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Sample records for cycle assessments lca

  1. Evaluation of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Roadway Drainage Systems.

    PubMed

    Byrne, Diana M; Grabowski, Marta K; Benitez, Amy C B; Schmidt, Arthur R; Guest, Jeremy S

    2017-08-15

    Roadway drainage design has traditionally focused on cost-effectively managing water quantity; however, runoff carries pollutants, posing risks to the local environment and public health. Additionally, construction and maintenance incur costs and contribute to global environmental impacts. While life cycle assessment (LCA) can potentially capture local and global environmental impacts of roadway drainage and other stormwater systems, LCA methodology must be evaluated because stormwater systems differ from wastewater and drinking water systems to which LCA is more frequently applied. To this end, this research developed a comprehensive model linking roadway drainage design parameters to LCA and life cycle costing (LCC) under uncertainty. This framework was applied to 10 highway drainage projects to evaluate LCA methodological choices by characterizing environmental and economic impacts of drainage projects and individual components (basin, bioswale, culvert, grass swale, storm sewer, and pipe underdrain). The relative impacts of drainage components varied based on functional unit choice. LCA inventory cutoff criteria evaluation showed the potential for cost-based criteria, which performed better than mass-based criteria. Finally, the local aquatic benefits of grass swales and bioswales offset global environmental impacts for four impact categories, highlighting the need to explicitly consider local impacts (i.e., direct emissions) when evaluating drainage technologies.

  2. Emerging role of Geographical Information System (GIS), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and spatial LCA (GIS-LCA) in sustainable bioenergy planning.

    PubMed

    Hiloidhari, Moonmoon; Baruah, D C; Singh, Anoop; Kataki, Sampriti; Medhi, Kristina; Kumari, Shilpi; Ramachandra, T V; Jenkins, B M; Thakur, Indu Shekhar

    2017-10-01

    Sustainability of a bioenergy project depends on precise assessment of biomass resource, planning of cost-effective logistics and evaluation of possible environmental implications. In this context, this paper reviews the role and applications of geo-spatial tool such as Geographical Information System (GIS) for precise agro-residue resource assessment, biomass logistic and power plant design. Further, application of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in understanding the potential impact of agro-residue bioenergy generation on different ecosystem services has also been reviewed and limitations associated with LCA variability and uncertainty were discussed. Usefulness of integration of GIS into LCA (i.e. spatial LCA) to overcome the limitations of conventional LCA and to produce a holistic evaluation of the environmental benefits and concerns of bioenergy is also reviewed. Application of GIS, LCA and spatial LCA can help alleviate the challenges faced by ambitious bioenergy projects by addressing both economics and environmental goals. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. The IMA Study on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Magnesium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedrich, Horst E.; Ehrenberger, Simone

    Magnesium shows considerable potentials as lightweight material for weight sensitive applications. To assess the potential environmental benefits of magnesium in transport applications, the International Magnesium Association (IMA) initiated a study on the life cycle assessment (LCA) of magnesium.

  4. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. 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.

  6. Total environmental impacts of biofuels from corn stover using a hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) model combining Process LCA and Economic Input-Output LCA.

    PubMed

    Liu, Changqi; Huang, Yaji; Wang, Xinye; Tai, Yang; Liu, Lingqin; Liu, Hao

    2017-08-10

    Studies on the environmental analysis of biofuels by fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing (BFPH) have so far only focused on the environmental impacts from direct emissions and included few indirect emissions. The influence of ignoring some indirect emissions on the environmental performance of BFPH has not been well investigated and hence is not really understood. In addition, in order to avoid shifting environmental problems from one media to another, a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts caused by the processes must quantify the environmental emissions to all media (air, water, and land) in relation to each life cycle stage. A well-to-wheels assessment of the total environmental impacts resulting from direct emissions and indirect emissions of a BFPH system with corn stover is conducted using a hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) model combining the economic input-output LCA and the process LCA. The Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and other environmental Impacts (TRACI) has been used to estimate the environmental impacts in terms of acidification, eutrophication, global climate change, ozone depletion, human health criteria, photochemical smog formation, ecotoxicity, human health cancer and human health non-cancer, caused by 1 MJ biofuel production. Taking account of all the indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the net GHG emissions (81.8 gCO2-eq /MJ) of the biofuels are still less than those of petroleum-based fuels (94 gCO2-eq /MJ). Maize production and pyrolysis and hydroprocessing make major contributions to all impact categories except the human health criteria. All impact categories resulting from indirect emissions except the eutrophication and smog air make more than 24% contribution to the total environmental impacts. Therefore, the indirect emissions are important and can't be ignored. Sensitivity analysis has shown that corn stover yield and bio-oil yield affect the total environment impacts of the biofuels more

  7. A thematic review of life cycle assessment (LCA) applied to pig production

    SciTech Connect

    McAuliffe, Graham A.; Chapman, Deborah V.; Sage, Colin L.

    2016-01-15

    Commercial livestock production is known to have significant impacts on the environment. Pig production is a complex system which involves the production of animal feed, transportation, animal rearing and waste management. One tool for assessing the environmental performance of such complex systems is life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA has been applied to pig production considerably to date. This paper provides a chronological review of state-of-the-art pig production LCAs under three themes: feed production; entire-system livestock rearing; and waste management. The study considers how LCA applications have addressed technological improvements in animal husbandry, and highlights methodological limitations, particularly related to cross-study comparisons. Recent research demonstrates crude protein reduction in feed and anaerobic treatment of pig excreta resulting in bioenergy production are the key targets for environmental performance improvements related to pig production. - Highlights: • An extensive review of LCA applied to pig production is provided chronologically over the past decade. • Individual studies have been categorised into feed, whole-system pig production and waste management themes. • We consider how LCAs have addressed state-of-the-art pig husbandry. • We offer a discussion on key findings, limitations and future research.

  8. Accounting for ecosystem services in Life Cycle Assessment, Part II: toward an ecologically based LCA.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yi; Baral, Anil; Bakshi, Bhavik R

    2010-04-01

    Despite the essential role of ecosystem goods and services in sustaining all human activities, they are often ignored in engineering decision making, even in methods that are meant to encourage sustainability. For example, conventional Life Cycle Assessment focuses on the impact of emissions and consumption of some resources. While aggregation and interpretation methods are quite advanced for emissions, similar methods for resources have been lagging, and most ignore the role of nature. Such oversight may even result in perverse decisions that encourage reliance on deteriorating ecosystem services. This article presents a step toward including the direct and indirect role of ecosystems in LCA, and a hierarchical scheme to interpret their contribution. The resulting Ecologically Based LCA (Eco-LCA) includes a large number of provisioning, regulating, and supporting ecosystem services as inputs to a life cycle model at the process or economy scale. These resources are represented in diverse physical units and may be compared via their mass, fuel value, industrial cumulative exergy consumption, or ecological cumulative exergy consumption or by normalization with total consumption of each resource or their availability. Such results at a fine scale provide insight about relative resource use and the risk and vulnerability to the loss of specific resources. Aggregate indicators are also defined to obtain indices such as renewability, efficiency, and return on investment. An Eco-LCA model of the 1997 economy is developed and made available via the web (www.resilience.osu.edu/ecolca). An illustrative example comparing paper and plastic cups provides insight into the features of the proposed approach. The need for further work in bridging the gap between knowledge about ecosystem services and their direct and indirect role in supporting human activities is discussed as an important area for future work.

  9. Life cycle assessment of waste incineration in Denmark and Italy using two LCA models.

    PubMed

    Turconi, Roberto; Butera, Stefania; Boldrin, Alessio; Grosso, Mario; Rigamonti, Lucia; Astrup, Thomas

    2011-10-01

    In Europe, about 20% of municipal solid waste is incinerated. Large differences can be found between northern and southern Europe regarding energy recovery efficiencies, flue gas cleaning technologies and residue management. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) of waste incineration often provides contradictory results if these local conditions are not properly accounted for. The importance of regional differences and site-specific data, and choice of LCA model itself, was evaluated by assessment of two waste incinerators representing northern and southern Europe (Denmark and Italy) based on two different LCA models (SimaPro and EASEWASTE). The results showed that assumptions and modelling approaches regarding energy recovery/substitution and direct air emissions were most critical. Differences in model design and model databases mainly had consequences for the toxicity-related impact categories. The overall environmental performance of the Danish system was better than the Italian, mainly because of higher heat recovery at the Danish plant. Flue gas cleaning at the Italian plant was, however, preferable to the Danish, indicating that efficient flue gas cleaning may provide significant benefits. Differences in waste composition between the two countries mainly affected global warming and human toxicity via water. Overall, SimaPro and EASEWASTE provided consistent ranking of the individual scenarios. However, important differences in results from the two models were related to differences in the databases and modelling approaches, in particular the possibility for modelling of waste-specific emissions affected the toxicity-related impact categories. The results clearly showed that the use of site-specific data was essential for the results.

  10. Application of life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology for valorization of building demolition materials and products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sara, Balazs; Antonini, Ernesto; Tarantini, Mario

    2001-02-01

    The VAMP project (VAlorization of building demolition Materials and Products, LIFE 98/ENV/IT/33) aims to build an effective and innovative information system to support decision making in selective demolition activity and to manage the valorization (recovery-reuse-recycling) of waste flows produced by the construction and demolition (C&D) sector. The VAMP information system will be tested it in Italy in some case studies of selective demolition. In this paper the proposed demolition-valorization system will be compared to the traditional one in a life cycle perspective, applying LCA methodology to highlight the advantages of VAMP system from an eco-sustainability point of view. Within the system boundaries demolition processes, transport of demolition wastes and its recovery/treatment or disposal in landfill were included. Processes avoided due to reuse-recycling activities, such as extraction of natural resources and manufacture of building materials and components, were considered too. In this paper data collection procedure applied in inventory and impact assessment phases and a general overview about data availability for LCA studies in this sector are presented. Results of application of VAMP methodology to a case study are discussed and compared with a simulated traditional demolition of the same building. Environmental advantages of VAMP demolition-valorization system are demonstrated quantitatively emphasizing the special importance of reuse of building components with high demand of energy for manufacture.

  11. A comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of Jatropha biodiesel production in India.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sunil; Singh, Jasvinder; Nanoti, S M; Garg, M O

    2012-04-01

    A life cycle approach was adopted for energy, green house gas (GHG) emissions and renewability assessment for production of 1ton of Jatropha biodiesel. Allocation and displacement approaches were applied for life cycle inventory, process energy and process GHG emission attribution to co-products. The results of process energy and GHG emission analyses revealed that the amount of process energy consumption and GHG emission in the individual stages of the life cycle assessment (LCA) were a strong function of co-product handling and irrigation. The GHG emission reduction with respect to petroleum diesel for generating 1GJ energy varied from 40% to 107% and NER values from 1.4 to 8.0 depending upon the methodology used for energy and emission distribution between product and co-products as well as irrigation applied. However, GHG emission reduction values of 54 and 40 and NER (net energy ratio) values of 1.7 and 1.4 for irrigated and rain-fed scenarios, respectively indicate the eco-friendly nature and renewability of biodiesel even in the worst scenario where total life cycle inventory (LCI), process energy and GHG emission were allocated to biodiesel only. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. 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

  13. Proposal of Environmental Impact Assessment Method for Concrete in South Korea: An Application in LCA (Life Cycle Assessment).

    PubMed

    Kim, Tae Hyoung; Tae, Sung Ho

    2016-11-02

    This study aims to develop a system for assessing the impact of the substances discharged from concrete production process on six environmental impact categories, i.e., global warming (GWP), acidification (AP), eutrophication (EP), abiotic depletion (ADP), ozone depletion (ODP), and photochemical oxidant creation (POCP), using the life a cycle assessment (LCA) method. To achieve this, this study proposed an LCA method specifically applicable to the Korean concrete industry by adapting the ISO standards to suit the Korean situations. The proposed LCA method involves a system that performs environmental impact assessment on the basis of input information on concrete mix design, transport distance, and energy consumption in a batch plant. The Concrete Lifecycle Assessment System (CLAS) thus developed provides user-friendly support for environmental impact assessment with specialized database for concrete mix materials and energy sources. In the case analysis using the CLAS, among the substances discharged from the production of 24 MPa concrete, those contributing to GWP, AP, EP, ADP, ODP, and POCP were assessed to amount to 309 kg-CO₂ eq/m³, 28.7 kg-SO₂ eq/m³, 5.21 kg-PO₄(3-) eq/m³, 0.000049 kg-CFC11 eq/m³, 34 kg/m³, and 21 kg-Ethylene eq/m³, respectively. Of these six environmental impact categories selected for the LCA in this study, ordinary Portland cement (OPC) was found to contribute most intensely to GWP and POCP, and aggregates, to AP, EP, ODP, and ADP. It was also found that the mix design with increased prop proportion of recycled aggregate was found to contribute to reducing the impact in all other categories.

  14. Proposal of Environmental Impact Assessment Method for Concrete in South Korea: An Application in LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Tae Hyoung; Tae, Sung Ho

    2016-01-01

    This study aims to develop a system for assessing the impact of the substances discharged from concrete production process on six environmental impact categories, i.e., global warming (GWP), acidification (AP), eutrophication (EP), abiotic depletion (ADP), ozone depletion (ODP), and photochemical oxidant creation (POCP), using the life a cycle assessment (LCA) method. To achieve this, this study proposed an LCA method specifically applicable to the Korean concrete industry by adapting the ISO standards to suit the Korean situations. The proposed LCA method involves a system that performs environmental impact assessment on the basis of input information on concrete mix design, transport distance, and energy consumption in a batch plant. The Concrete Lifecycle Assessment System (CLAS) thus developed provides user-friendly support for environmental impact assessment with specialized database for concrete mix materials and energy sources. In the case analysis using the CLAS, among the substances discharged from the production of 24 MPa concrete, those contributing to GWP, AP, EP, ADP, ODP, and POCP were assessed to amount to 309 kg-CO2 eq/m3, 28.7 kg-SO2 eq/m3, 5.21 kg-PO43− eq/m3, 0.000049 kg-CFC11 eq/m3, 34 kg/m3, and 21 kg-Ethylene eq/m3, respectively. Of these six environmental impact categories selected for the LCA in this study, ordinary Portland cement (OPC) was found to contribute most intensely to GWP and POCP, and aggregates, to AP, EP, ODP, and ADP. It was also found that the mix design with increased prop proportion of recycled aggregate was found to contribute to reducing the impact in all other categories. PMID:27827843

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. 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...

  2. Normalisation in product life cycle assessment: an LCA of the global and European economic systems in the year 2000.

    PubMed

    Sleeswijk, Anneke Wegener; van Oers, Lauran F C M; Guinée, Jeroen B; Struijs, Jaap; Huijbregts, Mark A J

    2008-02-01

    In the methodological context of the interpretation of environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) results, a normalisation study was performed. 15 impact categories were accounted for, including climate change, acidification, eutrophication, human toxicity, ecotoxicity, depletion of fossil energy resources, and land use. The year 2000 was chosen as a reference year, and information was gathered on two spatial levels: the global and the European level. From the 860 environmental interventions collected, 48 interventions turned out to account for at least 75% of the impact scores of all impact categories. All non-toxicity related, emission dependent impacts are fully dominated by the bulk emissions of only 10 substances or substance groups: CO(2), CH(4), SO(2), NO(x), NH(3), PM(10), NMVOC, and (H)CFCs emissions to air and emissions of N- and P-compounds to fresh water. For the toxicity-related emissions (pesticides, organics, metal compounds and some specific inorganics), the availability of information was still very limited, leading to large uncertainty in the corresponding normalisation factors. Apart from their usefulness as a reference for LCA studies, the results of this study stress the importance of efficient measures to combat bulk emissions and to promote the registration of potentially toxic emissions on a more comprehensive scale.

  3. 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%.

  4. 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

  5. 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

    2013-12-19

    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

  6. 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

  7. Considering time in LCA: dynamic LCA and its application to global warming impact assessments.

    PubMed

    Levasseur, Annie; Lesage, Pascal; Margni, Manuele; Deschênes, Louise; Samson, Réjean

    2010-04-15

    The lack of temporal information is an important limitation of life cycle assessment (LCA). A dynamic LCA approach is proposed to improve the accuracy of LCA by addressing the inconsistency of temporal assessment. This approach consists of first computing a dynamic life cycle inventory (LCI), considering the temporal profile of emissions. Then, time-dependent characterization factors are calculated to assess the dynamic LCI in real-time impact scores for any given time horizon. Although generally applicable to any impact category, this approach is developed here for global warming, based on the radiative forcing concept. This case study demonstrates that the use of global warming potentials for a given time horizon to characterize greenhouse gas emissions leads to an inconsistency between the time frame chosen for the analysis and the time period covered by the LCA results. Dynamic LCA is applied to the US EPA LCA on renewable fuels, which compares the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of different biofuels with fossil fuels including land-use change emissions. The comparison of the results obtained with both traditional and dynamic LCA approaches shows that the difference can be important enough to change the conclusions on whether or not a biofuel meets some given global warming reduction targets.

  8. 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

    2015-01-06

    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.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Wittmaier, M; Langer, S; Sawilla, B

    2009-05-01

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. Enhancement of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to include the effect of surface albedo on climate change: Comparing black and white roofs.

    PubMed

    Susca, Tiziana

    2012-04-01

    Traditionally, life cycle assessment (LCA) does not estimate a key property: surface albedo. Here an enhancement of the LCA methodology has been proposed through the development and employment of a time-dependent climatological model for including the effect of surface albedo on climate. The theoretical findings derived by the time-dependent model have been applied to the case study of a black and a white roof evaluated in the time-frames of 50 and 100 years focusing on the impact on global warming potential. The comparative life cycle impact assessment of the two roofs shows that the high surface albedo plays a crucial role in offsetting radiative forcings. In the 50-year time horizon, surface albedo is responsible for a decrease in CO(2)eq of 110-184 kg and 131-217 kg in 100 years. Furthermore, the white roof compared to the black roof, due to the high albedo, decreases the annual energy use of about 3.6-4.5 kWh/m(2).

  13. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) comparison of three management options for waste papers: bioethanol production, recycling and incineration with energy recovery.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Templer, Richard; Murphy, Richard J

    2012-09-01

    This study uses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to assess the environmental profiles and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for bioethanol production from waste papers and to compare them with the alternative waste management options of recycling or incineration with energy recovery. Bioethanol production scenarios both with and without pre-treatments were conducted. It was found that an oxidative lime pre-treatment reduced GHG emissions and overall environmental burdens for a newspaper-to-bioethanol process whereas a dilute acid pre-treatment raised GHG emissions and overall environmental impacts for an office paper-to-bioethanol process. In the comparison of bioethanol production systems with alternative management of waste papers by different technologies, it was found that the environmental profiles of each system vary significantly and this variation affects the outcomes of the specific comparisons made. Overall, a number of configurations of bioethanol production from waste papers offer environmentally favourable or neutral profiles when compared with recycling or incineration.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. The influence of catalysts on biofuel life cycle analysis (LCA)

    DOE PAGES

    Benavides, Pahola Thathiana; Cronauer, Donald C.; Adom, Felix K.; ...

    2017-01-21

    Catalysts play an important role in biofuel production but are rarely included in biofuel life cycle analysis (LCA). In this work, we estimate the cradle-to-gate energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Pt/γ-Al2O3, CoMo/γ-Al2O3, and ZSM-5, catalysts that could be used in processes to convert biomass to biofuels. We also consider the potential impacts of catalyst recovery and recycling. Integrating the energy and environmental impacts of CoMo/γ-Al2O3 and ZSM-5 into an LCA of renewable gasoline produced via in-situ and ex-situ fast pyrolysis of a blended woody feedstock revealed that the ZSM-5, with cradle-to-gate GHG emissions of 7.7 kg CO2e/kg,more » could influence net life-cycle GHG emissions of the renewable gasoline (1.7 gCO2e/MJ for the in-situ process, 1.2 gCO2e/MJ for the ex-situ process) by up to 14% depending on the loading rate. CoMo/γ-Al2O3 had a greater GHG intensity (9.6 kg CO2e/kg) than ZSM-5, however, it contributed approximately only 1% to the life-cycle GHG emissions of the renewable gasoline because of the small amount of this catalyst needed per kg of biofuel produced. As a result, given that catalysts can contribute significantly to biofuel life-cycle GHG emissions depending on the GHG intensity of their production and their consumption rates, biofuel LCAs should consider the potential influence of catalysts on LCA results.« less

  20. The influence of catalysts on biofuel life cycle analysis (LCA)

    DOE PAGES

    Benavides, Pahola Thathiana; Cronauer, Donald C.; Adom, Felix K.; ...

    2017-01-21

    Catalysts play an important role in biofuel production but are rarely included in biofuel life cycle analysis (LCA). In this work, we estimate the cradle-to-gate energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Pt/γ-Al2O3, CoMo/γ-Al2O3, and ZSM-5, catalysts that could be used in processes to convert biomass to biofuels. We also consider the potential impacts of catalyst recovery and recycling. Integrating the energy and environmental impacts of CoMo/γ-Al2O3 and ZSM-5 into an LCA of renewable gasoline produced via in-situ and ex-situ fast pyrolysis of a blended woody feedstock revealed that the ZSM-5, with cradle-to-gate GHG emissions of 7.7 kg CO2e/kg,more » could influence net life-cycle GHG emissions of the renewable gasoline (1.7 gCO2e/MJ for the in-situ process, 1.2 gCO2e/MJ for the ex-situ process) by up to 14% depending on the loading rate. CoMo/γ-Al2O3 had a greater GHG intensity (9.6 kg CO2e/kg) than ZSM-5, however, it contributed approximately only 1% to the life-cycle GHG emissions of the renewable gasoline because of the small amount of this catalyst needed per kg of biofuel produced. As a result, given that catalysts can contribute significantly to biofuel life-cycle GHG emissions depending on the GHG intensity of their production and their consumption rates, biofuel LCAs should consider the potential influence of catalysts on LCA results.« less

  1. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. 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...

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Assessing the environmental impacts of freshwater consumption in LCA.

    PubMed

    Pfister, Stephan; Koehler, Annette; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2009-06-01

    A method for assessing the environmental impacts of freshwater consumption was developed. This method considers damages to three areas of protection: human health, ecosystem quality, and resources. The method can be used within most existing life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods. The relative importance of water consumption was analyzed by integrating the method into the Eco-indicator-99 LCIA method. The relative impact of water consumption in LCIA was analyzed with a case study on worldwide cotton production. The importance of regionalized characterization factors for water use was also examined in the case study. In arid regions, water consumption may dominate the aggregated life-cycle impacts of cotton-textile production. Therefore, the consideration of water consumption is crucial in life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies that include water-intensive products, such as agricultural goods. A regionalized assessment is necessary, since the impacts of water use vary greatly as a function of location. The presented method is useful for environmental decision-support in the production of water-intensive products as well as for environmentally responsible value-chain management.

  7. How can LCA approaches contribute to improve geo-cycles management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carreiras, M.; Ferreira, A. J. D.; Esteves, T. C. J.; Delgado, F.; Andrade, F.; Franco, J.; Pereira, C. D.

    2012-04-01

    Climate change and land use have become a major challenge for mankind and the natural environment. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released into the atmosphere in ever rapidly growing volumes are most likely to be responsible for this change. Carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is suggested to be the main cause of global warming. Carbon reduction is the key to preventing this, for example, by enhancing energy efficiency and mitigating carbon emissions by means of green energy and adjusting the use of natural resources. Different activities produce distinguish impacts, and each product generates specific impacts on nature. The impact of man activities in the geo-cycles is of paramount importance in what concerns long term sustainability. Nevertheless, the environmental and sustainability impacts of different approaches and techniques of ecosystem management is a difficult question that can be assessed using LCA techniques LCA is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from-cradle-to-grave. Based on that, LCA can be effective in supporting the assessment of decision making on complex sustainability issues because it can integrate the diversity of impacts categories guise and it can be adapted to a large variety of contexts. By incorporating quantitative data LCA allows decision makers to include a full range of economic, environmental, social and technical criteria. The integrated framework is configured such that the pros and cons of alternative environmental and energy strategies can be measured in terms of their ability to achieve the overall goals and objectives of the sustainable development, while satisfying the pollution control requirements. Because it is holistic, integrate and dynamic, this approach represents a state of the art tool for enhance the sustainable development of a sector, allowing a more transparent and participated management, a basic instrument for improved competitiveness. This approach may serve

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. Comparative analysis of gas and coal-fired power generation in ultra-low emission condition using life cycle assessment (LCA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yin, Libao; Liao, Yanfen; Liu, Guicai; Liu, Zhichao; Yu, Zhaosheng; Guo, Shaode; Ma, Xiaoqian

    2017-05-01

    Energy consumption and pollutant emission of natural gas combined cycle power-generation (NGCC), liquefied natural gas combined cycle power-generation (LNGCC), natural gas combined heat and power generation (CHP) and ultra-supercritical power generation with ultra-low gas emission (USC) were analyzed using life cycle assessment method, pointing out the development opportunity and superiority of gas power generation in the period of coal-fired unit ultra-low emission transformation. The results show that CO2 emission followed the order: USC>LNGCC>NGCC>CHP the resource depletion coefficient of coal-fired power generation was lower than that of gas power generation, and the coal-fired power generation should be the main part of power generation in China; based on sensitivity analysis, improving the generating efficiency or shortening the transportation distance could effectively improve energy saving and emission reduction, especially for the coal-fired units, and improving the generating efficiency had a great significance for achieving the ultra-low gas emission.

