of base-load heat sources for district heating system options

    SciTech Connect

    Ghafghazi, Saeed; Sowlati, T.; Sokhansanj, Shahabaddine; Melin, Staffan

    2011-03-01

    Purpose There has been an increased interest in utilizing renewable energy sources in district heating systems. District heating systems are centralized systems that provide heat for residential and commercial buildings in a community. While various renewable and conventional energy sources can be used in such systems, many stakeholders are interested in choosing the feasible option with the least environmental impacts. This paper evaluates and compares environmental burdens of alternative energy source options for the base load of a district heating center in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC) using the life cycle assessment method. The considered energy sources include natural gas, wood pellet, sewer heat, and ground heat. Methods The life cycle stages considered in the LCA model cover all stages from fuel production, fuel transmission/transportation, construction, operation, and finally demolition of the district heating system. The impact categories were analyzed based on the IMPACT 2002+ method. Results and discussion On a life-cycle basis, the global warming effect of renewable energy options were at least 200 kgeqCO2 less than that of the natural gas option per MWh of heat produced by the base load system. It was concluded that less than 25% of the upstream global warming impact associated with the wood pellet energy source option was due to transportation activities and about 50% of that was resulted from wood pellet production processes. In comparison with other energy options, the wood pellets option has higher impacts on respiratory of inorganics, terrestrial ecotoxicity, acidification, and nutrification categories. Among renewable options, the global warming impact of heat pump options in the studied case in Vancouver, BC, were lower than the wood pellet option due to BC's low carbon electricity generation profile. Ozone layer depletion and mineral extraction were the highest for the heat pump options due to extensive construction required for these

  18. Geothermal Water Use: Life Cycle Water Consumption, Water Resource Assessment, and Water Policy Framework

    DOE Data Explorer

    Schroeder, Jenna N.

    2014-06-10

    This report examines life cycle water consumption for various geothermal technologies to better understand factors that affect water consumption across the life cycle (e.g., power plant cooling, belowground fluid losses) and to assess the potential water challenges that future geothermal power generation projects may face. Previous reports in this series quantified the life cycle freshwater requirements of geothermal power-generating systems, explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids, and assessed future water demand by geothermal power plants according to growth projections for the industry. This report seeks to extend those analyses by including EGS flash, both as part of the life cycle analysis and water resource assessment. A regional water resource assessment based upon the life cycle results is also presented. Finally, the legal framework of water with respect to geothermal resources in the states with active geothermal development is also analyzed.

  19. Life Cycle Assessment of Amonix 7700 HCPV Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Fthenakis, V.; Kim, H.

    2010-04-07

    We estimated the energy payback time (EPBT) and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the life cycle of the Amonix high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) system with III-V solar cells. For a location in the southwest United States, the Amonix 7700 has an EPBT of only 0.86 yrs and GHG emissions of 24g CO{sub 2}-eq./kWh we expect further decreases in both by 2011.

  20. Life Cycle Assessment of Metals: A Scientific Synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Nuss, Philip; Eckelman, Matthew J.

    2014-01-01

    We have assembled extensive information on the cradle-to-gate environmental burdens of 63 metals in their major use forms, and illustrated the interconnectedness of metal production systems. Related cumulative energy use, global warming potential, human health implications and ecosystem damage are estimated by metal life cycle stage (i.e., mining, purification, and refining). For some elements, these are the first life cycle estimates of environmental impacts reported in the literature. We show that, if compared on a per kilogram basis, the platinum group metals and gold display the highest environmental burdens, while many of the major industrial metals (e.g., iron, manganese, titanium) are found at the lower end of the environmental impacts scale. If compared on the basis of their global annual production in 2008, iron and aluminum display the largest impacts, and thallium and tellurium the lowest. With the exception of a few metals, environmental impacts of the majority of elements are dominated by the purification and refining stages in which metals are transformed from a concentrate into their metallic form. Out of the 63 metals investigated, 42 metals are obtained as co-products in multi output processes. We test the sensitivity of varying allocation rationales, in which the environmental burden are allocated to the various metal and mineral products, on the overall results. Monte-Carlo simulation is applied to further investigate the stability of our results. This analysis is the most comprehensive life cycle comparison of metals to date and allows for the first time a complete bottom-up estimate of life cycle impacts of the metals and mining sector globally. We estimate global direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 at 3.4 Gt CO2-eq per year and primary energy use at 49 EJ per year (9.5% of global use), and report the shares for all metals to both impact categories. PMID:24999810

  1. Life cycle assessment of metals: a scientific synthesis.

    PubMed

    Nuss, Philip; Eckelman, Matthew J

    2014-01-01

    We have assembled extensive information on the cradle-to-gate environmental burdens of 63 metals in their major use forms, and illustrated the interconnectedness of metal production systems. Related cumulative energy use, global warming potential, human health implications and ecosystem damage are estimated by metal life cycle stage (i.e., mining, purification, and refining). For some elements, these are the first life cycle estimates of environmental impacts reported in the literature. We show that, if compared on a per kilogram basis, the platinum group metals and gold display the highest environmental burdens, while many of the major industrial metals (e.g., iron, manganese, titanium) are found at the lower end of the environmental impacts scale. If compared on the basis of their global annual production in 2008, iron and aluminum display the largest impacts, and thallium and tellurium the lowest. With the exception of a few metals, environmental impacts of the majority of elements are dominated by the purification and refining stages in which metals are transformed from a concentrate into their metallic form. Out of the 63 metals investigated, 42 metals are obtained as co-products in multi output processes. We test the sensitivity of varying allocation rationales, in which the environmental burden are allocated to the various metal and mineral products, on the overall results. Monte-Carlo simulation is applied to further investigate the stability of our results. This analysis is the most comprehensive life cycle comparison of metals to date and allows for the first time a complete bottom-up estimate of life cycle impacts of the metals and mining sector globally. We estimate global direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 at 3.4 Gt CO2-eq per year and primary energy use at 49 EJ per year (9.5% of global use), and report the shares for all metals to both impact categories. PMID:24999810

  2. Benefits and risks of emerging technologies: integrating life cycle assessment and decision analysis to assess lumber treatment alternatives.

    PubMed

    Tsang, Michael P; Bates, Matthew E; Madison, Marcus; Linkov, Igor

    2014-10-01

    Assessing the best options among emerging technologies (e.g., new chemicals, nanotechnologies) is complicated because of trade-offs across benefits and risks that are difficult to quantify given limited and fragmented availability of information. This study demonstrates the integration of multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) to address technology alternative selection decisions. As a case study, prioritization of six lumber treatment alternatives [micronized copper quaternary (MCQ); alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ); water-borne copper naphthenate (CN); oil-borne copper naphthenate (CNo); water-borne copper quinolate (CQ); and water-borne zinc naphthenate (ZN)] for military use are considered. Multiattribute value theory (MAVT) is used to derive risk and benefit scores. Risk scores are calculated using a cradle-to-gate LCA. Benefit scores are calculated by scoring of cost, durability, and corrosiveness criteria. Three weighting schemes are used, representing Environmental, Military and Balanced stakeholder perspectives. Aggregated scores from all three perspectives show CQ to be the least favorable alterative. MCQ is identified as the most favorable alternative from the Environmental stakeholder perspective. From the Military stakeholder perspective, ZN is determined to be the most favorable alternative, followed closely by MCQ. This type of scoring and ranking of multiple heterogeneous criteria in a systematic and transparent way facilitates better justification of technology selection and regulation. PMID:25209330

  3. The Opportunities and Pitfalls of Applying Life Cycle Thinking to Nanoproducts and Nanomaterials

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well-established methodology for evaluating the environmental impact of products, materials, and processes. LCA experts worldwide agree that existing LCA tools are capable of supporting the development of decisions on the use of nanomaterials and ...

  4. Life Cycle Comparison of Waste-to-Energy to Sanitary Landfill

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be used to evaluate the environmental footprint of products, processes, and services. An LCA allows decision makers to compare products and processes through systematic evaluation of supply chains. Also known as a “cradle-to-grave” approach, LCA ev...

  5. Cost versus life cycle assessment-based environmental impact optimization of drinking water production plants.

    PubMed

    Capitanescu, F; Rege, S; Marvuglia, A; Benetto, E; Ahmadi, A; Gutiérrez, T Navarrete; Tiruta-Barna, L

    2016-07-15

    Empowering decision makers with cost-effective solutions for reducing industrial processes environmental burden, at both design and operation stages, is nowadays a major worldwide concern. The paper addresses this issue for the sector of drinking water production plants (DWPPs), seeking for optimal solutions trading-off operation cost and life cycle assessment (LCA)-based environmental impact while satisfying outlet water quality criteria. This leads to a challenging bi-objective constrained optimization problem, which relies on a computationally expensive intricate process-modelling simulator of the DWPP and has to be solved with limited computational budget. Since mathematical programming methods are unusable in this case, the paper examines the performances in tackling these challenges of six off-the-shelf state-of-the-art global meta-heuristic optimization algorithms, suitable for such simulation-based optimization, namely Strength Pareto Evolutionary Algorithm (SPEA2), Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm (NSGA-II), Indicator-based Evolutionary Algorithm (IBEA), Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithm based on Decomposition (MOEA/D), Differential Evolution (DE), and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO). The results of optimization reveal that good reduction in both operating cost and environmental impact of the DWPP can be obtained. Furthermore, NSGA-II outperforms the other competing algorithms while MOEA/D and DE perform unexpectedly poorly. PMID:27107954

  6. Life-cycle assessment of the municipal solid waste management system in Hangzhou, China (EASEWASTE).

    PubMed

    Zhao, Yan; Wang, Hong-Tao; Lu, Wen-Jing; Damgaard, Anders; Christensen, Thomas H

    2009-06-01

    With the purpose of assessing the environmental impacts and benefits of the current municipal solid waste management system and two modified systems, EASEWASTE, a life-cycle-based model, was used to evaluate the waste system of Hangzhou city in China. An integrated model was established, including waste generation, collection, transportation, treatment, disposal and accompanying external processes. The results showed that CH(4) released from landfilling was the primary pollutant contributing to global warming, and HCl and NH(3) from incineration contributed most to acidification. Material recycling and incineration with energy recovery were important because of the induced savings in material production based on virgin materials and in energy production based on coal combustion. A modified system in which waste is transported to the nearest incinerators would be relatively better than the current system, mainly due to the decrease of pollution from landfilled waste and the increase in energy production from waste avoiding energy production by traditional power plants. A ban on free plastic bags for shopping was shown to reduce most environmental impacts due to saved oil resources and other materials used in producing the plastic bags. Sensitivity analysis confirmed the robustness of the results. LCA methodology and a model like EASEWASTE are very suitable for evaluating the overall environmental consequences, and can be used for decision support and strategic planning in developing countries such as China where pollution control has become increasingly important with the rapid increase of waste generation as well as the increasing public awareness of environmental protection. PMID:19470539

  7. Model for cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of clinker production.

    PubMed

    Boesch, Michael Elias; Koehler, Annette; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2009-10-01

    A model for input- and technology-dependent cradle-to-gate life cycle assessments (LCA)was constructed to quantify emissions and resource consumption of various clinker production options. The model was compiled using data of more than 100 clinker production lines and complemented with literature data and best judgment from experts. It can be applied by the cement industry for the selection of alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) and by authorities for decision-support regarding the permission of waste co-processing in cement kilns. In the field of sustainable construction, the model can be used to compare clinker production options. Two case studies are presented. First, co-processing of four different types of waste is analyzed at a modern precalciner kiln system. Second, clinker production is compared between five kiln systems. Results show that the use of waste (tires, prepared industrial waste, dried sewage sludge, blast furnace slag) led to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, decreased resource consumption, and mostly to reduced aggregated environmental impacts. Regarding the different kiln systems, the environmental impact generally increased with decreasing energy efficiency. PMID:19848179

  8. Environmental optimization of chromium recovery from tannery sludge using a life cycle assessment approach.

    PubMed

    Kiliç, Eylem; Puig, Rita; Baquero, Grau; Font, Joaquim; Colak, Selime; Gürler, Deniz

    2011-08-15

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to evaluate the environmental impact of an oxidative chromium recovery method from tannery sludge, in comparison with the usual landfilling process. Three improvement options (water reduction, byproduct use and anaerobic sludge digestion) were considered. The results showed that the proposed chromium recovery process would be better environmentally than conventional landfilling in all the evaluated impact categories if the amount of chromium recovered was 43 kg per ton of sludge. This amount could be recovered if the chromium concentration was about 20 times higher than that considered in this study. Alternatively, a lower chromium concentration would produce a better result if the recovery method was optimized and implemented at industrial rather than laboratory scale, and if more accurate data were provided on environmental credits for avoiding the chromium production process. Thus, the recovery method is environmentally beneficial when tannery sludge contains a chromium concentration of about 100,000 ppm. According to the literature, such concentrations are not unusual. The results could serve as the basis for further environmental improvements in chromium recovery and tannery sludge management and should be used in decision-making processes, especially for end-of-pipe treatments. PMID:21684684

  9. Life-cycle assessment of diesel, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell bus transportation systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ally, Jamie; Pryor, Trevor

    The Sustainable Transport Energy Programme (STEP) is an initiative of the Government of Western Australia, to explore hydrogen fuel cell technology as an alternative to the existing diesel and natural gas public transit infrastructure in Perth. This project includes three buses manufactured by DaimlerChrysler with Ballard fuel cell power sources operating in regular service alongside the existing natural gas and diesel bus fleets. The life-cycle assessment (LCA) of the fuel cell bus trial in Perth determines the overall environmental footprint and energy demand by studying all phases of the complete transportation system, including the hydrogen infrastructure, bus manufacturing, operation, and end-of-life disposal. The LCAs of the existing diesel and natural gas transportation systems are developed in parallel. The findings show that the trial is competitive with the diesel and natural gas bus systems in terms of global warming potential and eutrophication. Emissions that contribute to acidification and photochemical ozone are greater for the fuel cell buses. Scenario analysis quantifies the improvements that can be expected in future generations of fuel cell vehicles and shows that a reduction of greater than 50% is achievable in the greenhouse gas, photochemical ozone creation and primary energy demand impact categories.

  10. Model for cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of clinker production

    SciTech Connect

    Michael Elias Boesch; Annette Koehler; Stefanie Hellweg

    2009-10-01

    A model for input- and technology-dependent cradle-to-gate life cycle assessments (LCA) was constructed to quantify emissions and resource consumption of various clinker production options. The model was compiled using data of more than 100 clinker production lines and complemented with literature data and best judgment from experts. It can be applied by the cement industry for the selection of alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) and by authorities for decision-support regarding the permission of waste co-processing in cement kilns. In the field of sustainable construction, the model can be used to compare clinker production options. Two case studies are presented. First, co-processing of four different types of waste is analyzed at a modern precalciner kiln system. Second, clinker production is compared between five kiln systems. Results show that the use of waste (tires, prepared industrial waste, dried sewage sludge, blast furnace slag) led to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, decreased resource consumption, and mostly to reduced aggregated environmental impacts. Regarding the different kiln systems, the environmental impact generally increased with decreasing energy efficiency. 35 refs., 2 figs., 2 tabs.

  11. Life cycle assessment of integrated waste management systems for alternative legacy scenarios of the London Olympic Park.

    PubMed

    Parkes, Olga; Lettieri, Paola; Bogle, I David L

    2015-06-01

    This paper presents the results of the life cycle assessment (LCA) of 10 integrated waste management systems (IWMSs) for 3 potential post-event site design scenarios of the London Olympic Park. The aim of the LCA study is to evaluate direct and indirect emissions resulting from various treatment options of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually generated on site together with avoided emissions resulting from energy, materials and nutrients recovery. IWMSs are modelled using GaBi v6.0 Product Sustainability software and results are presented based on the CML (v.Nov-10) characterisation method. The results show that IWMSs with advanced thermal treatment (ATT) and incineration with energy recovery have the lowest Global Warming Potential (GWP) than IWMSs where landfill is the primary waste treatment process. This is due to higher direct emissions and lower avoided emissions from the landfill process compared to the emissions from the thermal treatment processes. LCA results demonstrate that significant environmental savings are achieved through substitution of virgin materials with recycled ones. The results of the sensitivity analysis carried out for IWMS 1 shows that increasing recycling rate by 5%, 10% and 15% compared to the baseline scenario can reduce GWP by 8%, 17% and 25% respectively. Sensitivity analysis also shows how changes in waste composition affect the overall result of the system. The outcomes of such assessments provide decision-makers with fundamental information regarding the environmental impacts of different waste treatment options necessary for sustainable waste management planning. PMID:25837786

  12. Quantification of urban metabolism through coupling with the life cycle assessment framework: concept development and case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goldstein, Benjamin; Birkved, Morten; Quitzau, Maj-Britt; Hauschild, Michael

    2013-09-01

    Cities now consume resources and produce waste in amounts that are incommensurate with the populations they contain. Quantifying and benchmarking the environmental impacts of cities is essential if urbanization of the world’s growing population is to occur sustainably. Urban metabolism (UM) is a promising assessment form in that it provides the annual sum material and energy inputs, and the resultant emissions of the emergent infrastructural needs of a city’s sociotechnical subsystems. By fusing UM and life cycle assessment (UM-LCA) this study advances the ability to quantify environmental impacts of cities by modeling pressures embedded in the flows upstream (entering) and downstream (leaving) of the actual urban systems studied, and by introducing an advanced suite of indicators. Applied to five global cities, the developed UM-LCA model provided enhanced quantification of mass and energy flows through cities over earlier UM methods. The hybrid model approach also enabled the dominant sources of a city’s different environmental footprints to be identified, making UM-LCA a novel and potentially powerful tool for policy makers in developing and monitoring urban development policies. Combining outputs with socioeconomic data hinted at how these forces influenced the footprints of the case cities, with wealthier ones more associated with personal consumption related impacts and poorer ones more affected by local burdens from archaic infrastructure.

  13. Is it better to remove pharmaceuticals in decentralized or conventional wastewater treatment plants? A life cycle assessment comparison.

    PubMed

    Igos, Elorri; Benetto, Enrico; Venditti, Silvia; Kohler, Christian; Cornelissen, Alex; Moeller, Ruth; Biwer, Arno

    2012-11-01

    After ingestion, pharmaceuticals are excreted unchanged or metabolized. They subsequently arrive in conventional wastewater treatment plants and are then released into the environment, often without undergoing any degradation. Conventional treatment plants can be upgraded with post treatment, alternatively the removal of pharmaceuticals could be achieved directly at point sources. In the European project PILLS, several solutions for decentralized treatment of pharmaceuticals at hospitals were investigated at both pilot plant and full scale, and were then compared to conventional and upgraded centralized treatment plants using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Within the scope of the study, pharmaceuticals were found to have a comparatively minor environmental impact. As a consequence, an additional post treatment does not provide significant benefits. In the comparison of post treatment technologies, ozonation and activated carbon performed better than UV. These results suffer however from high uncertainties due to the assessment models of the toxicity of pharmaceuticals in LCA. Our results should therefore be interpreted with caution. LCA is a holistic approach and does not cover effects or issues on a local level, which may be highly relevant. We should therefore apply the precautionary ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) and not conclude that the effect of pharmaceuticals is negligible in the environment. PMID:23037813

  14. Advances in life cycle assessment and emergy evaluation with case studies in gold mining and pineapple production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ingwersen, Wesley W.

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an internationally standardized framework for assessing the environmental impacts of products that is rapidly evolving to improve understanding and quantification of how complex product systems depend upon and affect the environment. This dissertation contributes to that evolution through the development of new methods for measuring impacts, estimating the uncertainty of impacts, and measuring ranges of environmental performance, with a focus on product systems in non-OECD countries that have not been well characterized. The integration of a measure of total energy use, emergy, is demonstrated in an LCA of gold from the Yanacocha mine in Peru in the second chapter. A model for estimating the accuracy of emergy results is proposed in the following chapter. The fourth chapter presents a template for LCA-based quantification of the range of environmental performance for tropical agricultural products using the example of fresh pineapple production for export in Costa Rica that can be used to create product labels with environmental information. The final chapter synthesizes how each methodological contribution will together improve the science of measuring product environmental performance.

  15. A proposal for the definition of resource equivalency factors for use in product life-cycle assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Guinee, J.B.; Heijungs, R.

    1995-05-01

    Environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) of products has been the focus of growing attention in the last few years. The methodological framework has been developed rapidly, and a provisional Code of Practice has been drawn up by an international group of experts. One of the elements of LCA is impact assessment, which includes a characterization step in which the contributions of resource extraction and polluting emissions to impact categories such as resource depletion, global warming, and acidification are quantified and aggregated as far as possible. This can be achieved by multiplying extractions and emissions by a so-called equivalency factor and aggregating the results in one or more effect score(s) per impact category. In this report a proposal is developed for equivalency factors indicating the relative depletion of a resource per unit extracted. It is proposed to measure depletion by physical data on reserves and production and regeneration rates, and to distinguish between abiotic and biotic resources. Equations are developed to calculate equivalency factors for these two categories of resources, resulting in so-called abiotic depletion potentials (ADP) and biotic depletion potentials (BDP). The application of these ADPs and BDPs in LCA is illustrated.

  16. LIFE CYCLE BIOASSAY FOR ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTS OF TOXIC CHEMICALS USING RAPID CYCLING OF BRASSICA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Initial evaluation of a new plant life cycle bioassay for the assessment of the effects of toxic chemicals is presented. he bioassay features a rapid cycling Brassica species that can complete its life cycle in as little as 36 days. he herbicide dalapon (2,2 dichloropropionic aci...

  17. Life cycle assessment of a power tower concentrating solar plant and the impacts of key design alternatives.

    PubMed

    Whitaker, Michael B; Heath, Garvin A; Burkhardt, John J; Turchi, Craig S

    2013-06-01

    A hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to evaluate four sustainability metrics over the life cycle of a power tower concentrating solar power (CSP) facility: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water consumption, cumulative energy demand (CED), and energy payback time (EPBT). The reference design is for a dry-cooled, 106 MW(net) power tower facility located near Tucson, AZ that uses a mixture of mined nitrate salts as the heat transfer fluid and storage medium, a two-tank thermal energy storage system designed for six hours of full load-equivalent storage, and receives auxiliary power from the local electric grid. A thermocline-based storage system, synthetically derived salts, and natural gas auxiliary power are evaluated as design alternatives. Over its life cycle, the reference plant is estimated to have GHG emissions of 37 g CO2eq/kWh, consume 1.4 L/kWh of water and 0.49 MJ/kWh of energy, and have an EPBT of 15 months. Using synthetic salts is estimated to increase GHG emissions by 12%, CED by 7%, and water consumption by 4% compared to mined salts. Natural gas auxiliary power results in greater than 10% decreases in GHG emissions, water consumption, and CED. The thermocline design is most advantageous when coupled with the use of synthetic salts. PMID:23663111

  18. Life cycle impact assessment of ammonia production in Algeria: A comparison with previous studies

    SciTech Connect

    Makhlouf, Ali Serradj, Tayeb; Cheniti, Hamza

    2015-01-15

    In this paper, a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) from “cradle to gate” of one anhydrous ton of ammonia with a purity of 99% was achieved. Particularly, the energy and environmental performance of the product (ammonia) were evaluated. The eco-profile of the product and the share of each stage of the Life Cycle on the whole environmental impacts have been evaluated. The flows of material and energy for each phase of the life cycle were counted and the associated environmental problems were identified. Evaluation of the impact was achieved using GEMIS 4.7 software. The primary data collection was executed at the production installations located in Algeria (Annaba locality). The analysis was conducted according to the LCA standards ISO 14040 series. The results show that Cumulative Energy Requirement (CER) is of 51.945 × 10{sup 3} MJ/t of ammonia, which is higher than the global average. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is of 1.44 t CO{sub 2} eq/t of ammonia; this value is lower than the world average. Tropospheric ozone precursor and Acidification are also studied in this article, their values are: 549.3 × 10{sup −6} t NMVOC eq and 259.3 × 10{sup −6} t SO{sub 2} eq respectively.