  12. 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.

  13. Choice of mineral fertilizer substitution principle strongly influences LCA environmental benefits of nutrient cycling in the agri-food system.

    PubMed

    Hanserud, Ola Stedje; Cherubini, Francesco; Øgaard, Anne Falk; Müller, Daniel B; Brattebø, Helge

    2017-09-30

    Increased nutrient cycling in the agri-food system is a way to achieve a healthier nutrient stewardship and more sustainable food production. In life cycle assessment (LCA) studies, use of recycled fertilizer products is often credited by the substitution method, which subtracts the environmental burdens associated with avoided production of mineral fertilizer from the system under study. The environmental benefits from avoided fertilizer production can make an important contribution to the results, but different calculation principles and often implicit assumptions are used to estimate the amount of avoided mineral fertilizer. This may hinder comparisons between studies. The present study therefore examines how the choice of substitution principles influences LCA results. Three different substitution principles, called one-to-one, maintenance, and adjusted maintenance, are identified, and we test the importance of these in a case study on cattle slurry management. We show that the inventory of avoided mineral fertilizer varies greatly when the different principles are applied, with strong influences on two-thirds of LCA impact categories. With the one-to-one principle, there is a risk of systematically over-estimating the environmental benefits from nutrient cycling. In a sensitivity analysis we show that the difference between the principles is closely related to the application rate and levels of residual nutrients in the soil. We recommend that LCA practitioners first and foremost state and justify the substitution method they use, in order to increase transparency and comparability with other studies. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. Life Cycle Assessment for Biofuels

    EPA Science Inventory

    A presentation based on life cycle assessment (LCA) for biofuels is given. The presentation focuses on energy and biofuels, interesting environmental aspects of biofuels, and how to do a life cycle assessment with some examples related to biofuel systems. The stages of a (biofuel...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT IN MANAGEMENT, PRODUCT AND PROCESS DESIGN, AND POLICY DECISION MAKING: A CONFERENCE REPORT

    EPA Science Inventory

    On 24 September 2003, life cycle assessment (LCA) practitioners and decision makers gathered at the InLCA/LCM Conference in Seattle, Washington, USA (see http://www.lcacenter.org/InLCA-LCM03/index.html) to discuss the role of LCA in management, product design, process development...

  18. 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

    2013-04-02

    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.

  19. 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 ...

  20. 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 ...

  1. Conceptual Framework To Extend Life Cycle Assessment ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a decision-making tool that accounts for multiple impacts across the life cycle of a product or service. This paper presents a conceptual framework to integrate human health impact assessment with risk screening approaches to extend LCA to include near-field chemical sources (e.g., those originating from consumer products and building materials) that have traditionally been excluded from LCA. A new generation of rapid human exposure modeling and high-throughput toxicity testing is transforming chemical risk prioritization and provides an opportunity for integration of screening-level risk assessment (RA) with LCA. The combined LCA and RA approach considers environmental impacts of products alongside risks to human health, which is consistent with regulatory frameworks addressing RA within a sustainability mindset. A case study is presented to juxtapose LCA and risk screening approaches for a chemical used in a consumer product. The case study demonstrates how these new risk screening tools can be used to inform toxicity impact estimates in LCA and highlights needs for future research. The framework provides a basis for developing tools and methods to support decision making on the use of chemicals in products. This paper presents a conceptual framework for including near-field exposures into Life Cycle Assessment using advanced human exposure modeling and high-throughput tools

  2. Life cycle assessment: past, present, and future.

    PubMed

    Guinée, Jeroen B; Heijungs, Reinout; Huppes, Gjalt; Zamagni, Alessandra; Masoni, Paolo; Buonamici, Roberto; Ekvall, Tomas; Rydberg, Tomas

    2011-01-01

    Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) has developed fast over the last three decades. Whereas LCA developed from merely energy analysis to a comprehensive environmental burden analysis in the 1970s, full-fledged life cycle impact assessment and life cycle costing models were introduced in the 1980s and 1990 s, and social-LCA and particularly consequential LCA gained ground in the first decade of the 21st century. Many of the more recent developments were initiated to broaden traditional environmental LCA to a more comprehensive Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (LCSA). Recently, a framework for LCSA was suggested linking life cycle sustainability questions to knowledge needed for addressing them, identifying available knowledge and related models, knowledge gaps, and defining research programs to fill these gaps. LCA is evolving into LCSA, which is a transdisciplinary integration framework of models rather than a model in itself. LCSA works with a plethora of disciplinary models and guides selecting the proper ones, given a specific sustainability question. Structuring, selecting, and making the plethora of disciplinary models practically available in relation to different types of life cycle sustainability questions is the main challenge.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-07

    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.

  4. PRODUCT LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT: INVENTORY GUIDELINES AND PRINCIPLES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) can be used as an objective technical tool to evaluate the environmental consequences of a product, process, or activity holistically, across its entire life cycle. omplete LCA can be viewed as consisting of three complementary components (1) the i...

  5. PRODUCT LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT: INVENTORY GUIDELINES AND PRINCIPLES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) can be used as an objective technical tool to evaluate the environmental consequences of a product, process, or activity holistically, across its entire life cycle. omplete LCA can be viewed as consisting of three complementary components (1) the i...

  6. Environmental assessment of solid waste landfilling technologies by means of LCA-modeling.

    PubMed

    Manfredi, Simone; Christensen, Thomas H

    2009-01-01

    By using life cycle assessment (LCA) modeling, this paper compares the environmental performance of six landfilling technologies (open dump, conventional landfill with flares, conventional landfill with energy recovery, standard bioreactor landfill, flushing bioreactor landfill and semi-aerobic landfill) and assesses the influence of the active operations practiced on these performances. The environmental assessments have been performed by means of the LCA-based tool EASEWASTE, whereby the functional unit utilized for the LCA is "landfilling of 1ton of wet household waste in a 10m deep landfill for 100 years". The assessment criteria include standard categories (global warming, nutrient enrichment, ozone depletion, photo-chemical ozone formation and acidification), toxicity-related categories (human toxicity and ecotoxicity) and impact on spoiled groundwater resources. Results demonstrate that it is crucially important to ensure the highest collection efficiency of landfill gas and leachate since a poor capture compromises the overall environmental performance. Once gas and leachate are collected and treated, the potential impacts in the standard environmental categories and on spoiled groundwater resources significantly decrease, although at the same time specific emissions from gas treatment lead to increased impact potentials in the toxicity-related categories. Gas utilization for energy recovery leads to saved emissions and avoided impact potentials in several environmental categories. Measures should be taken to prevent leachate infiltration to groundwater and it is essential to collect and treat the generated leachate. The bioreactor technologies recirculate the collected leachate to enhance the waste degradation process. This allows the gas collection period to be reduced from 40 to 15 years, although it does not lead to noticeable environmental benefits when considering a 100 years LCA-perspective. In order to more comprehensively understand the influence

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. Integrated environmental assessment of tertiary and residuals treatment--LCA in the wastewater industry.

    PubMed

    Beavis, P; Lundie, S

    2003-01-01

    In the wastewater industry, decision-makers lack access to an environmental tool that can assist in further informing the non-financial analysis of a system. Such a tool should incorporate impacts beyond the effluent quality and look at the supporting processes of a plant as well as plant specific operations. Life Cycle Assessment can provide the means to fill a gap in pertinent information towards more sustainable decision-making. The project "Best Practice LCA in the Wastewater Industry" is commissioned by the CRC for Waste Management and Pollution Control at UNSW with representatives from Sydney Water Corporation (SWC), NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation and the NSW Department of Public Works. Two case studies were researched to provide a post-implementation review of changes in wastewater. Case study 1: The conversion from chlorine gas to hypochlorite and UV disinfection has been completed for several inland wastewater plants at SWC. A review of operational data for each of the options has been incorporated into an LCA of each technology. Under efficient dosing conditions, disinfection with the hypochlorite system has the minimum environmental impact. Case study 2 deals with the conversion from anaerobic to aerobic digestion. Aerobic digestion minimises release of nutrients into a sidestream to be further treated in the plant. However conversion results in more biosolids production and higher electricity requirements. This study includes a consideration of the environmental impacts of biosolids production and application. On the basis of the extended boundary including consideration of reflux composition, energy requirements and biosolids quality to potentially offset fertiliser production, anaerobic digestion performs best in 6 out of 9 impact categories. These results suggest that environmental LCA has a role in informing decision-making on unit process and treatment train selection by quantifying aspects on non-financial criteria. Also

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Framework for analyzing transformative technologies in life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Miller, Shelie A; Keoleian, Gregory A

    2015-03-03

    Emerging products and technologies pose unique challenges for the life cycle assessment (LCA) community, given the lack of data and inherent uncertainties regarding their development. An emerging technology that has the potential to be transformative and effect broad-scale change within society, as well as the underpinning assumptions associated with its life cycle, is particularly difficult to analyze. Despite the associated challenges, LCA methods must be developed for transformative technologies. The greatest improvement potential occurs at the early phases of technology development; therefore, prospective LCA results can be used to anticipate potential unintended consequences and develop design pathways that lead to preferential outcomes. This paper identifies and categorizes ten factors that influence the LCA results of transformative technologies in order to provide a formal structure for determining appropriate factors for inclusion within an LCA. Appropriate factors for an analysis should be selected according to the overall research questions of the study and are applicable to both attributional and consequential approaches to LCA.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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 ...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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 ...

  1. Illustrating anticipatory life cycle assessment for emerging photovoltaic technologies.

    PubMed

    Wender, Ben A; Foley, Rider W; Prado-Lopez, Valentina; Ravikumar, Dwarakanath; Eisenberg, Daniel A; Hottle, Troy A; Sadowski, Jathan; Flanagan, William P; Fisher, Angela; Laurin, Lise; Bates, Matthew E; Linkov, Igor; Seager, Thomas P; Fraser, Matthew P; Guston, David H

    2014-09-16

    Current research policy and strategy documents recommend applying life cycle assessment (LCA) early in research and development (R&D) to guide emerging technologies toward decreased environmental burden. However, existing LCA practices are ill-suited to support these recommendations. Barriers related to data availability, rapid technology change, and isolation of environmental from technical research inhibit application of LCA to developing technologies. Overcoming these challenges requires methodological advances that help identify environmental opportunities prior to large R&D investments. Such an anticipatory approach to LCA requires synthesis of social, environmental, and technical knowledge beyond the capabilities of current practices. This paper introduces a novel framework for anticipatory LCA that incorporates technology forecasting, risk research, social engagement, and comparative impact assessment, then applies this framework to photovoltaic (PV) technologies. These examples illustrate the potential for anticipatory LCA to prioritize research questions and help guide environmentally responsible innovation of emerging technologies.

  2. 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.

  3. 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...

  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. 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

  6. 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...

  7. SCREENING LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF GASOLINE ADDITIVES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The EPA's ORD is conducting a screening of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of selected automotive fuel (i.e., gasoline) systems. Although no specific guidelines exist on how to conduct such a streamlined approach, the basic idea is to use a mix of qualitative and quantitative generi...

  8. Life cycle assessment of a commercial rainwater harvesting system compared with a municipal water supply system

    EPA Science Inventory

    Building upon previously published life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, we conducted an LCA of a commercial rainwater harvesting (RWH) system and compared it to a municipal water supply (MWS) system adapted to Washington, D.C. Eleven life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) indi...

  9. 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

  10. Uncertainty in Life Cycle Assessment of Nanomaterials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seager, T. P.; Linkov, I.

    Despite concerns regarding environmental fate and toxicology, engineered nanostructured material manufacturing is expanding at an increasingly rapid pace. In particular, the unique properties of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) have made them attractive in many areas, including high-tech power applications such as experimental batteries, fuel cells or electrical wiring. The intensity of research interest in SWCNT has raised questions regarding the life cycle environmental impact of nanotechnologies, including assessment of: worker and consumer safety, greenhouse gas emissions, toxicological risks associated with production or product emissions and the disposition of nanoproducts at end of life. However, development of appropriate nanotechnology assessment tools has lagged progress in the nanotechnologies themselves. In particular, current approaches to life cycle assessment (LCA) — originally developed for application in mature manufacturing industries such as automobiles and chemicals — suffer from several shortcomings that make applicability to nanotechnologies problematic. Among these are uncertainties related to the variability of material properties, toxicity and risk, technology performance in the use phase, nanomaterial degradation and change during the product life cycle and the impact assessment stage of LCA. This chapter expounds upon the unique challenges presented by nanomaterials in general, specifies sources of uncertainty and variability in LCA of SWCNT for use in electric and hybrid vehicle batteries and makes recommendations for modeling and decision-making using LCA in a multi-criteria decision analysis framework under conditions of high uncertainty.1

  11. Harmonizing the assessment of biodiversity effects from land and water use within LCA.

    PubMed

    Verones, Francesca; Huijbregts, Mark A J; Chaudhary, Abhishek; de Baan, Laura; Koellner, Thomas; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2015-03-17

    Addressing biodiversity impacts in life cycle assessment (LCA) has recently been significantly improved. Advances include the consideration of several taxa, consideration of vulnerability of species and ecosystems, global coverage and spatial differentiation. To allow a comparison of biodiversity impacts of different stressors (e.g., land and water use), consistent approaches for assessing and aggregating biodiversity impacts across taxa are needed. We propose four different options for aggregating impacts across taxa and stressors: equal weight for species, equal weight for taxa and two options with special consideration of species' vulnerability. We apply the aggregation options to a case study of coffee, tea and sugarcane production in Kenya for the production of 1 kg of crop. The ranking between stressors (land vs water use) within each crop and also of the overall impact between crops (coffee>sugarcane>tea) remained the same when applying the different aggregation options. Inclusion of the vulnerability of species had significant influence on the magnitude of results, and potentially also on the spatial distribution of impacts, and should be considered.

  12. 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.

  13. The path exchange method for hybrid LCA.

    PubMed

    Lenzen, Manfred; Crawford, Robert

    2009-11-01

    Hybrid techniques for Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) provide a way of combining the accuracy of process analysis and the completeness of input-output analysis. A number of methods have been suggested to implement a hybrid LCA in practice, with the main challenge being the integration of specific process data with an overarching input-output system. In this work we present a new hybrid LCA method which works at the finest input-output level of detail: structural paths. This new Path Exchange method avoids double-counting and system disturbance just as previous hybrid LCA methods, but instead of a large LCA database it requires only a minimum of external information on those structural paths that are to be represented by process data.

  14. Practical LCA for short shelf life products

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laurin, Lise; Goedkoop, Mark; Norris, Greg

    2005-11-01

    Manufacturers in many of today's industries are faced with product shelf life counted in months. Traditionally, this has made it very difficult to make a life cycle assessment (LCA) of a product, since the product would be obsolete by the time the LCA was completed. A new concept in LCA that allows specialists in things other than LCA to rapidly create both a model and generate "what-if" scenarios will allow even manufacturers of short shelf life products take advantage of the benefits of LCA. These industry-specific "wizards" are built around a manufacturing process and can be rapidly updated or customized to a particular manufacturer or process type. Results can be used internally for decision-making and can also enable manufacturers submit information for environmentally preferable purchasing, eco-labels, etc.

  15. Measurement of thermophysical properties coupled with LCA assessment for the optimization of a historical building retrofit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bortolin, A.; Bison, P.; Cadelano, G.; Ferrarini, G.; Fortuna, S.

    2015-11-01

    Historical buildings are a significant part of the Italian building stock and, in most cases, need deep refurbishment interventions to reach the energy criteria required by the current standards. A workflow that integrates on-site surveys and building modeling is mandatory to obtain effective energy saving measures. This work describes the analysis and modeling of the San Vito alla Rivera church, a XIV century building that was damaged during 2009 L'Aquila earthquake, suffering a partial collapse of the façade and of the roof. The latter was selected for a complete restoration that could improve its thermal performance while maintaining, as much as possible, the original structure. Several elements of the roof were collected in situ in order to measure, in laboratory, its thermophysical properties applying standard techniques and alternative methods based on infrared thermography. The accurate characterization of the materials was the starting point for the estimation of the environmental impact of the retrofit aimed to reach a defined thermal transmittance. A model of the building was created with TRNSYS software to calculate the energy consumption before and after the intervention. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis was conducted on different insulation materials to determine the one with the lowest impact.

  16. Life cycle assessment of a rock crusher

    SciTech Connect

    Landfield, A.H.; Karra, V.

    1999-07-01

    Nordberg, Inc., a capital equipment manufacturer, performed a Life Cycle Assessment study on its rock crusher to aid in making decisions on product design and energy improvements. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a relatively new cutting edge environmental tool recently standardized by ISO that provides quantitative environmental and energy data on products or processes. This paper commences with a brief introduction to LCA and presents the system boundaries, modeling and assumptions for the rock crusher study. System boundaries include all life major cycle stages except manufacturing and assembly of the crusher. Results of the LCA show that over 99% of most of the flows into and out of the system may be attributed to the use phase of the rock crusher. Within the use phase itself, over 95% of each environmental inflow and outflow (with some exceptions) are attributed to electricity consumption, and not the replacement of spares/wears or lubricating oil over the lifetime of the crusher. Results tables and charts present selected environmental flows, including CO{sub 2} NOx, SOx, particulate matter, and energy consumption, for each of the rock crusher life cycle stages and the use phase. This paper aims to demonstrate the benefits of adopting a rigorous scientific approach to assess energy and environmental impacts over the life cycle of capital equipment. Nordberg has used these results to enhance its engineering efforts toward developing an even more energy efficient machine to further progress its vision of providing economic solutions to its customers by reducing the crusher operating (mainly electricity) costs.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Integration of life cycle assessment and regional emission information in agricultural systems.

    PubMed

    Kim, Junbeum; Yalaltdinova, Albina; Sirina, Natalia; Baranovskaya, Natalia

    2015-09-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a compilation and evaluation of the input energy and materials, output emissions and the potential environmental impacts of a product, service or system throughout its life cycle. While methodological issues of LCA are still being developed, much research is being conducted worldwide in order to improve them. One of the important advances in LCA is a regionalised LCA, i.e. the development of regionalised databases, inventories, and impact assessment methods and models. Regional emission information (REI) was developed and integrated with the characterisation results in LCA of an agricultural product in the study area. Comparison of outcomes obtained with LCA characterisation results that did not include REI shows that the characterisation results taking REI into account are much higher as regards human toxicity, from 0.02% to 0.18%, freshwater ecotoxicity from 89% to 99% and terrestrial ecotoxicity from 8.006% to 26.177%. Results of current LCA studies on agricultural products and systems that do not include REI are under-estimating the life cycle environmental impact. For the LCA of agricultural products and systems, the REI as well as regionalised life cycle inventory data should be developed and integrated into the current LCA approach. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry.

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

    PubMed

    Hellweg, Stefanie; Milà i Canals, Llorenç

    2014-06-06

    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. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. Review of Environmental Assessment Case Studies Blending Elements of Risk Assessment and Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Harder, Robin; Holmquist, Hanna; Molander, Sverker; Svanström, Magdalena; Peters, Gregory M

    2015-11-17

    Risk assessment (RA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) are two analytical tools used to support decision making in environmental management. This study reviewed 30 environmental assessment case studies that claimed an integration, combination, hybridization, or complementary use of RA and LCA. The focus of the analysis was on how the respective case studies evaluated emissions of chemical pollutants and pathogens. The analysis revealed three clusters of similar case studies. Yet, there seemed to be little consensus as to what should be referred to as RA and LCA, and when to speak of combination, integration, hybridization, or complementary use of RA and LCA. This paper provides clear recommendations toward a more stringent and consistent use of terminology. Blending elements of RA and LCA offers multifaceted opportunities to adapt a given environmental assessment case study to a specific decision making context, but also requires awareness of several implications and potential pitfalls, of which six are discussed in this paper. To facilitate a better understanding and more transparent communication of the nature of a given case study, this paper proposes a "design space" (i.e., identification framework) for environmental assessment case studies blending elements of RA and LCA. Thinking in terms of a common design space, we postulate, can increase clarity and transparency when communicating the design and results of a given assessment together with its potential strengths and weaknesses.

  2. Life cycle assessment of three water systems in Copenhagen--a management tool of the future.

    PubMed

    Godskesen, B; Zambrano, K C; Trautner, A; Johansen, N-B; Thiesson, L; Andersen, L; Clauson-Kaas, J; Neidel, T L; Rygaard, M; Kløverpris, N H; Albrechtsen, H-J

    2011-01-01

    Environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to evaluate three different water systems of the water sector in Copenhagen, Denmark, including technologies within water supply, facilities recycling water and treatment of sewer overflow. In these three water systems LCA was used to evaluate the environmental impacts of each of the processes involved. The overall conclusion was that LCA is suitable as a decision support tool in the water sector as it provides a holistic evaluation platform of the considered alternatives categorised in environmental impact categories. The use of LCA in the water sector of this region has limitations since it does not yet consider impact categories assessing freshwater scarcity and ecological sustainability.

  3. International LCA

    EPA Science Inventory

    To provide global guidance on the establishment and maintenance of LCA databases, as the basis for improved dataset exchangeability and interlinkages of databases worldwide. Increase the credibility of existing LCA data, the generation of more data and their overall accessibilit...

  4. International LCA

    EPA Science Inventory

    To provide global guidance on the establishment and maintenance of LCA databases, as the basis for improved dataset exchangeability and interlinkages of databases worldwide. Increase the credibility of existing LCA data, the generation of more data and their overall accessibilit...

  5. LCA data quality: sensitivity and uncertainty analysis.

    PubMed

    Guo, M; Murphy, R J

    2012-10-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) data quality issues were investigated by using case studies on products from starch-polyvinyl alcohol based biopolymers and petrochemical alternatives. The time horizon chosen for the characterization models was shown to be an important sensitive parameter for the environmental profiles of all the polymers. In the global warming potential and the toxicity potential categories the comparison between biopolymers and petrochemical counterparts altered as the time horizon extended from 20 years to infinite time. These case studies demonstrated that the use of a single time horizon provide only one perspective on the LCA outcomes which could introduce an inadvertent bias into LCA outcomes especially in toxicity impact categories and thus dynamic LCA characterization models with varying time horizons are recommended as a measure of the robustness for LCAs especially comparative assessments. This study also presents an approach to integrate statistical methods into LCA models for analyzing uncertainty in industrial and computer-simulated datasets. We calibrated probabilities for the LCA outcomes for biopolymer products arising from uncertainty in the inventory and from data variation characteristics this has enabled assigning confidence to the LCIA outcomes in specific impact categories for the biopolymer vs. petrochemical polymer comparisons undertaken. Uncertainty combined with the sensitivity analysis carried out in this study has led to a transparent increase in confidence in the LCA findings. We conclude that LCAs lacking explicit interpretation of the degree of uncertainty and sensitivities are of limited value as robust evidence for decision making or comparative assertions.

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. Life cycle assessment as part of sustainability assessment for chemicals.