  19. Accounting for indirect land-use change in the life cycle assessment of biofuel supply chains.

    PubMed

    Sanchez, Susan Tarka; Woods, Jeremy; Akhurst, Mark; Brander, Matthew; O'Hare, Michael; Dawson, Terence P; Edwards, Robert; Liska, Adam J; Malpas, Rick

    2012-06-01

    The expansion of land used for crop production causes variable direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and other economic, social and environmental effects. We analyse the use of life cycle analysis (LCA) for estimating the carbon intensity of biofuel production from indirect land-use change (ILUC). Two approaches are critiqued: direct, attributional life cycle analysis and consequential life cycle analysis (CLCA). A proposed hybrid 'combined model' of the two approaches for ILUC analysis relies on first defining the system boundary of the resulting full LCA. Choices are then made as to the modelling methodology (economic equilibrium or cause-effect), data inputs, land area analysis, carbon stock accounting and uncertainty analysis to be included. We conclude that CLCA is applicable for estimating the historic emissions from ILUC, although improvements to the hybrid approach proposed, coupled with regular updating, are required, and uncertainly values must be adequately represented; however, the scope and the depth of the expansion of the system boundaries required for CLCA remain controversial. In addition, robust prediction, monitoring and accounting frameworks for the dynamic and highly uncertain nature of future crop yields and the effectiveness of policies to reduce deforestation and encourage afforestation remain elusive. Finally, establishing compatible and comparable accounting frameworks for ILUC between the USA, the European Union, South East Asia, Africa, Brazil and other major biofuel trading blocs is urgently needed if substantial distortions between these markets, which would reduce its application in policy outcomes, are to be avoided. PMID:22467143

  20. Accounting for indirect land-use change in the life cycle assessment of biofuel supply chains

    PubMed Central

    Sanchez, Susan Tarka; Woods, Jeremy; Akhurst, Mark; Brander, Matthew; O'Hare, Michael; Dawson, Terence P.; Edwards, Robert; Liska, Adam J.; Malpas, Rick

    2012-01-01

    The expansion of land used for crop production causes variable direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and other economic, social and environmental effects. We analyse the use of life cycle analysis (LCA) for estimating the carbon intensity of biofuel production from indirect land-use change (ILUC). Two approaches are critiqued: direct, attributional life cycle analysis and consequential life cycle analysis (CLCA). A proposed hybrid ‘combined model’ of the two approaches for ILUC analysis relies on first defining the system boundary of the resulting full LCA. Choices are then made as to the modelling methodology (economic equilibrium or cause–effect), data inputs, land area analysis, carbon stock accounting and uncertainty analysis to be included. We conclude that CLCA is applicable for estimating the historic emissions from ILUC, although improvements to the hybrid approach proposed, coupled with regular updating, are required, and uncertainly values must be adequately represented; however, the scope and the depth of the expansion of the system boundaries required for CLCA remain controversial. In addition, robust prediction, monitoring and accounting frameworks for the dynamic and highly uncertain nature of future crop yields and the effectiveness of policies to reduce deforestation and encourage afforestation remain elusive. Finally, establishing compatible and comparable accounting frameworks for ILUC between the USA, the European Union, South East Asia, Africa, Brazil and other major biofuel trading blocs is urgently needed if substantial distortions between these markets, which would reduce its application in policy outcomes, are to be avoided. PMID:22467143

  1. Delving into the environmental aspect of a Sardinian white wine: from partial to total life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Fusi, Alessandra; Guidetti, Riccardo; Benedetto, Graziella

    2014-02-15

    The aim of this study was to deepen the assessment of the environmental impacts of a white wine produced in Sardinia (FU 750 ml), performing an attributional LCA. The system boundaries were extended, from 'cradle to gate' (partial LCA) of a previous study, to 'cradle to grave' (total LCA), in order to identify the environmental impacts occurring along the wine life cycle stages (vine planting, grape production, wine production, bottling and packaging, distribution, final disposal of the glass bottle). Some assumptions were made in order to quantify the environmental impact of the transportation phase, regarding the few data which were available. Inventory data were mainly collected through direct communication with the Company involved in the study. Results showed that the environmental performance of wine was mostly determined by the glass bottle production (for all impact categories except ozone layer depletion). The second contributor was the agricultural phase, which included two sub-phases: vine planting and grape production. Results showed that the vine planting sub-phase was not negligible given its contribution to the agricultural phase, mainly due to diesel fuel consumption. Transportation impact was found to be relevant for long distance distribution (USA); the impact categories more affected by transport were acidification, eutrophication, photochemical oxidation and global warming potential. Suggested opportunities to reduce the overall environmental impact were the introduction of a lighter glass bottle or the substitution of the glass bottle with a polylaminate container. PMID:24355395

  2. Wind LCA Harmonization (Fact Sheet), NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    2013-06-01

    NREL recently led the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Harmonization Project, a study that provides more exact estimates of GHG emissions for renewable and conventional generation, clarifying inconsistent and conflicting estimates in the published literature, and reducing uncertainty. This involved a systematic review and harmonization of life cycle assessment (LCA) literature of utility-scale wind power systems in order to determine the causes of life cycle greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and, where possible, reduce variability in GHG estimates.

  3. Life-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Environmental Impacts of LED Lighting Products, Part 3: LED Environmental Testing

    SciTech Connect

    Tuenge, Jason R.; Hollomon, Brad; Dillon, Heather E.; Snowden-Swan, Lesley J.

    2013-03-01

    This report covers the third part of a larger U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project to assess the life-cycle environmental and resource impacts in the manufacturing, transport, use, and disposal of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting products in relation to incumbent lighting technologies. All three reports are available on the DOE website (www.ssl.energy.gov/tech_reports.html). • Part 1: Review of the Life-Cycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent and LED Lamps; • Part 2: LED Manufacturing and Performance; • Part 3: LED Environmental Testing. Parts 1 and 2 were published in February and June 2012, respectively. The Part 1 report included a summary of the life-cycle assessment (LCA) process and methodology, provided a literature review of more than 25 existing LCA studies of various lamp types, and performed a meta-analysis comparing LED lamps with incandescent and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Drawing from the Part 1 findings, Part 2 performed a more detailed assessment of the LED manufacturing process and used these findings to provide a comparative LCA taking into consideration a wider range of environmental impacts. Both reports concluded that the life-cycle environmental impact of a given lamp is dominated by the energy used during lamp operation—the upstream generation of electricity drives the total environmental footprint of the product. However, a more detailed understanding of end-of-life disposal considerations for LED products has become increasingly important as their installation base has grown. The Part 3 study (reported herein) was undertaken to augment the LCA findings with chemical analysis of a variety of LED, CFL, and incandescent lamps using standard testing procedures. A total of 22 samples, representing 11 different models, were tested to determine whether any of 17 elements were present at levels exceeding California or Federal regulatory thresholds for hazardous waste. Key findings include: • The selected

  4. Sensitivity analysis in a life cycle assessment of an aged red wine production from Catalonia, Spain.

    PubMed

    Meneses, M; Torres, C M; Castells, F

    2016-08-15

    Sustainability in agriculture and food processing is an issue with a clear growing interest; especially in products were consumers have particular awareness regarding its environmental profile. This is the case of wine industry depending on grape production, winemaking and bottling. Also viticulture and generally agricultural production is significantly affected by climate variations. The aim of this article is to determine the environmental load of an aged red wine from a winery in Catalonia, Spain, over its entire life cycle, including sensitivity analysis of the main parameters related to the cultivation, vinification and bottling. The life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology is used for the environmental analysis. In a first step, life cycle inventory (LCI) data were collected by questionnaires and interviews with the winemaker, all data are actual operating data and all the stages involved in the production have been taken into account (viticulture, vinification, bottling and the disposal subsystem). Data were then used to determine the environmental profile by a life cycle impact assessment using the ReCiPe method. Annual variability in environmental performance, stresses the importance of including timeline analysis in the wine sector. Because of that this study is accompanied with a sensitivity analysis carried out by a Monte Carlo simulation that takes into account the uncertainty and variability of the parameters used. In this manner, the results are presented with confidence intervals to provide a wider view of the environmental issues derived from the activities of the studied wine estate regardless of the eventualities of a specific harvesting year. Since the beverage packaging has an important influence in this case, a dataset for the production of green glass was adapted to reflect the actual recycling situation in Spain. Furthermore, a hypothetical variation of the glass-recycling rate in the glass production completes this article, as a key variable

  5. Including ecotoxic impacts on warm-blooded predators in life cycle impact assessment.

    PubMed

    Golsteijn, Laura; van Zelm, Rosalie; Veltman, Karin; Musters, Gijs; Hendriks, A Jan; Huijbregts, Mark A J

    2012-04-01

    In current life cycle impact assessment, the focus of ecotoxicity is on cold-blooded species. We developed a method to calculate characterization factors (CFs) for the impact assessment of chemical emissions on warm-blooded predators in freshwater food chains. The method was applied to 329 organic chemicals. The CF for these predators was defined as a multiplication of the fate factor (FF), exposure factor (XF), bioaccumulation factor (BF), and effect factor (EF). Fate factors and XFs were calculated with the model USES-LCA 2.0. Bioaccumulation factors were calculated with the model OMEGA, for chemical uptake via freshwater, food, and air. Effect factors were calculated based on experimental, median lethal doses (LD50). The concentration buildup (CB) of the chemicals (i.e., FF, XF, and BF over the 3 routes of exposure) showed a range of 7 to 9 orders of magnitude, depending on the emission compartment. Effect factors displayed a range of 7 orders of magnitude. Characterization factors ranged 9 orders of magnitude. After emissions to freshwater, the relative contribution of the uptake routes to CB were 1% (90% confidence interval [CI]: 0%-2%) for uptake from air, 43% (11%-50%) for uptake from water, and 56% (50%-87%) for uptake from food. After an emission to agricultural soil, the contribution was 11% (0%-80%) for uptake from air, 39% (5%-50%) for uptake from water, and 50% (11%-83%) for uptake from food. Uptake from air was mainly relevant for emissions to air (on average 42%, 90% CI: 5%-98%). Characterization factors for cold-blooded species were typically 4 orders of magnitude higher than CFs for warm-blooded predators. The correlation between both types of CFs was low, which means that a high relative impact on cold-blooded species does not necessarily indicate a high relative impact on warm-blooded predators. Depending on the weighing method to be considered, the inclusion of impacts on warm-blooded predators can change the relative ranking of toxic chemicals

  6. Life cycle assessment of capital goods in waste management systems.

    PubMed

    Brogaard, Line K; Christensen, Thomas H

    2016-10-01

    The environmental importance of capital goods (trucks, buildings, equipment, etc.) was quantified by LCA modelling 1 tonne of waste treated in five different waste management scenarios. The scenarios involved a 240L collection bin, a 16m(3) collection truck, a composting plant, an anaerobic digestion plant, an incinerator and a landfill site. The contribution of capital goods to the overall environmental aspects of managing the waste was significant but varied greatly depending on the technology and the impact category: Global Warming: 1-17%, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: 2-90%, Ionising Radiation, Human Health: 2-91%, Photochemical Ozone Formation: 2-56%, Freshwater Eutrophication: 0.05-99%, Marine Eutrophication: 0.03-8%, Terrestrial Acidification: 2-13%, Terrestrial Eutrophication: 1-8%, Particulate Matter: 11-26%, Human Toxicity, Cancer Effect: 10-92%, Human Toxicity, non-Cancer Effect: 1-71%, Freshwater Ecotoxicity: 3-58%. Depletion of Abiotic Resources - Fossil: 1-31% and Depletion of Abiotic Resources - Elements (Reserve base): 74-99%. The single most important contribution by capital goods was made by the high use of steel. Environmental impacts from capital goods are more significant for treatment facilities than for the collection and transportation of waste and for the landfilling of waste. It is concluded that the environmental impacts of capital goods should always be included in the LCA modelling of waste management, unless the only impact category considered is Global Warming. PMID:27478026

  7. Assessing food security in water scarce regions by Life Cycle Analysis: a case study in the Gaza strip

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Recanati, Francesca; Castelletti, Andrea; Melià, Paco; Dotelli, Giovanni

    2013-04-01

    Food security is a major issue in Palestine for both political and physical reasons, with direct effects on the local population living conditions: the nutritional level of people in Gaza is classified by FAO as "insecure". As most of the protein supply comes from irrigated agricultural production and aquaculture, freshwater availability is a limiting factor to food security, and the primary reason for frequent conflicts among food production processes (e.g. aquaculture, land livestock or different types of crops). In this study we use Life Cycle Analysis to assess the environmental impacts associated to all the stages of water-based protein production (from agriculture and aquaculture) in the Gaza strip under different agricultural scenarios and hydroclimatic variability. As reported in several recent studies, LCA seems to be an appropriate methodology to analyze agricultural systems and assess associated food security in different socio-economic contexts. However, we argue that the inherently linear and static nature of LCA might prove inadequate to tackle with the complex interaction between water cycle variability and the food production system in water-scarce regions of underdeveloped countries. Lack of sufficient and reliable data to characterize the water cycle is a further source of uncertainty affecting the robustness of the analysis. We investigate pros and cons of LCA and LCA-based option planning in an average size farm in Gaza strip, where farming and aquaculture are family-based and integrated by reuse of fish breeding water for irrigation. Different technological solutions (drip irrigation system, greenhouses etc.) are evaluated to improve protein supply and reduce the pressure on freshwater, particularly during droughts. But this use of technology represent also a contribution in increasing sustainability in agricultural processes, and therefore in economy, of Gaza Strip (reduction in chemical fertilizers and pesticides etc.).

  8. Life cycle assessment of integrated waste management systems for alternative legacy scenarios of the London Olympic Park

    SciTech Connect

    Parkes, Olga Lettieri, Paola Bogle, I. David L.

    2015-06-15

    Highlights: • Application of LCA in planning integrated waste management systems. • Environmental valuation of 3 legacy scenarios for the Olympic Park. • Hot-spot analysis highlights the importance of energy and materials recovery. • Most environmental savings are achieved through materials recycling. • Sensitivity analysis shows importance of waste composition and recycling rates. - Abstract: This paper presents the results of the life cycle assessment (LCA) of 10 integrated waste management systems (IWMSs) for 3 potential post-event site design scenarios of the London Olympic Park. The aim of the LCA study is to evaluate direct and indirect emissions resulting from various treatment options of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually generated on site together with avoided emissions resulting from energy, materials and nutrients recovery. IWMSs are modelled using GaBi v6.0 Product Sustainability software and results are presented based on the CML (v.Nov-10) characterisation method. The results show that IWMSs with advanced thermal treatment (ATT) and incineration with energy recovery have the lowest Global Warming Potential (GWP) than IWMSs where landfill is the primary waste treatment process. This is due to higher direct emissions and lower avoided emissions from the landfill process compared to the emissions from the thermal treatment processes. LCA results demonstrate that significant environmental savings are achieved through substitution of virgin materials with recycled ones. The results of the sensitivity analysis carried out for IWMS 1 shows that increasing recycling rate by 5%, 10% and 15% compared to the baseline scenario can reduce GWP by 8%, 17% and 25% respectively. Sensitivity analysis also shows how changes in waste composition affect the overall result of the system. The outcomes of such assessments provide decision-makers with fundamental information regarding the environmental impacts of different waste treatment options necessary for

  9. Beyond the material grave: Life Cycle Impact Assessment of leaching from secondary materials in road and earth constructions.

    PubMed

    Schwab, Oliver; Bayer, Peter; Juraske, Ronnie; Verones, Francesca; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2014-10-01

    In industrialized countries, large amounts of mineral wastes are produced. They are re-used in various ways, particularly in road and earth constructions, substituting primary resources such as gravel. However, they may also contain pollutants, such as heavy metals, which may be leached to the groundwater. The toxic impacts of these emissions are so far often neglected within Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of products or waste treatment services and thus, potentially large environmental impacts are currently missed. This study aims at closing this gap by assessing the ecotoxic impacts of heavy metal leaching from industrial mineral wastes in road and earth constructions. The flows of metals such as Sb, As, Pb, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mo, Ni, V and Zn originating from three typical constructions to the environment are quantified, their fate in the environment is assessed and potential ecotoxic effects evaluated. For our reference country, Germany, the industrial wastes that are applied as Granular Secondary Construction Material (GSCM) carry more than 45,000 t of diverse heavy metals per year. Depending on the material quality and construction type applied, up to 150 t of heavy metals may leach to the environment within the first 100 years after construction. Heavy metal retardation in subsoil can potentially reduce the fate to groundwater by up to 100%. One major challenge of integrating leaching from constructions into macro-scale LCA frameworks is the high variability in micro-scale technical and geographical factors, such as material qualities, construction types and soil types. In our work, we consider a broad range of parameter values in the modeling of leaching and fate. This allows distinguishing between the impacts of various road constructions, as well as sites with different soil properties. The findings of this study promote the quantitative consideration of environmental impacts of long-term leaching in Life Cycle Assessment, complementing site-specific risk

  10. Life cycle assessment of biomethane use in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Morero, Betzabet; Groppelli, Eduardo; Campanella, Enrique A

    2015-04-01

    Renewable substitutes for natural gas, such as biogas, require adequate treatment to remove impurities. This paper presents the life cycle and environmental impact of upgrading biogas using absorption-desorption process with three different solvents: water, diglycolamine and polyethylene glycol dimethyl ether. The results showed that water produces a minor impact in most of the considered categories, and an economic analysis showed that water is the most feasible solvent for obtaining the lowest payback period. This analysis includes three different sources for biogas production and two end uses for biomethane. The use of different wastes as sources results in different environmental impacts depending on the type of energy used in the anaerobic digestion. The same situation occurs when considering the use of biomethane as a domestic fuel or for power generation. Using energy from biogas to replace conventional energy sources in production and upgrading biogas significantly reduce the environmental impacts of processes. PMID:25700340

  11. Life cycle assessment of Italian citrus-based products. Sensitivity analysis and improvement scenarios.

    PubMed

    Beccali, Marco; Cellura, Maurizio; Iudicello, Maria; Mistretta, Marina

    2010-07-01

    Though many studies concern the agro-food sector in the EU and Italy, and its environmental impacts, literature is quite lacking in works regarding LCA application on citrus products. This paper represents one of the first studies on the environmental impacts of citrus products in order to suggest feasible strategies and actions to improve their environmental performance. In particular, it is part of a research aimed to estimate environmental burdens associated with the production of the following citrus-based products: essential oil, natural juice and concentrated juice from oranges and lemons. The life cycle assessment of these products, published in a previous paper, had highlighted significant environmental issues in terms of energy consumption, associated CO(2) emissions, and water consumption. Starting from such results the authors carry out an improvement analysis of the assessed production system, whereby sustainable scenarios for saving water and energy are proposed to reduce environmental burdens of the examined production system. In addition, a sensitivity analysis to estimate the effects of the chosen methods will be performed, giving data on the outcome of the study. Uncertainty related to allocation methods, secondary data sources, and initial assumptions on cultivation, transport modes, and waste management is analysed. The results of the performed analyses allow stating that every assessed eco-profile is differently influenced by the uncertainty study. Different assumptions on initial data and methods showed very sensible variations in the energy and environmental performances of the final products. Besides, the results show energy and environmental benefits that clearly state the improvement of the products eco-profile, by reusing purified water use for irrigation, using the railway mode for the delivery of final products, when possible, and adopting efficient technologies, as the mechanical vapour recompression, in the pasteurisation and

  12. Life cycle assessment of oriented strand boards (OSB): from process innovation to ecodesign.

    PubMed

    Benetto, Enrico; Becker, Marko; Welfring, Joëlle

    2009-08-01

    Oriented strand boards (OSBs) are wood panels that are used worldwide mainly in the packaging and the building sectors. Their market share is rapidly increasing thanks to their outstanding mechanical properties and to a renewed interest for wood based products. The OSB production process generates, nonetheless, emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the air-drying of wood strands. This known problem in the literature leads to an odorous nuisance in the surrounding area of the production site. In order to address this problem, a novel application to wood drying of an innovative vapor drying technology is successfully operated at the production site of Kronospan Luxembourg S.A. In addition to the reduced odorous nuisance, a significant environmental added value is expected because of the other modifications induced by the vapor-drying technique on the OSB production process viz. the reduced energy and raw materials demands and the change of adhesive mixture, with the addition of phenol resin. The potential impact of this technology on the OSB market is therefore very significant. This study was aimed at assessing the environmental added value provided by the vapor-drying technique through a life cycle assessment (LCA) according to ISO 14040-44 standards. The objective was to compare the environmental performances of the former and the current OSB production processes. Considering only the pollutant emissions from the OSB production process, the reduction of climate change impact and human health damage is significant respectively, 15-20% and 50-75%. When the lifecycle processes related to the OSB production are included, the reduction of damages does not exceed 3-7%. Following an uncertainty analysis,this reduction was nevertheless proven to be statistically significant. However, it is observed that the reduction of environmental impacts and damages allowed by the vapor-drying technology is counterbalanced by the change of adhesive mixture. Indeed the

  13. Life-cycle assessment (EASEWASTE) of two municipal solid waste incineration technologies in China.

    PubMed

    Chen, Dezhen; Christensen, Thomas H

    2010-06-01

    The environmental profile of two municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) technologies with semi-dry flue gas cleaning, namely grated firing incinerators (GFI) and fluidised bed incinerators (FBI) that are commonly used in China were evaluated and compared by life-cycle assessment (LCA) using the EASEWASTE model. All emissions of key pollutants as well as energy, resource and material inputs and outputs associated with the two MSWI technologies were determined and the corresponding environmental impact potentials were modelled. Incineration of MSW with a lower heating value (LHV) around 4.5 MJ kg(-1) demands that auxiliary fuel is used, and both GFI and FBI caused environmental loads by contributing with environmental impact potentials in most categories except for some saving in global warming (GW100) and hazardous waste (HW). Coal combustion in FBI is a main contributor to the environmental impact potentials and thus should always be limited to a minimum. Auxiliary fuels can be avoided when the LHV of MSW is higher than 5-6 MJ kg(- 1). For all scenarios, GFI saves more global warming potentials than FBI due to its higher net power generation from combustion of MSW itself. Leachate from the bunker could be sprayed into the furnace for evaporation under high temperature, as an alternative to waste-water treatment, without major changes in the environmental profile of the incinerator. The presented evaluations may contribute to a more balanced environmental assessment of the two incineration technologies with respect to incineration of MSW with low heating values as often found in Asia and China. PMID:20375128

  14. Life cycle assessment of high-rate anaerobic treatment, microbial fuel cells, and microbial electrolysis cells.

    PubMed

    Foley, Jeffrey M; Rozendal, René A; Hertle, Christopher K; Lant, Paul A; Rabaey, Korneel

    2010-05-01

    Existing wastewater treatment options are generally perceived as energy intensive and environmentally unfriendly. Much attention has been focused on two new approaches in the past years, (i) microbial fuel cells and (ii) microbial electrolysis cells, which directly generate electrical current or chemical products, respectively, during wastewater treatment. These systems are commonly denominated as bioelectrochemical systems, and a multitude of claims have been made in the past regarding the environmental impact of these treatment options. However, an in-depth study backing these claims has not been performed. Here, we have conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental impact of three industrial wastewater treatment options, (i) anaerobic treatment with biogas generation, (ii) a microbial fuel cell treatment, with direct electricity generation, and (iii) a microbial electrolysis cell, with hydrogen peroxide production. Our analysis showed that a microbial fuel cell does not provide a significant environmental benefit relative to the "conventional" anaerobic treatment option. However, a microbial electrolysis cell provides significant environmental benefits through the displacement of chemical production by conventional means. Provided that the target conversion level of 1000 A.m(-3) can be met, the decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and other environmentally harmful emissions (e.g., aromatic hydrocarbons) of the microbial electrolysis cell will be a key driver for the development of an industrial standard for this technology. Evidently, this assessment is highly dependent on the underlying assumptions, such as the used reactor materials and target performance. This provides a challenge and an opportunity for researchers in the field to select and develop appropriate and environmentally benign materials of construction, as well as demonstrate the required 1000 A.m(-3) performance at pilot and full scale. PMID:20356090

  15. Resource recovery from residual household waste: An application of exergy flow analysis and exergetic life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Laner, David; Rechberger, Helmut; De Soete, Wouter; De Meester, Steven; Astrup, Thomas F

    2015-12-01

    Exergy is based on the Second Law of thermodynamics and can be used to express physical and chemical potential and provides a unified measure for resource accounting. In this study, exergy analysis was applied to four residual household waste management scenarios with focus on the achieved resource recovery efficiencies. The calculated exergy efficiencies were used to compare the scenarios and to evaluate the applicability of exergy-based measures for expressing resource quality and for optimizing resource recovery. Exergy efficiencies were determined based on two approaches: (i) exergy flow analysis of the waste treatment system under investigation and (ii) exergetic life cycle assessment (LCA) using the Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment (CEENE) as a method for resource accounting. Scenario efficiencies of around 17-27% were found based on the exergy flow analysis (higher efficiencies were associated with high levels of material recycling), while the scenario efficiencies based on the exergetic LCA lay in a narrow range around 14%. Metal recovery was beneficial in both types of analyses, but had more influence on the overall efficiency in the exergetic LCA approach, as avoided burdens associated with primary metal production were much more important than the exergy content of the recovered metals. On the other hand, plastic recovery was highly beneficial in the exergy flow analysis, but rather insignificant in exergetic LCA. The two approaches thereby offered different quantitative results as well as conclusions regarding material recovery. With respect to resource quality, the main challenge for the exergy flow analysis is the use of exergy content and exergy losses as a proxy for resource quality and resource losses, as exergy content is not per se correlated with the functionality of a material. In addition, the definition of appropriate waste system boundaries is critical for the exergy efficiencies derived from the flow analysis, as it

  16. Assessment of potential impacts of municipal solid waste treatment alternatives by using life cycle approach: a case study in Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Thanh, Nguyen Phuc; Matsui, Yasuhiro

    2013-10-01

    In Vietnam, most of municipal solid waste (MSW) is disposed of at open dumping and landfill sites, and the methane gas from waste is the un-ignorable source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. It is indispensable to explore the possibility for GHG mitigation in MSW management. The objective of this study was to estimate alternative waste treatment practices towards the GHG emission mitigation, energy consumption and generation, reduction of landfill volume, and various benefits for proposing the appropriate selection by scenario analyses for representative Vietnam's cities. Impacts were calculated by utilizing life cycle assessment (LCA) method. A literature review survey on the current applicability of LCA database for assessing impacts from waste sector in developing countries, especially for Vietnam, was carried out. This study assessed the contribution of alternative solid waste treatment practices. The result showed that, except investment and operation costs, incineration with energy recovery seems the suitable alternative for treating waste from representative cities of Vietnam according to reduction of GHG emission and waste burden to landfill sites and energy recovery and generation. Besides, MSW composition was identified as an important factor directly influencing to impacts as well as other products and benefits of waste treatment alternatives. Reliable data on waste composition are indispensable for assessing to choose, improve, or plan the waste treatment practices towards sustainable development. PMID:23475528

  17. Revision and extension of Eco-LCA metrics for sustainability assessment of the energy and chemical processes.

    PubMed

    Yang, Shiying; Yang, Siyu; Kraslawski, Andrzej; Qian, Yu

    2013-12-17

    Ecologically based life cycle assessment (Eco-LCA) is an appealing approach for the evaluation of resources utilization and environmental impacts of the process industries from an ecological scale. However, the aggregated metrics of Eco-LCA suffer from some drawbacks: the environmental impact metric has limited applicability; the resource utilization metric ignores indirect consumption; the renewability metric fails to address the quantitative distinction of resources availability; the productivity metric seems self-contradictory. In this paper, the existing Eco-LCA metrics are revised and extended for sustainability assessment of the energy and chemical processes. A new Eco-LCA metrics system is proposed, including four independent dimensions: environmental impact, resource utilization, resource availability, and economic effectiveness. An illustrative example of comparing assessment between a gas boiler and a solar boiler process provides insight into the features of the proposed approach. PMID:24228888

  18. Consequential environmental life cycle assessment of a farm-scale biogas plant.

    PubMed

    Van Stappen, Florence; Mathot, Michaël; Decruyenaere, Virginie; Loriers, Astrid; Delcour, Alice; Planchon, Viviane; Goffart, Jean-Pierre; Stilmant, Didier

    2016-06-15

    Producing biogas via anaerobic digestion is a promising technology for meeting European and regional goals on energy production from renewable sources. It offers interesting opportunities for the agricultural sector, allowing waste and by-products to be converted into bioenergy and bio-based materials. A consequential life cycle assessment (cLCA) was conducted to examine the consequences of the installation of a farm-scale biogas plant, taking account of assumptions about processes displaced by biogas plant co-products (power, heat and digestate) and the uses of the biogas plant feedstock prior to plant installation. Inventory data were collected on an existing farm-scale biogas plant. The plant inputs are maize cultivated for energy, solid cattle manure and various by-products from surrounding agro-food industries. Based on hypotheses about displaced electricity production (oil or gas) and the initial uses of the plant feedstock (animal feed, compost or incineration), six scenarios were analyzed and compared. Digested feedstock previously used in animal feed was replaced with other feed ingredients in equivalent feed diets, designed to take account of various nutritional parameters for bovine feeding. The displaced production of mineral fertilizers and field emissions due to the use of digestate as organic fertilizer was balanced against the avoided use of manure and compost. For all of the envisaged scenarios, the installation of the biogas plant led to reduced impacts on water depletion and aquatic ecotoxicity (thanks mainly to the displaced mineral fertilizer production). However, with the additional animal feed ingredients required to replace digested feedstock in the bovine diets, extra agricultural land was needed in all scenarios. Field emissions from the digestate used as organic fertilizer also had a significant impact on acidification and eutrophication. The choice of displaced marginal technologies has a huge influence on the results, as have the

  19. Life cycle assessment of energy self-sufficiency systems based on agricultural residues for organic arable farms.

    PubMed

    Kimming, M; Sundberg, C; Nordberg, A; Baky, A; Bernesson, S; Norén, O; Hansson, P-A

    2011-01-01

    The agricultural industry today consumes large amounts of fossil fuels. This study used consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) to analyse two potential energy self-sufficient systems for organic arable farms, based on agricultural residues. The analysis focused on energy balance, resource use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A scenario based on straw was found to require straw harvest from 25% of the farm area; 45% of the total energy produced from the straw was required for energy carrier production and GHG emissions were reduced by 9% compared with a fossil fuel-based reference scenario. In a scenario based on anaerobic digestion of ley, the corresponding figures were 13%, 24% and 35%. The final result was sensitive to assumptions regarding, e.g., soil carbon content and handling of by-products. PMID:20970998

  20. Life cycle assessment of automobile/fuel options.

    PubMed

    MacLean, Heather L; Lave, Lester B

    2003-12-01

    We examine the possibilities for a "greener" car that would use less material and fuel, be less polluting, and would have a well-managed end-of-life. Light-duty vehicles are fundamental to our economy and will continue to be for the indefinite future. Any redesign to make these vehicles greener requires consumer acceptance. Consumer desires for large, powerful vehicles have been the major stumbling block in achieving a "green car". The other major barrier is inherent contradictions among social goals such as fuel economy, safety, low emissions of pollutants, and low emissions of greenhouse gases, which has led to conflicting regulations such as emissions regulations blocking sales of direct injection diesels in California, which would save fuel. In evaluating fuel/vehicle options with the potential to improve the greenness of cars [diesel (direct injection) and ethanol in internal combustion engines, battery-powered, gasoline hybrid electric, and hydrogen fuel cells], we find no option dominates the others on all dimensions. The principles of green design developed by Anastas and Zimmerman (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2003, 37, 94A-101A) and the use of a life cycle approach provide insights on the key sustainability issues associated with the various options. PMID:14700331

  1. High-resolution assessment of land use impacts on biodiversity in life cycle assessment using species habitat suitability models.

    PubMed

    de Baan, Laura; Curran, Michael; Rondinini, Carlo; Visconti, Piero; Hellweg, Stefanie; Koellner, Thomas

    2015-02-17

    Agricultural land use is a main driver of global biodiversity loss. The assessment of land use impacts in decision-support tools such as life cycle assessment (LCA) requires spatially explicit models, but existing approaches are either not spatially differentiated or modeled at very coarse scales (e.g., biomes or ecoregions). In this paper, we develop a high-resolution (900 m) assessment method for land use impacts on biodiversity based on habitat suitability models (HSM) of mammal species. This method considers potential land use effects on individual species, and impacts are weighted by the species' conservation status and global rarity. We illustrate the method using a case study of crop production in East Africa, but the underlying HSMs developed by the Global Mammals Assessment are available globally. We calculate impacts of three major export crops and compare the results to two previously developed methods (focusing on local and regional impacts, respectively) to assess the relevance of the methodological innovations proposed in this paper. The results highlight hotspots of product-related biodiversity impacts that help characterize the links among agricultural production, consumption, and biodiversity loss. PMID:25584628

  2. Meso-scale life-cycle impact assessment of novel technology policies: the case of renewable energy.

    PubMed

    Sarigiannis, D A; Triacchini, G

    2000-11-01

    Assessing the environmental risk of novel technological systems and of the European Union (EU) policies supporting them and regulating their implementation requires good understanding of (i) the pressure on the environment posed by the large-scale use of new technology, and (ii) the vulnerability of the receptor of this pressure. Generic life-cycle assessments (LCAs) provide exhaustive accounting of environmental pressure, yet they do not take into account the vulnerability of the receiving ecosystem. Generic studies of technology externalities fail to produce conclusions on the impacts in a certain area of the systems envisaged due to lack of site-specific information. The combined use of generic (LCA) and spatially referenced data offers new opportunities for comprehensively analysing the environmental impact of novel technologies. A novel information fusion methodology is suggested. Example applications are presented herein focusing on the evaluation of renewable energy technologies as an example of the implementation of meso-scale LCA for integrated environmental risk assessment of EU technology policies. PMID:10978565

  3. Life cycle assessment of biofuels: energy and greenhouse gas balances.

    PubMed

    Gnansounou, E; Dauriat, A; Villegas, J; Panichelli, L

    2009-11-01

    The promotion of biofuels as energy for transportation in the industrialized countries is mainly driven by the perspective of oil depletion, the concerns about energy security and global warming. However due to sustainability constraints, biofuels will replace only 10 to 15% of fossil liquid fuels in the transport sector. Several governments have defined a minimum target of GHG emissions reduction for those biofuels that will be eligible to public incentives, for example a 35% emissions reduction in case of biofuels in Members States of the European Union. This article points out the significant biases in estimating GHG balances of biofuels stemming from modelling choices about system definition and boundaries, functional unit, reference systems and allocation methods. The extent to which these choices influence the results is investigated. After performing a comparison and constructive criticism of various modelling choices, the LCA of wheat-to-bioethanol is used as an illustrative case where bioethanol is blended with gasoline at various percentages (E5, E10 and E85). The performance of these substitution options is evaluated as well. The results show a large difference in the reduction of the GHG emissions with a high sensitivity to the following factors: the method used to allocate the impacts between the co-products, the type of reference systems, the choice of the functional unit and the type of blend. The authors come out with some recommendations for basing the estimation of energy and GHG balances of biofuels on principles such as transparency, consistency and accuracy. PMID:19553106

  4. DEVELOPMENT OF THE METHOD AND U.S. NORMALIZATION DATABASE FOR LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY METRICS

    EPA Science Inventory

    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 relati...

  5. Life cycle assessment of municipal solid waste management with regard to greenhouse gas emissions: case study of Tianjin, China.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Wei; van der Voet, Ester; Zhang, Yufeng; Huppes, Gjalt

    2009-02-15

    The environmental impacts of municipal solid waste (MSW) management have been highlighted in China, due to the continually increasing amount of MSW being generated and the limited capacity of waste treatment facilities. Of particular interest is greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, aided by the Kyoto Mechanisms. China is an important case study for this global issue; however, an analysis of the entire life cycle of MSW management on GHG emissions is not available for China. This study evaluates the current and possible patterns of MSW management with regard to GHG emissions, using life cycle assessment (LCA), based on the Tianjin case. We assess the baseline scenario, reflecting the existing MSW management system, as well as a set of alternative scenarios, five exploring waste treatment technology innovations and one exploring integrated MSW management, to quantitatively predict potentials of GHG mitigation for Tianjin. Additionally, a sensitivity analysis is used to investigate the influence of landfill gas (LFG) collection efficiency, recycling rate and methodological choice, especially allocation, on the outcomes. The results show GHG emissions from Tianjin's MSW management system amount to 467.34 Mg CO2 eq. per year, based on the treatment of MSW collected in the central districts in 2006, and the key issue is LFG released. The integrated MSW management scenario, combining different improvement options, shows the highest GHG mitigation potential. Given the limited financial support and the current waste management practice in Tianjin, LFG utilization scenario would be the preferred choice. The sensitivity analysis of recycling rate shows an approximately linear relation of inverse proportion between recycling rate and total GHG emissions. Kitchen waste composting makes a considerable contribution to total GHG emissions reduction. Allocation choices result in differences in total quantitative outcomes, but preference orders and contributions analysis are found to be

  6. Updated Life-Cycle Assessment of Aluminum Production and Semi-fabrication for the GREET Model

    SciTech Connect

    Dai, Qiang; Kelly, Jarod C.; Burnham, Andrew; Elgowainy, Amgad

    2015-09-01

    This report serves as an update for the life-cycle analysis (LCA) of aluminum production based on the most recent data representing the state-of-the-art of the industry in North America. The 2013 Aluminum Association (AA) LCA report on the environmental footprint of semifinished aluminum products in North America provides the basis for the update (The Aluminum Association, 2013). The scope of this study covers primary aluminum production, secondary aluminum production, as well as aluminum semi-fabrication processes including hot rolling, cold rolling, extrusion and shape casting. This report focuses on energy consumptions, material inputs and criteria air pollutant emissions for each process from the cradle-to-gate of aluminum, which starts from bauxite extraction, and ends with manufacturing of semi-fabricated aluminum products. The life-cycle inventory (LCI) tables compiled are to be incorporated into the vehicle cycle model of Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model for the release of its 2015 version.

  7. A Methodology for Integrated, Multiregional Life Cycle Assessment Scenarios under Large-Scale Technological Change.

    PubMed

    Gibon, Thomas; Wood, Richard; Arvesen, Anders; Bergesen, Joseph D; Suh, Sangwon; Hertwich, Edgar G

    2015-09-15

    Climate change mitigation demands large-scale technological change on a global level and, if successfully implemented, will significantly affect how products and services are produced and consumed. In order to anticipate the life cycle environmental impacts of products under climate mitigation scenarios, we present the modeling framework of an integrated hybrid life cycle assessment model covering nine world regions. Life cycle assessment databases and multiregional input-output tables are adapted using forecasted changes in technology and resources up to 2050 under a 2 °C scenario. We call the result of this modeling "technology hybridized environmental-economic model with integrated scenarios" (THEMIS). As a case study, we apply THEMIS in an integrated environmental assessment of concentrating solar power. Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions for this plant range from 33 to 95 g CO2 eq./kWh across different world regions in 2010, falling to 30-87 g CO2 eq./kWh in 2050. Using regional life cycle data yields insightful results. More generally, these results also highlight the need for systematic life cycle frameworks that capture the actual consequences and feedback effects of large-scale policies in the long term. PMID:26308384

  8. A comparative life cycle assessment of material handling systems for sustainable mining.

    PubMed

    Erkayaoğlu, M; Demirel, N

    2016-06-01

    In this comprehensive LCA comparison study, main objectives are to investigate life cycle environmental impacts of off-highway mining trucks and belt conveyors in surface mining. The research methodology essentially entails determination of the functional unit as 20,000 tons/day coal production transported for 5 km distance. After the system boundary was selected as the entire life cycle of material handling systems including pre-manufacturing of steel parts and plastic components, manufacturing, transportation, and utilization data was compiled from equipment manufacturers and the Eco-invent database. Life cycle impact categories for both material-handling systems were identified and the developed model was implemented using SIMAPRO 7.3. Climate change and acidification were selected as major impact categories as they were considered to be major concerns in mining industry. Although manufacturing stage had a significant impact on all of the environmental parameters, utilization stage was the hotspot for the selected impact categories. The results of this study revealed that belt conveyors have a greater environmental burden in climate change impact category when compared to the trucks. On the other hand, trucks have a greater environmental burden in acidification impact category when compared to the belt conveyors. This study implied that technological improvement in fuel combustion and electricity generation is crucial for the improvement of environmental profiles of off-highway trucks and belt conveyors in the mining industry. The main novelty of this study is that it is the first initiative in applying LCA in the Turkish mining industry. PMID:26986638

  9. eVerdEE: a web-based screening life-cycle assessment tool for European small and medium-sized enterprises

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naldesi, Luciano; Buttol, Patrizia; Masoni, Paolo; Misceo, Monica; Sára, Balázs

    2004-12-01

    "eLCA" is a European Commission financed project aimed at realising "On line green tools and services for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)". Knowledge and use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) by SMEs are strategic to introduce the Integrated Product Policy (IPP) in Europe, but methodology simplification is needed. LCA requires a large amount of validated general and sector specific data. Since their availability and cost can be insuperable barriers for SMEs, pre-elaborated data/meta-data, use of standards and low cost solutions are required. Within the framework of the eLCA project an LCA software - eVerdEE - based on a simplified methodology and specialised for SMEs has been developed. eVerdEE is a web-based tool with some innovative features. Its main feature is the adaptation of ISO 14040 requirements to offer easy-to-handle functions with solid scientific bases. Complex methodological problems, such as the system boundaries definition, the data quality estimation and documentation, the choice of impact categories, are simplified according to the SMEs" needs. Predefined "Goal and Scope definition" and "Inventory" forms, a user-friendly and well structured procedure are time and cost-effective. The tool is supported by a database containing pre-elaborated environmental indicators of substances and processes for different impact categories. The impact assessment is calculated automatically by using the user"s input and the database values. The results have different levels of interpretation in order to identify the life cycle critical points and the improvement options. The use of a target plot allows the direct comparison of different design alternatives.

  10. Evaluation of different end-of-life management alternatives for used natural cork stoppers through life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Demertzi, Martha; Dias, Ana Cláudia; Matos, Arlindo; Arroja, Luís Manuel

    2015-12-01

    An important aspect of sustainable development is the implementation of effective and sustainable waste management strategies. The present study focuses on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to different waste management strategies for natural cork stoppers, namely incineration at a municipal solid waste incinerator, landfilling in a sanitary landfill, and recycling. In the literature, there are no LCA studies analyzing in detail the end-of-life stage of natural cork stoppers as well as other cork products. In addition, cork is usually treated as wood at the end-of-life stage. Thus, the outcome of this study can provide an important insight into this matter. The results showed that different management alternatives, namely incineration and recycling, could be chosen depending on the impact category considered. The former alternative presented the best environmental results in the impact categories of climate change, ozone depletion and acidification, while the latter for photochemical ozone formation and mineral and fossil resource depletion. The landfilling alternative did not present the best environmental performance in any of the impact categories. However, when the biogenic carbon dioxide emission was assessed for the climate change category, the landfilling alternative was found to be the most effective since most of the biogenic carbon would be permanently stored in the cork products and not emitted into the atmosphere. A sensitivity analysis was performed and the results showed that there are various parameters that can significantly influence the results (e.g., carbon content in cork and decay rate of cork in the landfill). Thus, LCA studies should include a detailed description concerning their assumptions when the end-of-life stage is included in the boundaries since they can influence the results, and furthermore, to facilitate the comparison of different end-of-life scenarios. The present study and the obtained results could be useful for the

  11. Comparing the Environmental Impacts of Alkali Activated Mortar and Traditional Portland Cement Mortar using Life Cycle Assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matheu, P. S.; Ellis, K.; Varela, B.

    2015-11-01

    Since the year 1908 there has been research into the use alkali activated materials (AAM) in order to develop cementitious materials with similar properties to Ordinary Portland Cement. AAMs are considered green materials since their production and synthesis is not energy intensive. Even though AAMs have a high compressive strength, the average cost of production among other issues limits its feasibility. Previous research by the authors yielded a low cost AAM that uses mine tailings, wollastonite and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS). This mortar has an average compressive strength of 50MPa after 28 days of curing. In this paper the software SimaPro was used to create a product base cradle to gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This compared the environmental impact of the AAM mortar to an Ordinary Portland Cement mortar (PCHM) with similar compressive strength. The main motivation for this research is the environmental impact of producing Ordinary Portland Cement as compared to alkali activated slag materials. The results of this LCA show that the Alkali Activated Material has a lower environmental impact than traditional Portland cement hydraulic mortar, in 10 out of 12 categories including Global Warming Potential, Ecotoxicity, and Smog. Areas of improvement and possible future work were also discovered with this analysis.

  12. The Evaluations of Hydrogen Permeation and Life Cycle Assessment on Nanocrystallined TiN-BCY Hydrogen Membrane.

    PubMed

    Lee, Soo-Sun; Hong, Tae-Whan

    2016-02-01

    Recently, Membrane technologies are used for the separation of mixtures in various industries. The promising method to reduce the CO2 emission and production of H2 from the coal based power plants is membrane separation with polymer, metal, ceramic and cermet materials. In this study, TiN ceramic material was selected, that is much less expensive than Pd. Also it has resistance to acids and chemically steady. Yttrium doped barium cerate (BCY) is a proton conductor. This perovskite exhibit both high proton conductivity and thermodynamic stability. But its chemical stability is very low under real operating environments. Thus, TiN-BCY may provide'a new membrane material for application. Life cycle assessment (LCA) based on fabrication of membrane and it was carried out to evaluate the energy demand and environmental impact. The analysis is performed according to the recommendations of ISO norms 14040 and obtained using the Gabi 6 software. This LCA will contribute to optimizing the eco-design, reducing the energy consumption and pollutant emissions during the eco-profiles of the TiN-BCY membrane. PMID:27433683

  13. What Can Meta-Analyses Tell Us About the Reliability of Life Cycle Assessment for Decision Support?

    SciTech Connect

    Brandao, M.; Heath, G.; Cooper, J.