    PubMed

    Klöpffer, Walter

    2005-01-01

    LCA is the only internationally standardized environmental assessment tool (ISO 14040-43) for product systems, including services and processes. The analysis is done 'from cradle-to-grave', i.e. over the whole life cycle. LCA is essentially a comparative method: different systems fulfilling the same function (serving the same purpose) are compared on the basis of a 'functional unit'--a quantitative measure of this function or purpose. It is often believed that LCA can be used for judging the (relative) sustainability of product systems. This is only partly true, however, since LCA is restricted to the environmental part of the triad 'environment/ecology--economy--social aspects (including intergenerational fairness)' which constitutes sustainability. Standardized assessment tools for the second and the third pillar are still lacking, but Life Cycle Costing (LCC) seems to be a promising candidate for the economic part. Social Life Cycle Assessment still has to be developed on the basis of known social indicators. LCA is most frequently used for the comparative assessment or optimization analysis of final products. Materials and chemicals are difficult to analyse from cradle-to-grave, since they are used in many, often innumerable product systems, which all would have to be studied in detail to give a complete LCA of a particular material or substance! This complete analysis of a material or chemical is evidently only possible in such cases where one main application exists. But even if one main application does exist, e.g. in the case of surfactants (chemicals) and detergents (final products), the latter may exist in a great abundance of compositions. Therefore, chemicals and materials are better analysed 'from cradle-to-factory gate', leaving the analysis of the final product(s), the use phase and the 'end-of-life' phases to specific, full LCAs. A comparative assessment of production processes is possible; if the chemicals (the same is true for materials) produced

  18. From the LCA of food products to the environmental assessment of protected crops districts: a case-study in the south of Italy.

    PubMed

    Cellura, Maurizio; Ardente, Fulvio; Longo, Sonia

    2012-01-01

    In the present study, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was applied to evaluate the energy consumption and environmental burdens associated with the production of protected crops in an agricultural district in the Mediterranean region. In this study, LCA was used as a 'support tool', to address local policies for sustainable production and consumption patterns, and to create a 'knowledge base' for environmental assessment of an extended agricultural production area. The proposed approach combines organisation-specific tools, such as Environmental Management Systems and Environmental Product Declarations, with the environmental management of the district. Questionnaires were distributed to producers to determine the life cycle of different protected crops (tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, melons and zucchinis), and obtain information on greenhouse usage (e.g. tunnel vs. pavilion). Ecoprofiles of products in the district were also estimated, to identify supply chain elements with the highest impact in terms of global energy requirements, greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication, water consumption and waste production. These results of this study enable selection of the 'best practices' and ecodesign solutions, to reduce the environmental impact of these products. Finally, sensitivity analysis of key LCA issues was performed, to assess the variability associated with different parameters: vegetable production; water usage; fertiliser and pesticide usage; shared greenhouse use; substitution of plastics coverings; and waste recycling.

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

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

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    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 within the LCA community have developed different methodologies to address and communicate the data quality of Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data. Despite advances in this field, the LCA community is still plagued by the lack of reproducible data quality results and documentation. To address these issues, US EPA has created this guidance in order to further support reproducible life cycle inventory data quality results and to inform users of the proper application of the US EPA supported data quality system. The work for this report was begun in December 2014 and completed as of April 2016.The updated data quality system includes a novel approach to the pedigree matrix by addressing data quality at the flow and the process level. Flow level indicators address source reliability, temporal correlation, geographic correlation, technological correlation and data sampling methods. The process level indicators address the level of review the unit process has undergone and its completeness. This guidance is designed to be updatable as part of the LCA Research Center’s continuing commitment to data quality advancements. Life cycle assessment is increasingly being used as a tool to identify areas of

  2. Life cycle assessment needs predictive spatial modelling for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Sim, Sarah; Hamel, Perrine; Bryant, Benjamin; Noe, Ryan; Mueller, Carina; Rigarlsford, Giles; Kulak, Michal; Kowal, Virginia; Sharp, Richard; Clavreul, Julie; Price, Edward; Polasky, Stephen; Ruckelshaus, Mary; Daily, Gretchen

    2017-04-21

    International corporations in an increasingly globalized economy exert a major influence on the planet's land use and resources through their product design and material sourcing decisions. Many companies use life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate their sustainability, yet commonly-used LCA methodologies lack the spatial resolution and predictive ecological information to reveal key impacts on climate, water and biodiversity. We present advances for LCA that integrate spatially explicit modelling of land change and ecosystem services in a Land-Use Change Improved (LUCI)-LCA. Comparing increased demand for bioplastics derived from two alternative feedstock-location scenarios for maize and sugarcane, we find that the LUCI-LCA approach yields results opposite to those of standard LCA for greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, and of different magnitudes for soil erosion and biodiversity. This approach highlights the importance of including information about where and how land-use change and related impacts will occur in supply chain and innovation decisions.

  3. Life cycle assessment needs predictive spatial modelling for biodiversity and ecosystem services

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Sim, Sarah; Hamel, Perrine; Bryant, Benjamin; Noe, Ryan; Mueller, Carina; Rigarlsford, Giles; Kulak, Michal; Kowal, Virginia; Sharp, Richard; Clavreul, Julie; Price, Edward; Polasky, Stephen; Ruckelshaus, Mary; Daily, Gretchen

    2017-04-01

    International corporations in an increasingly globalized economy exert a major influence on the planet's land use and resources through their product design and material sourcing decisions. Many companies use life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate their sustainability, yet commonly-used LCA methodologies lack the spatial resolution and predictive ecological information to reveal key impacts on climate, water and biodiversity. We present advances for LCA that integrate spatially explicit modelling of land change and ecosystem services in a Land-Use Change Improved (LUCI)-LCA. Comparing increased demand for bioplastics derived from two alternative feedstock-location scenarios for maize and sugarcane, we find that the LUCI-LCA approach yields results opposite to those of standard LCA for greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, and of different magnitudes for soil erosion and biodiversity. This approach highlights the importance of including information about where and how land-use change and related impacts will occur in supply chain and innovation decisions.

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. Area of Concern: a new paradigm in life cycle assessment for the development of footprint metrics

    EPA Science Inventory

    Purpose: As a class of environmental metrics, footprints have been poorly defined, have shared an unclear relationship to life cycle assessment (LCA), and the variety of approaches to quantification have sometimes resulted in confusing and contradictory messages in the marketplac...

  8. 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...

  9. Area of Concern: a new paradigm in life cycle assessment for the development of footprint metrics

    EPA Science Inventory

    Purpose: As a class of environmental metrics, footprints have been poorly defined, have shared an unclear relationship to life cycle assessment (LCA), and the variety of approaches to quantification have sometimes resulted in confusing and contradictory messages in the marketplac...

  10. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. GLOBOX: A spatially differentiated global fate, intake and effect model for toxicity assessment in LCA.

    PubMed

    Wegener Sleeswijk, Anneke; Heijungs, Reinout

    2010-06-15

    GLOBOX is a model for the calculation of spatially differentiated LCA toxicity characterisation factors on a global scale. It can also be used for human and environmental risk assessment. The GLOBOX model contains equations for the calculation of fate, intake and effect factors, and equations for the calculation of LCA characterisation factors for human toxicity and ecotoxicity. The model is differentiated on the level of 239 countries/territories and 50 seas/oceans. Each region has its own set of homogeneous compartments, and the regions are interconnected by atmospheric and aquatic flows. Multimedia transport and degradation calculations are largely based on the EUSES 2.0 multimedia model, and are supplemented by specific equations to account for the advective air and water transport between different countries and/or seas. Metal-specific equations are added to account for speciation in fresh and marine surface water. Distribution parameters for multimedia transport equations are differentiated per country or sea with respect to geographic features, hydrology, and climate. The model has been tested with nitrobenzene as a test chemical, for emissions to all countries in the world. Spatially differentiated characterisation factors turn out to show wide ranges of variation between countries, especially for releases to inland water and soil compartments. Geographic position, distribution of lakes and rivers and variations in environmental temperature and rain rate are decisive parameters for a number of different characterisation factors. Population density and dietary intake play central roles in the variation of characterisation factors for human toxicity. Among the countries that show substantial deviations from average values of the characterisation factors are not only small and remote islands, but also countries with a significant economic production rate, as indicated by their GDPs. It is concluded that spatial differentiation between countries is an important

  12. 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 ...

  13. 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. © 2015 Society for Risk Analysis.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Ekvall, Tomas; Assefa, Getachew; Björklund, Anna; Eriksson, Ola; Finnveden, Göran

    2007-01-01

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-07

    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).

  18. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Can life-cycle assessment produce reliable policy guidelines in the building sector?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Säynäjoki, Antti; Heinonen, Jukka; Junnila, Seppo; Horvath, Arpad

    2017-01-01

    Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is an established methodology that can provide decision-makers with comprehensive data on the environmental impacts of products and processes during the entire life cycle. However, the literature on building LCAs consists of highly varying results between the studies, even when the assessed buildings are very similar. This makes it doubtful if LCA can actually produce reliable data for supporting policy-making in the building sector. However, no prior reviews looking into this issue in the building sector exist. This study includes an extensive literature review of LCA studies on the pre-use phase of buildings. The purpose of this study is to analyze the variation between the results of different studies and find out whether the differences can be explained by the contextual differences or if it is actually the methodological choices that cause the extremely high variation. We present 116 cases from 47 scientific articles and reports that used process LCA, input-output (IO) LCA or hybrid LCA to study the construction-phase GHG emissions of buildings. The results of the reviewed studies vary between 0.03 and 2.00 tons of GHG emissions per gross area. The lowest was assessed with process LCA and highest with IO LCA, and in general the lower end was found to be dominated by process LCA studies and the higher end by IO LCA studies, hybrid LCAs being placed in between. In general, it is the methodological issues and subjective choices of the LCA practitioner that cause the vast majority of the huge variance in the results. It thus seems that currently the published building LCAs do not offer solid background information for policy-making without deep understanding of the premises of a certain study and good methodological knowledge.

  20. 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...

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. AN INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT SOPHISTICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  4. Life Cycle Assessment 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...

  5. 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 ...

  6. Conceptual Framework To Extend Life Cycle Assessment Using Near-Field Human Exposure Modeling and High-Throughput Tools for Chemicals

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a decision-making tool that accounts for multiple impacts across the life cycle of a product or service. This paper presents a conceptual framework to integrate human health impact assessment with risk screening approaches to extend LCA to include n...

  7. Conceptual Framework To Extend Life Cycle Assessment Using Near-Field Human Exposure Modeling and High-Throughput Tools for Chemicals

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a decision-making tool that accounts for multiple impacts across the life cycle of a product or service. This paper presents a conceptual framework to integrate human health impact assessment with risk screening approaches to extend LCA to include n...

  8. Ecodesign — Carbon Footprint — Life Cycle Assessment — Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis. A Flexible Framework for a Continuum of Tools

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heijungs, Reinout

    2010-01-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool for answering questions related to environmental impacts of products. It is a comprehensive tool, addressing the entire life cycle, and addressing the full spectrum of environmental impacts. There are two opposite movements occurring: LCA is getting smaller, and it is getting broader. This presentation presents the general framework for a broader life cycle sustainability analysis (LCSA), and shows how the practical work related to doing an LCA, a carbon footprint, or an analysis for ecodesign, can be seen as special cases.

  9. Sustainability metrics: life cycle assessment and green design in polymers.

    PubMed

    Tabone, Michaelangelo D; Cregg, James J; Beckman, Eric J; Landis, Amy E

    2010-11-01

    This study evaluates the efficacy of green design principles such as the "12 Principles of Green Chemistry," and the "12 Principles of Green Engineering" with respect to environmental impacts found using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. A case study of 12 polymers is presented, seven derived from petroleum, four derived from biological sources, and one derived from both. The environmental impacts of each polymer's production are assessed using LCA methodology standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Each polymer is also assessed for its adherence to green design principles using metrics generated specifically for this paper. Metrics include atom economy, mass from renewable sources, biodegradability, percent recycled, distance of furthest feedstock, price, life cycle health hazards and life cycle energy use. A decision matrix is used to generate single value metrics for each polymer evaluating either adherence to green design principles or life-cycle environmental impacts. Results from this study show a qualified positive correlation between adherence to green design principles and a reduction of the environmental impacts of production. The qualification results from a disparity between biopolymers and petroleum polymers. While biopolymers rank highly in terms of green design, they exhibit relatively large environmental impacts from production. Biopolymers rank 1, 2, 3, and 4 based on green design metrics; however they rank in the middle of the LCA rankings. Polyolefins rank 1, 2, and 3 in the LCA rankings, whereas complex polymers, such as PET, PVC, and PC place at the bottom of both ranking systems.

  10. Influence of the impact assessment method on the conclusions of a LCA study. Application to the case of a part made with virgin and recycled HDPE.

    PubMed

    Simões, Carla L; Xará, Susana M; Bernardo, C A

    2011-10-01

    Recent legislation has stressed the need to decide the best end-of-life (EoL) option for post-consumer products considering their full life-cycle and the corresponding overall environmental impacts. The life cycle assessment (LCA) technique has become a common tool to evaluate those impacts. The present study aimed to contribute to the better understanding of the application of this technique, by evaluating the influence of the selection of the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) method in its results and conclusions. A specific case study was chosen, using previous information related to an anti-glare lamellae (AGL) for highway use, made with virgin and recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Five distinct LCIA methods were used: Eco-indicator 99, CML 2 (2000), EPS 2000, Eco-indicator 95 and EDIP 97. Consistent results between these methods were obtained for the Climate change, Ozone layer depletion, Acidification and Eutrophication environmental indicators. Conversely, the Summer smog indicator showed large discrepancies between impact assessment methods. The work sheds light on the advantages inherent in using various LCIA methods when doing the LCA study of a specific product, thus evidencing complementary analysis perspectives.

  11. Holistic Evaluation of Decentralized Water Reuse: Life Cycle Assessment and Cost Analysis of Membrane Bioreactor Systems in Water Reuse Implementation

    EPA Science Inventory

    Understand environmental and cost impacts of transitional decentralized MBR systems with sewer mining Assess aerobic MBRs (AeMBR) and anaerobic MBRs (AnMBR) Use LCA and life cycle cost (LCC) analysis to quantify impacts Investigate LCA and LCC performance of MBRs under various re...

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Life cycle impact assessment: a challenge for risk analysts.

    PubMed

    Matthews, H Scott; Lave, Lester; MacLean, Heather

    2002-10-01

    Modern technology, together with an advanced economy, can provide a good or service in myriad ways, giving us choices on what to produce and how to produce it. To make those choices more intelligently, society needs to know not only the market price of each alternative, but the associated health and environmental consequences. A fair comparison requires evaluating the consequences across the whole "life cycle"--from the extraction of raw materials and processing to manufacture/construction, use, and end-of-life--of each alternative. Focusing on only one stage (e.g., manufacture) of the life cycle is often misleading. Unfortunately, analysts and researchers still have only rudimentary tools to quantify the materials and energy inputs and the resulting damage to health and the environment. Life cycle assessment (LCA) provides an overall framework for identifying and evaluating these implications. Since the 1960s, considerable progress has been made in developing methods for LCA, especially in characterizing, qualitatively and quantitatively, environmental discharges. However, few of these analyses have attempted to assess the quantitative impact on the environment and health of material inputs and environmental discharges Risk analysis and LCA are connected closely. While risk analysis has characterized and quantified the health risks of exposure to a toxicant, the policy implications have not been clear. Inferring that an occupational or public health exposure carries a nontrivial risk is only the first step in formulating a policy response. A broader framework, including LCA, is needed to see which response is likely to lower the risk without creating high risks elsewhere. Even more important, LCA has floundered at the stage of translating an inventory of environmental discharges into estimates of impact on health and the environment. Without the impact analysis, policymakers must revert to some simple rule, such as that all discharges, regardless of which chemical

  15. Life-cycle assessment of municipal solid waste landfill

    SciTech Connect

    Coulon, R.; Barlaz, M.A.; Ham, R.T.

    1995-12-31

    The Environmental Industries Association Research Foundation (EIA), in conjunction with Ecobalance and researchers from the Universities of Wisconsin and North Carolina State, are carrying out a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of landfills. LCA is increasingly used in shaping national and international waste management policies. Little work has been done on sanitary landfills and thus their comparison with other waste management alternatives has not been properly evaluated. The main reasons are that: (1) the internal biological, physical and chemical decomposition processes are not fully understood, (2) these processes occur over a long period of time, (3) the need for modeling landfills has only recently become appreciated, and (4) existing models often deal with partial aspects of a landfill`s environmental impacts (e.g., greenhouse gases) and therefore can not be used in a comprehensive evaluation like LCA.

  16. Assessing water deprivation at the sub-river basin scale in LCA integrating downstream cascade effects.

    PubMed

    Loubet, Philippe; Roux, Philippe; Núñez, Montserrat; Belaud, Gilles; Bellon-Maurel, Véronique

    2013-12-17

    Physical water deprivation at the midpoint level is assessed in water-related LCIA methods using water scarcity indicators (e.g., withdrawal-to-availability and consumption-to-availability) at the river basin scale. Although these indicators represent a great step forward in the assessment of water-use-related impacts in LCA, significant challenges still remain in improving their accuracy and relevance. This paper presents a methodology that can be used to derive midpoint characterization factors for water deprivation taking into account downstream cascade effects within a single river basin. This effect is considered at a finer scale because a river basin must be split into different subunits. The proposed framework is based on a two-step approach. First, water scarcity is defined at the sub-river basin scale with the consumption-to-availability (CTA) ratio, and second, characterization factors for water deprivation (CFWD) are calculated, integrating the effects on downstream sub-river basins. The sub-river basin CTA and CFWD were computed based on runoff data, water consumption data and a water balance for two different river basins. The results show significant differences between the CFWD in a given river basin, depending on the upstream or downstream position. Finally, an illustrative example is presented, in which different land planning scenarios, taking into account additional water consumption in a city, are assessed. Our work demonstrates how crucial it is to localize the withdrawal and release positions within a river basin.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. [Life cycle assessment on oxygen biofuels].

    PubMed

    Yi, Hong-hong; Zhu, Yong-qing; Wang, Jian-xin; Hao, Ji-ming

    2005-11-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used to compare energy consumption and pollutant emissions of two oxygen biofuels, ethanol and methyl ester, which were mixed with gasoline and diesel oil at levels of 10% and 30% of the biofuel. The future of oxygen-containing biofuels was analyzed and forecasted. The results show that the mixture of biofuels and petroleum products can reduce crude oil consumption, but only methyl ester alternative fuel can reduce fossil fuel consumption. Use of methyl ester mixtures would reduce NOx by 50% compared to gasoline or diesel on a life cycle basis; however, NOx would increase using ethanol. Each alternative fuel mixture reduced PM10 emissions from the vehicle and methyl ester decreased VOCs. The SO2 emissions from the fuel production processes, which account for about 80% of SO2 life cycle emissions, must be strictly controlled.

  20. Updating of U.S. Wood Product Life-Cycle Assessment Data for Environmental Product Declarations

    Treesearch

    Richard Bergman; Elaine Oneil; Maureen Puettmann; Ivan Eastin; Indroneil Ganguly

    2014-01-01

    The marketplace has an increasing desire for credible and transparent product eco-labels based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) data, especially involving international trade. Over the past several years, stakeholders in the U.S. wood products industry have developed many such “eco-labels” under the ISO standard of LCA-based environmental product declarations (EPDs). The...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Life cycle assessment study of a Chinese desktop personal computer.

    PubMed

    Duan, Huabo; Eugster, Martin; Hischier, Roland; Streicher-Porte, Martin; Li, Jinhui

    2009-02-15

    Associated with the tremendous prosperity in world electronic information and telecommunication industry, there continues to be an increasing awareness of the environmental impacts related to the accelerating mass production, electricity use, and waste management of electronic and electric products (e-products). China's importance as both a consumer and supplier of e-products has grown at an unprecedented pace in recent decade. Hence, this paper aims to describe the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) to investigate the environmental performance of Chinese e-products from a global level. A desktop personal computer system has been selected to carry out a detailed and modular LCA which follows the ISO 14040 series. The LCA is constructed by SimaPro software version 7.0 and expressed with the Eco-indicator'99 life cycle impact assessment method. For a sensitivity analysis of the overall LCA results, the so-called CML method is used in order to estimate the influence of the choice of the assessment method on the result. Life cycle inventory information is complied by ecoinvent 1.3 databases, combined with literature and field investigations on the present Chinese situation. The established LCA study shows that that the manufacturing and the use of such devices are of the highest environmental importance. In the manufacturing of such devices, the integrated circuits (ICs) and the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) are those parts contributing most to the impact. As no other aspects are taken into account during the use phase, the impact is due to the way how the electricity is produced. The final process steps--i.e. the end of life phase--lead to a clear environmental benefit if a formal and modern, up-to-date technical system is assumed, like here in this study.

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. Life cycle assessment in management, product and process design, and policy decision making: a conference report.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Joyce; Vigon, Bruce; Curran, Mary Ann; Franklin, Bill

    2005-01-01

    On 24 September 2003, life cycle assessment (LCA) practitioners and decision makers gathered at the InLCA/LCM Conference in Seattle, Washington, USA (see http://www.lcacenter.org/InLCA-LCM03/index.html) to discuss the role of LCA in management, product design, process development, and regulatory/policy development decisions and to compare life cycle-based methods and tools with traditional product evaluation methods and tools. This article is a summary of that meeting and was prepared by the organizers as an overview of the many different technical, regulatory policy, and decision-making policy perspectives presented to an international gathering of participants representing academia and the industrial and regulatory communities.

  7. Area of Concern: a new paradigm in life cycle assessment for ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Purpose: As a class of environmental metrics, footprints have been poorly defined, have shared an unclear relationship to life cycle assessment (LCA), and the variety of approaches to quantification have sometimes resulted in confusing and contradictory messages in the marketplace. In response, a task force operating under the auspices of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative project on environmental life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) has been working to develop generic guidance for developers of footprint metrics. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a universal footprint definition and related terminology as well as to discuss modelling implications.MethodsThe task force has worked from the perspective that footprints should be based on LCA methodology, underpinned by the same data systems and models as used in LCA. However, there are important differences in purpose and orientation relative to LCA impact category indicators. Footprints have a primary orientation toward society and nontechnical stakeholders. They are also typically of narrow scope, having the purpose of reporting only in relation to specific topics. In comparison, LCA has a primary orientation toward stakeholders interested in comprehensive evaluation of overall environmental performance and trade-offs among impact categories. These differences create tension between footprints, the existing LCIA framework based on the area of protection paradigm and the core LCA standards ISO14040/44.Res

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. Detailed Life Cycle Assessment of Bounty Paper Towel ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well-established and informative method of understanding the environmental impacts of consumer products across the entire value chain. However, companies committed to sustainability are interested in more methods that examine their products and activities' impacts. Methods that build on LCA strengths and illuminate other connected but less understood facets, related to social and economic impacts, would provide greater value to decision-makers. This study is a LCA that calculates the potential impacts associated with Bounty® paper towels from two facilities with different production lines, an older one (Albany, Georgia) representing established technology and the other (Box Elder, Utah), a newer state-of-the-art platform. This is unique in that it includes use of Industrial Process Systems Assessment (IPSA), new electricity and pulp data, modeled in open source software, and is the basis for the development of new integrated sustainability metrics (published separately). The new metrics can guide supply chain and manufacturing enhancements, and product design related to environmental protection and resource sustainability. Results of the LCA indicate Box Elder had improvements on environmental impact scores related to air emission indicators, except for particulate matter. Albany had lower water use impacts. After normalization of the results, fossil fuel depletion is the most critical environmental indicator. Pulp production, e

  16. Detailed Life Cycle Assessment of Bounty Paper Towel ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well-established and informative method of understanding the environmental impacts of consumer products across the entire value chain. However, companies committed to sustainability are interested in more methods that examine their products and activities' impacts. Methods that build on LCA strengths and illuminate other connected but less understood facets, related to social and economic impacts, would provide greater value to decision-makers. This study is a LCA that calculates the potential impacts associated with Bounty® paper towels from two facilities with different production lines, an older one (Albany, Georgia) representing established technology and the other (Box Elder, Utah), a newer state-of-the-art platform. This is unique in that it includes use of Industrial Process Systems Assessment (IPSA), new electricity and pulp data, modeled in open source software, and is the basis for the development of new integrated sustainability metrics (published separately). The new metrics can guide supply chain and manufacturing enhancements, and product design related to environmental protection and resource sustainability. Results of the LCA indicate Box Elder had improvements on environmental impact scores related to air emission indicators, except for particulate matter. Albany had lower water use impacts. After normalization of the results, fossil fuel depletion is the most critical environmental indicator. Pulp production, e

  17. Towards life cycle sustainability assessent of cities. A review of background knowledge.

    PubMed

    Albertí, Jaume; Balaguera, Alejandra; Brodhag, Christian; Fullana-I-Palmer, Pere

    2017-12-31

    This article analyses whether existing LCA and sustainability methods can be used in the assessment of a city or an urban region. The approach is performed through the review of current existing LCA-based and sustainability standards and guidelines. A focus is put into those LCA-based standards specially designed for the built environment. Moreover, a review of non-LCA based standards, indices and guides for the assessment of the sustainability of countries, cities or urban regions is done. The purpose is to check if these assessment tools can provide good results in the absence of LCA-based assessments for cities and urban regions. This review demonstrates the lack of consensus in the definition of both, the city and its boundaries, which hinders the development of useful sustainability standards. Furthermore, it is concluded that current sustainability assessment tools miss, at least, one of these aspects: (i) holistic point of view, (ii) focus on various environmental impacts, (iii) a Life Cycle (LC) perspective, and (iv) the possibility to compare the results among different cities or urban regions. From the LCA perspective, the deficiencies found also include the need for a definition of the function, functional unit (FU), and reference flow (RF) of neighbourhoods, cities, and urban regions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Comparative assessment of life cycle assessment methods used for personal computers.