    2012-04-01

    The body of life cycle assessment (LCA) literature is vast and has grown over the last decade at a dauntingly rapid rate. Many LCAs have been published on the same or very similar technologies or products, in some cases leading to hundreds of publications. One result is the impression among decision makers that LCAs are inconclusive, owing to perceived and real variability in published estimates of life cycle impacts. Despite the extensive available literature and policy need formore conclusive assessments, only modest attempts have been made to synthesize previous research. A significant challenge to doing so are differences in characteristics of the considered technologies and inconsistencies in methodological choices (e.g., system boundaries, coproduct allocation, and impact assessment methods) among the studies that hamper easy comparisons and related decision support. An emerging trend is meta-analysis of a set of results from LCAs, which has the potential to clarify the impacts of a particular technology, process, product, or material and produce more robust and policy-relevant results. Meta-analysis in this context is defined here as an analysis of a set of published LCA results to estimate a single or multiple impacts for a single technology or a technology category, either in a statistical sense (e.g., following the practice in the biomedical sciences) or by quantitative adjustment of the underlying studies to make them more methodologically consistent. One example of the latter approach was published in Science by Farrell and colleagues (2006) clarifying the net energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of ethanol, in which adjustments included the addition of coproduct credit, the addition and subtraction of processes within the system boundary, and a reconciliation of differences in the definition of net energy metrics. Such adjustments therefore provide an even playing field on which all studies can be considered and at the same time specify the

  14. Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Sunscreen Lotion Using Organic Chemicals Versus Nano-Titanium Dioxide as UV Blocker

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thakur, Ankita

    The production of nanomaterials has been increasing and so are their applications in various products, while the environmental impacts and human impacts of these nanomaterials are still in the process of being explored. In this thesis, a process for producing nano-titanium dioxide (nano-TiO 2) is studied and a case-study has been conducted on comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the application of these nano-TiO2 particles in the sunscreen lotion as a UV-blocker with the conventional organic chemical sunscreen lotion using GaBi software. Nano-TiO2 particles were identified in the sunscreen lotion using Transmission Electron Microscope suggesting the use of these particles in the lotion. The LCA modeling includes the comparison of the environmental impacts of producing nano-TiO2 particles with that of conventional organic chemical UV-blockers (octocrylene and avobenzone). It also compares the environmental life cycle impacts of the two sunscreen lotions studied. TRACI 2.1 was used for the assessment of the impacts which were then normalized and weighted for the ranking of the impact categories. Results indicate that nano-TiO 2 had higher impacts on the environment than the conventional organic chemical UV-blockers (octocrylene and avobenzone). For the two sunscreen lotions studied, nano-TiO2 sunscreen variant had lower environmental life cycle impacts than its counterpart because of the other chemicals used in the formulation. In the organic chemical sunscreen variant the major impacts came from production of glycerine, ethanol, and avobenzone but in the nano-TiO 2 sunscreen variant the major impacts came from the production of nano-TiO 2 particles. Analysis further signifies the trade-offs between few environmental impact categories, for example, the human toxicity impacts were more in the nano-TiO 2 sunscreen variant, but the other environmental impact categories viz. fossil fuel depletion, global warming potential, eutrophication were less compared to the

  15. CASE STUDIES EXAMINING LCA STREAMLINING TECHNIQUES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Pressure is mounting for more streamlined Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods that allow for evaluations that are quick and simple, but accurate. As part of an overall research effort to develop and demonstrate streamlined LCA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has funded ...

  16. Including pathogen risk in life cycle assessment of wastewater management. 2. Quantitative comparison of pathogen risk to other impacts on human health.

    PubMed

    Heimersson, Sara; Harder, Robin; Peters, Gregory M; Svanström, Magdalena

    2014-08-19

    Resource recovery from sewage sludge has the potential to save natural resources, but the potential risks connected to human exposure to heavy metals, organic micropollutants, and pathogenic microorganisms attract stakeholder concern. The purpose of the presented study was to include pathogen risks to human health in life cycle assessment (LCA) of wastewater and sludge management systems, as this is commonly omitted from LCAs due to methodological limitations. Part 1 of this article series estimated the overall pathogen risk for such a system with agricultural use of the sludge, in a way that enables the results to be integrated in LCA. This article (part 2) presents a full LCA for two model systems (with agricultural utilization or incineration of sludge) to reveal the relative importance of pathogen risk in relation to other potential impacts on human health. The study showed that, for both model systems, pathogen risk can constitute an important part (in this study up to 20%) of the total life cycle impacts on human health (expressed in disability adjusted life years) which include other important impacts such as human toxicity potential, global warming potential, and photochemical oxidant formation potential. PMID:25058416

  17. Life-Cycle Assessment of the Recycling of Magnesium Vehicle Components

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ehrenberger, Simone; Friedrich, Horst E.

    2013-10-01

    Life-cycle assessment is basically the assessment of a product from the cradle to the grave. Ideally, a product is recycled after its useful life is complete and the end-of-life of the first life cycle leads to the beginning of a new product system. For the end-of-life of magnesium vehicle parts, there are various possible paths to a second life cycle. When magnesium parts are dismantled or magnesium is separated after shredding, the resulting magnesium alloys can be used for secondary, noncritical applications. However, the typical case for magnesium components is that the magnesium postconsumer scrap ends up in the nonferrous metals fraction that consists primarily of aluminum, magnesium, and heavy metals. Today, aluminum is typically fed into a second life cycle as a secondary alloy, and magnesium becomes part of the aluminum cycle as an alloy addition. In this article, we evaluate the environmental effects of using magnesium in the aluminum cycle. We also assess the influence of end-of-life scenarios on the overall environmental impact of a component's life cycle. The primary focus of our analysis is the evaluation of the effects of magnesium vehicle components on greenhouse gas emissions.

  18. Life cycle assessment perspectives on delivering an infant in the US.

    PubMed

    Campion, Nicole; Thiel, Cassandra L; DeBlois, Justin; Woods, Noe C; Landis, Amy E; Bilec, Melissa M

    2012-05-15

    This study introduces life cycle assessment as a tool to analyze one aspect of sustainability in healthcare: the birth of a baby. The process life cycle assessment case study presented evaluates two common procedures in a hospital, a cesarean section and a vaginal birth. This case study was conducted at Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which delivers over 10,000 infants per year. The results show that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), waste disposal, and the production of the disposable custom packs comprise a large percentage of the environmental impacts. Applying the life cycle assessment tool to medical procedures allows hospital decision makers to target and guide efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of healthcare procedures. PMID:22482785

  19. Life Cycle Assessment Perspectives on Delivering an Infant in the US

    PubMed Central

    Campion, Nicole; Thiel, Cassandra L.; DeBlois, Justin; Woods, Noe C.; Landis, Amy E.; Bilec, Melissa M.

    2012-01-01

    This study introduces life cycle assessment as a tool to analyze one aspect of sustainability in healthcare: the birth of a baby. The process life cycle assessment case study presented evaluates two common procedures in a hospital, a cesarean section and a vaginal birth. This case study was conducted at Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which delivers over 10,000 infants per year. The results show that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), waste disposal, and the production of the disposable custom packs comprise a large percentage of the environmental impacts. Applying the life cycle assessment tool to medical procedures allows hospital decision makers to target and guide efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of healthcare procedures. PMID:22482785

  20. Guidance on How to Move from Current Practice to Recommended Practice in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative Publication)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The report provides guidance on how to move from current practice to recommended practice in Life Cycle Impact Assessment. It is composed of three complementary parts elaborated in the first task force (TFI) of the LCIA programme, with contribution of the other three task forces:

  1. WaLA, a versatile model for the life cycle assessment of urban water systems: Formalism and framework for a modular approach.

    PubMed

    Loubet, Philippe; Roux, Philippe; Bellon-Maurel, Véronique

    2016-01-01

    The emphasis on the sustainable urban water management has increased over the last decades. In this context decision makers need tools to measure and improve the environmental performance of urban water systems (UWS) and their related scenarios. In this paper, we propose a versatile model, named WaLA (Water system Life cycle Assessment), which reduces the complexity of the UWS while ensuring a good representation of water issues and fulfilling life cycle assessment (LCA) requirements. Indeed, LCAs require building UWS models, which can be tedious if several scenarios are to be compared. The WaLA model is based on a framework that uses a "generic component" representing alternately water technology units and water users, with their associated water flows, and the associated impacts due to water deprivation, emissions, operation and infrastructure. UWS scenarios can be built by inter-operating and connecting the technologies and users components in a modular and integrated way. The model calculates life cycle impacts at a monthly temporal resolution for a set of services provided to users, as defined by the scenario. It also provides the ratio of impacts to amount of services provided and useful information for UWS diagnosis or comparison of different scenarios. The model is implemented in a Matlab/Simulink interface thanks to object-oriented programming. The applicability of the model is demonstrated using a virtual case study based on available life cycle inventory data. PMID:26474151

  2. Modeling spatially- and temporally-explicit water stress indices for use in life cycle assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scherer, L.; Venkatesh, A.; Karuppiah, R.; Usadi, A.; Pfister, S.; Hellweg, S.

    2013-12-01

    Water scarcity is a regional issue in many areas across the world, and can affect human health and ecosystems locally. Water stress indices (WSIs) have been developed as quantitative indicators of such scarcities - examples include the Falkenmark indicator, Social Water Stress Index, and the Water Supply Stress Index1. Application of these indices helps us understand water supply and demand risks for multiple users, including those in the agricultural, industrial, residential and commercial sectors. Pfister et al.2 developed a method to calculate WSIs that were used to estimate characterization factors (CFs) in order to quantify environmental impacts of freshwater consumption within a life cycle assessment (LCA) framework. Global WSIs were based on data from the WaterGAP model3, and presented as annual averages for watersheds. Since water supply and demand varies regionally and temporally, the resolution used in Pfister et al. does not effectively differentiate between seasonal and permanent water scarcity. This study aims to improve the temporal and spatial resolution of the water scarcity calculations used to estimate WSIs and CFs. We used the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)4 hydrological model to properly simulate water supply in different world regions with high spatial and temporal resolution, and coupled it with water use data from WaterGAP3 and Pfister et al.5. Input data to SWAT included weather, land use, soil characteristics and a digital elevation model (DEM), all from publicly available global data sets. Potential evapotranspiration, which affects water supply, was determined using an improved Priestley-Taylor approach. In contrast to most other hydrological studies, large reservoirs, water consumption and major water transfers were simulated. The model was calibrated against observed monthly discharge, actual evapotranspiration, and snow water equivalents wherever appropriate. Based on these simulations, monthly WSIs were calculated for a few

  3. Material and energy recovery in integrated waste management systems. An evaluation based on life cycle assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Giugliano, Michele; Cernuschi, Stefano; Grosso, Mario; Rigamonti, Lucia

    2011-09-15

    This paper reports the environmental results, integrated with those arising from mass and energy balances, of a research project on the comparative analysis of strategies for material and energy recovery from waste, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. The project, involving the cooperation of five University research groups, was devoted to the optimisation of material and energy recovery activities within integrated municipal solid waste (MSW) management systems. Four scenarios of separate collection (overall value of 35%, 50% without the collection of food waste, 50% including the collection of food waste, 65%) were defined for the implementation of energetic, environmental and economic balances. Two sizes of integrated MSW management system (IWMS) were considered: a metropolitan area, with a gross MSW production of 750,000 t/year and an average province, with a gross MSW production of 150,000 t/year. The environmental analysis was conducted using Life Cycle Assessment methodology (LCA), for both material and energy recovery activities. In order to avoid allocation we have used the technique of the expansion of the system boundaries. This means taking into consideration the impact on the environment related to the waste management activities in comparison with the avoided impacts related to the saving of raw materials and primary energy. Under the hypotheses of the study, both for the large and for the small IWMS, the energetic and environmental benefits are higher than the energetic and environmental impacts for all the scenarios analysed in terms of all the indicators considered: the scenario with 50% separate collection in a drop-off scheme excluding food waste shows the most promising perspectives, mainly arising from the highest collection (and recycling) of all the packaging materials, which is the activity giving the biggest energetic and environmental benefits. Main conclusions of the study in the general field of the

  4. Exposure assessment of MWCNTs in their life cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ono-Ogasawara, M.; Takaya, M.; Yamada, M.

    2015-05-01

    Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are used as a filler in composites to obtain electrical conductivity, and improve mechanical strength and other properties. However, exposure to MWCNTs may pose health risks because of their size, shape, and insolubility. A quantitative exposure assessment method for CNTs is therefore needed. We have developed a promising carbon analysis method that considers the size distribution of elemental carbon. We conducted exposure assessment according to the lifecycle of CNTs. At the first stage, large quantity of CNTs are handled and exposure to neat CNTs is likely to occur. When large quantity of CNTs are handled, enclosure and automated process are strongly recommended. By applying appropriate measures, CNT concentration can be well controlled. Local exhaust ventilation and less-restrictive enclosures were found to work well during the second stage, which involves handling smaller CNT quantities. At measured sites, MWCNT concentrations were below an occupational exposure level proposed by Nakanishi (i.e., 0.030 mg/m3). This analysis method can also be applied to particles containing MWCNTs. At downstream stages of the lifecycle, neat MWCNTs were not observed and concentrations of embedded MWCNTs were lower than 0.015 mg/m3.

  5. Life cycle assessment of switchgrass- and corn stover-derived ethanol-fueled automobiles.

    PubMed

    Spatari, Sabrina; Zhang, Yimin; MacLean, Heather L

    2005-12-15

    Utilizing domestically produced cellulose-derived ethanol for the light-duty vehicle fleet can potentially improve the environmental performance and sustainability of the transport and energy sectors of the economy. A life cycle assessment model was developed to examine environmental implications of the production and use of ethanol in automobiles in Ontario, Canada. The results were compared to those of low-sulfur reformulated gasoline (RFG) in a functionally equivalent automobile. Two time frames were evaluated, one near-term (2010), which examines converting a dedicated energy crop (switchgrass) and an agricultural residue (corn stover) to ethanol; and one midterm (2020), which assumes technological improvements in the switchgrass-derived ethanol life cycle. Near-term results show that, compared to a RFG automobile, life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 57% lower for an E85-fueled automobile derived from switchgrass and 65% lower for ethanol from corn stover, on a grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer basis. Corn stover ethanol exhibits slightly lower life cycle GHG emissions, primarily due to sharing emissions with grain production. Through projected improvements in crop and ethanol yields, results for the mid-term scenario show that GHG emissions could be 25-35% lower than those in 2010 and that, even with anticipated improvements in RFG automobiles, E85 automobiles could still achieve up to 70% lower GHG emissions across the life cycle. PMID:16475363

  6. Life cycle assessment of Chinese shrimp farming systems targeted for export and domestic sales.

    PubMed

    Cao, Ling; Diana, James S; Keoleian, Gregory A; Lai, Qiuming

    2011-08-01

    We conducted surveys of six hatcheries and 18 farms for data inputs to complete a cradle-to-farm-gate life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental performance for intensive (for export markets in Chicago) and semi-intensive (for domestic markets in Shanghai) shrimp farming systems in Hainan Province, China. The relative contribution to overall environmental performance of processing and distribution to final markets were also evaluated from a cradle-to-destination-port perspective. Environmental impact categories included global warming, acidification, eutrophication, cumulative energy use, and biotic resource use. Our results indicated that intensive farming had significantly higher environmental impacts per unit production than semi-intensive farming in all impact categories. The grow-out stage contributed between 96.4% and 99.6% of the cradle-to-farm-gate impacts. These impacts were mainly caused by feed production, electricity use, and farm-level effluents. By averaging over intensive (15%) and semi-intensive (85%) farming systems, 1 metric ton (t) live-weight of shrimp production in China required 38.3 ± 4.3 GJ of energy, as well as 40.4 ± 1.7 t of net primary productivity, and generated 23.1 ± 2.6 kg of SO(2) equiv, 36.9 ± 4.3 kg of PO(4) equiv, and 3.1 ± 0.4 t of CO(2) equiv. Processing made a higher contribution to cradle-to-destination-port impacts than distribution of processed shrimp from farm gate to final markets in both supply chains. In 2008, the estimated total electricity consumption, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions from Chinese white-leg shrimp production would be 1.1 billion kW·h, 49 million GJ, and 4 million metric tons, respectively. Improvements suggested for Chinese shrimp aquaculture include changes in feed composition, farm management, electricity-generating sources, and effluent treatment before discharge. Our results can be used to optimize market-oriented shrimp supply chains and promote more

  7. An evaluation of alternative household solid waste treatment practices using life cycle inventory assessment mode.

    PubMed

    Thanh, Nguyen Phuc; Matsui, Yasuhiro

    2012-06-01

    Waste disposal is an important part of the life cycle of a product and is associated with environmental burdens like any other life-cycle stages. In this study, an integrated assessment for solid waste treatment practices, especially household solid waste, was undertaken to evaluate the impact contribution of household solid waste treatment alternatives towards the sustainable development by using Life Cycle Inventory Assessment method. A case study has been investigated under various possible scenarios, such as (1) landfill without landfill gas recovery, (2) landfill with landfill gas recovery and flaring, (3) landfill with landfill gas recovery and electric generation, (4) composting, and (5) incineration. The evaluation utilized the Life Cycle Inventory Assessment method for multiple assessments based on various aspects, such as greenhouse gas emission/reduction, energy generation/consumption, economic benefit, investment and operating cost, and land use burden. The results showed that incineration was the most efficient alternative for greenhouse gas emission reduction, economic benefit, energy recovery, and land use reduction, although it was identified as the most expensive for investment and operating cost, while composting scenario was also an efficient alternative with quite economic benefit, low investment and operating cost, and high reduction of land use, although it was identified as existing greenhouse gas emission and no energy generation. Furthermore, the aim of this study was also to establish localized assessment methods that waste management agencies, environmental engineers, and environmental policy decision makers can use to quantify and compare the contribution to the impacts from different waste treatment options. PMID:21773866

  8. Beyond the material grave: Life Cycle Impact Assessment of leaching from secondary materials in road and earth constructions

    SciTech Connect

    Schwab, Oliver; Bayer, Peter; Juraske, Ronnie; Verones, Francesca; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2014-10-15

    Highlights: • We model environmental impacts of leaching from secondary construction material. • Industrial wastes in construction contain up to 45,000 t heavy metals per year (D). • In a scenario, 150 t are leached to the environment within 100 years after construction. • All heavy metals but As, Sb and Mo are adsorbed by 20 cm subsoil in this scenario. • Environmental impacts depend on material, pollutant, construction type, and geography. - Abstract: In industrialized countries, large amounts of mineral wastes are produced. They are re-used in various ways, particularly in road and earth constructions, substituting primary resources such as gravel. However, they may also contain pollutants, such as heavy metals, which may be leached to the groundwater. The toxic impacts of these emissions are so far often neglected within Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of products or waste treatment services and thus, potentially large environmental impacts are currently missed. This study aims at closing this gap by assessing the ecotoxic impacts of heavy metal leaching from industrial mineral wastes in road and earth constructions. The flows of metals such as Sb, As, Pb, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mo, Ni, V and Zn originating from three typical constructions to the environment are quantified, their fate in the environment is assessed and potential ecotoxic effects evaluated. For our reference country, Germany, the industrial wastes that are applied as Granular Secondary Construction Material (GSCM) carry more than 45,000 t of diverse heavy metals per year. Depending on the material quality and construction type applied, up to 150 t of heavy metals may leach to the environment within the first 100 years after construction. Heavy metal retardation in subsoil can potentially reduce the fate to groundwater by up to 100%. One major challenge of integrating leaching from constructions into macro-scale LCA frameworks is the high variability in micro-scale technical and geographical factors

  9. Understanding Life Cycle Assessment: Applications for OSWER's Land and Materials Managment

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI) is hosting an informative webcast presentation by Jane Bare, expert on Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) in EPA's Office of Research and Development. Ms. Bare's presentation will provide an overview of LCIA, ...

  10. Towards a Sustainable Approach to Nanotechnology by Integrating Life Cycle Assessment into the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kopelevich, Dmitry I.; Ziegler, Kirk J.; Lindner, Angela S.; Bonzongo, Jean-Claude J.

    2012-01-01

    Because rapid growth of nanotechnology is expected to lead to intentional and non-intentional releases, future engineers will need to minimize negative environmental and health impacts of nanomaterials. We developed two upper-level undergraduate courses centered on life-cycle assessment of nanomaterials. The first part of the course sequence…

  11. ENVIRONMENTAL COMPARISON OF GASOLINE BLENDING OPTIONS USING LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT: JOURNAL ARTICLE

    EPA Science Inventory

    NRMRL-CIN-1612A Mata, T.M., Smith*, R.L., Young*, D.M., and Costa, C.A.V. Environmental Comparison of Gasoline Blending Options using Life Cycle Assessment. R'02 Recovery, Recycling, Re-Integration, Geneva, Switzerland, 2/12-15/2002. EPA/600/A-02/068, [DISK]. 09/27/2001 A li...

  12. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE BUILDING DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

    EPA Science Inventory

    The most effective way to achieve long-term environmental results is through the use of a consistent set of metrics within a decision-making framework. This paper describes the role of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) and details its use within two tools available to this indu...

  13. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT WORKSHOP SUMMARY - MIDPOINTS VERSUS ENDPOINTS: THE SACRIFICES AND BENEFITS

    EPA Science Inventory

    On 5/25-26/2000 in Brighton, England, the third international workshop was held under the umbrella of UNEP addressing issues in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA). The workshop provided a forum for experts to discuss midpoint vs. endpoint modeling. Midpoints are considered to be...

  14. Workshop on LCA: Methodology, Current Development, and Application in Standards - LCA Methodology

    EPA Science Inventory

    As ASTM standards are being developed including Life Cycle Assessment within the Standards it is imperative that practitioners in the field learn more about what LCA is, and how to conduct it. This presentation will include an overview of the LCA process and will concentrate on ...

  15. Understanding the impacts of allocation approaches during process-based life cycle assessment of water treatment chemicals.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Gaitan, Juan P; Peters, Gregory M; Short, Michael D; Schulz, Matthias; Moore, Stephen

    2014-01-01

    Chemicals are an important component of advanced water treatment operations not only in terms of economics but also from an environmental standpoint. Tools such as life cycle assessment (LCA) are useful for estimating the environmental impacts of water treatment operations. At the same time, LCA analysts must manage several fundamental and as yet unresolved methodological challenges, one of which is the question of how best to "allocate" environmental burdens in multifunctional processes. Using water treatment chemicals as a case study example, this article aims to quantify the variability in greenhouse gas emissions estimates stemming from methodological choices made in respect of allocation during LCA. The chemicals investigated and reported here are those most important to coagulation and disinfection processes, and the outcomes are illustrated on the basis of treating 1000 ML of noncoagulated and nondisinfected water. Recent process and economic data for the production of these chemicals is used and methodological alternatives for solving the multifunctionality problem, including system expansion and mass, exergy, and economic allocation, are applied to data from chlor-alkali plants. In addition, Monte Carlo simulation is included to provide a comprehensive picture of the robustness of economic allocation results to changes in the market price of these industrial commodities. For disinfection, results demonstrate that chlorine gas has a lower global warming potential (GWP) than sodium hypochlorite regardless of the technique used to solve allocation issues. For coagulation, when mass or economic allocation is used to solve the multifunctionality problem in the chlor-alkali facility, ferric chloride was found to have a higher GWP than aluminum sulfate and a slightly lower burden where system expansion or exergy allocation are applied instead. Monte Carlo results demonstrate that when economic allocation is used, GWP results were relatively robust and resilient

  16. Hybrid life-cycle assessment of natural gas based fuel chains for transportation.

    PubMed

    Strømman, Anders Hammer; Solli, Christian; Hertwich, Edgar G

    2006-04-15

    This research compares the use of natural gas, methanol, and hydrogen as transportation fuels. These three fuel chains start with the extraction and processing of natural gas in the Norwegian North Sea and end with final use in Central Europe. The end use is passenger transportation with a sub-compact car that has an internal combustion engine for the natural gas case and a fuel cell for the methanol and hydrogen cases. The life cycle assessment is performed by combining a process based life-cycle inventory with economic input-output data. The analysis shows that the potential climate impacts are lowest for the hydrogen fuel scenario with CO2 deposition. The hydrogen fuel chain scenario has no significant environmental disadvantage compared to the other fuel chains. Detailed analysis shows that the construction of the car contributes significantly to most impact categories. Finally, it is shown how the application of a hybrid inventory model ensures a more complete inventory description compared to standard process-based life-cycle assessment. This is particularly significant for car construction which would have been significantly underestimated in this study using standard process life-cycle assessment alone. PMID:16683626

  17. Life-Cycle Assessment of Oilseeds for Biojet Production Using Localized Cold-Press Extraction.

    PubMed

    Sieverding, Heidi L; Zhao, Xianhui; Wei, Lin; Stone, James J

    2016-05-01

    As nonfood oilseed varieties are being rapidly developed, new varieties may affect agricultural production efficiency and life-cycle assessment results. Current, detailed feedstock production information is necessary to accurately assess impacts of the biofuel life-cycle. The life-cycle impacts of four nonfood oilseeds (carinata [ L. Braun], camelina [ L. Crantz], canola or rapeseed [ L.], and sunflower [ L.]) were modeled using Argonne National Laboratory's GREET model to compare feedstocks for renewable biojet production using cold-press oil extraction. Only feedstock-related inputs were varied, allowing isolation of feedstock influence. Carinata and camelina performed slightly better than other oilseed crops at most product stages and impact categories as a result of current, low-input agricultural information and new feedstock varieties. Between 40 to 50% of SO and NO emissions, ∼25% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and ∼40% of total energy consumption for the biojet production impact occurred during feedstock production. Within the first standard deviation, total well-to-tank emissions varied between ∼13% (GHG) and ∼35% (SO) for all feedstocks emphasizing the importance of accurate agricultural production information. Nonfood oilseed feedstock properties (e.g., oil content, density) and agricultural management (e.g., fertilization, yield) affect life-cycle assessment results. Using biofuels in feedstock production and focusing on low-impact management would assist producers in improving overall product sustainability. PMID:27136164

  18. Two-scale evaluation of remediation technologies for a contaminated site by applying economic input-output life cycle assessment: risk-cost, risk-energy consumption and risk-CO2 emission.

    PubMed

    Inoue, Yasushi; Katayama, Arata

    2011-09-15

    A two-scale evaluation concept of remediation technologies for a contaminated site was expanded by introducing life cycle costing (LCC) and economic input-output life cycle assessment (EIO-LCA). The expanded evaluation index, the rescue number for soil (RN(SOIL)) with LCC and EIO-LCA, comprises two scales, such as risk-cost, risk-energy consumption or risk-CO(2) emission of a remediation. The effectiveness of RN(SOIL) with LCC and EIO-LCA was examined in a typical contamination and remediation scenario in which dieldrin contaminated an agricultural field. Remediation was simulated using four technologies: disposal, high temperature thermal desorption, biopile and landfarming. Energy consumption and CO(2) emission were determined from a life cycle inventory analysis using monetary-based intensity based on an input-output table. The values of RN(SOIL) based on risk-cost, risk-energy consumption and risk-CO(2) emission were calculated, and then rankings of the candidates were compiled according to RN(SOIL) values. A comparison between three rankings showed the different ranking orders. The existence of differences in ranking order indicates that the scales would not have reciprocal compatibility for two-scale evaluation and that each scale should be used independently. The RN(SOIL) with LCA will be helpful in selecting a technology, provided an appropriate scale is determined. PMID:21741766

  19. Life cycle assessments of municipal solid waste management systems: a comparative analysis of selected peer-reviewed literature.

    PubMed

    Cleary, Julian

    2009-11-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a popular tool used to evaluate the environmental performance of municipal solid waste (MSW) management systems. Although reviews of LCAs of MSW have been undertaken to assess the validity of the 'waste hierarchy,' a recent review of the goal, scope and results of LCAs of mixed-material MSW management systems has yet to be performed. This paper is a comparative analysis of 20 process-based LCAs of MSW published between 2002 and 2008 in a total of 11 English-language peer-reviewed journals. It quantifies the methodological transparency of the studies and the frequency of use of particular system boundaries, types of data sources, environmental impact categories, impact weightings, economic valuations, sensitivity analyses, and LCA computer models. Net energy use (NEU), global warming potential (GWP), and acidification potential (AP) values for various types of MSW management systems are also compared using statistical indicators. The reviewed LCAs differ substantially in their system boundaries. Half or more of the LCAs either do not mention or are unclear in whether or not life cycle emissions from energy inputs or capital equipment are included in the calculation of results. Only four impact categories are common to more than half of the reviewed LCAs. The human and ecological toxicity impact categories are much less common than global warming potential, acidification, and eutrophication. A financial life cycle costing is present in eight of the reviewed LCAs, while an economic valuation of the environmental impacts is observed in five. Explicit sensitivity analyses are present in 4/20 of the studies, although many more LCAs evaluate the effects of varying model parameters by increasing the number of waste management scenarios. There is no consensus on whether or not to use the marginal or average source of electricity in calculating environmental impacts. Eight out of the 20 do not mention this source while the remaining LCAs are

  20. Integrated life-cycle assessment of electricity-supply scenarios confirms global environmental benefit of low-carbon technologies.

    PubMed

    Hertwich, Edgar G; Gibon, Thomas; Bouman, Evert A; Arvesen, Anders; Suh, Sangwon; Heath, Garvin A; Bergesen, Joseph D; Ramirez, Andrea; Vega, Mabel I; Shi, Lei

    2015-05-19

    Decarbonization of electricity generation can support climate-change mitigation and presents an opportunity to address pollution resulting from fossil-fuel combustion. Generally, renewable technologies require higher initial investments in infrastructure than fossil-based power systems. To assess the tradeoffs of increased up-front emissions and reduced operational emissions, we present, to our knowledge, the first global, integrated life-cycle assessment (LCA) of long-term, wide-scale implementation of electricity generation from renewable sources (i.e., photovoltaic and solar thermal, wind, and hydropower) and of carbon dioxide capture and storage for fossil power generation. We compare emissions causing particulate matter exposure, freshwater ecotoxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and climate change for the climate-change-mitigation (BLUE Map) and business-as-usual (Baseline) scenarios of the International Energy Agency up to 2050. We use a vintage stock model to conduct an LCA of newly installed capacity year-by-year for each region, thus accounting for changes in the energy mix used to manufacture future power plants. Under the Baseline scenario, emissions of air and water pollutants more than double whereas the low-carbon technologies introduced in the BLUE Map scenario allow a doubling of electricity supply while stabilizing or even reducing pollution. Material requirements per unit generation for low-carbon technologies can be higher than for conventional fossil generation: 11-40 times more copper for photovoltaic systems and 6-14 times more iron for wind power plants. However, only two years of current global copper and one year of iron production will suffice to build a low-carbon energy system capable of supplying the world's electricity needs in 2050. PMID:25288741

  1. Waste management of printed wiring boards: a life cycle assessment of the metals recycling chain from liberation through refining.

    PubMed

    Xue, Mianqiang; Kendall, Alissa; Xu, Zhenming; Schoenung, Julie M

    2015-01-20

    Due to economic and societal reasons, informal activities including open burning, backyard recycling, and landfill are still the prevailing methods used for electronic waste treatment in developing countries. Great efforts have been made, especially in China, to promote formal approaches for electronic waste management by enacting laws, developing green recycling technologies, initiating pilot programs, etc. The formal recycling process can, however, engender environmental impact and resource consumption, although information on the environmental loads and resource consumption is currently limited. To quantitatively assess the environmental impact of the processes in a formal printed wiring board (PWB) recycling chain, life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to a formal recycling chain that includes the steps from waste liberation through materials refining. The metal leaching in the refining stage was identified as a critical process, posing most of the environmental impact in the recycling chain. Global warming potential was the most significant environmental impact category after normalization and weighting, followed by fossil abiotic depletion potential, and marine aquatic eco-toxicity potential. Scenario modeling results showed that variations in the power source and chemical reagents consumption had the greatest influence on the environmental performance. The environmental impact from transportation used for PWB collection was also evaluated. The results were further compared to conventional primary metals production processes, highlighting the environmental benefit of metal recycling from waste PWBs. Optimizing the collection mode, increasing the precious metals recovery efficiency in the beneficiation stage and decreasing the chemical reagents consumption in the refining stage by effective materials liberation and separation are proposed as potential improvement strategies to make the recycling chain more environmentally friendly. The LCA results provide

  2. Integrated life-cycle assessment of electricity-supply scenarios confirms global environmental benefit of low-carbon technologies

    PubMed Central

    Hertwich, Edgar G.; Gibon, Thomas; Bouman, Evert A.; Arvesen, Anders; Heath, Garvin A.; Bergesen, Joseph D.; Ramirez, Andrea; Vega, Mabel I.; Shi, Lei

    2015-01-01

    Decarbonization of electricity generation can support climate-change mitigation and presents an opportunity to address pollution resulting from fossil-fuel combustion. Generally, renewable technologies require higher initial investments in infrastructure than fossil-based power systems. To assess the tradeoffs of increased up-front emissions and reduced operational emissions, we present, to our knowledge, the first global, integrated life-cycle assessment (LCA) of long-term, wide-scale implementation of electricity generation from renewable sources (i.e., photovoltaic and solar thermal, wind, and hydropower) and of carbon dioxide capture and storage for fossil power generation. We compare emissions causing particulate matter exposure, freshwater ecotoxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and climate change for the climate-change-mitigation (BLUE Map) and business-as-usual (Baseline) scenarios of the International Energy Agency up to 2050. We use a vintage stock model to conduct an LCA of newly installed capacity year-by-year for each region, thus accounting for changes in the energy mix used to manufacture future power plants. Under the Baseline scenario, emissions of air and water pollutants more than double whereas the low-carbon technologies introduced in the BLUE Map scenario allow a doubling of electricity supply while stabilizing or even reducing pollution. Material requirements per unit generation for low-carbon technologies can be higher than for conventional fossil generation: 11–40 times more copper for photovoltaic systems and 6–14 times more iron for wind power plants. However, only two years of current global copper and one year of iron production will suffice to build a low-carbon energy system capable of supplying the world's electricity needs in 2050. PMID:25288741

  3. Benefits of clean development mechanism application on the life cycle assessment perspective: a case study in the palm oil industry.

    PubMed

    Chuen, Onn Chiu; Yusoff, Sumiani

    2012-03-01

    This study performed an assessment on the beneficial of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) application on waste treatment system in a local palm oil industry in Malaysia. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to assess the environmental impacts of the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from the CDM application. Calculations on the emission reduction used the methodology based on AM002 (Avoided Wastewater and On-site Energy Use Emissions in the Industrial Sector) Version 4 published by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The results from the studies showed that the introduction of CDM in the palm oil mill through conversion of the captured biogas from palm oil mill effluent (POME) treatment into power generation were able to reduce approximate 0.12 tonnes CO2 equivalent concentration (tCO2e) emission and 30 kW x hr power generation per 1 tonne of fresh fruit bunch processed. Thus, the application of CDM methodology on palm oil mill wastewater treatment was able to reduce up to 1/4 of the overall environment impact generated in palm oil mill. PMID:22482288

  4. Life cycle assessment of an energy-system with a superheated steam dryer integrated in a local district heat and power plant

    SciTech Connect

    Bjoerk, H.; Rasmuson, A.

    1999-07-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a method for analyzing and assessing the environmental impact of a material, product or service throughout the entire life cycle. In this study 100 GWh heat is to be demanded by a local heat district. A mixture of coal and wet biofuel is frequently used as fuel for steam generation (Case 1). A conversion of the mixed fuel to dried biofuel is proposed. In the district it is also estimated that it is possible for 4000 private houses to convert from oil to wood pellets. It is proposed that sustainable solution to the actual problem is to combine heat and power production together with an improvement in the quality of wood residues and manufacture of pellets. It is also proposed that a steam dryer is integrated to the system (Case 2). Most of the heat from the drying process is used by the municipal heating networks. In this study the environmental impact of the two cases is examined with LCA. Different valuation methods shows the Case 2 is an improvement over Case 1, but there is diversity in the magnitudes of environmental impact in the comparison of the cases. The differences depend particularly on how the emissions of CO{sub 2}, NO{sub x} and hydrocarbons are estimated. The impact of the organic compounds from the exhaust gas during the drying is estimated as low in all of the three used methods.

  5. Consequential environmental and economic life cycle assessment of green and gray stormwater infrastructures for combined sewer systems.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ranran; Eckelman, Matthew J; Zimmerman, Julie B

    2013-10-01

    A consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) is conducted to evaluate the trade-offs between water quality improvements and the incremental climate, resource, and economic costs of implementing green (bioretention basin, green roof, and permeable pavement) versus gray (municipal separate stormwater sewer systems, MS4) alternatives of stormwater infrastructure expansions against a baseline combined sewer system with combined sewer overflows in a typical Northeast US watershed for typical, dry, and wet years. Results show that bioretention basins can achieve water quality improvement goals (e.g., mitigating freshwater eutrophication) for the least climate and economic costs of 61 kg CO2 eq. and $98 per kg P eq. reduction, respectively. MS4 demonstrates the minimum life cycle fossil energy use of 42 kg oil eq. per kg P eq. reduction. When integrated with the expansion in stormwater infrastructure, implementation of advanced wastewater treatment processes can further reduce the impact of stormwater runoff on aquatic environment at a minimal environmental cost (77 kg CO2 eq. per kg P eq. reduction), which provides support and valuable insights for the further development of integrated management of stormwater and wastewater. The consideration of critical model parameters (i.e., precipitation intensity, land imperviousness, and infrastructure life expectancy) highlighted the importance and implications of varying local conditions and infrastructure characteristics on the costs and benefits of stormwater management. Of particular note is that the impact of MS4 on the local aquatic environment is highly dependent on local runoff quality indicating that a combined system of green infrastructure prior to MS4 potentially provides a more cost-effective improvement to local water quality. PMID:23957532

  6. A comparative life cycle assessment of conventional hand dryer and roll paper towel as hand drying methods.

    PubMed

    Joseph, Tijo; Baah, Kelly; Jahanfar, Ali; Dubey, Brajesh

    2015-05-15

    A comparative life cycle assessment, under a cradle to gate scope, was carried out between two hand drying methods namely conventional hand dryer use and dispenser issued roll paper towel use. The inventory analysis for this study was aided by the deconstruction of a hand dryer and dispenser unit besides additional data provided by the Physical Resources department, from the product system manufacturers and information from literature. The LCA software SimaPro, supported by the ecoinvent and US-EI databases, was used towards establishing the environmental impacts associated with the lifecycle stages of both the compared product systems. The Impact 2002+ method was used for classification and characterization of these environmental impacts. An uncertainty analysis addressing key input data and assumptions made, a sensitivity analysis covering the use intensity of the product systems and a scenario analysis looking at a US based use phase for the hand dryer were also conducted. Per functional unit, which is to achieve a pair of dried hands, the dispenser product system has a greater life cycle impact than the dryer product system across three of four endpoint impact categories. The use group of lifecycle stages for the dispenser product system, which represents the cradle to gate lifecycle stages associated with the paper towels, constitutes the major portion of this impact. For the dryer product system, the use group of lifecycle stages, which essentially covers the electricity consumption during dryer operation, constitutes the major stake in the impact categories. It is evident from the results of this study that per dry, for a use phase supplied by Ontario's grid (2010 grid mix scenario) and a United States based manufacturing scenario, the use of a conventional hand dryer (rated at 1800 W and under a 30s use intensity) has a lesser environmental impact than with using two paper towels (100% recycled content, unbleached and weighing 4 g) issued from a roll

  7. Greenhouse Gases Life Cycle Assessment (GHGLCA) as a decision support tool for municipal solid waste management in Iran

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background One of the most problems in developing countries is the integrated waste management and the effects on Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used in this paper as a decision supporting tool in planning Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) managements. Methods In this paper the EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM) that provide GHG emission factors for waste stream components that are based on life Cycle Inventory (LCI) framework were used and The MSW management methods comprised in seven scenarios. Results The amount of GHG which was generated from Iran’s waste sector estimated about 17836079 Metric Tons of Carbon dioxide Equivalents (MT CO2e) in this study. The lowest amount of GHG was generated by LFG capture system with energy recovery (557635 MT CO2e), while Incineration of materials being sent to landfill (1756823 MT CO2e), Landfill Gas (LFG) capture system with flaring (2929150 MT CO2e) and Improved source reduction and recycling (4780278 MT CO2e) emitted fewer GHG than the other scenarios. Lowest levels of gross energy consumption occur in source reduction with recycling and composting (-89356240 Mega British Thermal Unit, M BTU), recycling and composting (-86772060 M BTU) as well as Improved source reduction with recycling and composting (-54794888 M BTU). Conclusions It appears that recycling and composting each offer significant GHG emissions and energy consumption reductions (scenarios 4, 5 and 6). Upon of the GHG emission and energy consumption results concluded that improved source reduction and recycling scenario has been the Balanced and appropriate technology for handling the solid waste streams in municipalities. PMID:24910776

  8. Life-cycle assessment of computational logic produced from 1995 through 2010

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boyd, S. B.; Horvath, A.; Dornfeld, D. A.

    2010-01-01

    Determination of the life-cycle environmental and human health impacts of semiconductor logic is essential to a better understanding of the role information technology can play in achieving energy efficiency or global warming potential reduction goals. This study provides a life-cycle assessment for digital logic chips over seven technology generations, spanning from 1995 through 2010. Environmental indicators include global warming potential, acidification, eutrophication, ground-level ozone (smog) formation, potential human cancer and non-cancer health effects, ecotoxicity and water use. While impacts per device area related to fabrication infrastructure and use-phase electricity have increased steadily, those due to transportation and fabrication direct emissions have fallen as a result of changes in process technology, device and wafer sizes and yields over the generations. Electricity, particularly in the use phase, and direct emissions from fabrication are the most important contributors to life-cycle impacts. Despite the large quantities of water used in fabrication, across the life cycle, the largest fraction of water is consumed in generation of electricity for use-phase power. Reducing power consumption in the use phase is the most effective way to limit impacts, particularly for the more recent generations of logic.

  9. Mass balance and life cycle assessment of the waste electrical and electronic equipment management system implemented in Lombardia Region (Italy).

    PubMed

    Biganzoli, L; Falbo, A; Forte, F; Grosso, M; Rigamonti, L

    2015-08-15

    Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in Europe, whose content of hazardous substances as well as of valuable materials makes the study of the different management options particularly interesting. The present study investigates the WEEE management system in Lombardia Region (Italy) in the year 2011 by applying the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. An extensive collection of primary data was carried out to describe the main outputs and the energy consumptions of the treatment plants. Afterwards, the benefits and burdens associated with the treatment and recovery of each of the five categories in which WEEE is classified according to the Italian legislation (heaters and refrigerators - R1, large household appliances - R2, TV and monitors - R3, small household appliances - R4 and lighting equipment - R5) were evaluated. The mass balance of the treatment and recovery system of each of the five WEEE categories showed that steel and glass are the predominant streams of materials arising from the treatment; a non-negligible amount of plastic is also recovered, together with small amounts of precious metals. The LCA of the regional WEEE management system showed that the benefits associated with materials and energy recovery balance the burdens of the treatment processes, with the sole exception of two impact categories (human toxicity-cancer effects and freshwater ecotoxicity). The WEEE categories whose treatment and recovery resulted more beneficial for the environment and the human health are R3 and R5. The contribution analysis showed that overall the main benefits are associated with the recovery of metals, as well as of plastic and glass. Some suggestions for improving the performance of the system are given, as well as an indication for a more-in-depth analysis for the toxicity categories and a proposal for a new characterisation method for WEEE. PMID:25913003

  10. Evaluation of traditional and consolidated rice farms in Guilan Province, Iran, using life cycle assessment and fuzzy modeling.

    PubMed

    Khoshnevisan, Benyamin; Rajaeifar, Mohammad Ali; Clark, Sean; Shamahirband, Shahaboddin; Anuar, Nor Badrul; Mohd Shuib, Nor Liyana; Gani, Abdullah

    2014-05-15

    In this study the environmental impact of consolidated rice farms (CF) - farms which have been integrated to increase the mechanization index - and traditional farms (TF) - small farms with lower mechanization index - in Guilan Province, Iran, were evaluated and compared using Life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS). Foreground data were collected from farmers using face-to-face questionnaires and background information about production process and inventory data was taken from the EcoInvent®2.0 database. The system boundary was confined to within the farm gate (cradle to farm gate) and two functional units (land and mass based) were chosen. The study also included a comparison of the input-output energy flows of the farms. The results revealed that the average amount of energy consumed by the CFs was 57 GJ compared to 74.2 GJ for the TFs. The energy ratios for CFs and TFs were 1.6 and 0.9, respectively. The LCA results indicated that CFs produced fewer environmental burdens per ton of produced rice. When compared according to the land-based FU the same results were obtained. This indicates that the differences between the two types of farms were not caused by a difference in their production level, but rather by improved management on the CFs. The analysis also showed that electricity accounted for the greatest share of the impact for both types of farms, followed by P-based and N-based chemical fertilizers. These findings suggest that the CFs had superior overall environmental performance compared to the TFs in the study area. The performance metrics of the model based on ANFIS show that it can be used to predict the environmental burdens of rice production with high accuracy and minimal error. PMID:24602908

  11. Life cycle assessment of hemp cultivation and use of hemp-based thermal insulator materials in buildings.

    PubMed

    Zampori, Luca; Dotelli, Giovanni; Vernelli, Valeria

    2013-07-01

    The aim of this research is to assess the sustainability of a natural fiber, such as hemp (Cannabis sativa), and its use as thermal insulator for building applications. The sustainability of hemp was quantified by life cycle assessment (LCA) and particular attention was given to the amount of CO2eq of the whole process, and the indicator greenhouse gas protocol (GGP) was selected to quantify CO2eq emissions. In this study also CO2 uptake of hemp was considered. Two different allocation procedures (i.e., mass and economic) were adopted. Other indicators, such as Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) and EcoIndicator99 H were calculated. The production of 1 ha yielded 15 ton of hemp, whose global warming potential (GWP100) was equal to about -26.01 ton CO2eq: the amount allocated to the technical fiber (20% of the total amount of hemp biomass) was -5.52 ton CO2eq when mass allocation was used, and -5.54 ton CO2eq when economic allocation was applied. The sustainability for building applications was quantified by considering an insulation panel made by hemp fiber (85%) and polyester fiber (15%) in 1 m(2) of wall having a thermal transmittance (U) equal to 0.2 W/m(2)_K. The environmental performances of the hemp-based panel were compared to those of a rockwool-based one. PMID:23745970

  12. Assessing resource intensity and renewability of cellulosic ethanol technologies using eco-LCA.

    PubMed

    Baral, Anil; Bakshi, Bhavik R; Smith, Raymond L

    2012-02-21

    Recognizing the contributions of ecosystem services and the lack of their comprehensive accounting in life cycle assessment (LCA), an in-depth analysis of their contribution in the life cycle of cellulosic ethanol derived from five different feedstocks was conducted, with gasoline and corn ethanol as reference fuels. The relative use intensity of natural resources encompassing land and ecosystem goods and services by cellulosic ethanol was estimated using the Eco-LCA framework. Despite being resource intensive compared to gasoline, cellulosic ethanol offers the possibility of a reduction in crude oil consumption by as much as 96%. Soil erosion and land area requirements can be sources of concern for cellulosic ethanol derived directly from managed agriculture. The analysis of two broad types of thermodynamic metrics, namely: various types of physical return on investment and a renewability index, which indicate competitiveness and sustainability of cellulosic ethanol, respectively, show that only ethanol from waste resources combines a favorable thermodynamic return on investment with a higher renewability index. However, the production potential of ethanol from waste resources is limited. This finding conveys a possible dilemma of biofuels: combining high renewability, high thermodynamic return on investment, and large production capacity may remain elusive. A plot of renewability versus energy return on investment is suggested as one of the options for providing guidance on future biofuel selection. PMID:22283423

  13. Life-Cycle Cost/Benefit Assessment of Expedite Departure Path (EDP)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Jianzhong Jay; Chang, Paul; Datta, Koushik

    2005-01-01

    This report presents a life-cycle cost/benefit assessment (LCCBA) of Expedite Departure Path (EDP), an air traffic control Decision Support Tool (DST) currently under development at NASA. This assessment is an update of a previous study performed by bd Systems, Inc. (bd) during FY01, with the following revisions: The life-cycle cost assessment methodology developed by bd for the previous study was refined and calibrated using Free Flight Phase 1 (FFP1) cost information for Traffic Management Advisor (TMA, or TMA-SC in the FAA's terminology). Adjustments were also made to the site selection and deployment scheduling methodology to include airspace complexity as a factor. This technique was also applied to the benefit extrapolation methodology to better estimate potential benefits for other years, and at other sites. This study employed a new benefit estimating methodology because bd s previous single year potential benefit assessment of EDP used unrealistic assumptions that resulted in optimistic estimates. This methodology uses an air traffic simulation approach to reasonably predict the impacts from the implementation of EDP. The results of the costs and benefits analyses were then integrated into a life-cycle cost/benefit assessment.