    PubMed

    Yao, Marissa A; Higgs, Tim G; Cullen, Michael J; Stewart, Scott; Brady, Todd A

    2010-10-01

    This article begins with a summary of findings from commonly cited life cycle assessments (LCA) of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products. While differing conclusions regarding environmental impact are expected across product segments (mobile phones, personal computers, servers, etc.) significant variation and conflicting conclusions are observed even within product segments such as the desktop Personal Computer (PC). This lack of consistent conclusions and accurate data limits the effectiveness of LCA to influence policy and product design decisions. From 1997 to 2010, the majority of published studies focused on the PC concluded that the use phase contributes most to the life cycle energy demand of PC products with a handful of studies suggesting that manufacturing phase of the PC has the largest impact. The purpose of this article is to critically review these studies in order to analyze sources of uncertainty, including factors that extend beyond data quality to the models and assumptions used. These findings suggest existing methods to combine process-based LCA data with product price data and remaining value adjustments are not reliable in conducting life cycle assessments for PC products. Recommendations are provided to assist future LCA work.

  19. 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.

  20. Evaluation of bioaugmentation using multiple life cycle assessment approaches: A case study of constructed wetland.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Xinyue; Yang, Jixian; Zhang, Xuedong; Wang, Li; Ma, Fang

    2017-07-29

    Bioaugmentation is a promising technology to enhance the removal of specific pollutants; however, environmental impacts of implementing bioaugmentation have not been considered in most studies. Appropriate methodology is required for the evaluation from both in-depth and comprehensive perspectives, which leads to this study initiating the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) of bioaugmentation. Two LCA methods (CML and e-Balance) were applied to a bioaugmentation case with the aim of illustrating how to evaluate the environmental impacts of bioaugmentation from different perspectives based on the selection of different LCA methods. The results of the case study demonstrated that the LCA methods with different methodology emphasis produced different outcomes, which could lead to differentiated optimization strategies depending on the associated perspectives. Furthermore, three important aspects are discussed, including coverage of impact categories, the selection of characterization modeling for specific pollutants, and the requirement of including economic indicators for future investigation. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. Understanding the LCA and ISO water footprint: A response to ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Water footprinting has emerged as an important approach to assess water use related effects from consumption of goods and services. Assessment methods are proposed by two different communities, the Water Footprint Network (WFN) and the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community. The proposed methods are broadly similar and encompass both the computation of water use and its impacts, but differ in communication of a water footprint result. In this paper, we explain the role and goal of LCA and ISO-compatible water footprinting and resolve the six issues raised by Hoekstra (2016) in “A critique on the water-scarcity weighted water footprint in LCA”. By clarifying the concerns, we identify both the overlapping goals in the WFN and LCA water footprint assessments and discrepancies between them. The main differing perspective between the WFN and LCA-based approach seems to relate to the fact that LCA aims to account for environmental impacts, while the WFN aims to account for water productivity of global fresh water as a limited resource. We conclude that there is potential to use synergies in research for the two approaches and highlight the need for proper declaration of the methods applied. This paper advances efforts to understand ways to accurately capture use of water in life cycle analysis in other contexts. As the paper indicates, there is a discussion about whether quantities of water should be weighted by some local stress factor. This paper attempts to brid

  3. Understanding the LCA and ISO water footprint: A response to ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Water footprinting has emerged as an important approach to assess water use related effects from consumption of goods and services. Assessment methods are proposed by two different communities, the Water Footprint Network (WFN) and the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community. The proposed methods are broadly similar and encompass both the computation of water use and its impacts, but differ in communication of a water footprint result. In this paper, we explain the role and goal of LCA and ISO-compatible water footprinting and resolve the six issues raised by Hoekstra (2016) in “A critique on the water-scarcity weighted water footprint in LCA”. By clarifying the concerns, we identify both the overlapping goals in the WFN and LCA water footprint assessments and discrepancies between them. The main differing perspective between the WFN and LCA-based approach seems to relate to the fact that LCA aims to account for environmental impacts, while the WFN aims to account for water productivity of global fresh water as a limited resource. We conclude that there is potential to use synergies in research for the two approaches and highlight the need for proper declaration of the methods applied. This paper advances efforts to understand ways to accurately capture use of water in life cycle analysis in other contexts. As the paper indicates, there is a discussion about whether quantities of water should be weighted by some local stress factor. This paper attempts to brid

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE MATHEMATICAL RELATIONSHIPS AND COMPREHENSIVENESS OF LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT APPROACHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The impact assessment phase of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has received much criticism due to lack of consistency. ISO 14042 requires selection of impact categories that “reflect a comprehensive set of environmental issues” related to the system being studied, especi...

  7. Life cycle greenhouse gas and energy assessment of winegrape production in California

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Purpose: This study applies life cycle assessment (LCA) to assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, and direct water use in winegrape production across common vineyard management scenarios in two representative growing regions of California, USA (Napa and Lodi). California hosts 90 percent...

  8. A global prospective of income distribution and its effect on life cycle assessment of municipal solid waste management: a review.

    PubMed

    Yadav, Pooja; Samadder, S R

    2017-01-29

    This study reviewed the municipal solid waste (MSW) composition, the management practices, and the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) tool for MSW management (MSWM) options in the various income group countries. LCA studies require inventory data, which is difficult to procure for any country including higher income group countries, and this issue gets compounded in low-income and lower middle-income group countries, which limits the implementation of LCA. This paper compared the use of LCA for MSWM between high-income and low-income group countries and also highlights the gap in using LCA for MSWM. A very limited number of LCA studies on MSWM were found for low-income group countries in comparison to high-income group countries. The study also provided a critical discussion on the challenges in applications of LCA in MSWM for better solid waste management in low-income and lower middle-income group countries. The study will help in taking up LCA studies in low-income countries to improve the overall MSWM efficiency.

  9. Comparative techno-economic assessment and LCA of selected integrated sugarcane-based biorefineries.

    PubMed

    Gnansounou, Edgard; Vaskan, Pavel; Pachón, Elia Ruiz

    2015-11-01

    This work addresses the economic and environmental performance of integrated biorefineries based on sugarcane juice and residues. Four multiproduct scenarios were considered; two from sugar mills and the others from ethanol distilleries. They are integrated biorefineries producing first (1G) and second (2G) generation ethanol, sugar, molasses (for animal feed) and electricity in the context of Brazil. The scenarios were analysed and compared using techno-economic value-based approach and LCA methodology. The results show that the best economic configuration is provided by a scenario with largest ethanol production while the best environmental performance is presented by a scenario with full integration sugar - 1G2G ethanol production.

  10. The Added Value of Integrating Emergy into LCA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has become a standard procedure to investigate the environmental performance of human-dominated products and processes. It is meant to capture the overall impact of a product or service along its lifetime and supply chain, and it is structured in four ...

  11. The Added Value of Integrating Emergy into LCA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has become a standard procedure to investigate the environmental performance of human-dominated products and processes. It is meant to capture the overall impact of a product or service along its lifetime and supply chain, and it is structured in four ...

  12. Integrating Emergy into LCA: potential added value and lingering obstacles

    EPA Science Inventory

    Emergy attempts to measure the environmental work required to generate (ecosystem) goods and services that can be used by humans. It is claimed that the use of inventory modelling principles behind the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method (European Commission, 2010a) may improve th...

  13. Integrating Emergy into LCA: potential added value and lingering obstacles

    EPA Science Inventory

    Emergy attempts to measure the environmental work required to generate (ecosystem) goods and services that can be used by humans. It is claimed that the use of inventory modelling principles behind the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method (European Commission, 2010a) may improve th...

  14. Net environmental benefit: introducing a new LCA approach on wastewater treatment systems.

    PubMed

    Godin, D; Bouchard, C; Vanrolleghem, P A

    2012-01-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) allows evaluating the potential environmental impacts of a product or a service in relation to its function and over its life cycle. In past LCAs applied to wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), the system function definition has received little attention despite its great importance. This has led to some limitations in LCA results interpretation. A new methodology to perform LCA on WWTPs is proposed to avoid those limitations. It is based on net environmental benefit (NEB) evaluation and requires assessing the potential impact of releasing wastewater without and with treatment besides assessing the impact of the WWTP's life cycle. The NEB allows showing the environmental trade-offs between avoided impact due to wastewater treatment and induced impact by the WWTP's life cycle. NEB is compared with a standard LCA through the case study of a small municipal WWTP consisting of facultative aerated lagoons. The NEB and standard LCA show similar results for impact categories solely related to the WWTP's life cycle but differ in categories where wastewater treatment environmental benefit is accounted for as NEB considers influent wastewater quality whereas standard LCA does not.

  15. Comparative Human Health Impact Assessment of Engineered Nanomaterials in the Framework of Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Fransman, Wouter; Buist, Harrie; Kuijpers, Eelco; Walser, Tobias; Meyer, David; Zondervan-van den Beuken, Esther; Westerhout, Joost; Klein Entink, Rinke H; Brouwer, Derk H

    2016-09-24

    For safe innovation, knowledge on potential human health impacts is essential. Ideally, these impacts are considered within a larger life-cycle-based context to support sustainable development of new applications and products. A methodological framework that accounts for human health impacts caused by inhalation of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in an indoor air environment has been previously developed. The objectives of this study are as follows: (i) evaluate the feasibility of applying the CF framework for NP exposure in the workplace based on currently available data; and (ii) supplement any resulting knowledge gaps with methods and data from the life cycle approach and human risk assessment (LICARA) project to develop a modified case-specific version of the framework that will enable near-term inclusion of NP human health impacts in life cycle assessment (LCA) using a case study involving nanoscale titanium dioxide (nanoTiO2 ). The intent is to enhance typical LCA with elements of regulatory risk assessment, including its more detailed measure of uncertainty. The proof-of-principle demonstration of the framework highlighted the lack of available data for both the workplace emissions and human health effects of ENMs that is needed to calculate generalizable characterization factors using common human health impact assessment practices in LCA. The alternative approach of using intake fractions derived from workplace air concentration measurements and effect factors based on best-available toxicity data supported the current case-by-case approach for assessing the human health life cycle impacts of ENMs. Ultimately, the proposed framework and calculations demonstrate the potential utility of integrating elements of risk assessment with LCA for ENMs once the data are available.

  16. A perspective on LCA application in site remediation services: critical review of challenges.

    PubMed

    Morais, Sérgio Alberto; Delerue-Matos, Cristina

    2010-03-15

    The remediation of contaminated sites supports the goal of sustainable development but may also have environmental impacts at a local, regional and global scale. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has increasingly been used in order to support site remediation decision-making. This review article discusses existing LCA methods and proposed models focusing on critical decisions and assumptions of the LCA application to site remediation activities. It is concluded that LCA has limitations as an adequate holistic decision-making tool since spatial and temporal differentiation of non-global impacts assessment is a major hurdle in site remediation LCA. Moreover, a consequential LCA perspective should be adopted when the different remediation services to be compared generate different site's physical states, displacing alternative post-remediation scenarios. The environmental effects of the post-remediation stage of the site is generally disregarded in the past site remediation LCA studies and such exclusion may produce misleading conclusions and misdirected decision-making. In addition, clear guidance accepted by all stakeholders on remediation capital equipment exclusion and on dealing with multifunctional processes should be developed for site remediation LCA applications.

  17. 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.

  18. Improved Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Crop Production at the Catchment Scale via a Process-Based Nitrogen Simulation Model.

    PubMed

    Liao, Wenjie; van der Werf, Hayo M G; Salmon-Monviola, Jordy

    2015-09-15

    One of the major challenges in environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of crop production is the nonlinearity between nitrogen (N) fertilizer inputs and on-site N emissions resulting from complex biogeochemical processes. A few studies have addressed this nonlinearity by combining process-based N simulation models with LCA, but none accounted for nitrate (NO3(-)) flows across fields. In this study, we present a new method, TNT2-LCA, that couples the topography-based simulation of nitrogen transfer and transformation (TNT2) model with LCA, and compare the new method with a current LCA method based on a French life cycle inventory database. Application of the two methods to a case study of crop production in a catchment in France showed that, compared to the current method, TNT2-LCA allows delineation of more appropriate temporal limits when developing data for on-site N emissions associated with specific crops in this catchment. It also improves estimates of NO3(-) emissions by better consideration of agricultural practices, soil-climatic conditions, and spatial interactions of NO3(-) flows across fields, and by providing predicted crop yield. The new method presented in this study provides improved LCA of crop production at the catchment scale.

  19. 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).

  20. Life cycle assessment needs predictive spatial modelling for biodiversity and ecosystem services

    PubMed Central

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Sim, Sarah; Hamel, Perrine; Bryant, Benjamin; Noe, Ryan; Mueller, Carina; Rigarlsford, Giles; Kulak, Michal; Kowal, Virginia; Sharp, Richard; Clavreul, Julie; Price, Edward; Polasky, Stephen; Ruckelshaus, Mary; Daily, Gretchen

    2017-01-01

    International corporations in an increasingly globalized economy exert a major influence on the planet's land use and resources through their product design and material sourcing decisions. Many companies use life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate their sustainability, yet commonly-used LCA methodologies lack the spatial resolution and predictive ecological information to reveal key impacts on climate, water and biodiversity. We present advances for LCA that integrate spatially explicit modelling of land change and ecosystem services in a Land-Use Change Improved (LUCI)-LCA. Comparing increased demand for bioplastics derived from two alternative feedstock-location scenarios for maize and sugarcane, we find that the LUCI-LCA approach yields results opposite to those of standard LCA for greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, and of different magnitudes for soil erosion and biodiversity. This approach highlights the importance of including information about where and how land-use change and related impacts will occur in supply chain and innovation decisions. PMID:28429710

  1. 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.

  2. Methodology Guidelines on Life Cycle Assessment of Photovoltaic Electricity: 3rd Edition

    SciTech Connect

    Frischknecht, Rolf; Heath, Garvin; Raugei, Marco; Sinha, Parikhit; de Wild-Scholten, Mariska

    2016-01-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a structured, comprehensive method of quantifying material- and energy-flows and their associated emissions caused in the life cycle of goods and services. The ISO 14040 and 14044 standards provide the framework for LCA. However, this framework leaves the individual practitioner with a range of choices that can affect the results and thus the conclusions of an LCA study. The current IEA guidelines were developed to provide guidance on assuring consistency, balance, and quality to enhance the credibility and reliability of the results from LCAs on photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation systems. The guidelines represent a consensus among the authors - PV LCA experts in North America, Europe, and Asia - for assumptions made on PV performance, decisions on process input and emissions allocation, methods of analysis, and reporting of the results. Guidance is given on PV-specific parameters used as inputs in LCA and on choices and assumptions in life cycle inventory (LCI) data analysis and on implementation of modeling approaches. A consistent approach towards system modeling, the functional unit, the system boundaries, water use modeling and the allocation aspects enhances the credibility of PV electricity LCA studies and enables balanced LCA-based comparisons of different electricity producing technologies. The document discusses metrics like greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), cumulative energy demand (CED), acidification potential (AP), ozone depletion potential (ODP), human toxicity, ecotoxicity and ionizing radiation. Guidance is given for the definition of the energy payback time (EPBT), the nonrenewable energy payback time (NREPBT), and the impact mitigation potentials (IMP). The indicator energy return on investment (EROI) is described in a separate International Energy Agency (IEA) PV Power Systems (PVPS) Task 12 report (Raugei et al. 2015). The guidelines on the reporting and communication of the results serve the need for

  3. 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

  4. Detailed Life Cycle Assessment of Bounty Paper Towel Operations in the United States

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well-established and informative method of understanding the environmental impacts of consumer products across the entire value chain. However, companies committed to sustainability are interested in more methods that examine their products and ac...

  5. 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...

  6. Life-Cycle Assessment of a Distributed-Scale Thermochemical Bioenergy Conversion System

    Treesearch

    Hongmei Gu; Richard Bergman

    2016-01-01

    Expanding bioenergy production from woody biomass has the potential to decrease net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the energy security of the United States. Science-based and internationally accepted life-cycle assessment (LCA) is an effective tool for policy makers to make scientifically informed decisions on expanding renewable energy production from...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. Detailed Life Cycle Assessment of Bounty Paper Towel Operations in the United States

    EPA Science Inventory

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well-established and informative method of understanding the environmental impacts of consumer products across the entire value chain. However, companies committed to sustainability are interested in more methods that examine their products and ac...

  17. Life-cycle assessment framework for indoor emissions of synthetic nanoparticles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walser, Tobias; Meyer, David; Fransman, Wouter; Buist, Harrie; Kuijpers, Eelco; Brouwer, Derk

    2015-06-01

    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 characteristics which are different from conventional chemicals or larger particles. As a consequence, LCA does not provide sufficient guidance on how to deal with synthetic nanomaterials, neither in the exposure, nor in the effect assessment. This is particularly true for the workplace, where significant exposure can be expected via the lung, the route of major concern. Therefore, we developed a concise method which allows the inclusion of indoor nanoparticle exposure into LCA. New nanospecific properties are included along the LCA stages with a particular focus on the workplace environment. We built upon existing LCA methods and nanoparticle fate and exposure studies. The impact assessment requires new approaches for nanoparticles, such as guidance on relevant endpoints, nanospecific properties that are relevant for the toxicity, and guidance on the chemical identity of nanomaterials, i.e., categorization and distinction of different forms of nanomaterials. We present a framework which goes beyond traditional approaches of LCA and includes nanospecific fate parameters in the indoor exposure assessment as well as guidance on the development of effect and characterization factors for inhaled nanoparticles. Specifically, the indoor one-box model is amended with new particle-specific parameters developed in the exposure literature. A concentration conversion and parameter estimation tool are presented. Finally, the modification of the traditional intake fraction to capture size-specific deposition and retention rate are discussed along with a strategy for a more robust effect assessment. The paper is a further step toward a fair comparison between conventional and nano-enabled products by integrating

  18. Life Cycle Engineering & Design Program

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1998-01-01

    order to capture these impacts, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was developed. LCA differs from other pollution prevention techniques in that it...inventories all the resource, energy and cost inputs to a product, as well as the impacts from the associated waste streams, health and ecological burdens, and evaluates opportunities to improve the system on a life cycle scale.

  19. LCA-IWM: a decision support tool for sustainability assessment of waste management systems.

    PubMed

    den Boer, J; den Boer, E; Jager, J

    2007-01-01

    The paper outlines the most significant result of the project 'The use of life cycle assessment tools for the development of integrated waste management strategies for cities and regions with rapid growing economies', which was the development of two decision-support tools: a municipal waste prognostic tool and a waste management system assessment tool. The article focuses on the assessment tool, which supports the adequate decision making in the planning of urban waste management systems by allowing the creation and comparison of different scenarios, considering three basic subsystems: (i) temporary storage; (ii) collection and transport and (iii) treatment, disposal and recycling. The design and analysis options, as well as the assumptions made for each subsystem, are shortly introduced, providing an overview of the applied methodologies and technologies. The sustainability assessment methodology used in the project to support the selection of the most adequate scenario is presented with a brief explanation of the procedures, criteria and indicators applied on the evaluation of each of the three sustainability pillars.

  20. LCA-IWM: A decision support tool for sustainability assessment of waste management systems

    SciTech Connect

    Boer, J. den Boer, E. den; Jager, J.

    2007-07-01

    The paper outlines the most significant result of the project 'The use of life cycle assessment tools for the development of integrated waste management strategies for cities and regions with rapid growing economies', which was the development of two decision-support tools: a municipal waste prognostic tool and a waste management system assessment tool. The article focuses on the assessment tool, which supports the adequate decision making in the planning of urban waste management systems by allowing the creation and comparison of different scenarios, considering three basic subsystems: (i) temporary storage; (ii) collection and transport and (iii) treatment, disposal and recycling. The design and analysis options, as well as the assumptions made for each subsystem, are shortly introduced, providing an overview of the applied methodologies and technologies. The sustainability assessment methodology used in the project to support the selection of the most adequate scenario is presented with a brief explanation of the procedures, criteria and indicators applied on the evaluation of each of the three sustainability pillars.

  1. Environmental impact of biomass based polygeneration - A case study through life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Jana, Kuntal; De, Sudipta

    2017-03-01

    Multi-generation or polygeneration is considered to be a potential sustainable energy solution. To assess environmental sustainability of multi-generation, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a useful tool. In this paper, environmental impact of polygeneration using an agro waste (rice straw) is assessed by LCA. Then it is compared with stand alone conventional plants with same utility outputs. Power, ethanol, heating and cooling are utility outputs of the polygeneration plant. System boundary for this polygeneration is defined for surplus biomass only. Exergy based allocation method is used for this analysis. Results of LCA are shown through both mid-point and end-point indicators. Results indicate that polygeneration with surplus rice straw is more environment-friendly than conventional stand-alone generation of same utilities. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. Hybrid LCA model for assessing the embodied environmental impacts of buildings in South Korea

    SciTech Connect

    Jang, Minho; Hong, Taehoon; Ji, Changyoon

    2015-01-15

    The assessment of the embodied environmental impacts of buildings can help decision-makers plan environment-friendly buildings and reduce environmental impacts. For a more comprehensive assessment of the embodied environmental impacts of buildings, a hybrid life cycle assessment model was developed in this study. The developed model can assess the embodied environmental impacts (global warming, ozone layer depletion, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation, abiotic depletion, and human toxicity) generated directly and indirectly in the material manufacturing, transportation, and construction phases. To demonstrate the application and validity of the developed model, the environmental impacts of an elementary school building were assessed using the developed model and compared with the results of a previous model used in a case study. The embodied environmental impacts from the previous model were lower than those from the developed model by 4.6–25.2%. Particularly, human toxicity potential (13 kg C{sub 6}H{sub 6} eq.) calculated by the previous model was much lower (1965 kg C{sub 6}H{sub 6} eq.) than what was calculated by the developed model. The results indicated that the developed model can quantify the embodied environmental impacts of buildings more comprehensively, and can be used by decision-makers as a tool for selecting environment-friendly buildings. - Highlights: • The model was developed to assess the embodied environmental impacts of buildings. • The model evaluates GWP, ODP, AP, EP, POCP, ADP, and HTP as environmental impacts. • The model presents more comprehensive results than the previous model by 4.6–100%. • The model can present the HTP of buildings, which the previous models cannot do. • Decision-makers can use the model for selecting environment-friendly buildings.