  14. Life- cycle assessment in pesticide product development: methods and case study on two plant-growth regulators from different product generations.

    PubMed

    Geisler, Georg; Hellweg, Stefanie; Hofstetter, Thomas B; Hungerbuehler, Konrad

    2005-04-01

    Environmental assessments in pesticide product development are generally restricted to plant uptake and emissions of active ingredients. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) enables a more comprehensive evaluation by additionally assessing the impacts of pesticide production and application (e.g. tractor operations). The use of LCA in the product development of pesticides, in addition to the methods commonly applied, is therefore advisable. In this paper a procedure for conducting LCA in early phases of product development is proposed. In a case study, two plant-growth regulators from different product generations were compared regarding their application in intensive production of winter wheat. The results showed thatthe reduced emissions from active ingredients of the newer pesticide were compensated by higher impacts from the production process. The authors draw the conclusion that it is important to consider environmental objectives in the procurement of precursors, in addition to the classical goals of increasing the efficacy and reducing the nontarget effects of pesticides. Moreover, the case study showed that decisions based on uncertain results in early stages of product development may need to be revised in later stages, e.g. based on investigations of pesticides' effects on crop yield. PMID:15871283

  15. Environmental impacts of the Japanese beef-fattening system with different feeding lengths as evaluated by a life-cycle assessment method.

    PubMed

    Ogino, A; Kaku, K; Osada, T; Shimada, K

    2004-07-01

    The objectives of this study were to evaluate the environmental impacts of a beef-fattening system using the life-cycle assessment (LCA) method and to investigate the effects of feeding length on the LCA results. The functional unit was defined as one animal, and the stages associated with the beef-fattening life cycle, such as feed (concentrate and rough-age) production, feed transport, animal management, animal body (i.e., biological activity of cattle), and the treatment of cattle wastes, were included in the system boundary. Our results suggest that enteric or gut CH4 emissions of cattle were the major source in the impact category of global warming (2,851 kg of CO2 equivalents), whereas NH3 emissions from cattle waste were the major source in the impact categories of acidification (35.1 kg of SO2 equivalents) and eutrophication (6.16 kg of PO4 equivalents). Feed production also contributed a great deal to all categories. A shorter feeding length resulted in lower environmental impacts in all the environmental impact categories examined in the current study, such as global warming and acidification, although there was a difference in effect of reducing environmental impacts among the categories. PMID:15309959

  16. Life cycle environmental assessment of lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride batteries for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

    PubMed

    Majeau-Bettez, Guillaume; Hawkins, Troy R; Strømman, Anders Hammer

    2011-05-15

    This study presents the life cycle assessment (LCA) of three batteries for plug-in hybrid and full performance battery electric vehicles. A transparent life cycle inventory (LCI) was compiled in a component-wise manner for nickel metal hydride (NiMH), nickel cobalt manganese lithium-ion (NCM), and iron phosphate lithium-ion (LFP) batteries. The battery systems were investigated with a functional unit based on energy storage, and environmental impacts were analyzed using midpoint indicators. On a per-storage basis, the NiMH technology was found to have the highest environmental impact, followed by NCM and then LFP, for all categories considered except ozone depletion potential. We found higher life cycle global warming emissions than have been previously reported. Detailed contribution and structural path analyses allowed for the identification of the different processes and value-chains most directly responsible for these emissions. This article contributes a public and detailed inventory, which can be easily be adapted to any powertrain, along with readily usable environmental performance assessments. PMID:21506538

  17. Life Cycle Assessment of second generation bioethanol produced from low-input dedicated crops of Arundo donax L.

    PubMed

    Zucaro, Amalia; Forte, Annachiara; Basosi, Riccardo; Fagnano, Massimo; Fierro, Angelo

    2016-11-01

    This work presents a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of bioethanol (EtOH) from perennial Arundo donax L. feedstock. A "cradle-to-wheel" approach was applied considering primary data for the cultivation of dedicated crops on hilly marginal lands and innovative "second generation technologies" for feedstock conversion into EtOH. The goals of the study were to: (i) quantify impacts of lignocellulosic EtOH production/use chain, (ii) identify hotspots and (iii) compare the environmental performance of different bioethanol-gasoline vehicles, E10 (10% EtOH and 90% gasoline) and E85 (85% EtOH and 15% gasoline), with a conventional gasoline passenger car. Results for E85 underlined that the feedstock production and the use phase were the prevailing contributors, whilst for E10 the gasoline production phase shared the largest part of impacts. The comparison showed that vehicles using lignocellulosic bioethanol have potentially significant benefits on global warming, ozone depletion, photochemical oxidant formation and fossil depletion in respect to conventional passenger car. PMID:27543950

  18. Life cycle assessment of hydrogenated biodiesel production from waste cooking oil using the catalytic cracking and hydrogenation method.

    PubMed

    Yano, Junya; Aoki, Tatsuki; Nakamura, Kazuo; Yamada, Kazuo; Sakai, Shin-ichi

    2015-04-01

    There is a worldwide trend towards stricter control of diesel exhaust emissions, however presently, there are technical impediments to the use of FAME (fatty acid methyl esters)-type biodiesel fuel (BDF). Although hydrogenated biodiesel (HBD) is anticipated as a new diesel fuel, the environmental performance of HBD and its utilization system have not been adequately clarified. Especially when waste cooking oil is used as feedstock, not only biofuel production but also the treatment of waste cooking oil is an important function for society. A life cycle assessment (LCA), including uncertainty analysis, was conducted to determine the environmental benefits (global warming, fossil fuel consumption, urban air pollution, and acidification) of HBD produced from waste cooking oil via catalytic cracking and hydrogenation, compared with fossil-derived diesel fuel or FAME-type BDF. Combined functional unit including "treatment of waste cooking oil" and "running diesel vehicle for household waste collection" was established in the context of Kyoto city, Japan. The calculation utilized characterization, damage, and integration factors identified by LIME2, which was based on an endpoint modeling method. The results show that if diesel vehicles that comply with the new Japanese long-term emissions gas standard are commonly used in the future, the benefit of FAME-type BDF will be relatively limited. Furthermore, the scenario that introduced HBD was most effective in reducing total environmental impact, meaning that a shift from FAME-type BDF to HBD would be more beneficial. PMID:25670164

  19. Predicting the environmental impacts of chicken systems in the United Kingdom through a life cycle assessment: broiler production systems.

    PubMed

    Leinonen, I; Williams, A G; Wiseman, J; Guy, J; Kyriazakis, I

    2012-01-01

    The aim of this study was to apply the life cycle assessment (LCA) method, from cradle to gate, to quantify the environmental burdens per 1,000 kg of expected edible carcass weight in the 3 main broiler production systems in the United Kingdom: 1) standard indoor, 2) free range, and 3) organic, and to identify the main components of these burdens. The LCA method evaluates production systems logically to account for all inputs and outputs that cross a specified system boundary, and it relates these to the useful outputs. The analysis was based on an approach that applied a structural model for the UK broiler industry and mechanistic submodels for animal performance, crop production, and major nutrient flows. Simplified baseline feeds representative of those used by the UK broiler industry were used. Typical UK figures for performance and mortality of birds and farm energy and material use were applied. Monte Carlo simulations were used to quantify the uncertainties in the outputs. The length of the production cycle was longer for free-range and organic systems compared with that of the standard indoor system, and as a result, the feed consumption and manure production per bird were higher in the free-range and organic systems. These differences had a major effect on the differences in environmental burdens between the systems. Feed production, processing, and transport resulted in greater overall environmental impacts than any other components of broiler production; for example, 65 to 81% of the primary energy use and 71 to 72% of the global warming potential of the system were due to these burdens. Farm gas and oil use had the second highest impact in primary energy use (12-25%) followed by farm electricity use. The direct use of gas, oil, and electricity were generally lower in free-range and organic systems compared with their use in the standard indoor system. Manure was the main component of acidification potential and also had a relatively high eutrophication

  20. Integrating risk assessment and life cycle assessment: a case study of insulation.

    PubMed

    Nishioka, Yurika; Levy, Jonathan I; Norris, Gregory A; Wilson, Andrew; Hofstetter, Patrick; Spengler, John D

    2002-10-01

    Increasing residential insulation can decrease energy consumption and provide public health benefits, given changes in emissions from fuel combustion, but also has cost implications and ancillary risks and benefits. Risk assessment or life cycle assessment can be used to calculate the net impacts and determine whether more stringent energy codes or other conservation policies would be warranted, but few analyses have combined the critical elements of both methodologies In this article, we present the first portion of a combined analysis, with the goal of estimating the net public health impacts of increasing residential insulation for new housing from current practice to the latest International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2000). We model state-by-state residential energy savings and evaluate particulate matter less than 2.5 microm in diameter (PM2.5), NOx, and SO2 emission reductions. We use past dispersion modeling results to estimate reductions in exposure, and we apply concentration-response functions for premature mortality and selected morbidity outcomes using current epidemiological knowledge of effects of PM2.5 (primary and secondary). We find that an insulation policy shift would save 3 x 10(14) British thermal units or BTU (3 x 10(17) J) over a 10-year period, resulting in reduced emissions of 1,000 tons of PM2.5, 30,000 tons of NOx, and 40,000 tons of SO2. These emission reductions yield an estimated 60 fewer fatalities during this period, with the geographic distribution of health benefits differing from the distribution of energy savings because of differences in energy sources, population patterns, and meteorology. We discuss the methodology to be used to integrate life cycle calculations, which can ultimately yield estimates that can be compared with costs to determine the influence of external costs on benefit-cost calculations. PMID:12442994

  1. Life cycle assessment based evaluation of regional impacts from agricultural production at the Peruvian coast.

    PubMed

    Bartl, Karin; Verones, Francesca; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2012-09-18

    Crop and technology choices in agriculture, which largely define the impact of agricultural production on the environment, should be considered in agricultural development planning. A life cycle assessment of the dominant crops produced in a Peruvian coastal valley was realized, in order to establish regionalized life cycle inventories for Peruvian products and to provide the basis for a regional evaluation of the impacts of eutrophication, acidification, human toxicity, and biodiversity loss due to water use. Five scenarios for the year 2020 characterized by different crop combinations and irrigation systems were considered as development options. The results of the regional assessment showed that a business-as-usual scenario, extrapolating current trends of crop cultivation, would lead to an increase in nitrate leaching with eutrophying effects. On the other hand, scenarios of increased application of drip irrigation and of mandarin area expansion would lead to a decrease in nitrate leaching. In all scenarios the human toxicity potential would decrease slightly, while an increase in irrigation water use would benefit the biodiversity of a nearby groundwater-fed wetland. Comparisons with results from other studies confirmed the importance of regionalized life cycle inventories. The results can be used as decision support for local farmers and authorities. PMID:22894858

  2. Time-dependent Variation in Life Cycle Assessment of Microalgal Biorefinery Co-products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montazeri, Mahdokht

    Microalgae can serve as a highly productive biological feedstock for fuels and chemicals. The lipid fraction of algal seeds has been the primary target of research for biofuel production. However, numerous assessments have found that valorization of co-products is essential to achieve economic and environmental goals. The relative proportion of co-products depends on the biomolecular composition of algae at the time of harvesting. In the present study the productivity of lipid, starch, and protein fractions were shown through growth experiments to vary widely with species, feeding regime, and harvesting time. Four algae species were cultivated under nitrogen-replete and -deplete conditions and analyzed at regular harvesting intervals. Dynamic growth results were then used for life cycle assessment using the U.S. Department of Energy's GREET model to determine optimal growth scenarios that minimize life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, eutrophication, and cumulative energy demand (CED), while aiming for an energy return on investment (EROI) greater than unity. Per kg of biodiesel produced, C. sorokiniana in N-replete conditions harvested at 12 days was most favorable for GHG emissions and CED, despite having a lipid content of <20%. N. oculata under the same conditions had the lowest life cycle eutrophication impacts, driven by efficient nutrient cycling and valorization of microalgal protein and anaerobic digester residue co-products. The results indicate that growth cycle times that maximize a single fraction do not necessarily result in the most favorable environmental performance on a life cycle basis, underscoring the importance of designing biorefinery systems that simultaneously optimize for lipid and non-lipid fractions.

  3. Environmental impacts of lighting technologies - Life cycle assessment and sensitivity analysis

    SciTech Connect

    Welz, Tobias; Hischier, Roland Hilty, Lorenz M.

    2011-04-15

    With two regulations, 244/2009 and 245/2009, the European Commission recently put into practice the EuP Directive in the area of lighting devices, aiming to improve energy efficiency in the domestic lighting sector. This article presents a comprehensive life cycle assessment comparison of four different lighting technologies: the tungsten lamp, the halogen lamp, the conventional fluorescent lamp and the compact fluorescent lamp. Taking advantage of the most up-to-date life cycle inventory database available (ecoinvent data version 2.01), all life cycle phases were assessed and the sensitivity of the results for varying assumptions analysed: different qualities of compact fluorescent lamps (production phase), different electricity mixes (use phase), and end-of-life scenarios for WEEE recycling versus municipal solid waste incineration (disposal phase). A functional unit of 'one hour of lighting' was defined and the environmental burdens for the whole life cycle for all four lamp types were calculated, showing a clearly lower impact for the two gas-discharge lamps, i.e. the fluorescent and the compact fluorescent lamp. Differences in the product quality of the compact fluorescent lamps reveal to have only a very small effect on the overall environmental performance of this lamp type; a decline of the actual life time of this lamp type doesn't result in a change of the rank order of the results of the here examined four lamp types. It was also shown that the environmental break-even point of the gas-discharge lamps is reached long before the end of their expected life-span. All in all, it can be concluded that a change from today's tungsten lamp technology to a low-energy-consuming technology such as the compact fluorescent lamp results in a substantial environmental benefit.

  4. A life cycle hazard assessment (LCHA) framework to address fire hazards at the wildland-urban interface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindquist, Eric; Pierce, Jen; Wuerzer, Thomas; Glenn, Nancy; Dialani, Jijay; Gibble, Katie; Frazier, Tim; Strand, Eva

    2015-04-01

    up with an assessment of the impact of the product on the environment over time and is being considered beyond the business and logistics communities in such areas as biodiversity and ecosystem impacts. From our perspective, we consider wildfire as the "product" and want to understand how it impacts the environment (spatially, temporally, across the bio-physical and social domains). Through development of this LCHA we adapt the LCA approach with a focus on the inputs (from fire and pre-fire efforts) outputs (from post fire conditions) and how they evolve and are responded to by the responsible agencies and stakeholders responsible. A Life Cycle Hazard Assessment (LCHA) approach extends and integrates the understanding of hazards over much longer periods of time than previously considered. The LCHA also provides an integrated platform for the necessary interdisciplinary approach to understanding decision and environmental change across the life cycle of the fire event. This presentation will discuss our theoretical and empirical framework for developing a longitudinal LCHA and contribute to the overall goals of the NH7.1 session.

  5. Life cycle-based water assessment of a hand dishwashing product: opportunities and limitations.

    PubMed

    Van Hoof, Gert; Buyle, Bea; Kounina, Anna; Humbert, Sebastien

    2013-10-01

    It is only recently that life cycle-based indicators have been used to evaluate products from a water use impact perspective. The applicability of some of these methods has been primarily demonstrated on agricultural materials or products, because irrigation requirements in food production can be water-intensive. In view of an increasing interest on life cycle-based water indicators from different products, we ran a study on a hand dishwashing product. A number of water assessment methods were applied with the purpose of identifying both product improvement opportunities, as well as understanding the potential for underlying database and methodological improvements. The study covered the entire life cycle of the product and focused on environmental issues related to water use, looking in-depth at inventory, midpoint, and endpoint methods. "Traditional" water emission driven methods, such as freshwater eutrophication, were excluded from the analysis. The use of a single formula with the same global supply chain, manufactured in 1 location was evaluated in 2 countries with different water scarcity conditions. The study shows differences ranging up to 4 orders in magnitude for indicators with similar units associated with different water use types (inventory methods) and different cause-effect chain models (midpoint and endpoint impact categories). No uncertainty information was available on the impact assessment methods, whereas uncertainty from stochastic variability was not available at the time of study. For the majority of the indicators studied, the contribution from the consumer use stage is the most important (>90%), driven by both direct water use (dishwashing process) as well as indirect water use (electricity generation to heat the water). Creating consumer awareness on how the product is used, particularly in water-scarce areas, is the largest improvement opportunity for a hand dishwashing product. However, spatial differentiation in the inventory and

  6. Life cycle assessment of solar photo-Fenton and solar photoelectro-Fenton processes used for the degradation of aqueous α-methylphenylglycine.

    PubMed

    Serra, Anna; Domènech, Xavier; Brillas, Enric; Peral, José

    2011-01-01

    A comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of solar photo-Fenton and solar photoelectro-Fenton, two solar-driven advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) devoted to the removal of non-biodegradable pollutants in water, is performed. The study is based on the removal, at laboratory scale, of the amino acid α-methylphenylglycine, a good example of soluble and non-biodegradable target pollutant. The system under study includes chemicals, electricity, transport of all raw materials to the plant site, and the generation of emissions, but it does not take into account the impact of the infrastructure needed to build a hypothetical solar plant. Nine environmental impact categories are included in the LCA: global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, aquatic eutrophication potential, acidification potential, human toxicity potential, photochemical ozone formation potential, fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity potential, marine aquatic ecotoxicity potential, and terrestrial ecotoxicity potential and abiotic resource depletion potential. Although previous experimental results show that both AOPs are able to efficiently degrade the pollutant, the LCA indicates that solar-driven photo-Fenton is the most environmentally friendly alternative, mainly because the use of electricity in solar photoelectro-Fenton experiments involves high environmental impacts. PMID:21079836

  7. EDITORIAL: THE STATUS OF LCA IN THE USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is alive and well in the USA. Concerns for environmental management, over strict command and control approaches, has led to an increasing presence of the life cycle concept since its initial appearance in the 1970's. In addition, the very reasonablen...

  8. Beef production in balance: considerations for life cycle analyses.

    PubMed

    Place, Sara E; Mitloehner, Frank M

    2012-11-01

    Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) are useful tools to analyze a product's "carbon footprint" (e.g., the net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions expressed as standardized carbon dioxide equivalents per unit of product) considering all phases of the production chain. For beef, an LCA would include the GHG emissions from feed production, from the enteric fermentation of the cattle, from the cattle's waste, and from processing and transportation. Identifying the scope and scale of the LCA is critical and key to preventing inappropriate applications of the analysis (e.g., applying a global LCA for beef to the regional or national scale). Ideally, a LCA can integrate the complex biogeochemical processes responsible for GHG emissions and the disparate animal and agricultural management techniques used be different phases of the beef production chain (e.g., feedlot vs. cow-calf) and different production systems (e.g., conventional vs. organic). PMID:22551868

  9. Life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental impact of biochar implementation in conservation agriculture in Zambia.

    PubMed

    Sparrevik, Magnus; Field, John L; Martinsen, Vegard; Breedveld, Gijs D; Cornelissen, Gerard

    2013-02-01

    Biochar amendment to soil is a potential technology for carbon storage and climate change mitigation. It may, in addition, be a valuable soil fertility enhancer for agricultural purposes in sandy and/or weathered soils. A life cycle assessment including ecological, health and resource impacts has been conducted for field sites in Zambia to evaluate the overall impacts of biochar for agricultural use. The life cycle impacts from conservation farming using cultivation growth basins and precision fertilization with and without biochar addition were in the present study compared to conventional agricultural methods. Three different biochar production methods were evaluated: traditional earth-mound kilns, improved retort kilns, and micro top-lit updraft (TLUD) gasifier stoves. The results confirm that the use of biochar in conservation farming is beneficial for climate change mitigation purposes. However, when including health impacts from particle emissions originating from biochar production, conservation farming plus biochar from earth-mound kilns generally results in a larger negative effect over the whole life cycle than conservation farming without biochar addition. The use of cleaner technologies such as retort kilns or TLUDs can overcome this problem, mainly because fewer particles and less volatile organic compounds, methane and carbon monoxide are emitted. These results emphasize the need for a holistic view on biochar use in agricultural systems. Of special importance is the biochar production technique which has to be evaluated from both environmental/climate, health and social perspectives. PMID:23272937

  10. Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Lignocellulosic Ethanol Production: Biochemical Versus Thermochemical Conversion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mu, Dongyan; Seager, Thomas; Rao, P. Suresh; Zhao, Fu

    2010-10-01

    Lignocellulosic biomass can be converted into ethanol through either biochemical or thermochemical conversion processes. Biochemical conversion involves hydrolysis and fermentation while thermochemical conversion involves gasification and catalytic synthesis. Even though these routes produce comparable amounts of ethanol and have similar energy efficiency at the plant level, little is known about their relative environmental performance from a life cycle perspective. Especially, the indirect impacts, i.e. emissions and resource consumption associated with the production of various process inputs, are largely neglected in previous studies. This article compiles material and energy flow data from process simulation models to develop life cycle inventory and compares the fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption of both biomass-to-ethanol production processes. The results are presented in terms of contributions from feedstock, direct, indirect, and co-product credits for four representative biomass feedstocks i.e., wood chips, corn stover, waste paper, and wheat straw. To explore the potentials of the two conversion pathways, different technological scenarios are modeled, including current, 2012 and 2020 technology targets, as well as different production/co-production configurations. The modeling results suggest that biochemical conversion has slightly better performance on greenhouse gas emission and fossil fuel consumption, but that thermochemical conversion has significantly less direct, indirect, and life cycle water consumption. Also, if the thermochemical plant operates as a biorefinery with mixed alcohol co-products separated for chemicals, it has the potential to achieve better performance than biochemical pathway across all environmental impact categories considered due to higher co-product credits associated with chemicals being displaced. The results from this work serve as a starting point for developing full life cycle

  11. Impact assessment of abiotic resources in LCA: quantitative comparison of selected characterization models.

    PubMed

    Rørbech, Jakob T; Vadenbo, Carl; Hellweg, Stefanie; Astrup, Thomas F

    2014-10-01

    Resources have received significant attention in recent years resulting in development of a wide range of resource depletion indicators within life cycle assessment (LCA). Understanding the differences in assessment principles used to derive these indicators and the effects on the impact assessment results is critical for indicator selection and interpretation of the results. Eleven resource depletion methods were evaluated quantitatively with respect to resource coverage, characterization factors (CF), impact contributions from individual resources, and total impact scores. We included 2247 individual market inventory data sets covering a wide range of societal activities (ecoinvent database v3.0). Log-linear regression analysis was carried out for all pairwise combinations of the 11 methods for identification of correlations in CFs (resources) and total impacts (inventory data sets) between methods. Significant differences in resource coverage were observed (9-73 resources) revealing a trade-off between resource coverage and model complexity. High correlation in CFs between methods did not necessarily manifest in high correlation in total impacts. This indicates that also resource coverage may be critical for impact assessment results. Although no consistent correlations between methods applying similar assessment models could be observed, all methods showed relatively high correlation regarding the assessment of energy resources. Finally, we classify the existing methods into three groups, according to method focus and modeling approach, to aid method selection within LCA. PMID:25208267

  12. Life cycle assessment of corn-based ethanol production in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Pieragostini, Carla; Aguirre, Pío; Mussati, Miguel C