  6. Life Cycle Assessment of Completely Recyclable Concrete

    PubMed Central

    De Schepper, Mieke; Van den Heede, Philip; Van Driessche, Isabel; De Belie, Nele

    2014-01-01

    Since the construction sector uses 50% of the Earth’s raw materials and produces 50% of its waste, the development of more durable and sustainable building materials is crucial. Today, Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) is mainly used in low level applications, namely as unbound material for foundations, e.g., in road construction. Mineral demolition waste can be recycled as crushed aggregates for concrete, but these reduce the compressive strength and affect the workability due to higher values of water absorption. To advance the use of concrete rubble, Completely Recyclable Concrete (CRC) is designed for reincarnation within the cement production, following the Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) principle. By the design, CRC becomes a resource for cement production because the chemical composition of CRC will be similar to that of cement raw materials. If CRC is used on a regular basis, a closed concrete-cement-concrete material cycle will arise, which is completely different from the current life cycle of traditional concrete. Within the research towards this CRC it is important to quantify the benefit for the environment and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) needs to be performed, of which the results are presented in a this paper. It was observed that CRC could significantly reduce the global warming potential of concrete. PMID:28788174

  7. Life Cycle Assessment of Completely Recyclable Concrete.

    PubMed

    De Schepper, Mieke; Van den Heede, Philip; Van Driessche, Isabel; De Belie, Nele

    2014-08-21

    Since the construction sector uses 50% of the Earth's raw materials and produces 50% of its waste, the development of more durable and sustainable building materials is crucial. Today, Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) is mainly used in low level applications, namely as unbound material for foundations, e.g., in road construction. Mineral demolition waste can be recycled as crushed aggregates for concrete, but these reduce the compressive strength and affect the workability due to higher values of water absorption. To advance the use of concrete rubble, Completely Recyclable Concrete (CRC) is designed for reincarnation within the cement production, following the Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) principle. By the design, CRC becomes a resource for cement production because the chemical composition of CRC will be similar to that of cement raw materials. If CRC is used on a regular basis, a closed concrete-cement-concrete material cycle will arise, which is completely different from the current life cycle of traditional concrete. Within the research towards this CRC it is important to quantify the benefit for the environment and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) needs to be performed, of which the results are presented in a this paper. It was observed that CRC could significantly reduce the global warming potential of concrete.

  8. Life cycle assessment of fuel cell vehicles: Dealing with uncertainties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Contadini, Jose Fernando

    Life cycle assessment (LCA), or "well to wheels" in transportation terms, involves some subjectivity and uncertainty, especially with new technologies and future scenarios. To analyze lifecycle impacts of future fuel cell vehicles and fuels, I developed the Fuel Upstream Energy and Emission Model (FUEEM). The FUEEM project pioneered two specific new ways to incorporate and propagate uncertainty within an LCA analysis. First, the model uses probabilistic curves generated by experts as inputs and then employs Monte Carlo simulation techniques to propagate these uncertainties throughout the full chain of fuel production and use. Second, the FUEEM process explicitly involves the interested parties in the entire analysis process, not only in the critical final review phase. To demonstrate the FUEEM process, an analysis has been made for the use of three different fuel cell vehicle technologies (direct hydrogen, indirect methanol, and indirect hydrocarbon) in 2010 within the South Coast Air Basin (SCAB) of California (Los Angeles). The analysis covered topics such as the requirement of non-renewable energy sources, emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and emissions of several criteria pollutants generated within SCAB and within other regions. The results obtained from this example show that the hydrogen option has the potential to have the most efficient energy life cycle for the SCAB, followed by the methanol and finally by the Fisher-Tropsch naphtha option. A similar pattern is observed for the greenhouse gas emissions. The results showing criteria pollutants emitted within SCAB highlight the importance of having a flexible model that is responsive to local considerations. This dissertation demonstrates that explicit recognition and quantitative analysis of the inherent uncertainty in the LCA process generates richer information, explains many of the discrepancies between results of previous studies, and enhances the robustness and credibility of LCA analyses.

  9. Further potentials in the joint implementation of life cycle assessment and data envelopment analysis.

    PubMed

    Iribarren, Diego; Vázquez-Rowe, Ian; Moreira, María Teresa; Feijoo, Gumersindo

    2010-10-15

    The combined application of Life Cycle Assessment and Data Envelopment Analysis has been recently proposed to provide a tool for the comprehensive assessment of the environmental and operational performance of multiple similar entities. Among the acknowledged advantages of LCA+DEA methodology, eco-efficiency verification and avoidance of average inventories are usually highlighted. However, given the novelty of LCA+DEA methods, a high number of additional potentials remain unexplored. In this sense, there are some features that are worth detailing given their wide interest to enhance LCA performance. Emphasis is laid on the improved interpretation of LCA results through the complementary use of DEA with respect to: (i) super-efficiency analysis to facilitate the selection of reference performers, (ii) inter- and intra-assessments of multiple data sets within any specific sector with benchmarking and trend analysis purposes, (iii) integration of an economic dimension in order to enrich sustainability assessments, and (iv) window analysis to evaluate environmental impact efficiency over a certain period of time. Furthermore, the capability of LCA+DEA methodology to be generally implemented in a wide range of scenarios is discussed. These further potentials are explained and demonstrated via the presentation of brief case studies based on real data sets.

  10. 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. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Life-cycle assessment of redwood decking in the United States with a comparison to three other decking materials

    Treesearch

    R. Bergman; H. Sup-Han; E. Oneil; I. Eastin

    2013-01-01

    The goal of the study was to conduct a life-cycle inventory (LCI) of California redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) decking that would quantify the critical environmental impacts of decking from cradle to grave. Using that LCI data, a life-cycle assessment (LCA) was produced for redwood decking. The results were used to compare the environmental footprint...

  12. Review of LCA studies of solid waste management systems – Part I: Lessons learned and perspectives

    SciTech Connect

    Laurent, Alexis; Bakas, Ioannis; Clavreul, Julie; Bernstad, Anna; Niero, Monia; Gentil, Emmanuel; Hauschild, Michael Z.; Christensen, Thomas H.

    2014-03-01

    Highlights: • We perform a critical review of 222 LCA studies of solid waste management systems. • Studies mainly concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. • Assessments of relevant waste types apart from household waste have been overlooked. • Local specificities of systems prevent a meaningful generalisation of the LCA results. • LCA should support recommendations representative of the local conditions. - Abstract: The continuously increasing solid waste generation worldwide calls for management strategies that integrate concerns for environmental sustainability. By quantifying environmental impacts of systems, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool, which can contribute to answer that call. But how, where and to which extent has it been applied to solid waste management systems (SWMSs) until now, and which lessons can be learnt from the findings of these LCA applications? To address these questions, we performed a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of SWMS. We first analysed the geographic distribution and found that the published studies have primarily been concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. In terms of technological coverage, they have largely overlooked application of LCA to waste prevention activities and to relevant waste types apart from household waste, e.g. construction and demolition waste. Waste management practitioners are thus encouraged to abridge these gaps in future applications of LCA. In addition to this contextual analysis, we also evaluated the findings of selected studies of good quality and found that there is little agreement in the conclusions among them. The strong dependence of each SWMS on local conditions, such as waste composition or energy system, prevents a meaningful generalisation of the LCA results as we find it in the waste hierarchy. We therefore recommend stakeholders in solid waste management to regard LCA as a tool, which, by its ability of

  13. Comparative evaluation of life cycle assessment models for solid waste management

    SciTech Connect

    Winkler, Joerg; Bilitewski, Bernd

    2007-07-01

    This publication compares a selection of six different models developed in Europe and America by research organisations, industry associations and governmental institutions. The comparison of the models reveals the variations in the results and the differences in the conclusions of an LCA study done with these models. The models are compared by modelling a specific case - the waste management system of Dresden, Germany - with each model and an in-detail comparison of the life cycle inventory results. Moreover, a life cycle impact assessment shows if the LCA results of each model allows for comparable and consecutive conclusions, which do not contradict the conclusions derived from the other models' results. Furthermore, the influence of different level of detail in the life cycle inventory of the life cycle assessment is demonstrated. The model comparison revealed that the variations in the LCA results calculated by the models for the case show high variations and are not negligible. In some cases the high variations in results lead to contradictory conclusions concerning the environmental performance of the waste management processes. The static, linear modelling approach chosen by all models analysed is inappropriate for reflecting actual conditions. Moreover, it was found that although the models' approach to LCA is comparable on a general level, the level of detail implemented in the software tools is very different.

  14. Environmental life cycle assessment of railway bridge materials using UHPFRC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bizjak, Karmen Fifer; Šajna, Aljoša; Slanc, Katja; Knez, Friderik

    2016-10-01

    The railway infrastructure is a very important component of the world's total transportation network. Investment in its construction and maintenance is significant on a global scale. Previously published life cycle assessment (LCA) studies performed on road and rail systems very seldom included infrastructures in detail, mainly choosing to focus on vehicle manufacturing and fuel consumption. This article presents results from an environmental study for railway steel bridge materials for the demonstration case of the Buna Bridge in Croatia. The goal of these analyses was to compare two different types of remediation works for railway bridges with different materials and construction types. In the first part, the environmental impact of the classical concrete bridge construction was calculated, whereas in the second one, an alternative new solution, namely, the strengthening of the old steel bridge with ultra-high-performance fibre-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) deck, was studied. The results of the LCA show that the new solution with UHPFRC deck gives much better environmental performance. Up to now, results of LCA of railway open lines, railway bridges and tunnels have been published, but detailed analyses of the new solution with UHPFRC deck above the old bridge have not previously been performed.

  15. Life Cycle Assessment and Cost Analysis of Water and ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    changes in drinking and wastewater infrastructure need to incorporate a holistic view of the water service sustainability tradeoffs and potential benefits when considering shifts towards new treatment technology, decentralized systems, energy recovery and reuse of treated wastewater. The main goal of this study is to determine the influence of scale on the energy and cost performance of different transitional membrane bioreactors (MBR) in decentralized wastewater treatment (WWT) systems by performing a life cycle assessment (LCA) and cost analysis. LCA is a tool used to quantify sustainability-related metrics from a systems perspective. The study calculates the environmental and cost profiles of both aerobic MBRs (AeMBR) and anaerobic MBRs (AnMBR), which not only recover energy from waste, but also produce recycled water that can displace potable water for uses such as irrigation and toilet flushing. MBRs represent an intriguing technology to provide decentralized WWT services while maximizing resource recovery. A number of scenarios for these WWT technologies are investigated for different scale systems serving various population density and land area combinations to explore the ideal application potentials. MBR systems are examined from 0.05 million gallons per day (MGD) to 10 MGD and serve land use types from high density urban (100,000 people per square mile) to semi-rural single family (2,000 people per square mile). The LCA and cost model was built with ex

  16. 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

  17. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Assessing the environmental impacts of freshwater thermal pollution from global power generation in LCA.

    PubMed

    Raptis, Catherine E; Boucher, Justin M; Pfister, Stephan

    2017-02-15

    Freshwater heat emissions from power plants with once-through cooling systems constitute one of many environmental pressures related to the thermoelectric power industry. The objective of this work was to obtain high resolution, operational characterization factors (CF) for the impact of heat emissions on ecosystem quality, and carry out a comprehensive, spatially, temporally and technologically differentiated damage-based environmental assessment of global freshwater thermal pollution. The aggregation of CFs on a watershed level results in 12.5% lower annual impacts globally and even smaller differences for the most crucial watersheds and months, so watershed level CFs are recommended when the exact emission site within the basin is unknown. Long-range impacts account for almost 90% of the total global impacts. The Great Lakes, several Mississippi subbasins, the Danube, and the Yangtze are among the most thermally impacted watersheds globally, receiving heat emissions from predominantly coal-fuelled and nuclear power plants. Globally, over 80% of the global annual impacts come from power plants constructed during or before the 1980s. While the impact-weighted mean age of the power plants in the Mississippi ranges from 38 to 51years, in Chinese watersheds including the Yangtze, the equivalent range is only 15 to 22years, reflecting a stark contrast in thermal pollution mitigation approaches. With relatively high shares of total capacity from power plants with once-through freshwater cooling, and tracing a large part of the Danube, 1kWh of net electricity mix is the most impactful in Hungary, Bulgaria and Serbia. Monthly CFs are provided on a grid cell level and on a watershed level for use in Life Cycle Assessment. The impacts per generating unit are also provided, as part of our effort to make available a global dataset of thermoelectric power plant emissions and impacts.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. On process optimization considering LCA methodology.

    PubMed

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

    2012-04-15

    The goal of this work is to research the state-of-the-art in process optimization techniques and tools based on LCA, focused in the process engineering field. A collection of methods, approaches, applications, specific software packages, and insights regarding experiences and progress made in applying the LCA methodology coupled to optimization frameworks is provided, and general trends are identified. The "cradle-to-gate" concept to define the system boundaries is the most used approach in practice, instead of the "cradle-to-grave" approach. Normally, the relationship between inventory data and impact category indicators is linearly expressed by the characterization factors; then, synergic effects of the contaminants are neglected. Among the LCIA methods, the eco-indicator 99, which is based on the endpoint category and the panel method, is the most used in practice. A single environmental impact function, resulting from the aggregation of environmental impacts, is formulated as the environmental objective in most analyzed cases. SimaPro is the most used software for LCA applications in literature analyzed. The multi-objective optimization is the most used approach for dealing with this kind of problems, where the ε-constraint method for generating the Pareto set is the most applied technique. However, a renewed interest in formulating a single economic objective function in optimization frameworks can be observed, favored by the development of life cycle cost software and progress made in assessing costs of environmental externalities. Finally, a trend to deal with multi-period scenarios into integrated LCA-optimization frameworks can be distinguished providing more accurate results upon data availability.

  2. Conceptual Framework To Extend Life Cycle Assessment Using Near-Field Human Exposure Modeling and High-Throughput Tools for Chemicals.

    PubMed

    Csiszar, Susan A; Meyer, David E; Dionisio, Kathie L; Egeghy, Peter; Isaacs, Kristin K; Price, Paul S; Scanlon, Kelly A; Tan, Yu-Mei; Thomas, Kent; Vallero, Daniel; Bare, Jane C

    2016-11-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a decision-making tool that accounts for multiple impacts across the life cycle of a product or service. This paper presents a conceptual framework to integrate human health impact assessment with risk screening approaches to extend LCA to include near-field chemical sources (e.g., those originating from consumer products and building materials) that have traditionally been excluded from LCA. A new generation of rapid human exposure modeling and high-throughput toxicity testing is transforming chemical risk prioritization and provides an opportunity for integration of screening-level risk assessment (RA) with LCA. The combined LCA and RA approach considers environmental impacts of products alongside risks to human health, which is consistent with regulatory frameworks addressing RA within a sustainability mindset. A case study is presented to juxtapose LCA and risk screening approaches for a chemical used in a consumer product. The case study demonstrates how these new risk screening tools can be used to inform toxicity impact estimates in LCA and highlights needs for future research. The framework provides a basis for developing tools and methods to support decision making on the use of chemicals in products.

  3. Integrating a life-cycle assessment with NEPA: Does it make sense?

    SciTech Connect

    ECCLESTON, C.H.

    1998-09-03

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 provides the basic national charter for protection of the environment in the US. Today NEPA has provided an environmental policy model which has been emulated by nations around the world. Recently, questions have been raised regarding the appropriateness and under what conditions it makes sense to combine the preparation of a NEPA analysis with the International Organization for Stnadardization (ISO) - 14000 Standards for Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA). This paper advantages a decision making tool consisting of six discrete criteria which can be employed by a user in reaching a decision regarding the integration of NEPA analysis and LCA. Properly applied, this tool should reduce the risk that a LCA may be inappropriately prepared and integrated with a NEPA analysis.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

    Souza, Danielle M; Teixeira, Ricardo F M; 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. © 2014 The Authors. Global Change

  6. 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.

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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 ...

  11. Regionalized life cycle assessment: computational methodology and application to inventory databases.

    PubMed

    Mutel, Christopher L; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2009-08-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have shown that site-dependent impact assessment for categories like acidification and eutrophication give more accurate and realistic results than site-generic assessments. To date, existing geography-specific, or regionalized, impact assessment factors have not been applied to LCA databases and software tools. We describe a simple, generic methodology to couple existing regionalized characterization factors with large life cycle inventory databases. This approach allows for detailed geographic life cycle impact assessment results. Case-study results for European country-specific electricity mixes are calculated using the Ecoinvent 2.01 database and the EDIP 2003 and Accumulated Exceedance impact assessment methods and CASES project external energy cost characterization factors. In most cases, regionalization shows different total scores, different processes of high importance, and varying geographic distributions of environmental impacts. As the methodology requires no additional input other than the geographic information already in existing LCA databases, it can be used routinely. Better and more consistent geographic information in life cycle inventory databases and impact assessment methods, tailored to the specific spatial range of all environmental effects considered, would be beneficial.

  12. Combining life cycle assessment and qualitative risk assessment: the case study of alumina nanofluid production.

    PubMed

    Barberio, Grazia; Scalbi, Simona; Buttol, Patrizia; Masoni, Paolo; Righi, Serena

    2014-10-15

    In this paper the authors propose a framework for combining life cycle assessment (LCA) and Risk Assessment (RA) to support the sustainability assessment of emerging technologies. This proposal includes four steps of analysis: technological system definition; data collection; risk evaluation and impacts quantification; results interpretation. This scheme has been applied to a case study of nanofluid alumina production in two different pilot lines, "single-stage" and "two-stage". The study has been developed in the NanoHex project (enhanced nano-fluid heat exchange). Goals of the study were analyzing the hotspots and highlighting possible trade-off between the results of LCA, which identifies the processes having the best environmental performance, and the results of RA, which identifies the scenarios having the highest risk for workers. Indeed, due to lack of data about exposure limits, exposure-dose relationships and toxicity of alumina nanopowders (NPs) and nanofluids (NF), the workplace exposure has been evaluated by means of qualitative risk assessment, using Stoffenmanager Nano. Though having different aims, LCA and RA have a complementary role in the description of impacts of products/substances/technologies. Their combined use can overcome limits of each of them and allows a wider vision of the problems to better support the decision making process. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Paper waste - Recycling, incineration or landfilling? A review of existing life cycle assessments

    SciTech Connect

    Villanueva, A. Wenzel, H.

    2007-07-01

    A review of existing life cycle assessments (LCAs) on paper and cardboard waste has been undertaken. The objectives of the review were threefold. Firstly, to see whether a consistent message comes out of published LCA literature on optimum disposal or recycling solutions for this waste type. Such message has implications for current policy formulation on material recycling and disposal in the EU. Secondly, to identify key methodological issues of paper waste management LCAs, and enlighten the influence of such issues on the conclusions of the LCA studies. Thirdly, in light of the analysis made, to discuss whether it is at all valid to use the LCA methodology in its current development state to guide policy decisions on paper waste. A total of nine LCA studies containing altogether 73 scenarios were selected from a thorough, international literature search. The selected studies are LCAs including comparisons of different management options for waste paper. Despite claims of inconsistency, the LCAs reviewed illustrate the environmental benefits in recycling over incineration or landfill options, for paper and cardboard waste. This broad consensus was found despite differences in geographic location and definitions of the paper recycling/disposal systems studied. A systematic exploration of the LCA studies showed, however, important methodological pitfalls and sources of error, mainly concerning differences in the definition of the system boundaries. Fifteen key assumptions were identified that cover the three paper cycle system areas: raw materials and forestry, paper production, and disposal/recovery. It was found that the outcome of the individual LCA studies largely depended on the choices made in some of these assumptions, most specifically the ones concerning energy use and generation, and forestry.

  19. Paper waste - recycling, incineration or landfilling? A review of existing life cycle assessments.

    PubMed

    Villanueva, A; Wenzel, H

    2007-01-01

    A review of existing life cycle assessments (LCAs) on paper and cardboard waste has been undertaken. The objectives of the review were threefold. Firstly, to see whether a consistent message comes out of published LCA literature on optimum disposal or recycling solutions for this waste type. Such message has implications for current policy formulation on material recycling and disposal in the EU. Secondly, to identify key methodological issues of paper waste management LCAs, and enlighten the influence of such issues on the conclusions of the LCA studies. Thirdly, in light of the analysis made, to discuss whether it is at all valid to use the LCA methodology in its current development state to guide policy decisions on paper waste. A total of nine LCA studies containing altogether 73 scenarios were selected from a thorough, international literature search. The selected studies are LCAs including comparisons of different management options for waste paper. Despite claims of inconsistency, the LCAs reviewed illustrate the environmental benefits in recycling over incineration or landfill options, for paper and cardboard waste. This broad consensus was found despite differences in geographic location and definitions of the paper recycling/disposal systems studied. A systematic exploration of the LCA studies showed, however, important methodological pitfalls and sources of error, mainly concerning differences in the definition of the system boundaries. Fifteen key assumptions were identified that cover the three paper cycle system areas: raw materials and forestry, paper production, and disposal/recovery. It was found that the outcome of the individual LCA studies largely depended on the choices made in some of these assumptions, most specifically the ones concerning energy use and generation, and forestry.

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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 ...

  2. 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

  3. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Life cycle assessment of wood energy for residential heating—opportunities for wood pellet production in southeast Alaska

    Treesearch

    Allen M. Brackley; David L. Nicholls; Maureen Puettmann; Elaine. Oneil

    2017-01-01

    Southeast Alaska is a remote area, located approximately 700 miles north of Seattle, Washington. Most of the region’s goods are imported by barge, creating logistical and economic challenges not faced by many other parts of the United States. In this context, we used life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the potential environmental impact on global warming potential...

  9. Meta-analysis and Harmonization of Life Cycle Assessment Studies for Algae Biofuels.

    PubMed

    Tu, Qingshi; Eckelman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Julie

    2017-09-05

    Algae biodiesel (BioD) and renewable diesel (RD) have been recognized as potential solutions to mitigating fossil-fuel consumption and the associated environmental issues. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used by many researchers to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of these algae-derived fuels, yielding a wide range of results and, in some cases, even differing on indicating whether these fuels are preferred to petroleum-derived fuels or not. This meta-analysis reviews the methodological preferences and results for energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption for 54 LCA studies that considered algae BioD and RD. The significant variation in reported results can be primarily attributed to the difference in scope, assumptions, and data sources. To minimize the variation in life cycle inventory calculations, a harmonized inventory data set including both nominal and uncertainty data is calculated for each stage of the algae-derived fuel life cycle.

  10. 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.

  11. Life cycle assessment of bagasse waste management options.

    PubMed

    Kiatkittipong, Worapon; Wongsuchoto, Porntip; Pavasant, Prasert

    2009-05-01

    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.

  12. Indoor exposure to toluene from printed matter matters: complementary views from life cycle assessment and risk assessment.

    PubMed

    Walser, Tobias; Juraske, Ronnie; Demou, Evangelia; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2014-01-01

    A pronounced presence of toluene from rotogravure printed matter has been frequently observed indoors. However, its consequences to human health in the life cycle of magazines are poorly known. Therefore, we quantified human-health risks in indoor environments with Risk Assessment (RA) and impacts relative to the total impact of toxic releases occurring in the life cycle of a magazine with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). We used a one-box indoor model to estimate toluene concentrations in printing facilities, newsstands, and residences in a best, average, and worst-case scenario. The modeled concentrations are in the range of the values measured in on-site campaigns. Toluene concentrations can be close or even surpass the occupational legal thresholds in printing facilities in realistic worst-case scenarios. The concentrations in homes can surpass the US EPA reference dose (69 μg/kg/day) in worst-case scenarios, but are still at least 1 order of magnitude lower than in press rooms or newsstands. However, toluene inhaled at home becomes the dominant contribution to the total potential human toxicity impacts of toluene from printed matter when assessed with LCA, using the USEtox method complemented with indoor characterization factors for toluene. The significant contribution (44%) of toluene exposure in production, retail, and use in households, to the total life cycle impact of a magazine in the category of human toxicity, demonstrates that the indoor compartment requires particular attention in LCA. While RA works with threshold levels, LCA assumes that every toxic emission causes an incremental change to the total impact. Here, the combination of the two paradigms provides valuable information on the life cycle stages of printed matter.

  13. Environmental life cycle assessment of methanol and electricity co-production system based on coal gasification technology.

    PubMed

    Śliwińska, Anna; Burchart-Korol, Dorota; Smoliński, Adam

    2017-01-01

    This paper presents a life cycle assessment (LCA) of greenhouse gas emissions generated through methanol and electricity co-production system based on coal gasification technology. The analysis focuses on polygeneration technologies from which two products are produced, and thus, issues related to an allocation procedure for LCA are addressed in this paper. In the LCA, two methods were used: a 'system expansion' method based on two approaches, the 'avoided burdens approach' and 'direct system enlargement' methods and an 'allocation' method involving proportional partitioning based on physical relationships in a technological process. Cause-effect relationships in the analysed production process were identified, allowing for the identification of allocation factors. The 'system expansion' method involved expanding the analysis to include five additional variants of electricity production technologies in Poland (alternative technologies). This method revealed environmental consequences of implementation for the analysed technologies. It was found that the LCA of polygeneration technologies based on the 'system expansion' method generated a more complete source of information on environmental consequences than the 'allocation' method. The analysis shows that alternative technologies chosen for generating LCA results are crucial. Life cycle assessment was performed for the analysed, reference and variant alternative technologies. Comparative analysis was performed between the analysed technologies of methanol and electricity co-production from coal gasification as well as a reference technology of methanol production from the natural gas reforming process.

  14. Toward meaningful end points of biodiversity in life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Curran, Michael; de Baan, Laura; De Schryver, An M; Van Zelm, Rosalie; Hellweg, Stefanie; Koellner, Thomas; Sonnemann, Guido; Huijbregts, Mark A J

    2011-01-01

    Halting current rates of biodiversity loss will be a defining challenge of the 21st century. To assess the effectiveness of strategies to achieve this goal, indicators and tools are required that monitor the driving forces of biodiversity loss, the changing state of biodiversity, and evaluate the effectiveness of policy responses. Here, we review the use of indicators and approaches to model biodiversity loss in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a methodology used to evaluate the cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of products. We find serious conceptual shortcomings in the way models are constructed, with scale considerations largely absent. Further, there is a disproportionate focus on indicators that reflect changes in compositional aspects of biodiversity, mainly changes in species richness. Functional and structural attributes of biodiversity are largely neglected. Taxonomic and geographic coverage remains problematic, with the majority of models restricted to one or a few taxonomic groups and geographic regions. On a more general level, three of the five drivers of biodiversity loss as identified by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment are represented in current impact categories (habitat change, climate change and pollution), while two are missing (invasive species and overexploitation). However, methods across all drivers can be greatly improved. We discuss these issues and make recommendations for future research to better reflect biodiversity loss in LCA.

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

    PubMed

    Yue, Dajun; Pandya, Shyama; You, Fengqi

    2016-02-02

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. A step toward regionalized scale-consistent agricultural life cycle assessment inventories.

    PubMed

    Morais, Tiago G; Teixeira, Ricardo Fm; Domingos, Tiago

    2017-09-01

    Life cycle inventory (LCI) regionalization (i.e., the determination of input and output flows from production processes at a subcountry scale) is a priority in life cycle assessment (LCA) studies, particularly in the agri-food sector. Many regionalized LCAs fail to ensure that microlevel inventories are consistent with country-level aggregated data-or "scale consistent." They also fail to construct LCIs using international reference guidelines and trustworthy standardized data sources. This failure generates inaccuracies and biases in inventories and can compromise comparability among international LCA studies. Our study introduces scale consistency as a principle for regionalized agri-food LCIs. We present a generic procedure that defines how scale-dependent LCI flows should be regionalized, depending on data availability. We then present a list of inventory flows that require regionalization and their suggested calculation procedures (methods and models) from 2 methodological guides developed by projects Agribalyse and World Food LCA Database. As proof of concept, we apply the procedure to Portugal and assess whether the methods and models proposed for each type of inventory flow in both guides can potentially be applied consistently with the data available. For 17 inventory flows, we apply calculated scale-consistent inventory flows for Portuguese agriculture, covering 260 products that can be used in future LCA studies. Comparing results with international databases, we show that this procedure can improve country-level estimates significantly. Our study is the first step in introducing scale consistency as a guiding principle for regionalized LCIs for agri-food LCA studies. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2017;13:939-951. © 2017 SETAC. © 2017 SETAC.

  19. Integrating life cycle assessment into managing potential EHS risks of engineered nanomaterials: reviewing progress to date

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, William C.; Bosso, Christopher J.; Eckelman, Matthew; Isaacs, Jacqueline A.; Pourzahedi, Leila

    2015-08-01

    The 2011 National Nanotechnology Initiative's Environmental Health and Safety Research Strategy stressed the need for research to integrate life cycle considerations into risk management and, then, to better integrate risk assessment into decisionmaking on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) dimensions of nanomanufacturing. This paper reviews scholarly articles published 2010-2015 that in some way apply life cycle analysis to nanotechnology to assess the extent to which current research reflects the priorities lain out in the NNI report. As the NNI's focus was primarily on the "responsible development of nanotechnology" we also focus our examination on the ways in which LCA, in concert with other methodologies, can provide utility to decision makers facing the challenge of implementing that broad goal. We explore some of the challenges and opportunities inherent in using LCA, a tool built to optimize manufacturing decisions, as a guide for policy formulation or tool for policy implementation.

  20. 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.

  1. Life cycle assessment of aquaculture systems-a review of methodologies.

    PubMed

    Henriksson, Patrik J G; Guinée, Jeroen B; Kleijn, René; de Snoo, Geert R

    As capture fishery production has reached its limits and global demand for aquatic products is still increasing, aquaculture has become the world's fastest growing animal production sector. In attempts to evaluate the environmental consequences of this rapid expansion, life cycle assessment (LCA) has become a frequently used method. The present review of current peer-reviewed literature focusing on LCA of aquaculture systems is intended to clarify the methodological choices made, identify possible data gaps, and provide recommendations for future development within this field of research. The results of this review will also serve as a start-up activity of the EU FP7 SEAT (Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade) project, which aims to perform several LCA studies on aquaculture systems in Asia over the next few years. From a full analysis of methodology in LCA, six phases were identified to differ the most amongst ten peer-reviewed articles and two PhD theses (functional unit, system boundaries, data and data quality, allocation, impact assessment methods, interpretation methods). Each phase is discussed with regards to differences amongst the studies, current LCA literature followed by recommendations where appropriate. The conclusions and recommendations section reflects on aquaculture-specific scenarios as well as on some more general issues in LCA. Aquaculture LCAs often require large system boundaries, including fisheries, agriculture, and livestock production systems from around the globe. The reviewed studies offered limited coverage of production in developing countries, low-intensity farming practices, and non-finfish species, although most farmed aquatic products originate from a wide range of farming practices in Asia. Apart from different choices of functional unit, system boundaries and impact assessment methods, the studies also differed in their choice of allocation factors and data sourcing. Interpretation of results also differed amongst the studies

  2. Broadening GHG accounting with LCA: application to a waste management business unit.

    PubMed

    Fallaha, Sophie; Martineau, Geneviève; Bécaert, Valérie; Margni, Manuele; Deschênes, Louise; Samson, Réjean; Aoustin, Emmanuelle

    2009-11-01

    In an effort to obtain the most accurate climate change impact assessment, greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting is evolving to include life-cycle thinking. This study (1) identifies similarities and key differences between GHG accounting and life-cycle assessment (LCA), (2) compares them on a consistent basis through a case study on a waste management business unit. First, GHG accounting is performed. According to the GHG Protocol, annual emissions are categorized into three scopes: direct GHG emissions (scope 1), indirect emissions related to electricity, heat and steam production (scope 2) and other indirect emissions (scope 3). The LCA is then structured into a comparable framework: each LCA process is disaggregated into these three scopes, the annual operating activities are assessed, and the environmental impacts are determined using the IMPACT2002+ method. By comparing these two approaches it is concluded that both LCA and GHG accounting provide similar climate change impact results as the same major GHG contributors are determined for scope 1 emissions. The emissions from scope 2 appear negligible whereas emissions from scope 3 cannot be neglected since they contribute to around 10% of the climate change impact of the waste management business unit. This statement is strengthened by the fact that scope 3 generates 75% of the resource use damage and 30% of the ecosystem quality damage categories. The study also shows that LCA can help in setting up the framework for a annual GHG accounting by determining the major climate change contributors.

  3. Quantifying the total environmental impacts of an industrial symbiosis - a comparison of process-, hybrid and input-output life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Mattila, Tuomas J; Pakarinen, Suvi; Sokka, Laura

    2010-06-01

    Industrial symbiosis, representing resource sharing and byproduct use among colocated firms, is a key concept of industrial ecology. Local co-operation in industrial symbioses can reduce raw material use and waste disposal, but material and energy flows extending outside symbiosis boundaries can cause considerable environmental impacts. These external impacts are often ignored in industrial symbiosis studies. In this study, we compared process, hybrid and input-output life cycle assessment (LCA) approaches in quantifying the overall environmental impacts of a forest industrial symbiosis, situated in Kymenlaakso, Finland. Conclusions from an earlier process-LCA were strengthened by the use of hybrid-LCA as local emissions were found to cause less than half of the global impacts. In some impact categories, the whole impact was caused by supply chain emissions (land use, metal depletion and ozone depletion). The cutoff in process-LCA was found to be less than 25%, except in metal depletion and terrestrial ecotoxicity. Input-output LCA approximated hybrid-LCA results well in most impact categories, but seriously underestimated land use and overestimated terrestrial ecotoxicity. Based on the results we conclude, that input-output based LCA can be used to analyze the global impacts of an industrial symbiosis, but a careful interpretation of the results is necessary in order to understand the influence of aggregation and allocation.

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

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    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 reported for a suite of relevant life cycle impact assessment indicators: global climate change, energy demand, fossil depletion, water consumption, particulate matter formation, acidification, eutrophication and photochemical smog formation. Traditional fuels demonstrate notably poor relative performance in particulate matter formation, photochemical oxidant formation, freshwater eutrophication, and black carbon emissions. Most fuels demonstrate trade-offs between impact categories. Stove efficiency is found to be a crucial variable determining environmental performance across all impact categories. The study shows that electricity and many of the processed fuels, while yielding emission reductions in homes at the point of use, transfer many of those emissions upstream into the processing and distribution life cycle stage. To conduct LCA study of the cookstove fuels being used in India and China to determine how fuels and stoves compare based on a holistic assessment considering the LCA environmental tradeoffs

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

  11. Prospective time-resolved LCA of fully electric supercap vehicles in Germany.

    PubMed

    Zimmermann, Benedikt M; Dura, Hanna; Baumann, Manuel J; Weil, Marcel R

    2015-07-01

    The ongoing transition of the German electricity supply toward a higher share of renewable and sustainable energy sources, called Energiewende in German, has led to dynamic changes in the environmental impact of electricity over the last few years. Prominent scenario studies predict that comparable dynamics will continue in the coming decades, which will further improve the environmental performance of Germany's electricity supply. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the methodology commonly used to evaluate environmental performance. Previous LCA studies on electric vehicles have shown that the electricity supply for the vehicles' operation is responsible for the major part of their environmental impact. The core question of this study is how the prospective dynamic development of the German electricity mix will affect the impact of electric vehicles operated in Germany and how LCA can be adapted to analyze this impact in a more robust manner. The previously suggested approach of time-resolved LCA, which is located between static and dynamic LCA, is used in this study and compared with several static approaches. Furthermore, the uncertainty issue associated with scenario studies is addressed in general and in relation to time-resolved LCA. Two scenario studies relevant to policy making have been selected, but a moderate number of modifications have been necessary to adapt the data to the requirements of a life cycle inventory. A potential, fully electric vehicle powered by a supercapacitor energy storage system is used as a generic example. The results show that substantial improvements in the environmental repercussions of the electricity supply and, consequentially, of electric vehicles will be achieved between 2020 and 2031 on the basis of the energy mixes predicted in both studies. This study concludes that although scenarios might not be able to predict the future, they should nonetheless be used as data sources in prospective LCA studies, because in many cases

  12. Comparative life cycle assessment of standard and green roofs.

    PubMed

    Saiz, Susana; Kennedy, Christopher; Bass, Brad; Pressnail, Kim

    2006-07-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to evaluate the benefits, primarily from reduced energy consumption, resulting from the addition of a green roof to an eight story residential building in Madrid. Building energy use is simulated and a bottom-up LCA is conducted assuming a 50 year building life. The key property of a green roof is its low solar absorptance, which causes lower surface temperature, thereby reducing the heat flux through the roof. Savings in annual energy use are just over 1%, but summer cooling load is reduced by over 6% and reductions in peak hour cooling load in the upper floors reach 25%. By replacing the common flat roof with a green roof, environmental impacts are reduced by between 1.0 and 5.3%. Similar reductions might be achieved by using a white roof with additional insulation for winter, but more substantial reductions are achieved if common use of green roofs leads to reductions in the urban heat island.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Life cycle assessment for sustainable metropolitan water systems planning.

    PubMed

    Lundie, Sven; Peters, Gregory M; Beavis, Paul C

    2004-07-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is useful as an information tool for the examination of alternative future scenarios for strategic planning. Developing a life cycle assessment for a large water and wastewater system involves making methodological decisions about the level of detail which is retained through different stages of the process. In this article we discuss a methodology tailored to strategic planning needs which retains a high degree of model segmentation in order to enhance modeling of a large, complex system. This is illustrated by a case study of Sydney Water, which is Australia's largest water service provider. A prospective LCA was carried out to examine the potential environmental impacts of Sydney Water's total operations in the year 2021. To our knowledge this is the first study to create an LCA model of an integrated water and wastewater system with this degree of complexity. A "base case" system model was constructed to represent current operating assets as augmented and upgraded to 2021. The base case results provided a basis for the comparison of alternative future scenarios and for conclusions to be drawn regarding potential environmental improvements. The scenarios can be roughly classified in two categories: (1) options which improve the environmental performance across all impact categories and (2) options which improve one indicator and worsen others. Overall environmental improvements are achieved in all categories by the scenarios examining increased demand management, energy efficiency, energy generation, and additional energy recovery from biosolids. The scenarios which examined desalination of seawater and the upgrades of major coastal sewage treatment plants to secondary and tertiary treatment produced an improvement in one environmental indicator but deteriorations in all the other impact categories, indicating the environmental tradeoffs within the system. The desalination scenario produced a significant increase in greenhouse gas

  18. Life Cycle Assessment (ISO 14040) implementation in foods of animal and plant origin: review.

    PubMed

    Arvanitoyannis, Ioannis S; Kotsanopoulos, Konstantinos V; Veikou, Agapi

    2014-01-01

    The importance of environmental protection has been recently upgraded due to the continuously increasing environmental pollution load. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), wellknown as ISO 14040, has been repeatedly shown to be a useful and powerful tool for assessing the environmental performance of industrial processes, both in the European and American continents as well as in many Asian countries (such as Japan and China). To the best of our knowledge, almost no information is provided in relation to LCA implementation in Africa apart from an article related to Egypt. Although food industries are not considered to be among the most heavily polluting ones, for some like olive oil, wine, dairy, and meat processing, their impact on the environment is a heavy burden. The introduction of LCA aimed at identifying both inputs and outputs to find out which are the most detrimental to the environment in terms of water/energy consumption and solid/liquid and gas releases. In this review, a thorough coverage of literature was made in an attempt to compare the implementation of LCA to a variety of products of both plant and animal origin. It was concluded that there is a high number of subsystems suggested for the same product, thereby, occasionally leading to confusion. An idea toward solving the problem is to proceed to some sort of standardization by means of several generic case studies of LCA implementation, similarly to what had happened in the case of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) implementation in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and other countries.

  19. 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.

  20. Life cycle assessment of rice straw utilization practices in India.

    PubMed

    Soam, Shveta; Borjesson, Pal; Sharma, Pankaj K; Gupta, Ravi P; Tuli, Deepak K; Kumar, Ravindra

    2017-03-01

    The aim of this study is to find potential utilization practice of rice straw in India from an environmental perspective. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is conducted for four most realistic utilization practices of straw including: (1) incorporation into the field as fertilizer (2) animal fodder (3) electricity (4) biogas. The results show that processing of 1 ton straw to electricity and biogas resulted in net reduction of 1471 and 1023kg CO2 eq., 15.0 and 3.4kg SO2 eq. and 6.7 and 7.1kg C2H6 eq. emissions in global warming, acidification and photochemical oxidation creation potential respectively. Electricity production from straw replaces the coal based electricity and resulted in benefits in most of the environmental impacts whereas use as an animal fodder resulted in eutrophication benefits. The burning of straw is a harmful practice of managing straw in India which can be avoided by utilizing straw for bioenergy.

  1. Life cycle assessment of biodiesel production from microalgae in ponds.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Peter K; Beer, Tom; Batten, David

    2011-01-01

    This paper analyses the potential environmental impacts and economic viability of producing biodiesel from microalgae grown in ponds. A comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study of a notional production system designed for Australian conditions was conducted to compare biodiesel production from algae (with three different scenarios for carbon dioxide supplementation and two different production rates) with canola and ULS (ultra-low sulfur) diesel. Comparisons of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions (g CO(2)-e/tkm) and costs (¢/tkm) are given. Algae GHG emissions (-27.6 to 18.2) compare very favourably with canola (35.9) and ULS diesel (81.2). Costs are not so favourable, with algae ranging from 2.2 to 4.8, compared with canola (4.2) and ULS diesel (3.8). This highlights the need for a high production rate to make algal biodiesel economically attractive.

  2. Life Cycle Assessment of Coal-fired Power Production

    SciTech Connect

    Spath, P. L.; Mann, M. K.; Kerr, D. R.

    1999-09-01

    Coal has the largest share of utility power generation in the US, accounting for approximately 56% of all utility-produced electricity (US DOE, 1998). Therefore, understanding the environmental implications of producing electricity from coal is an important component of any plan to reduce total emissions and resource consumption. A life cycle assessment (LCA) on the production of electricity from coal was performed in order to examine the environmental aspects of current and future pulverized coal boiler systems. Three systems were examined: (1) a plant that represents the average emissions and efficiency of currently operating coal-fired power plants in the US (this tells us about the status quo), (2) a new coal-fired power plant that meets the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), and (3) a highly advanced coal-fired power plant utilizing a low emission boiler system (LEBS).

  3. PLASMIX management: LCA of six possible scenarios.

    PubMed

    Cossu, R; Garbo, F; Girotto, F; Simion, F; Pivato, A

    2017-08-09

    Only a small percentage of the separately collected plastic is recycled. The mechanical selection process of source segregated plastic materials generates considerable amounts of residues that are commonly named as Plasmix. By means of a life cycle assessment (LCA) modelling, the environmental performances of the main Plasmix management options (thermal treatment, energy recovery, and landfilling) were compared. Six treatment scenarios, with different pre-treatment alternatives, were evaluated. Landfilling after waste washing and Plasmix substitution of coke in a blast furnace represent the most favorable options, since the performances of thermal treatment and energy recovery are worsened by specific emissions of a variety of toxic compounds and heavy metals within plastic materials as additives. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. Challenge clusters facing LCA in environmental decision-making—what we can learn from biofuels

    DOE PAGES

    McManus, Marcelle C.; Taylor, Caroline M.; Mohr, Alison; ...

    2015-08-07

    Purpose: Bioenergy is increasingly used to help meet greenhouse gas (GHG) and renewable energy targets. However, bioenergy’s sustainability has been questioned, resulting in increasing use of life cycle assessment (LCA). Bioenergy systems are global and complex, and market forces can result in significant changes, relevant to LCA and policy. The goal of this paper is to illustrate the complexities associated with LCA, with particular focus on bioenergy and associated policy development, so that its use can more effectively inform policymakers. Methods: The review is based on the results from a series of workshops focused on bioenergy life cycle assessment. Expertmore » submissions were compiled and categorized within the first two workshops. Over 100 issues emerged. Accounting for redundancies and close similarities in the list, this reduced to around 60 challenges, many of which are deeply interrelated. Some of these issues were then explored further at a policy-facing workshop in London, UK. The authors applied a rigorous approach to categorize the challenges identified to be at the intersection of biofuels/bioenergy LCA and policy. Results and discussion: The credibility of LCA is core to its use in policy. Even LCAs that comply with ISO standards and policy and regulatory instruments leave a great deal of scope for interpretation and flexibility. Within the bioenergy sector, this has led to frustration and at times a lack of obvious direction. This paper identifies the main challenge clusters: overarching issues, application and practice and value and ethical judgments. Many of these are reflective of the transition from application of LCA to assess individual products or systems to the wider approach that is becoming more common. Uncertainty in impact assessment strongly influences planning and compliance due to challenges in assigning accountability, and communicating the inherent complexity and uncertainty within bioenergy is becoming of greater

  7. Challenge clusters facing LCA in environmental decision-making—what we can learn from biofuels

    SciTech Connect

    McManus, Marcelle C.; Taylor, Caroline M.; Mohr, Alison; Whittaker, Carly; Scown, Corinne D.; Borrion, Aiduan Li; Glithero, Neryssa J.; Yin, Yao

    2015-08-07

    Purpose: Bioenergy is increasingly used to help meet greenhouse gas (GHG) and renewable energy targets. However, bioenergy’s sustainability has been questioned, resulting in increasing use of life cycle assessment (LCA). Bioenergy systems are global and complex, and market forces can result in significant changes, relevant to LCA and policy. The goal of this paper is to illustrate the complexities associated with LCA, with particular focus on bioenergy and associated policy development, so that its use can more effectively inform policymakers. Methods: The review is based on the results from a series of workshops focused on bioenergy life cycle assessment. Expert submissions were compiled and categorized within the first two workshops. Over 100 issues emerged. Accounting for redundancies and close similarities in the list, this reduced to around 60 challenges, many of which are deeply interrelated. Some of these issues were then explored further at a policy-facing workshop in London, UK. The authors applied a rigorous approach to categorize the challenges identified to be at the intersection of biofuels/bioenergy LCA and policy. Results and discussion: The credibility of LCA is core to its use in policy. Even LCAs that comply with ISO standards and policy and regulatory instruments leave a great deal of scope for interpretation and flexibility. Within the bioenergy sector, this has led to frustration and at times a lack of obvious direction. This paper identifies the main challenge clusters: overarching issues, application and practice and value and ethical judgments. Many of these are reflective of the transition from application of LCA to assess individual products or systems to the wider approach that is becoming more common. Uncertainty in impact assessment strongly influences planning and compliance due to challenges in assigning accountability, and communicating the inherent complexity and uncertainty within bioenergy is becoming of greater importance

  8. Challenge clusters facing LCA in environmental decision-making-what we can learn from biofuels.

    PubMed

    McManus, Marcelle C; Taylor, Caroline M; Mohr, Alison; Whittaker, Carly; Scown, Corinne D; Borrion, Aiduan Li; Glithero, Neryssa J; Yin, Yao

    Bioenergy is increasingly used to help meet greenhouse gas (GHG) and renewable energy targets. However, bioenergy's sustainability has been questioned, resulting in increasing use of life cycle assessment (LCA). Bioenergy systems are global and complex, and market forces can result in significant changes, relevant to LCA and policy. The goal of this paper is to illustrate the complexities associated with LCA, with particular focus on bioenergy and associated policy development, so that its use can more effectively inform policymakers. The review is based on the results from a series of workshops focused on bioenergy life cycle assessment. Expert submissions were compiled and categorized within the first two workshops. Over 100 issues emerged. Accounting for redundancies and close similarities in the list, this reduced to around 60 challenges, many of which are deeply interrelated. Some of these issues were then explored further at a policy-facing workshop in London, UK. The authors applied a rigorous approach to categorize the challenges identified to be at the intersection of biofuels/bioenergy LCA and policy. The credibility of LCA is core to its use in policy. Even LCAs that comply with ISO standards and policy and regulatory instruments leave a great deal of scope for interpretation and flexibility. Within the bioenergy sector, this has led to frustration and at times a lack of obvious direction. This paper identifies the main challenge clusters: overarching issues, application and practice and value and ethical judgments. Many of these are reflective of the transition from application of LCA to assess individual products or systems to the wider approach that is becoming more common. Uncertainty in impact assessment strongly influences planning and compliance due to challenges in assigning accountability, and communicating the inherent complexity and uncertainty within bioenergy is becoming of greater importance. The emergence of LCA in bioenergy governance is

  9. [Life cycle assessment of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of cellulosic ethanol from corn stover].

    PubMed

    Tian, Wang; Liao, Cuiping; Li, Li; Zhao, Daiqing

    2011-03-01

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the only standardized tool currently used to assess environmental loads of products and processes. The life cycle analysis, as a part of LCA, is a useful and powerful methodology for studying life cycle energy efficiency and life cycle GHG emission. To quantitatively explain the potential of energy saving and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of corn stover-based ethanol, we analyzed life cycle energy consumption and GHG emissions of corn stover-based ethanol by the method of life cycle analysis. The processes are dilute acid prehydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis. The functional unit was defined as 1 km distance driven by the vehicle. Results indicated: compared with gasoline, the corn stover-based E100 (100% ethanol) and E10 (a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline by volume) could reduce life cycle fossil energy consumption by 79.63% and 6.25% respectively, as well as GHG emissions by 53.98% and 6.69%; the fossil energy consumed by biomass stage was 68.3% of total fossil energy input, N-fertilizer and diesel were the main factors which contributed 45.78% and 33.26% to biomass stage; electricity production process contributed 42.06% to the net GHG emissions, the improvement of technology might reduce emissions markedly.