    2014-02-15

    The promotion of biofuels as energy for transportation in the world is mainly driven by the perspective of oil depletion, the concerns about energy security and global warming. In Argentina, the legislation has imposed the use of biofuels in blend with fossil fuels (5 to 10%) in the transport sector. The aim of this paper is to assess the environmental impact of corn-based ethanol production in the province of Santa Fe in Argentina based on the life cycle assessment methodology. The studied system includes from raw materials production to anhydrous ethanol production using dry milling technology. The system is divided into two subsystems: agricultural system and refinery system. The treatment of stillage is considered as well as the use of co-products (distiller's dried grains with solubles), but the use and/or application of the produced biofuel is not analyzed: a cradle-to-gate analysis is presented. As functional unit, 1MJ of anhydrous ethanol at biorefinery is chosen. Two life cycle impact assessment methods are selected to perform the study: Eco-indicator 99 and ReCiPe. SimaPro is the life cycle assessment software used. The influence of the perspectives on the model is analyzed by sensitivity analysis for both methods. The two selected methods identify the same relevant processes. The use of fertilizers and resources, seeds production, harvesting process, corn drying, and phosphorus fertilizers and acetamide-anillide-compounds production are the most relevant processes in agricultural system. For refinery system, corn production, supplied heat and burned natural gas result in the higher contributions. The use of distiller's dried grains with solubles has an important positive environmental impact. PMID:24295743

  13. Estimates of Embodied Global Energy and Air-Emission Intensities of Japanese Products for Building a Japanese Input–Output Life Cycle Assessment Database with a Global System Boundary

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    To build a life cycle assessment (LCA) database of Japanese products embracing their global supply chains in a manner requiring lower time and labor burdens, this study estimates the intensity of embodied global environmental burden for commodities produced in Japan. The intensity of embodied global environmental burden is a measure of the environmental burden generated globally by unit production of the commodity and can be used as life cycle inventory data in LCA. The calculation employs an input–output LCA method with a global link input–output model that defines a global system boundary grounded in a simplified multiregional input–output framework. As results, the intensities of embodied global environmental burden for 406 Japanese commodities are determined in terms of energy consumption, greenhouse-gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and their summation), and air-pollutant emissions (nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide). The uncertainties in the intensities of embodied global environmental burden attributable to the simplified structure of the global link input–output model are quantified using Monte Carlo simulation. In addition, by analyzing the structure of the embodied global greenhouse-gas intensities we characterize Japanese commodities in the context of LCA embracing global supply chains. PMID:22881452

  14. Assessment of dose during the life cycle of natural stone production.

    PubMed

    Turtiainen, Tuukka; Weltner, Anne

    2007-01-01

    The environmental impact during the life cycle of natural stone production was studied. One of the points of interest was radiation. Natural stone samples from 23 quarries were surveyed for the radioactivity. One quarry was selected for a case study where the effective dose to the workers was assessed. The use of these stones in buildings was also evaluated with respect to the excess dose caused to the residents. According to the results the excess effective dose to the workers does not exceed 1 mSv a(-1) at the quarries. In buildings, all natural stones studied can be used safely as surfacing materials. PMID:17525055

  15. Printed and tablet e-paper newspaper from an environmental perspective - A screening life cycle assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Moberg, Asa; Johansson, Martin; Finnveden, Goeran; Jonsson, Alex

    2010-04-15

    Viable alternatives to conventional newspapers, such as electronic papers, e-papers or e-readers, are intended to have many of the qualities of paper, such as reading using reflective light, high resolution, 180 deg. viewing angle. It has been suggested that the environmental impact of e-paper can be lower than for printed and internet-based newspapers. However, in order to find the facts of the matter, a thorough life cycle perspective covering raw material acquisition, production, use and disposal should preferably be used to study the environmental performance of the different products. A screening life cycle assessment was performed to describe the potential environmental impacts of two product systems; printed on paper and tablet e-paper newspapers. Results show that the most significant phase of the life cycle for both product systems was the production of substrate or platform. Accordingly, key aspects that may affect the resulting environmental performance of newspaper product systems were for the printed newspaper number of readers per copy and number of pages per issue and for the tablet e-paper newspaper lifetime and multi-use of the device. The printed newspaper in general had a higher energy use, higher emissions of gases contributing to climate change and several other impact categories than the tablet e-paper newspaper. It was concluded that tablet e-paper has the potential to decrease the environmental impact of newspaper consumption. However, further studies regarding the environmental impact of production and waste management of electronic devices and internet use, as well as more comprehensive assessment of toxicological impacts are needed. As the data on the electronic devices becomes more comprehensive this may prove to be a major limitation of electronic newspaper systems. Developers are suggested to strive towards minimisation of toxic and rare substances in production.

  16. Life cycle assessment of camelina oil derived biodiesel and jet fuel in the Canadian Prairies.

    PubMed

    Li, Xue; Mupondwa, Edmund

    2014-05-15

    This study evaluated the environmental impact of biodiesel and hydroprocessed renewable jet fuel derived from camelina oil in terms of global warming potential, human health, ecosystem quality, and energy resource consumption. The life cycle inventory is based on production activities in the Canadian Prairies and encompasses activities ranging from agricultural production to oil extraction and fuel conversion. The system expansion method is used in this study to avoid allocation and to credit input energy to co-products associated with the products displaced in the market during camelina oil extraction and fuel processing. This is the preferred allocation method for LCA analysis in the context of most renewable and sustainable energy programs. The results show that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1 MJ of camelina derived biodiesel ranged from 7.61 to 24.72 g CO2 equivalent and 3.06 to 31.01 kg CO2/MJ equivalent for camelina HRJ fuel. Non-renewable energy consumption for camelina biodiesel ranged from 0.40 to 0.67 MJ/MJ; HRJ fuel ranged from -0.13 to 0.52 MJ/MJ. Camelina oil as a feedstock for fuel production accounted for the highest contribution to overall environmental performance, demonstrating the importance of reducing environmental burdens during the agricultural production process. Attaining higher seed yield would dramatically lower environmental impacts associated with camelina seed, oil, and fuel production. The lower GHG emissions and energy consumption associated with camelina in comparison with other oilseed derived fuel and petroleum fuel make camelina derived fuel from Canadian Prairies environmentally attractive. PMID:24572928

  17. Predicting the environmental impacts of chicken systems in the United Kingdom through a life cycle assessment: egg production systems.

    PubMed

    Leinonen, I; Williams, A G; Wiseman, J; Guy, J; Kyriazakis, I

    2012-01-01

    The aim of this study was to apply a life cycle assessment (LCA) method, from cradle to gate, to quantify the environmental burdens per 1,000 kg of eggs produced in the 4 major hen-egg production systems in the United Kingdom: 1) cage, 2) barn, 3) free range, and 4) organic. The analysis was based on an approach that applied a structural model for the industry and mechanistic submodels for animal performance, crop production, and nutrient flows. Baseline feeds representative of those used by the UK egg production industry were used. Typical figures from the UK egg production industry, feed intake, mortality of birds, farm energy, and material use in different systems were applied. Monte Carlo simulations were used to quantify the uncertainties in the outputs and allow for comparisons between the systems. The number of birds required to produce 1,000 kg of eggs was highest in the organic and lowest in the cage system; similarly, the amount of feed consumed per bird was highest in the organic and lowest in the cage system. These general differences in productivity largely affected the differences in the environmental impacts between the systems. Feed production, processing, and transport caused greater impacts compared with those from any other component of production; that is, 54 to 75% of the primary energy use and 64 to 72% of the global warming potential of the systems. Electricity (used mainly for ventilation, automatic feeding, and lighting) had the second greatest impact in primary energy use (16-38%). Gas and oil (used mainly for heating in pullet rearing and incineration of dead layer birds) used 7 to 14% of the total primary energy. Manure had the greatest impact on the acidification and eutrophication potentials of the systems because of ammonia emissions that contributed to both of these potentials and nitrate leaching that only affected eutrophication potential. The LCA method allows for comparisons between systems and for the identification of hotspots

  18. Life Cycle Assessment of a Parabolic Trough Concentrating Solar Power Plant and Impacts of Key Design Alternatives: Preprint

    SciTech Connect

    Heath, G. A.; Burkhardt, J. J.; Turchi, C. S.

    2011-09-01

    Climate change and water scarcity are important issues for today's power sector. To inform capacity expansion decisions, hybrid life cycle assessment is used to evaluate a reference design of a parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) facility located in Daggett, California, along four sustainability metrics: life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water consumption, cumulative energy demand (CED), and energy payback time (EPBT). This wet-cooled, 103 MW plant utilizes mined nitrate salts in its two-tank, thermal energy storage (TES) system. Design alternatives of dry-cooling, a thermocline TES, and synthetically-derived nitrate salt are evaluated. During its life cycle, the reference CSP plant is estimated to emit 26 g CO2eq per kWh, consume 4.7 L/kWh of water, and demand 0.40 MJeq/kWh of energy, resulting in an EPBT of approximately 1 year. The dry-cooled alternative is estimated to reduce life cycle water consumption by 77% but increase life cycle GHG emissions and CED by 8%. Synthetic nitrate salts may increase life cycle GHG emissions by 52% compared to mined. Switching from two-tank to thermocline TES configuration reduces life cycle GHG emissions, most significantly for plants using synthetically-derived nitrate salts. CSP can significantly reduce GHG emissions compared to fossil-fueled generation; however, dry-cooling may be required in many locations to minimize water consumption.

  19. Life cycle assessment of energy and CO2 emissions for residential buildings in Jakarta, Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Surahman, U.; Kubota, T.; Wijaya, A.

    2016-04-01

    In order to develop low energy and low carbon residential buildings, it is important to understand their detailed energy profiles. This study provides the results of life cycle assessment of energy and CO2 emissions for residential buildings in Jakarta, Indonesia. A survey was conducted in the city in 2012 to obtain both material inventory and household energy consumption data within the selected residential buildings (n=300), which are classified into three categories, namely simple, medium and luxurious houses. The results showed that the average embodied energy of simple, medium and luxurious houses was 58.5, 201.0, and 559.5 GJ, respectively. It was found that total embodied energy of each house can be explained by its total floor area alone with high accuracy in respective house categories. Meanwhile, it was seen that operational energy usage patterns varied largely among house categories as well as households especially in the simple and medium houses. The energy consumption for cooling was found to be the most significant factor of the increase in operational energy from simple to luxurious houses. Further, in the life cycle energy, the operational energy accounted for much larger proportions of about 86-92% than embodied energy regardless of the house categories. The life cycle CO2 emissions for medium and luxurious houses were larger than that of simple houses by 2 and 6 times on average. In the simple houses, cooking was the largest contributor to the CO2 emissions (25%), while the emissions caused by cooling increased largely with the house category and became the largest contributors in the medium (26%) and luxurious houses (41%).

  20. Life Cycle Assessment of Titania Perovskite Solar Cell Technology for Sustainable Design and Manufacturing.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jingyi; Gao, Xianfeng; Deng, Yelin; Li, Bingbing; Yuan, Chris

    2015-11-01

    Perovskite solar cells have attracted enormous attention in recent years due to their low cost and superior technical performance. However, the use of toxic metals, such as lead, in the perovskite dye and toxic chemicals in perovskite solar cell manufacturing causes grave concerns for its environmental performance. To understand and facilitate the sustainable development of perovskite solar cell technology from its design to manufacturing, a comprehensive environmental impact assessment has been conducted on titanium dioxide nanotube based perovskite solar cells by using an attributional life cycle assessment approach, from cradle to gate, with manufacturing data from our laboratory-scale experiments and upstream data collected from professional databases and the literature. The results indicate that the perovskite dye is the primary source of environmental impact, associated with 64.77% total embodied energy and 31.38% embodied materials consumption, contributing to more than 50% of the life cycle impact in almost all impact categories, although lead used in the perovskite dye only contributes to about 1.14% of the human toxicity potential. A comparison of perovskite solar cells with commercial silicon and cadmium-tellurium solar cells reveals that perovskite solar cells could be a promising alternative technology for future large-scale industrial applications. PMID:26489525

  1. Comparative life cycle assessment of battery storage systems for stationary applications.

    PubMed

    Hiremath, Mitavachan; Derendorf, Karen; Vogt, Thomas

    2015-04-21

    This paper presents a comparative life cycle assessment of cumulative energy demand (CED) and global warming potential (GWP) of four stationary battery technologies: lithium-ion, lead-acid, sodium-sulfur, and vanadium-redox-flow. The analyses were carried out for a complete utilization of their cycle life and for six different stationary applications. Due to its lower CED and GWP impacts, a qualitative analysis of lithium-ion was carried out to assess the impacts of its process chains on 17 midpoint impact categories using ReCiPe-2008 methodology. It was found that in general the use stage of batteries dominates their life cycle impacts significantly. It is therefore misleading to compare the environmental performance of batteries only on a mass or capacity basis at the manufacturing outlet ("cradle-to-gate analyses") while neglecting their use stage impacts, especially when they have different characteristic parameters. Furthermore, the relative ranking of batteries does not show a significant dependency on the investigated stationary application scenarios in most cases. Based on the results obtained, the authors go on to recommend the deployment of batteries with higher round-trip efficiency, such as lithium-ion, for stationary grid operation in the first instance. PMID:25798660

  2. Life Cycle Assessment of Vehicle Lightweighting: Novel Mathematical Methods to Estimate Use-Phase Fuel Consumption.

    PubMed

    Kim, Hyung Chul; Wallington, Timothy J; Sullivan, John L; Keoleian, Gregory A

    2015-08-18

    Lightweighting is a key strategy to improve vehicle fuel economy. Assessing the life-cycle benefits of lightweighting requires a quantitative description of the use-phase fuel consumption reduction associated with mass reduction. We present novel methods of estimating mass-induced fuel consumption (MIF) and fuel reduction values (FRVs) from fuel economy and dynamometer test data in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) database. In the past, FRVs have been measured using experimental testing. We demonstrate that FRVs can be mathematically derived from coast down coefficients in the EPA vehicle test database avoiding additional testing. MIF and FRVs calculated for 83 different 2013 MY vehicles are in the ranges 0.22-0.43 and 0.15-0.26 L/(100 km 100 kg), respectively, and increase to 0.27-0.53 L/(100 km 100 kg) with powertrain resizing to retain equivalent vehicle performance. We show how use-phase fuel consumption can be estimated using MIF and FRVs in life cycle assessments (LCAs) of vehicle lightweighting from total vehicle and vehicle component perspectives with, and without, powertrain resizing. The mass-induced fuel consumption model is illustrated by estimating lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission benefits from lightweighting a grille opening reinforcement component using magnesium or carbon fiber composite for 83 different vehicle models. PMID:26168234

  3. Life Cycle Considerations for Improving Sustainability Assessments in Seafood Awareness Campaigns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelletier, Nathan; Tyedmers, Peter

    2008-11-01

    It is widely accepted that improving the sustainability of seafood production requires efforts to reverse declines in global fisheries due to overfishing and to reduce the impacts to host ecosystems from fishing and aquaculture production technologies. Reflective of on-going dialogue amongst participants in an international research project applying Life Cycle Assessment to better understand and manage global salmon production systems, we argue here that such efforts must also address the wider range of biophysical, ecological, and socioeconomic impacts stemming from the material and energetic throughput associated with these industries. This is of particular relevance given the interconnectivity of global environmental change, ocean health, and the viability of seafood production in both fisheries and aquaculture. Although the growing popularity of numerous ecolabeling, certification, and consumer education programs may be making headway in influencing Western consumer perceptions of the relative sustainability of alternative seafood products, we also posit that the efficacy of these initiatives in furthering sustainability objectives is compromised by the use of incomplete criteria. An emerging body of Life Cycle Assessment research of fisheries and aquaculture provides valuable insights into the biophysical dimensions of environmental performance in alternative seafood production and consumption systems, and should be used to inform a more holistic approach to labeling, certifying, and educating for sustainability in seafood production. More research, however, must be undertaken to develop novel techniques for incorporating other critical dimensions, in particular, socioeconomic considerations, into our sustainability decision-making.

  4. Life cycle assessment of cellulose nanofibrils production by mechanical treatment and two different pretreatment processes.

    PubMed

    Arvidsson, Rickard; Nguyen, Duong; Svanström, Magdalena

    2015-06-01

    Nanocellulose is a bionanomaterial with many promising applications, but high energy use in production has been described as a potential obstacle for future use. In fact, life cycle assessment studies have indicated high life cycle energy use for nanocellulose. In this study, we assess the cradle-to-gate environmental impacts of three production routes for a particular type of nanocellulose called cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) made from wood pulp. The three production routes are (1) the enzymatic production route, which includes an enzymatic pretreatment, (2) the carboxymethylation route, which includes a carboxymethylation pretreatment, and (3) one route without pretreatment, here called the no pretreatment route. The results show that CNF produced via the carboxymethylation route clearly has the highest environmental impacts due to large use of solvents made from crude oil. The enzymatic and no pretreatment routes both have lower environmental impacts, of similar magnitude. A sensitivity analysis showed that the no pretreatment route was sensitive to the electricity mix, and the carboxymethylation route to solvent recovery. When comparing the results to those of other carbon nanomaterials, it was shown that in particular CNF produced via the enzymatic and no pretreatment routes had comparatively low environmental impacts. PMID:25938258

  5. Comparative attributional life cycle assessment of annual and perennial lignocellulosic feedstocks production under Mediterranean climate for biorefinery framework.

    PubMed

    Zucaro, Amalia; Forte, Annachiara; Fagnano, Massimo; Bastianoni, Simone; Basosi, Riccardo; Fierro, Angelo

    2015-07-01

    Annual fiber sorghum (FS) and perennial giant reed (GR) cultivated in the Mediterranean area are interesting due to their high productivity under drought conditions and their potential use as lignocellulosic feedstock for biorefinery purposes. This study compares environmental constraints related to FS and GR produced on experimental farms (in the Campania region) using an attributional life cycle assessment (LCA) approach through appropriate modeling of the perennial cultivation. For both crops, primary data were available for agricultural management. Direct field emissions (DFEs) were computed, including the potential soil carbon storage (SCS). Giant reed showed the lowest burdens for all impact categories analyzed (most were in the range of 40%-80% of FS values). More apparent were the differences for climate change and freshwater eutrophication (respectively 80% and 81% lower for GR compared to FS). These results are due to the short-term SCS, experimentally detected in the perennial GR crop (about 0.25 ton C ha(-1) yr(-1), with a global warming offsetting potential of about 0.03 ton CO2/ton(GR dry biomass)). The results are also due to the annual application of triple superphosphate at the sowing fertilization phase for FS, which occurs differently than it does for GR. Phosphorous fertilization was performed only when crops were being established and therefore properly spread along the overall crop lifetime. For both crops, after normalization, terrestrial acidification and particulate matter formation were relevant impact categories, as a consequence of the NH3 DFE by volatilization after urea were spread superficially. Therefore, the results suggest higher environmental benefits of the perennial crop than the annual crop. PMID:25377476

  6. Data supporting the comparative life cycle assessment of different municipal solid waste management scenarios

    PubMed Central

    Ali Rajaeifar, Mohammad; Tabatabaei, Meisam; Ghanavati, Hossein

    2015-01-01

    Environmental assessment of municipal solid waste (MSW) management scenarios would help to select eco-friendly scenarios. In this study, the inventory data in support of life cycle assessment of different MSW are presented. The scenarios were defined as: anaerobic digestion (AD, Sc-0), landfilling combined with composting (Sc-1), incineration (Sc-2), incineration combined with composting (Sc-3), and AD combined with incineration (Sc-4). The current article contains flowcharts of the different scenarios. Additionally, six supplementary files including inventory data on the different scenarios, data on the different damage assessment categories, normalization, and single scores are presented (Supplementary files 1–6). The analysis of the different scenarios revealed that the most eco-friendly scenario to be implemented in the future would be the combination of AD and incineration (Sc-4). PMID:26217743

  7. Life cycle assessment of energy from waste via anaerobic digestion: a UK case study.

    PubMed

    Evangelisti, Sara; Lettieri, Paola; Borello, Domenico; Clift, Roland

    2014-01-01

    Particularly in the UK, there is potential for use of large-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to treat food waste, possibly along with other organic wastes, to produce biogas. This paper presents the results of a life cycle assessment to compare the environmental impacts of AD with energy and organic fertiliser production against two alternative approaches: incineration with energy production by CHP and landfill with electricity production. In particular the paper investigates the dependency of the results on some specific assumptions and key process parameters. The input Life Cycle Inventory data are specific to the Greater London area, UK. Anaerobic digestion emerges as the best treatment option in terms of total CO2 and total SO2 saved, when energy and organic fertiliser substitute non-renewable electricity, heat and inorganic fertiliser. For photochemical ozone and nutrient enrichment potentials, AD is the second option while incineration is shown to be the most environmentally friendly solution. The robustness of the model is investigated with a sensitivity analysis. The most critical assumption concerns the quantity and quality of the energy substituted by the biogas production. Two key issues affect the development and deployment of future anaerobic digestion plants: maximising the electricity produced by the CHP unit fuelled by biogas and to defining the future energy scenario in which the plant will be embedded. PMID:24112851

  8. Energy life cycle assessment of rice straw bio-energy derived from potential gasification technologies.

    PubMed

    Shie, Je-Lueng; Chang, Ching-Yuan; Chen, Ci-Syuan; Shaw, Dai-Gee; Chen, Yi-Hung; Kuan, Wen-Hui; Ma, Hsiao-Kan

    2011-06-01

    To be a viable alternative, a biofuel should provide a net energy gain and be capable of being produced in large quantities without reducing food supplies. Amounts of agricultural waste are produced and require treatment, with rice straw contributing the greatest source of such potential bio-fuel in Taiwan. Through life-cycle accounting, several energy indicators and four potential gasification technologies (PGT) were evaluated. The input energy steps for the energy life cycle assessment (ELCA) include collection, generator, torrefaction, crushing, briquetting, transportation, energy production, condensation, air pollution control and distribution of biofuels to the point of end use. Every PGT has a positive energy benefit. The input of energy required for the transportation and pre-treatment are major steps in the ELCA. On-site briquetting of refused-derived fuel (RDF) provides an alternative means of reducing transportation energy requirements. Bio-energy sources, such as waste rice straw, provide an ideal material for the bio-fuel plant. PMID:21507625

  9. Development and application of methods for regional scaling and normalization in life-cycle impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Tolle, D.A.

    1995-12-31

    Life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is a technical, quantitative and/or qualitative method to classify, characterize, and valuate potential impacts on human health, ecosystems, and natural resources, based on the environmental burdens identified in a life-cycle inventory. Research described here for two LCIAs included development and application of regional scaling methods for the following 5 of 14 relevant impact categories: Suspended (PM{sub 10}) particulate effects, water use, acid deposition, smog creation, and eutrophication. Normalization is recommended after characterization, because aggregated sums per impact category need to be expressed in equivalent terms before assigning valuation weight factors. The normalization approach described here involves determination of factors that represent the total, geographically-relevant impact for a given impact category. The goal for the 14 normalization factors developed and applied to two LCIAS, was to make them scientifically defensible, while utilizing existing data on emission or resource extraction quantities for three spatial perspectives. Data on the total environmental burden for each inventory item under a given impact category were obtained for normalization factors. Since the boundaries of the two LCIAs were primarily in the US, the data for the regional or local impact category perspectives were restricted to appropriate areas in the US. Normalization factors were developed and applied in the two LCIAs for 11 impact categories involving chemical emissions, water use, solid waste volume, and resource extraction/production land use.

  10. Life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from plug-in hybrid vehicles: implications for policy.

    PubMed

    Samaras, Constantine; Meisterling, Kyle

    2008-05-01

    Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which use electricity from the grid to power a portion of travel, could play a role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector. However, meaningful GHG emissions reductions with PHEVs are conditional on low-carbon electricity sources. We assess life cycle GHG emissions from PHEVs and find that they reduce GHG emissions by 32% compared to conventional vehicles, but have small reductions compared to traditional hybrids. Batteries are an important component of PHEVs, and GHGs associated with lithium-ion battery materials and production account for 2-5% of life cycle emissions from PHEVs. We consider cellulosic ethanol use and various carbon intensities of electricity. The reduced liquid fuel requirements of PHEVs could leverage limited cellulosic ethanol resources. Electricity generation infrastructure is long-lived, and technology decisions within the next decade about electricity supplies in the power sector will affectthe potential for large GHG emissions reductions with PHEVs for several decades. PMID:18522090

  11. Chemical footprint: a methodological framework for bridging life cycle assessment and planetary boundaries for chemical pollution.