  10. Life cycle analyses and resource assessments.

    PubMed

    Fredga, Karl; Mäler, Karl-Göran

    2010-01-01

    Prof. Ulgiati stresses that we should always use an ecosystem view when transforming energy from one form to another. Sustainable growth and development of both environmental and human-dominated systems require optimum use of available resources for maximum power output. We have to adapt to the laws of nature because nature has to take care of all the waste products we produce. The presentation addresses a much needed shift away from linear production and consumption pattern, toward reorganization of economies and lifestyle that takes complexity--of resources, of the environment and of the economy--into proper account. The best way to reach maximum yield from the different kinds of biomass is to use biorefineries. Biorefinery is defined as the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of marketable products like heat, power, fuels, chemicals, food, feed, and materials. However, biomass from agricultural land must be used for the production of food and not fuel. Prof. Voss focuses on the sustainability of energy supply chains and energy systems. Life cycle analyses (LCA) provides the conceptual framework for a comprehensive comparative evaluation of energy supply options with regard to their resource requirements as well as the health and environmental impact. Full scope LCA considers not only the emissions from plant operation, construction, and decommissioning but also the environmental burdens and resource requirements associated with the entire lifetime of all relevant upstream and downstream processes within the energy chain. This article describes the results of LCA analyses for state-of-the-art heating and electricity systems as well as of advanced future systems. Total costs are used as a measure for the overall resource consumption.

  11. 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.

  12. Environmental life-cycle assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchain, Randolph E., Jr.; Gregory, Jeremy R.; Olivetti, Elsa A.

    2017-07-01

    Concerns about the planet's health call for a careful evaluation of the environmental impact of materials choices. Life-cycle assessment is a tool that can help identify sustainable materials pathways by considering the burdens of materials both during production and as a product.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. Social life cycle assessment and participatory approaches: A methodological proposal applied to citrus farming in Southern Italy.

    PubMed

    De Luca, Anna Irene; Iofrida, Nathalie; Strano, Alfio; Falcone, Giacomo; Gulisano, Giovanni

    2015-07-01

    Recently, Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) has been developed under the methodological framework of Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) to evaluate the social impacts that emerge during the overall life cycle of a product or service. There is not yet a standardized methodology for S-LCA as there is for environmental LCA (eLCA), due to the nature of social impacts that do not depend only on the processes themselves, but also on the behavior and context of actors (manufactures, consumers, local community members, etc.). One of the most critical steps in the application of S-LCA concerns the choice of criteria for selecting affected actors, impact categories, subcategories, and the taxonomic relation among them. Moreover, the importance (in terms of weight) of these impacts may be felt differently by affected actors, confirming the importance of the context within which impacts arise. In this sense, the integration of participatory tools can be useful in making the S-LCA more locally relevant. The aim of the present study is twofold. First, we will outline a methodology that combines S-LCA with two research tools. The first is the focus group, adopted from qualitative research. The second is the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), adopted from operational research, which belongs to the framework of Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). These have been used to make the S-LCA more locally relevant and to legitimate the criteria used. Second, we will test this methodology by applying it to a specific field, i.e., 3 production areas and 3 different crop systems of citrus growing in the Calabria region in Southern Italy. Citrus growing is one of the most important agricultural sectors at regional level, and it is also well known for issues of social concern, particularly in relation to immigrant workers. The results show a number of differences between cases and could offer useful insights to both local decision makers, such as agricultural entrepreneurs, and to those public

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Song, Qingbin; Wang, Zhishi; Li, Jinhui; Zeng, Xianlai

    2012-10-01

    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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. How Well Does LCA Model Land Use Impacts on Biodiversity?--A Comparison with Approaches from Ecology and Conservation.

    PubMed

    Curran, Michael; de Souza, Danielle Maia; Antón, Assumpció; Teixeira, Ricardo F M; Michelsen, Ottar; Vidal-Legaz, Beatriz; Sala, Serenella; Milà i Canals, Llorenç

    2016-03-15

    The modeling of land use impacts on biodiversity is considered a priority in life cycle assessment (LCA). Many diverging approaches have been proposed in an expanding literature on the topic. The UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative is engaged in building consensus on a shared modeling framework to highlight best-practice and guide model application by practitioners. In this paper, we evaluated the performance of 31 models from both the LCA and the ecology/conservation literature (20 from LCA, 11 from non-LCA fields) according to a set of criteria reflecting (i) model completeness, (ii) biodiversity representation, (iii) impact pathway coverage, (iv) scientific quality, and (v) stakeholder acceptance. We show that LCA models tend to perform worse than those from ecology and conservation (although not significantly), implying room for improvement. We identify seven best-practice recommendations that can be implemented immediately to improve LCA models based on existing approaches in the literature. We further propose building a "consensus model" through weighted averaging of existing information, to complement future development. While our research focuses on conceptual model design, further quantitative comparison of promising models in shared case studies is an essential prerequisite for future informed model choice.

  19. Analysis of the Global Warming Potential of Biogenic CO2 Emission in Life Cycle Assessments.

    PubMed

    Liu, Weiguo; Zhang, Zhonghui; Xie, Xinfeng; Yu, Zhen; von Gadow, Klaus; Xu, Junming; Zhao, Shanshan; Yang, Yuchun

    2017-01-03

    Biomass is generally believed to be carbon neutral. However, recent studies have challenged the carbon neutrality hypothesis by introducing metric indicators to assess the global warming potential of biogenic CO2 (GWPbio). In this study we calculated the GWPbio factors using a forest growth model and radiative forcing effects with a time horizon of 100 years and applied the factors to five life cycle assessment (LCA) case studies of bioproducts. The forest carbon change was also accounted for in the LCA studies. GWPbio factors ranged from 0.13-0.32, indicating that biomass could be an attractive energy resource when compared with fossil fuels. As expected, short rotation and fast-growing biomass plantations produced low GWPbio. Long-lived wood products also allowed more regrowth of biomass to be accounted as absorption of the CO2 emission from biomass combustion. The LCA case studies showed that the total life cycle GHG emissions were closely related to GWPbio and energy conversion efficiency. By considering the GWPbio factors and the forest carbon change, the production of ethanol and bio-power appeared to have higher GHG emissions than petroleum-derived diesel at the highest GWPbio.

  20. 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.

  1. Analysis of the Global Warming Potential of Biogenic CO2 Emission in Life Cycle Assessments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Weiguo; Zhang, Zhonghui; Xie, Xinfeng; Yu, Zhen; von Gadow, Klaus; Xu, Junming; Zhao, Shanshan; Yang, Yuchun

    2017-01-01

    Biomass is generally believed to be carbon neutral. However, recent studies have challenged the carbon neutrality hypothesis by introducing metric indicators to assess the global warming potential of biogenic CO2 (GWPbio). In this study we calculated the GWPbio factors using a forest growth model and radiative forcing effects with a time horizon of 100 years and applied the factors to five life cycle assessment (LCA) case studies of bioproducts. The forest carbon change was also accounted for in the LCA studies. GWPbio factors ranged from 0.13–0.32, indicating that biomass could be an attractive energy resource when compared with fossil fuels. As expected, short rotation and fast-growing biomass plantations produced low GWPbio. Long-lived wood products also allowed more regrowth of biomass to be accounted as absorption of the CO2 emission from biomass combustion. The LCA case studies showed that the total life cycle GHG emissions were closely related to GWPbio and energy conversion efficiency. By considering the GWPbio factors and the forest carbon change, the production of ethanol and bio-power appeared to have higher GHG emissions than petroleum-derived diesel at the highest GWPbio.

  2. 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.

  3. Analysis of the Global Warming Potential of Biogenic CO2 Emission in Life Cycle Assessments

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Weiguo; Zhang, Zhonghui; Xie, Xinfeng; Yu, Zhen; von Gadow, Klaus; Xu, Junming; Zhao, Shanshan; Yang, Yuchun

    2017-01-01

    Biomass is generally believed to be carbon neutral. However, recent studies have challenged the carbon neutrality hypothesis by introducing metric indicators to assess the global warming potential of biogenic CO2 (GWPbio). In this study we calculated the GWPbio factors using a forest growth model and radiative forcing effects with a time horizon of 100 years and applied the factors to five life cycle assessment (LCA) case studies of bioproducts. The forest carbon change was also accounted for in the LCA studies. GWPbio factors ranged from 0.13–0.32, indicating that biomass could be an attractive energy resource when compared with fossil fuels. As expected, short rotation and fast-growing biomass plantations produced low GWPbio. Long-lived wood products also allowed more regrowth of biomass to be accounted as absorption of the CO2 emission from biomass combustion. The LCA case studies showed that the total life cycle GHG emissions were closely related to GWPbio and energy conversion efficiency. By considering the GWPbio factors and the forest carbon change, the production of ethanol and bio-power appeared to have higher GHG emissions than petroleum-derived diesel at the highest GWPbio. PMID:28045111

  4. LCA as a Tool to Evaluate Green Infrastructure's Environmental Performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Catalano De Sousa, M.; Erispaha, A.; Spatari, S.; Montalto, F.

    2011-12-01

    Decentralized approaches to managing urban stormwater through use of green infrastructure (GI) often lead to system-wide efficiency gains within the urban watershed's energy supply system. These efficiencies lead to direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings, and also restore some ecosystem functions within the urban landscape. We developed a consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) model to estimate the life cycle energy, global warming potential (GWP), and payback times for each if GI were applied within a select neighborhood in New York City. We applied the SIMAPRO LCA software and the economic input-output LCA (EIO-LCA) tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University. The results showed that for a new intersection installation highlighted in this study a conventional infrastructure construction would emit and use approximately 3 times more for both CO2 and energy than a design using GI. Two GI benefits were analyzed with regards to retrofitting the existing intersection. The first was related to the savings in energy and CO2 at the Waste Water Treatment Plant via runoff reduction accrued from GI use. The second benefit was related to the avoided environmental costs associated with an additional new grey infrastructure installation needed to prevent CSO in case of no GI implementation. The first benefit indicated a high payback time for a GI installation in terms of CO2 and energy demand (80 and 90 years respectively) and suggest a slow energy and carbon recovery time. However, concerning to the second benefit, GI proved to be a sustainable alternative considering the high CO2 releases (429 MTE) and energy demand (5.5 TJ) associated with a grey infrastructure construction.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Life cycle assessment-driven selection of industrial ecology strategies.

    PubMed

    Ardente, Fulvio; Cellura, Maurizio; Lo Brano, Valerio; Mistretta, Marina

    2010-01-01

    The paper presents an application of the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) to the planning and environmental management of an “eco-industrial cluster.” A feasibility study of industrial symbiosis in southern Italy is carried out, where interlinked companies share subproducts and scraps, services, structures, and plants to reduce the related environmental impact. In particular, the research focuses on new recycling solutions to create open recycling loops in which plastic subproducts and scraps are transferred to external production systems. The main environmental benefits are the reduction of resource depletion, air emissions, and landfilled wastes. The proposed strategies are also economically viable and they suggest cost abatement for the involved companies. This research shows the need for a multidisciplinary approach to data processing and to complexity managing of the investigated systems. In this context, life-cycle thinking is required to be promoted throughout the economy, as well to be as a part of all decisions on products and other criteria such as functionality, health, and safety. The Life-Cycle Assessment approach can be assumed as a methodology for influencing decision makers to make sustainable choices.

  10. Life cycle assessment of lithium sulfur battery for electric vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deng, Yelin; Li, Jianyang; Li, Tonghui; Gao, Xianfeng; Yuan, Chris

    2017-03-01

    Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery is widely recognized as the most promising battery technology for future electric vehicles (EV). To understand the environmental sustainability performance of Li-S battery on future EVs, here a novel life cycle assessment (LCA) model is developed for comprehensive environmental impact assessment of a Li-S battery pack using a graphene sulfur composite cathode and a lithium metal anode protected by a lithium-ion conductive layer, for actual EV applications. The Li-S battery pack is configured with a 61.3 kWh capacity to power a mid-size EV for 320 km range. The life cycle inventory model is developed with a hybrid approach, based on our lab-scale synthesis of the graphene sulfur composite, our lab fabrication of Li-S battery cell, and our industrial partner's battery production processes. The impacts of the Li-S battery are assessed using the ReCiPe method and benchmarked with those of a conventional Nickle-Cobalt-Manganese (NCM)-Graphite battery pack under the same driving distance per charge. The environmental impact assessment results illustrate that Li-S battery is more environmentally friendly than conventional NCM-Graphite battery, with 9%-90% lower impact. Finally, the improvement pathways for the Li-S battery to meet the USABC (U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium) targets are presented with the corresponding environmental impact changes.

  11. Life-cycle assessment of typical Portuguese cork oak woodlands.

    PubMed

    González-García, Sara; Dias, Ana Cláudia; Arroja, Luis

    2013-05-01

    Cork forest systems are responsible for making an important economic contribution to the Mediterranean region, especially Portugal where the cork oak woodlands or montados contain about 32% of the world's area. The environmental profile derived from reproduction cork production and extraction in two Portuguese regions (Tagus valley and Alentejo) representative of the Portuguese sector were assessed in detail using the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology from a cradle-to-gate perspective. The production line was divided into four stages considering all the processes involved: stand establishment, stand management, cork stripping and field recovery. According to the environmental results, there were remarkable differences between the two production scenarios mainly due to the intensity and repetition of forest activities even though the cork yield was reported to be the same. The management system in the Alentejo region presented the worse environmental profile in almost all the impact categories under assessment, mainly due to the shorter cycle duration of the mechanical cleaning and pruning processes. Cork stripping was identified in both scenarios as the production stage with the highest contribution to the environmental profile due to the cleaning and pruning processes. A sensitivity assessment concerning the cork yield was performed since the average production yields in the Portuguese montados are lower than the ones used in this study. Thus, if the cork yield is reduced, the environmental profile in both scenarios gets worse since almost all the forest activities involved are the same.

  12. 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.

  13. An LCA researcher's wish list--data and emission models needed to improve LCA studies of animal production.

    PubMed

    Cederberg, C; Henriksson, M; Berglund, M

    2013-06-01

    The last decade has seen an increase in environmental systems analysis of livestock production, resulting in a significant number of studies with a holistic approach often based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The growing public interest in global warming has added to this development; guidelines for carbon footprint (CF) accounting have been developed, including for greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting of animal products. Here we give an overview of methods for estimating GHG emissions, with emphasis on nitrous oxide, methane and carbon from land use change, presently used in LCA/CF studies of animal products. We discuss where methods and data availability for GHGs and nitrogen (N) compounds most urgently need to be improved in order to produce more accurate environmental assessments of livestock production. We conclude that the top priority is to improve models for N fluxes and emissions from soils and to implement soil carbon change models in LCA/CF studies of animal products. We also point at the need for more farm data and studies measuring emissions from soils, manure and livestock in developing countries.

  14. Review of LCA studies of solid waste management systems--part I: lessons learned and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Laurent, Alexis; Bakas, Ioannis; Clavreul, Julie; Bernstad, Anna; Niero, Monia; Gentil, Emmanuel; Hauschild, Michael Z; Christensen, Thomas H

    2014-03-01

    The continuously increasing solid waste generation worldwide calls for management strategies that integrate concerns for environmental sustainability. By quantifying environmental impacts of systems, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool, which can contribute to answer that call. But how, where and to which extent has it been applied to solid waste management systems (SWMSs) until now, and which lessons can be learnt from the findings of these LCA applications? To address these questions, we performed a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of SWMS. We first analysed the geographic distribution and found that the published studies have primarily been concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. In terms of technological coverage, they have largely overlooked application of LCA to waste prevention activities and to relevant waste types apart from household waste, e.g. construction and demolition waste. Waste management practitioners are thus encouraged to abridge these gaps in future applications of LCA. In addition to this contextual analysis, we also evaluated the findings of selected studies of good quality and found that there is little agreement in the conclusions among them. The strong dependence of each SWMS on local conditions, such as waste composition or energy system, prevents a meaningful generalisation of the LCA results as we find it in the waste hierarchy. We therefore recommend stakeholders in solid waste management to regard LCA as a tool, which, by its ability of capturing the local specific conditions in the modelling of environmental impacts and benefits of a SWMS, allows identifying critical problems and proposing improvement options adapted to the local specificities.

  15. Life cycle assessment of representative swiss road pavements for national roads with an accompanying life cycle cost analysis.

    PubMed

    Gschösser, Florian; Wallbaum, Holger

    2013-08-06

    The subject of this paper is an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) of processes needed to construct and maintain representative Swiss asphalt, concrete, and composite pavements (including subbase layers) applicable for the Swiss national road network over a period of 75 years. The environmental indicators analyzed are the global warming potential indicator, the nonrenewable cumulative energy demand, and the Swiss ecological scarcity indicator. Processes of the use phase of the road (fuel consumption, noise, etc.) have been evaluated qualitatively based on intensive research. The study shows that the global warming potential of concrete and asphalt pavements equilibrates over the analysis period and that concrete pavements compared to asphalt and composite pavements offer advantages in regards to the nonrenewable cumulative energy demand, the ecological scarcity indicator, and life cycle costs. The qualitative evaluation of the processes of the use phase shows for example the positive qualities of concrete pavements regarding fuel consumption and permanent noise properties.

  16. Life cycle assessment of EPS and CPB inserts: design considerations and end of life scenarios.

    PubMed

    Tan, Reginald B H; Khoo, Hsien H

    2005-02-01

    Expanded polystyrene (EPS) and corrugated paperboard (CPB) are used in many industrial applications, such as containers, shock absorbers or simply as inserts. Both materials pose two different types of environmental problems. The first is the pollution and resource consumption that occur during the production of these materials; the second is the growing landfills that arise out of the excessive disposal of these packaging materials. Life cycle assessment or LCA will be introduced in this paper as a useful tool to compare the environmental performance of both EPS and CPB throughout their life cycle stages. This paper is divided into two main parts. The first part investigates the environmental impacts of the production of EPS and CPB from 'cradle-to-gate', comparing two inserts--both the original and proposed new designs. In the second part, LCA is applied to investigate various end-of-life cases for the same materials. The study will evaluate the environmental impacts of the present waste management practices in Singapore. Several 'what-if' cases are also discussed, including various percentages of landfilling and incineration. The SimaPro LCA Version 5.0 software's Eco-indicator 99 method is used to investigate the following five environmental impact categories: climate change, acidification/eutrophication, ecotoxicity, fossil fuels and respiratory inorganics.

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

    PubMed

    Florent, Querini; Enrico, Benetto

    2015-02-03

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. Cradle-to-gate life-cycle assessment of composite I-joists produced in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States

    Treesearch

    Richard D. Bergman; Sevda Alanya-Rosenbaum

    2017-01-01

    The goal of this study was to update life-cycle assessment (LCA) data associated with I-joist production in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region of the United States from cradle-to-gate mill output. The authors collected primary mill data from I-joist production facilities per Consortium on Research for Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) research guidelines....

  20. Cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of composite I-joists produced in the southeast region of the United States

    Treesearch

    Richard D. Bergman; Sevda Alanya-Rosenbaum

    2017-01-01

    The goal of this study was to update life-cycle assessment (LCA) data on I-joist production in the southeast (SE) region of the United States. The authors collected primary mill data from I-joist production facilities per Consortium on Research for Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) research guidelines. Comparative assertions were not a goal of this study.

  1. Green Net Value Added as a Sustainability Metric Based on Life Cycle Assessment: An Application to Bounty® Paper Towel

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sustainability measurement in economics involves evaluation of environmental and economic impact in an integrated manner. In this study, system level economic data are combined with environmental impact from a life cycle assessment (LCA) of a common product. We are exploring a co...

  2. Green Net Value Added as a Sustainability Metric Based on Life Cycle Assessment: An Application to Bounty® Paper Towel

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sustainability measurement in economics involves evaluation of environmental and economic impact in an integrated manner. In this study, system level economic data are combined with environmental impact from a life cycle assessment (LCA) of a common product. We are exploring a co...

  3. Reproducibility of LCA models of crude oil production.

    PubMed

    Vafi, Kourosh; Brandt, Adam R

    2014-11-04

    Scientific models are ideally reproducible, with results that converge despite varying methods. In practice, divergence between models often remains due to varied assumptions, incompleteness, or simply because of avoidable flaws. We examine LCA greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions models to test the reproducibility of their estimates for well-to-refinery inlet gate (WTR) GHG emissions. We use the Oil Production Greenhouse gas Emissions Estimator (OPGEE), an open source engineering-based life cycle assessment (LCA) model, as the reference model for this analysis. We study seven previous studies based on six models. We examine the reproducibility of prior results by successive experiments that align model assumptions and boundaries. The root-mean-square error (RMSE) between results varies between ∼1 and 8 g CO2 eq/MJ LHV when model inputs are not aligned. After model alignment, RMSE generally decreases only slightly. The proprietary nature of some of the models hinders explanations for divergence between the results. Because verification of the results of LCA GHG emissions is often not possible by direct measurement, we recommend the development of open source models for use in energy policy. Such practice will lead to iterative scientific review, improvement of models, and more reliable understanding of emissions.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Life cycle impacts of North American wood panel Manufacturing

    Treesearch

    Richard Bergman; D. Kaestner; A. M. Taylor

    2016-01-01

    Manufacturing building products such as wood panels impacts the environment, including contributing to climate change. This study is a compilation of four studies quantifying these impacts using the life cycle assessment (LCA) method on five wood-based panel products made in North America during 2012. LCA is an internationally accepted and standardized method for...

  7. Modeling cumulative effects in life cycle assessment: the case of fertilizer in wheat production contributing to the global warming potential.

    PubMed

    Laratte, Bertrand; Guillaume, Bertrand; Kim, Junbeum; Birregah, Babiga

    2014-05-15

    This paper aims at presenting a dynamic indicator for life cycle assessment (LCA) measuring cumulative impacts over time of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fertilizers used for wheat cultivation and production. Our approach offers a dynamic indicator of global warming potential (GWP), one of the most used indicator of environmental impacts (e.g. in the Kyoto Protocol). For a case study, the wheat production in France was selected and considered by using data from official sources about fertilizer consumption and production of wheat. We propose to assess GWP environmental impact based on LCA method. The system boundary is limited to the fertilizer production for 1 ton of wheat produced (functional unit) from 1910 to 2010. As applied to wheat production in France, traditional LCA shows a maximum GWP impact of 500 kg CO2-eq for 1 ton of wheat production, whereas the GWP impact of wheat production over time with our approach to dynamic LCA and its cumulative effects increases to 18,000 kg CO2-eq for 1 ton of wheat production. In this paper, only one substance and one impact assessment indicator are presented. However, the methodology can be generalized and improved by using different substances and indicators. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. 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.

  9. Development and application of basis database for materials life cycle assessment in china

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Xiaoqing; Gong, Xianzheng; Liu, Yu

    2017-03-01

    As the data intensive method, high quality environmental burden data is an important premise of carrying out materials life cycle assessment (MLCA), and the reliability of data directly influences the reliability of the assessment results and its application performance. Therefore, building Chinese MLCA database is the basic data needs and technical supports for carrying out and improving LCA practice. Firstly, some new progress on database which related to materials life cycle assessment research and development are introduced. Secondly, according to requirement of ISO 14040 series standards, the database framework and main datasets of the materials life cycle assessment are studied. Thirdly, MLCA data platform based on big data is developed. Finally, the future research works were proposed and discussed.

  10. 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.