    PubMed

    Sala, Serenella; Goralczyk, Malgorzata

    2013-10-01

    The development and use of footprint methodologies for environmental assessment are increasingly important for both the scientific and political communities. Starting from the ecological footprint, developed at the beginning of the 1990s, several other footprints were defined, e.g., carbon and water footprint. These footprints-even though based on a different meaning of "footprint"-integrate life cycle thinking, and focus on some challenging environmental impacts including resource consumption, CO2 emission leading to climate change, and water consumption. However, they usually neglect relevant sources of impacts, as those related to the production and use of chemicals. This article presents and discusses the need and relevance of developing a methodology for assessing the chemical footprint, coupling a life cycle-based approach with methodologies developed in other contexts, such as ERA and sustainability science. Furthermore, different concepts underpin existing footprint and this could be the case also of chemical footprint. At least 2 different approaches and steps to chemical footprint could be envisaged, applicable at the micro- as well as at the meso- and macroscale. The first step (step 1) is related to the account of chemicals use and emissions along the life cycle of a product, sector, or entire economy, to assess potential impacts on ecosystems and human health. The second step (step 2) aims at assessing to which extent actual emission of chemicals harm the ecosystems above their capability to recover (carrying capacity of the system). The latter step might contribute to the wide discussion on planetary boundaries for chemical pollution: the thresholds that should not be surpassed to guarantee a sustainable use of chemicals from an environmental safety perspective. The definition of what the planetary boundaries for chemical pollution are and how the boundaries should be identified is an on-going scientific challenge for ecotoxicology and ecology. In

  12. Assessment of the GHG reduction potential from energy crops using a combined LCA and biogeochemical process models: a review.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Dong; Hao, Mengmeng; Fu, Jingying; Wang, Qiao; Huang, Yaohuan; Fu, Xinyu

    2014-01-01

    The main purpose for developing biofuel is to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, but the comprehensive environmental impact of such fuels is not clear. Life cycle analysis (LCA), as a complete comprehensive analysis method, has been widely used in bioenergy assessment studies. Great efforts have been directed toward establishing an efficient method for comprehensively estimating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction potential from the large-scale cultivation of energy plants by combining LCA with ecosystem/biogeochemical process models. LCA presents a general framework for evaluating the energy consumption and GHG emission from energy crop planting, yield acquisition, production, product use, and postprocessing. Meanwhile, ecosystem/biogeochemical process models are adopted to simulate the fluxes and storage of energy, water, carbon, and nitrogen in the soil-plant (energy crops) soil continuum. Although clear progress has been made in recent years, some problems still exist in current studies and should be addressed. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art method for estimating GHG emission reduction through developing energy crops and introduces in detail a new approach for assessing GHG emission reduction by combining LCA with biogeochemical process models. The main achievements of this study along with the problems in current studies are described and discussed. PMID:25045736

  13. Assessment of the GHG Reduction Potential from Energy Crops Using a Combined LCA and Biogeochemical Process Models: A Review

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Dong; Hao, Mengmeng; Wang, Qiao; Huang, Yaohuan; Fu, Xinyu

    2014-01-01

    The main purpose for developing biofuel is to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, but the comprehensive environmental impact of such fuels is not clear. Life cycle analysis (LCA), as a complete comprehensive analysis method, has been widely used in bioenergy assessment studies. Great efforts have been directed toward establishing an efficient method for comprehensively estimating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction potential from the large-scale cultivation of energy plants by combining LCA with ecosystem/biogeochemical process models. LCA presents a general framework for evaluating the energy consumption and GHG emission from energy crop planting, yield acquisition, production, product use, and postprocessing. Meanwhile, ecosystem/biogeochemical process models are adopted to simulate the fluxes and storage of energy, water, carbon, and nitrogen in the soil-plant (energy crops) soil continuum. Although clear progress has been made in recent years, some problems still exist in current studies and should be addressed. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art method for estimating GHG emission reduction through developing energy crops and introduces in detail a new approach for assessing GHG emission reduction by combining LCA with biogeochemical process models. The main achievements of this study along with the problems in current studies are described and discussed. PMID:25045736

  14. Technological and life cycle assessment of organics processing odour control technologies.

    PubMed

    Bindra, Navin; Dubey, Brajesh; Dutta, Animesh

    2015-09-15

    As more municipalities and communities across developed world look towards implementing organic waste management programmes or upgrading existing ones, composting facilities are emerging as a popular choice. However, odour from these facilities continues to be one of the most important concerns in terms of cost & effective mitigation. This paper provides a technological and life cycle assessment of some of the different odour control technologies and treatment methods that can be implemented in organics processing facilities. The technological assessment compared biofilters, packed tower wet scrubbers, fine mist wet scrubbers, activated carbon adsorption, thermal oxidization, oxidization chemicals and masking agents. The technologies/treatment methods were evaluated and compared based on a variety of operational, usage and cost parameters. Based on the technological assessment it was found that, biofilters and packed bed wet scrubbers are the most applicable odour control technologies for use in organics processing faculties. A life cycle assessment was then done to compare the environmental impacts of the packed-bed wet scrubber system, organic (wood-chip media) bio-filter and inorganic (synthetic media) bio-filter systems. Twelve impact categories were assessed; cumulative energy demand (CED), climate change, human toxicity, photochemical oxidant formation, metal depletion, fossil depletion, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, marine eutrophication, terrestrial eco-toxicity, freshwater eco-toxicity and marine eco-toxicity. The results showed that for all impact categories the synthetic media biofilter had the highest environmental impact, followed by the wood chip media bio-filter system. The packed-bed system had the lowest environmental impact for all categories. PMID:25981938

  15. Accounting for land use in life cycle assessment: The value of NPP as a proxy indicator to assess land use impacts on ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Taelman, Sue Ellen; Schaubroeck, Thomas; De Meester, Steven; Boone, Lieselot; Dewulf, Jo

    2016-04-15

    Terrestrial land and its resources are finite, though, for economic and socio-cultural needs of humans, these natural resources are further exploited. It highlights the need to quantify the impact humans possibly have on the environment due to occupation and transformation of land. As a starting point of this paper (1(st) objective), the land use activities, which may be mainly socio-culturally or economically oriented, are identified in addition to the natural land-based processes and stocks and funds that can be altered due to land use. To quantify the possible impact anthropogenic land use can have on the natural environment, linked to a certain product or service, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool commonly used. During the last decades, many indicators are developed within the LCA framework in an attempt to evaluate certain environmental impacts of land use. A second objective of this study is to briefly review these indicators and to categorize them according to whether they assess a change in the asset of natural resources for production and consumption or a disturbance of certain ecosystem processes, i.e. ecosystem health. Based on these findings, two enhanced proxy indicators are proposed (3(rd) objective). Both indicators use net primary production (NPP) loss (potential NPP in the absence of humans minus remaining NPP after land use) as a relevant proxy to primarily assess the impact of land use on ecosystem health. As there are two approaches to account for the natural and productive value of the NPP remaining after land use, namely the Human Appropriation of NPP (HANPP) and hemeroby (or naturalness) concepts, two indicators are introduced and the advantages and limitations compared to state-of-the-art NPP-based land use indicators are discussed. Exergy-based spatially differentiated characterization factors (CFs) are calculated for several types of land use (e.g., pasture land, urban land). PMID:26808405

  16. Life cycle assessment of water supply alternatives in water-receiving areas of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project in China.

    PubMed

    Li, Yi; Xiong, Wei; Zhang, Wenlong; Wang, Chao; Wang, Peifang

    2016-02-01

    To alleviate the water shortage in northern China, the Chinese government launched the world's largest water diversion project, the South-to-North Water Diversion Project (SNWDP), which delivers water from water-sufficient southern China to water-deficient northern China. However, an up-to-date study has not been conducted to determine whether the project is a favorable option to augment the water supply from an environmental perspective. The life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology integrated with a freshwater withdrawal category (FWI) was adopted to compare water supply alternatives in the water-receiving areas of the SNWDP, i.e., water diversion, wastewater reclamation and seawater desalination. Beijing, Tianjin, Jinan and Qingdao were studied as representative cities because they are the primary water-receiving areas of the SNWDP. The results revealed that the operation phase played the dominant role in all but one of the life cycle impact categories considered and contributed to more than 70% of their scores. For Beijing and Tianjin, receiving water through the SNWDP is the most sustainable option to augment the water supply. The result can be drawn in all of the water-receiving areas of the middle route of the SNWDP. For Jinan and Qingdao, the most sustainable option is the wastewater reclamation system. The seawater desalination system obtains the highest score of the standard impact indicators in all of the study areas, whereas it is the most favorable water supply option when considering the freshwater withdrawal impact. Although the most sustainable water supply alternative was recommended through an LCA analysis, multi-water resources should be integrated into the region's water supply from the perspective of water sustainability. The results of this study provide a useful recommendation on the management of water resources for China. PMID:26619399

  17. Life cycle assessment of forecasting scenarios for urban water management: A first implementation of the WaLA model on Paris suburban area.

    PubMed

    Loubet, Philippe; Roux, Philippe; Guérin-Schneider, Laetitia; Bellon-Maurel, Véronique

    2016-03-01

    A framework and an associated modeling tool to perform life cycle assessment (LCA) of urban water system, namely the WaLA model, has been recently developed. In this paper, the WaLA model is applied to a real case study: the urban water system of the Paris suburban area, in France. It aims to verify the capacity of the model to provide environmental insights to stakeholder's issues related to future trends influencing the system (e.g., evolution of water demand, increasing water scarcity) or policy responses (e.g., choices of water resources and technologies). This is achieved by evaluating a baseline scenario for 2012 and several forecasting scenarios for 2022 and 2050. The scenarios are designed through the modeling tool WaLA, which is implemented in Simulink/Matlab: it combines components representing the different technologies, users and resources of the UWS. The life cycle inventories of the technologies and users components include water quantity and quality changes, specific operation (electricity, chemicals) and infrastructures data (construction materials). The methods selected for the LCIA are midpoint ILCD, midpoint water deprivation impacts at the sub-river basin scale, and endpoint Impact 2002+. The results of the baseline scenario show that wastewater treatment plants have the highest impacts compared to drinking water production and distribution, as traditionally encountered in LCA of UWS. The results of the forecasting scenarios show important changes in water deprivation impacts due to water management choices or effects of climate change. They also enable to identify tradeoffs with other impact categories and to compare several scenarios. It suggests the capacity of the model to deliver information for decision making about future policies. PMID:26724447

  18. Home composting as an alternative treatment option for organic household waste in Denmark: An environmental assessment using life cycle assessment-modelling.

    PubMed

    Andersen, J K; Boldrin, A; Christensen, T H; Scheutz, C

    2012-01-01

    An environmental assessment of the management of organic household waste (OHW) was performed from a life cycle perspective by means of the waste-life cycle assessment (LCA) model EASEWASTE. The focus was on home composting of OHW in Denmark and six different home composting units (with different input and different mixing frequencies) were modelled. In addition, incineration and landfilling was modelled as alternatives to home composting. The most important processes contributing to the environmental impact of home composting were identified as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (load) and the avoided emissions in relation to the substitution of fertiliser and peat when compost was used in hobby gardening (saving). The replacement of fertiliser and peat was also identified as one of the most sensible parameters, which could potentially have a significant environmental benefit. Many of the impact categories (especially human toxicity via water (HTw) and soil (HTs)) were affected by the heavy metal contents of the incoming OHW. The concentrations of heavy metals in the compost were below the threshold values for compost used on land and were thus not considered to constitute a problem. The GHG emissions were, on the other hand, dependent on the management of the composting units. The frequently mixed composting units had the highest GHG emissions. The environmental profiles of the home composting scenarios were in the order of -2 to 16 milli person equivalents (mPE) Mg(-1) wet waste (ww) for the non-toxic categories and -0.9 to 28mPEMg(-1) ww for the toxic categories. Home composting performed better than or as good as incineration and landfilling in several of the potential impact categories. One exception was the global warming (GW) category, in which incineration performed better due to the substitution of heat and electricity based on fossil fuels. PMID:21975300

  19. Home composting as an alternative treatment option for organic household waste in Denmark: An environmental assessment using life cycle assessment-modelling

    SciTech Connect

    Andersen, J.K.; Boldrin, A.; Christensen, T.H.; Scheutz, C.

    2012-01-15

    An environmental assessment of the management of organic household waste (OHW) was performed from a life cycle perspective by means of the waste-life cycle assessment (LCA) model EASEWASTE. The focus was on home composting of OHW in Denmark and six different home composting units (with different input and different mixing frequencies) were modelled. In addition, incineration and landfilling was modelled as alternatives to home composting. The most important processes contributing to the environmental impact of home composting were identified as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (load) and the avoided emissions in relation to the substitution of fertiliser and peat when compost was used in hobby gardening (saving). The replacement of fertiliser and peat was also identified as one of the most sensible parameters, which could potentially have a significant environmental benefit. Many of the impact categories (especially human toxicity via water (HTw) and soil (HTs)) were affected by the heavy metal contents of the incoming OHW. The concentrations of heavy metals in the compost were below the threshold values for compost used on land and were thus not considered to constitute a problem. The GHG emissions were, on the other hand, dependent on the management of the composting units. The frequently mixed composting units had the highest GHG emissions. The environmental profiles of the home composting scenarios were in the order of -2 to 16 milli person equivalents (mPE) Mg{sup -1} wet waste (ww) for the non-toxic categories and -0.9 to 28 mPE Mg{sup -1} ww for the toxic categories. Home composting performed better than or as good as incineration and landfilling in several of the potential impact categories. One exception was the global warming (GW) category, in which incineration performed better due to the substitution of heat and electricity based on fossil fuels.

  20. Environmental assessment of Ammässuo Landfill (Finland) by means of LCA-modelling (EASEWASTE).

    PubMed

    Niskanen, Antti; Manfredi, Simone; Christensen, Thomas H; Anderson, Reetta

    2009-08-01

    The Old Ammässuo Landfill (Espoo, Finland) covers an area of 52 hectares and contains about 10 million tonnes of waste that was landfilled between 1987 and 2007. The majority of this waste was mixed, of which about 57% originated from households. This paper aims at describing the management of the Old Ammässuo Landfill throughout its operational lifetime (1987-2007), and at developing an environmental evaluation based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) using the EASEWASTE-model. The assessment criteria evaluate specific categories of impact, including standard impact categories, toxicity-related impact categories and an impact categorized as spoiled groundwater resources (SGR). With respect to standard and toxicity-related impact categories, the LCA results show that substantial impact potentials are estimated for global warming (GW), ozone depletion (OD), human toxicity via soil (HTs) and ecotoxicity in water chronic (ETwc). The largest impact potential was found for SGR and amounted to 57.6 person equivalent (PE) per tonne of landfilled waste. However, the SGR impact may not be viewed as a significant issue in Finland as the drinking water is mostly supplied from surface water bodies. Overall, the results demonstrate that gas management has great importance to the environmental performance of the Old Ammässuo Landfill. However, several chemicals related to gas composition (especially trace compounds) and specific emissions from on-site operations were not available or were not measured and were therefore taken from the literature. Measurement campaigns and field investigations should be undertaken in order to obtain a more robust and comprehensive dataset that can be used in the LCA-modelling, before major improvements regarding landfill management are finalized. PMID:19423588

  1. Multiscale design and life-cycle based sustainability assessment of polymer nanocomposite coatings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uttarwar, Rohan G.

    In recent years, nanocoatings with exceptionally improved and new performance properties have found numerous applications in the automotive, aerospace, ship-making, chemical, electronics, steel, construction, and many other industries. Especially the formulations providing multiple functionalities to cured paint films are believed to dominate the coatings market in the near future. It has shifted the focus of research towards building sustainable coating recipes which can deliver multiple functionalities through applied films. The challenge to this exciting area of research arrives from the insufficient knowledge about structure-property correlations of nanocoating materials and their design complexity. Experimental efforts have been successful in developing certain types of nanopaints exhibiting improved properties. However, multifunctional nanopaint design optimality is extremely difficult to address if not impossible solely through experiments. In addition to this, the environmental implications and societal risks associated with this growing field of nanotechnology raise several questions related to its sustainable development. This research focuses on the study of a multiscale sustainable nanocoating design which can have the application from novel function envisioning and idea refinement point of view, to knowledge discovery and design solution derivation, and further to performance testing in industrial applications. The nanocoating design is studied using computational simulations of nano- to macro- scale models and sustainability assessment study over the life-cycle. Computational simulations aim at integrating top-down, goals/means, inductive systems engineering and bottom-up, cause and effect, deductive systems engineering approaches for material development. The in-silico paint resin system is a water-dispersible acrylic polymer with hydrophilic nanoparticles incorporated into it. The nano-scale atomistic and micro-scale coarse-grained (CG) level

  2. Comparisons of four categories of waste recycling in China's paper industry based on physical input-output life-cycle assessment model

    SciTech Connect

    Liang Sai; Zhang, Tianzhu; Xu Yijian

    2012-03-15

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Using crop straws and wood wastes for paper production should be promoted. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Bagasse and textile waste recycling should be properly limited. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Imports of scrap paper should be encouraged. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Sensitivity analysis, uncertainties and policy implications are discussed. - Abstract: Waste recycling for paper production is an important component of waste management. This study constructs a physical input-output life-cycle assessment (PIO-LCA) model. The PIO-LCA model is used to investigate environmental impacts of four categories of waste recycling in China's paper industry: crop straws, bagasse, textile wastes and scrap paper. Crop straw recycling and wood utilization for paper production have small total intensity of environmental impacts. Moreover, environmental impacts reduction of crop straw recycling and wood utilization benefits the most from technology development. Thus, using crop straws and wood (including wood wastes) for paper production should be promoted. Technology development has small effects on environmental impacts reduction of bagasse recycling, textile waste recycling and scrap paper recycling. In addition, bagasse recycling and textile waste recycling have big total intensity of environmental impacts. Thus, the development of bagasse recycling and textile waste recycling should be properly limited. Other pathways for reusing bagasse and textile wastes should be explored and evaluated. Moreover, imports of scrap paper should be encouraged to reduce large indirect impacts of scrap paper recycling on domestic environment.

  3. Comparisons of four categories of waste recycling in China's paper industry based on physical input-output life-cycle assessment model.

    PubMed

    Liang, Sai; Zhang, Tianzhu; Xu, Yijian

    2012-03-01

    Waste recycling for paper production is an important component of waste management. This study constructs a physical input-output life-cycle assessment (PIO-LCA) model. The PIO-LCA model is used to investigate environmental impacts of four categories of waste recycling in China's paper industry: crop straws, bagasse, textile wastes and scrap paper. Crop straw recycling and wood utilization for paper production have small total intensity of environmental impacts. Moreover, environmental impacts reduction of crop straw recycling and wood utilization benefits the most from technology development. Thus, using crop straws and wood (including wood wastes) for paper production should be promoted. Technology development has small effects on environmental impacts reduction of bagasse recycling, textile waste recycling and scrap paper recycling. In addition, bagasse recycling and textile waste recycling have big total intensity of environmental impacts. Thus, the development of bagasse recycling and textile waste recycling should be properly limited. Other pathways for reusing bagasse and textile wastes should be explored and evaluated. Moreover, imports of scrap paper should be encouraged to reduce large indirect impacts of scrap paper recycling on domestic environment. PMID:22100716

  4. Life cycle assessment of advanced bioethanol production from pulp and paper sludge.

    PubMed

    Sebastião, Diogo; Gonçalves, Margarida S; Marques, Susana; Fonseca, César; Gírio, Francisco; Oliveira, Ana C; Matos, Cristina T

    2016-05-01

    This work evaluates the environmental performance of using pulp and paper sludge as feedstock for the production of second generation ethanol. An ethanol plant for converting 5400 tons of dry sludge/year was modelled and evaluated using a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment approach. The sludge is a burden for pulp and paper mills that is mainly disposed in landfilling. The studied system allows for the valorisation of the waste, which due to its high polysaccharide content is a valuable feedstock for bioethanol production. Eleven impact categories were analysed and the results showed that enzymatic hydrolysis and neutralisation of the CaCO3 are the environmental hotspots of the system contributing up to 85% to the overall impacts. Two optimisation scenarios were evaluated: (1) using a reduced HCl amount in the neutralisation stage and (2) co-fermentation of xylose and glucose, for maximal ethanol yield. Both scenarios displayed significant environmental impact improvements. PMID:26926202

  5. Sustainable wastewater management: life cycle assessment of conventional and source-separating urban sanitation systems.

    PubMed

    Remy, C; Jekel, M

    2008-01-01

    Conventional and source-separating urban sanitation systems are compared with regard to their ecological sustainability using the methodology of Life Cycle Assessment. A substance flow model of all relevant processes in a settlement with 5,000 inhabitants is set up and evaluated with environmental indicators for resource demand and emissions to air, water, and soil. The comparison shows that source separation does not necessarily result in a system with less environmental impacts. If the conventional system is energetically optimized and equipped with extended nutrient removal, its impact is comparable to the source-separating systems. However, source separation has the potential to offer ecological benefits depending on the system configuration. Especially the input of toxic heavy metals to agriculture with sewage sludge can be substantially lowered if separately collected urine and faeces are used as organic fertilizer. PMID:19001707

  6. Life Cycle Assessment of Bio-diesel Production—A Comparative Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chatterjee, R.; Sharma, V.; Mukherjee, S.; Kumar, S.

    2014-04-01

    This work deals with the comparative analysis of environmental impacts of bio-diesel produced from Jatropha curcas, Rapeseed and Palm oil by applying the life cycle assessment and eco-efficiency concepts. The environmental impact indicators considered in the present paper include global warming potential (GWP, CO2 equivalent), acidification potential (AP, SO2 equivalent) and eutrophication potential (EP, NO3 equivalent). Different weighting techniques have been used to present and evaluate the environmental characteristics of bio-diesel. With the assistance of normalization values, the eco-efficiency was demonstrated in this work. The results indicate that the energy consumption of bio-diesel production is lowest in Jatropha while AP and EP are more in case of Jatropha than that of Rapeseed and Palm oil.

  7. Life Cycle Assessment of high ligno-cellulosic biomass pyrolysis coupled with anaerobic digestion.

    PubMed

    Righi, Serena; Bandini, Vittoria; Marazza, Diego; Baioli, Filippo; Torri, Cristian; Contin, Andrea

    2016-07-01

    A Life Cycle Assessment is conducted on pyrolysis coupled to anaerobic digestion to treat corn stovers and to obtain bioenergy and biochar. The analysis takes into account the feedstock treatment process, the fate of products and the indirect effects due to crop residue removal. The biochar is considered to be used as solid fuel for coal power plants or as soil conditioner. All results are compared with a corresponding fossil-fuel-based scenario. It is shown that the proposed system always enables relevant primary energy savings of non-renewable sources and a strong reduction of greenhouse gases emissions without worsening the abiotic resources depletion. Conversely, the study points out that the use of corn stovers for mulch is critical when considering acidification and eutrophication impacts. Therefore, removal of corn stovers from the fields must be planned carefully. PMID:27107341

  8. Full life-cycle toxicity assessment on triclosan using rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Lilan; Niu, Junfeng; Wang, Yujuan

    2016-05-01

    Triclosan (TCS) is an antimicrobial and is an aquatic contaminant. Little is known on aquatic toxicity of TCS. Rotifers are common members of freshwater zooplankton. In this study, Brachionus calyciflorus was chosen as