  11. Wave Engine Topping Cycle Assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welch, Gerard E.

    1996-01-01

    The performance benefits derived by topping a gas turbine engine with a wave engine are assessed. The wave engine is a wave rotor that produces shaft power by exploiting gas dynamic energy exchange and flow turning. The wave engine is added to the baseline turboshaft engine while keeping high-pressure-turbine inlet conditions, compressor pressure ratio, engine mass flow rate, and cooling flow fractions fixed. Related work has focused on topping with pressure-exchangers (i.e., wave rotors that provide pressure gain with zero net shaft power output); however, more energy can be added to a wave-engine-topped cycle leading to greater engine specific-power-enhancement The energy addition occurs at a lower pressure in the wave-engine-topped cycle; thus the specific-fuel-consumption-enhancement effected by ideal wave engine topping is slightly lower than that effected by ideal pressure-exchanger topping. At a component level, however, flow turning affords the wave engine a degree-of-freedom relative to the pressure-exchanger that enables a more efficient match with the baseline engine. In some cases, therefore, the SFC-enhancement by wave engine topping is greater than that by pressure-exchanger topping. An ideal wave-rotor-characteristic is used to identify key wave engine design parameters and to contrast the wave engine and pressure-exchanger topping approaches. An aerodynamic design procedure is described in which wave engine design-point performance levels are computed using a one-dimensional wave rotor model. Wave engines using various wave cycles are considered including two-port cycles with on-rotor combustion (valved-combustors) and reverse-flow and through-flow four-port cycles with heat addition in conventional burners. A through-flow wave cycle design with symmetric blading is used to assess engine performance benefits. The wave-engine-topped turboshaft engine produces 16% more power than does a pressure-exchanger-topped engine under the specified topping

  12. Accounting for the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen in input-output life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Singh, Shweta; Bakshi, Bhavik R

    2013-08-20

    Nitrogen is indispensable for sustaining human activities through its role in the production of food, animal feed, and synthetic chemicals. This has encouraged significant anthropogenic mobilization of reactive nitrogen and its emissions into the environment resulting in severe disruption of the nitrogen cycle. This paper incorporates the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen into the 2002 input-output model of the U.S. economy. Due to the complexity of this cycle, this work proposes a unique classification of nitrogen flows to facilitate understanding of the interaction between economic activities and various flows in the nitrogen cycle. The classification scheme distinguishes between the mobilization of inert nitrogen into its reactive form, use of nitrogen in various products, and nitrogen losses to the environment. The resulting inventory and model of the US economy can help quantify the direct and indirect impacts or dependence of economic sectors on the nitrogen cycle. This paper emphasizes the need for methods to manage the N cycle that focus not just on N losses, which has been the norm until now, but also include other N flows for a more comprehensive view and balanced decisions. Insight into the N profile of various sectors of the 2002 U.S. economy is presented, and the inventory can also be used for LCA or Hybrid LCA of various products. The resulting model is incorporated in the approach of Ecologically-Based LCA and available online.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Integrate life-cycle assessment and risk analysis results, not methods.

    PubMed

    Linkov, Igor; Trump, Benjamin D; Wender, Ben A; Seager, Thomas P; Kennedy, Alan J; Keisler, Jeffrey M

    2017-08-04

    Two analytic perspectives on environmental assessment dominate environmental policy and decision-making: risk analysis (RA) and life-cycle assessment (LCA). RA focuses on management of a toxicological hazard in a specific exposure scenario, while LCA seeks a holistic estimation of impacts of thousands of substances across multiple media, including non-toxicological and non-chemically deleterious effects. While recommendations to integrate the two approaches have remained a consistent feature of environmental scholarship for at least 15 years, the current perception is that progress is slow largely because of practical obstacles, such as a lack of data, rather than insurmountable theoretical difficulties. Nonetheless, the emergence of nanotechnology presents a serious challenge to both perspectives. Because the pace of nanomaterial innovation far outstrips acquisition of environmentally relevant data, it is now clear that a further integration of RA and LCA based on dataset completion will remain futile. In fact, the two approaches are suited for different purposes and answer different questions. A more pragmatic approach to providing better guidance to decision-makers is to apply the two methods in parallel, integrating only after obtaining separate results.

  16. Can Carbon Nanomaterials Improve CZTS Photovoltaic Devices? Evaluation of Performance and Impacts Using Integrated Life-Cycle Assessment and Decision Analysis.

    PubMed

    Scott, Ryan P; Cullen, Alison C; Fox-Lent, Cate; Linkov, Igor

    2016-10-01

    In emergent photovoltaics, nanoscale materials hold promise for optimizing device characteristics; however, the related impacts remain uncertain, resulting in challenges to decisions on strategic investment in technology innovation. We integrate multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and life-cycle assessment (LCA) results (LCA-MCDA) as a method of incorporating values of a hypothetical federal acquisition manager into the assessment of risks and benefits of emerging photovoltaic materials. Specifically, we compare adoption of copper zinc tin sulfide (CZTS) devices with molybdenum back contacts to alternative devices employing graphite or graphene instead of molybdenum. LCA impact results are interpreted alongside benefits of substitution including cost reductions and performance improvements through application of multi-attribute utility theory. To assess the role of uncertainty we apply Monte Carlo simulation and sensitivity analysis. We find that graphene or graphite back contacts outperform molybdenum under most scenarios and assumptions. The use of decision analysis clarifies potential advantages of adopting graphite as a back contact while emphasizing the importance of mitigating conventional impacts of graphene production processes if graphene is used in emerging CZTS devices. Our research further demonstrates that a combination of LCA and MCDA increases the usability of LCA in assessing product sustainability. In particular, this approach identifies the most influential assumptions and data gaps in the analysis and the areas in which either engineering controls or further data collection may be necessary.

  17. Cradle-to-gate life-cycle assessment of laminated veneer lumber produced in the southeast region of the United States

    Treesearch

    Richard D. Bergman; Sevda Alanya-Rosenbaum

    2017-01-01

    The goal of the present study was to develop life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) data associated with gate-to-gate laminated veneer lumber (LVL) production in the southeast (SE) region of the U.S. with the ultimate aim of constructing an updated cradle-to-gate mill output life-cycle assessment (LCA). The authors collected primary (survey) mill data from LVL production...

  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. Published by

  19. LCA of emerging technologies: addressing high uncertainty on inputs' variability when performing global sensitivity analysis.

    PubMed

    Lacirignola, Martino; Blanc, Philippe; Girard, Robin; Pérez-López, Paula; Blanc, Isabelle

    2017-02-01

    In the life cycle assessment (LCA) context, global sensitivity analysis (GSA) has been identified by several authors as a relevant practice to enhance the understanding of the model's structure and ensure reliability and credibility of the LCA results. GSA allows establishing a ranking among the input parameters, according to their influence on the variability of the output. Such feature is of high interest in particular when aiming at defining parameterized LCA models. When performing a GSA, the description of the variability of each input parameter may affect the results. This aspect is critical when studying new products or emerging technologies, where data regarding the model inputs are very uncertain and may cause misleading GSA outcomes, such as inappropriate input rankings. A systematic assessment of this sensitivity issue is now proposed. We develop a methodology to analyze the sensitivity of the GSA results (i.e. the stability of the ranking of the inputs) with respect to the description of such inputs of the model (i.e. the definition of their inherent variability). With this research, we aim at enriching the debate on the application of GSA to LCAs affected by high uncertainties. We illustrate its application with a case study, aiming at the elaboration of a simple model expressing the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) as a function of few key parameters. Our methodology allows identifying the key inputs of the LCA model, taking into account the uncertainty related to their description.

  20. 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.

  1. Life cycle assessment of Japanese high-temperature conductive adhesives.

    PubMed

    Andrae, Anders S G; Itsubo, Norihiro; Yamaguchi, Hiroshi; Inaba, Atsushi

    2008-04-15

    The electrically conductive adhesives (ECA) are on the verge of a breakthrough as reliable interconnection materials for electronic components. As the ban of lead (Pb) in the electronics industry becomes a reality, the ECA's could be attractive overall alternatives to high melting point (HMP) Pb-based solder pastes. Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to estimate trade-offs between the energy use and the potential toxicity of two future types of ECA's and one HMP Pb-based. The probability is around 90% that the overall CO2 emissions from an ECA based on a tin-bismuth alloy are lower than for a silver-epoxy based ECA, whereas the probability is about 80% that the cumulative energy demand would be lower. It is more uncertain whether the tin-bismuth ECA would contribute to less CO2, or consume less energy, than a HMP Pb-based solder paste. Moreover, for the impact categories contributing to the life-cycle impact assessment method based on end point modeling (LIME) damage category of human health, the tin-bismuth ECA shows a 25 times lower score, and a silver-epoxy based ECA shows an 11 times lower score than the HMP Pb-based solder paste. In order to save resources and decrease CO2 emissions it is recommended to increase the collection and recycling of printed board assemblies using silver-epoxy based ECA.

  2. Rethinking the area of protection "natural resources" in life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Dewulf, Jo; Benini, Lorenzo; Mancini, Lucia; Sala, Serenella; Blengini, Gian Andrea; Ardente, Fulvio; Recchioni, Marco; Maes, Joachim; Pant, Rana; Pennington, David

    2015-05-05

    Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) in classical life cycle assessment (LCA) aims at analyzing potential impacts of products and services typically on three so-called areas of protection (AoPs): Natural Environment, Human Health, and Natural Resources. This paper proposes an elaboration of the AoP Natural Resources. It starts with analyzing different perspectives on Natural Resources as they are somehow sandwiched in between the Natural Environment (their cradle) and the human-industrial environment (their application). Reflecting different viewpoints, five perspectives are developed with the suggestion to select three in function of classical LCA. They result in three safeguard subjects: the Asset of Natural Resources, their Provisioning Capacity, and their role in Global Functions. Whereas the Provisioning Capacity is fully in function of humans, the global functions go beyond provisioning as they include nonprovisioning functions for humans and regulating and maintenance services for the globe as a whole, following the ecosystem services framework. A fourth and fifth safeguard subject has been identified: recognizing the role Natural Resources for human welfare, either specifically as building block in supply chains of products and services as such, either with or without their functions beyond provisioning. But as these are far broader as they in principle should include characterization of mechanisms within the human industrial society, they are considered as subjects for an integrated sustainability assessment (LCSA: life cycle sustainability assessment), that is, incorporating social, economic and environmental issues.

  3. An examination of silver nanoparticles in socks using screening-level life cycle assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyer, David E.; Curran, Mary Ann; Gonzalez, Michael A.

    2011-01-01

    Screening-level life cycle assessment (LCA) can provide a quick tool to identify the life cycle hot spots and focus research efforts to help to minimize the burdens of a technology while maximizing its benefits. The use of nanoscale silver in consumer products has exploded in popularity. Although its use is considered beneficial because of antimicrobial effects, some attention must be given to the potential environmental impacts it could impart on the life cycle of these nanoproducts as production demands escalate. This work examines the environmental impact of including silver nanoparticles in commercially available socks using screening-level LCA. Initial results suggest washing during the use phase contributes substantially more than the manufacturing phase to the product life cycle impacts. Comparison of nanoparticles prepared by either chemical reduction, liquid flame spray (LFS), or plasma arc demonstrate how the type of manufacturing process used for the nanoscale silver can change the resulting life cycle impact of the sock product. The magnitude of this impact will depend on the type of process used to manufacture the nanoscale silver, with LFS having the most impact because of the need for large quantities of hydrogen and oxygen. Although the increased impacts for a single nanoproduct may be relatively small, the added environmental load can actually be a significant quantity when considered at the regional or global production level.

  4. 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.

  5. Understanding the LCA and ISO water footprint: A response to Hoekstra (2016) “A critique on the water-scarcity weighted water footprint in LCA”

    EPA Science Inventory

    Water footprinting has emerged as an important approach to assess water use related effects from consumption of goods and services. Assessment methods are proposed by two different communities, the Water Footprint Network (WFN) and the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community. The p...

  6. Understanding the LCA and ISO water footprint: A response to Hoekstra (2016) “A critique on the water-scarcity weighted water footprint in LCA”

    EPA Science Inventory

    Water footprinting has emerged as an important approach to assess water use related effects from consumption of goods and services. Assessment methods are proposed by two different communities, the Water Footprint Network (WFN) and the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community. The p...

  7. Life cycle assessment of a coupled solar photocatalytic-biological process for wastewater treatment.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Ivan; Peral, José; Ayllón, José Antonio; Malato, Sixto; Passarinho, Paula; Domènech, Xavier

    2006-11-01

    A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of two solar-driven advanced oxidation processes, namely heterogeneous semiconductor photocatalysis and homogeneous photo-Fenton, both coupled to biological treatment, is carried out in order to identify the environmentally preferable alternative to treat industrial wastewaters containing non-biodegradable priority hazardous substances. The study is based on solar pilot plant tests using alpha-methyl-phenylglycine as a target substance. The LCA study is based on the experimental results obtained, along with data from an industrial-scale plant. The system under study includes production of the plant infrastructure, chemicals, electricity, transport of all these materials to the plant site, management of the spent catalyst by transport and landfilling, as well as treatment of the biodegradable effluent obtained in a conventional municipal wastewater treatment plant, and excess sludge treatment by incineration. Nine environmental impact categories are included in the LCA: global warming, ozone depletion, human toxicity, freshwater aquatic toxicity, photochemical ozone formation, acidification, eutrophication, energy consumption, and land use. The experimental results obtained in the pilot plant show that solar photo-Fenton is able to obtain a biodegradable effluent much faster than solar heterogeneous photocatalysis, implying that the latter would require a much larger solar collector area in an industrial application. The results of the LCA show that, an industrial wastewater treatment plant based on heterogeneous photocatalysis involves a higher environmental impact than the photo-Fenton alternative, which displays impact scores 80-90% lower in most impact categories assessed. These results are mainly due to the larger size of the solar collector field needed by the plant.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Monodisperse hollow silica nanospheres for nano insulation materials: synthesis, characterization, and life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Gao, Tao; Jelle, Bjørn Petter; Sandberg, Linn Ingunn C; Gustavsen, Arild

    2013-02-01

    The application of manufactured nanomaterials provides not only advantages resulting from their unique properties but also disadvantages derived from the high energy use and CO(2) burden related to their manufacture, operation, and disposal. It is therefore important to understand the trade-offs of process economics of nanomaterial production and their associated environmental footprints in order to strengthen the existing advantages while counteracting disadvantages. This work reports the synthesis, characterization, and life cycle assessment (LCA) of a new type of superinsulating materials, nano insulation materials (NIMs), which are made of hollow silica nanospheres (HSNSs) and have great flexibility in modifying their properties by tuning the corresponding structural parameters. The as-prepared HSNSs in this work have a typical inner pore diameter of about 150 nm and a shell thickness of about 10-15 nm and exhibit a reduced thermal conductivity of about 0.02 W/(m K) because of their size-dependent thermal conduction at the nanometer scale. The energy and raw material consumption related to the synthesis of HSNSs have been analyzed by the LCA method. The results indicate that the recycle of chemicals, up-scaling production, and use of environmentally friendly materials can greatly affect the process of environmental footprints. New synthesis routes for NIMs with improved thermal performance and energy and environmental features are also recommended on the basis of the LCA study.

  17. Comparison of different life-cycle impact assessment methods for aquatic ecotoxicity.

    PubMed

    Schulze, C; Jödicke, A; Scheringer, M; Margni, M; Jolliet, O; Hungerbühler, K; Matthies, M

    2001-09-01

    Human and ecotoxicity impact categories are problematic to quantify within life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) because their local scope makes them difficult to aggregate with the traditional global-impact categories used in life-cycle assessment (LCA). For being able to assess local impacts such as toxicity, LCIA developers increasingly include fate modeling into LCA. This article follows this development by comparing different LCIA methods for aquatic ecotoxicology and by investigating the importance of fate within LCIA, the necessity of considering freshwater and seawater compartments separately, and the key degradation and intermedia transfer processes involved. The methods are compared by assessing an example study of domestic clothes washing in former West Germany. Four LCIA methods are selected and applied to four substances emitted during the washing process. The conclusion is that the consideration of environmental fate does matter and that aquatic ecotoxic impacts can differ significantly for the same substance in freshwater and in marine ecosystems. The way (bio)degradation, photolysis, volatilization, and transfer from agricultural soils are considered plays an important role as do the system boundaries chosen. This means that the LCIA methodology should remain flexible so that appropriate methods can be chosen for different applications. Fate models being developed in the environmental risk assessment of chemicals can contribute to the further improvement of LCIA methods.

  18. 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

  19. Prospective environmental life cycle assessment of nanosilver T-shirts.

    PubMed

    Walser, Tobias; Demou, Evangelia; Lang, Daniel J; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2011-05-15

    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 CO(2)-equiv (FSP) and 7.67-166 kg of CO(2)-equiv (PlaSpu, varying maturity stages). Production of conventional T-shirts with and without the biocide triclosan has emissions of 2.55 kg of CO(2)-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.

  20. Environmental assessment of food waste valorization in producing biogas for various types of energy use based on LCA approach.

    PubMed

    Woon, Kok Sin; Lo, Irene M C; Chiu, Sam L H; Yan, Dickson Y S

    2016-04-01

    This paper aims to evaluate the environmental impacts of valorizing food waste for three types of energy use, namely electricity and heat, city gas, and biogas fuel as a petrol, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas substitute for vehicle use, with reference to the Hong Kong scenario. The life cycle based environmental assessment is conducted from bin-to-cradle system boundary via SimaPro 7.2.4 with ReCiPe 1.04. All of the inventory data of included processes is based on reports of government and industrial sectors. The results show that biogas fuel as a petrol substitute for vehicle use is advantageous over other types of energy use in regard to human health and ecosystems, and it is also the best considering the government's future emission reduction targets set out for the power and transport sectors in Hong Kong. By turning 1080 tonnes per day of food waste into biogas vehicle fuel as petrol substitute, it reduces 1.9% of greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sectors, which results a larger decrease of GHG emissions than the achieved mitigation in Hong Kong from 2005 to 2010.

  1. Life-cycle assessment of engineered nanomaterials: a literature review of assessment status

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miseljic, Mirko; Olsen, Stig I.

    2014-06-01

    The potential environmental impacts of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), and their engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), have, in recent years, been a cause of concern. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a highly qualified tool to assess products and systems and has an increasing extent been applied to ENMs. However, still only 29 case studies on LCA of ENMs have been published in journals and this article investigates these studies. Generally, data on production of ENMs as well as the coverage of the life cycle are limited. In particular, within use and disposal stages data are scarce due to many unknowns regarding the potential release and fate of ENMs/ENPs to and in the environment. This study investigates the sensitivity of case studies with respect to ecotoxicity impacts through a quantification of the potential ecotoxicity impacts to algae, daphnia and fish as a result of direct release of Ag and TiO2 ENPs (mainly <200 nm in nominal diameter size) from various ENM products to the freshwater compartment. It was found that Ag and TiO2 release, from 1 g Ag or TiO2 ENM product, poses up to ca. 3.5 orders of magnitude higher ecotoxicity impact than the production of 1 g polymer (PP, PE and PET average) or 1 Wh of grid mix electricity from Scandinavia. ENMs from Ag had higher ecotoxic impact than those from TiO2 and there was a linear regression between Ag ENM content in the considered products and the potential ecotoxicity impacts to the freshwater species, according to release of total Ag during use (mainly washing).

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  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 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.

  6. Metrics for biogeophysical climate forcings from land use and land cover changes and their inclusion in life cycle assessment: a critical review.

    PubMed

    Bright, Ryan M

    2015-03-17

    The regulation by vegetation of heat, momentum, and moisture exchanges between the land surface and the atmosphere is a major component in Earth's climate system. By altering surface biogeophysics, anthropogenic land use activities often perturb these exchanges and thereby directly affect climate. Although long recognized scientifically as being important, biogeophysical climate forcings from land use and land cover changes (LULCC) are rarely included in life cycle assessment (LCA). Here, I review climate metrics for characterizing biogeophysical climate forcings from LULCC, focusing mostly on those that do not require coupled land-atmosphere climate models to compute. I discuss their merits, highlight their pros and cons in terms of their compatibility with the LCA framework, outline near-term practical guidelines and solutions for their integration, and point to areas of longer term research needs in both the climate science and LCA research communities.

  7. Review of LCA studies of solid waste management systems – Part II: Methodological guidance for a better practice

    SciTech Connect

    Laurent, Alexis; Clavreul, Julie; Bernstad, Anna; Bakas, Ioannis; Niero, Monia; Gentil, Emmanuel; Christensen, Thomas H.; Hauschild, Michael Z.

    2014-03-01

    Highlights: • We perform a critical review of 222 LCA studies of solid waste management systems. • We analyse the past LCA practice against the ISO standard and ILCD Handbook guidance. • Malpractices exist in many methodological aspects with large variations among studies. • Many of these aspects are important for the reliability of the results. • We provide detailed recommendations to practitioners of waste management LCAs. - Abstract: Life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly used in waste management to identify strategies that prevent or minimise negative impacts on ecosystems, human health or natural resources. However, the quality of the provided support to decision- and policy-makers is strongly dependent on a proper conduct of the LCA. How has LCA been applied until now? Are there any inconsistencies in the past practice? To answer these questions, we draw on a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of solid waste management systems. We analyse the past practice against the ISO standard requirements and the ILCD Handbook guidelines for each major step within the goal definition, scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation phases of the methodology. Results show that malpractices exist in several aspects of the LCA with large differences across studies. Examples are a frequent neglect of the goal definition, a frequent lack of transparency and precision in the definition of the scope of the study, e.g. an unclear delimitation of the system boundaries, a truncated impact coverage, difficulties in capturing influential local specificities such as representative waste compositions into the inventory, and a frequent lack of essential sensitivity and uncertainty analyses. Many of these aspects are important for the reliability of the results. For each of them, we therefore provide detailed recommendations to practitioners of waste management LCAs.

  8. Development of Comparative Toxicity Potentials of TiO2 Nanoparticles for Use in Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Ettrup, Kim; Kounina, Anna; Hansen, Steffen Foss; Meesters, Johannes A J; Vea, Eldbjørg B; Laurent, Alexis

    2017-04-04

    Studies have shown that releases of nanoparticles may take place through the life cycle of products embedding nanomaterials, thus resulting in potential impacts on ecosystems and human health. While several life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have assessed such products, only a few of them have quantitatively addressed the toxic impacts caused by released nanoparticles, thus leading to potential biases in their conclusions. Here, we address this gap and aim to provide a framework for calculating characterization factors or comparative toxicity potentials (CTP) for nanoparticles and derive CTP values for TiO2 nanoparticles (TiO2-NP) for use in LCA. We adapted the USEtox 2.0 consensus model to integrate the SimpleBox4Nano fate model, and we populated the resulting model with TiO2-NP specific data. We thus calculated CTP values for TiO2 nanoparticles for air, water, and soil emission compartments for freshwater ecotoxicity and human toxicity, both cancer effects and noncancer effects. Our results appeared plausible after benchmarking with CTPs for other nanoparticles and substances present in the USEtox database, while large differences were observed with CTP values for TiO2 nanoparticles published in earlier studies. Assumptions, which were performed in those previous studies because of lack of data and knowledge at the time they were made, primarily explain such discrepancies. For future assessment of potential toxic impacts of TiO2 nanoparticles in LCA studies, we therefore recommend the use of our calculated CTP.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Review of LCA studies of solid waste management systems--part II: methodological guidance for a better practice.

    PubMed

    Laurent, Alexis; Clavreul, Julie; Bernstad, Anna; Bakas, Ioannis; Niero, Monia; Gentil, Emmanuel; Christensen, Thomas H; Hauschild, Michael Z

    2014-03-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly used in waste management to identify strategies that prevent or minimise negative impacts on ecosystems, human health or natural resources. However, the quality of the provided support to decision- and policy-makers is strongly dependent on a proper conduct of the LCA. How has LCA been applied until now? Are there any inconsistencies in the past practice? To answer these questions, we draw on a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of solid waste management systems. We analyse the past practice against the ISO standard requirements and the ILCD Handbook guidelines for each major step within the goal definition, scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation phases of the methodology. Results show that malpractices exist in several aspects of the LCA with large differences across studies. Examples are a frequent neglect of the goal definition, a frequent lack of transparency and precision in the definition of the scope of the study, e.g. an unclear delimitation of the system boundaries, a truncated impact coverage, difficulties in capturing influential local specificities such as representative waste compositions into the inventory, and a frequent lack of essential sensitivity and uncertainty analyses. Many of these aspects are important for the reliability of the results. For each of them, we therefore provide detailed recommendations to practitioners of waste management LCAs.

  12. Incorporating denitrification-decomposition method to estimate field emissions for Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Deng, Yelin; Paraskevas, Dimos; Cao, Shi-Jie

    2017-03-22

    This study focuses on a detailed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for flax cultivation in Northern France. Nitrogen related field emissions are derived both from a process-oriented DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) method and the generic Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) method. Since the IPCC method is synthesised from field measurements at sites with various soil types, climate conditions, and crops, it contains significant uncertainties. In contrast, the outputs from the DNDC method are considered as more site specific as it is built according to complex models of soil science. As it is demonstrated in this paper the emission factors from the DNDC method and the recommended values from the IPCC method exhibit significant variations for the case of flax cultivation. The DNDC based emission factor for direct N2O emission, which is a strong greenhouse gas, is 0.25-0.5%, significantly lower than the recommend 1% level derived from the IPCC method. The DNDC method leads to a reduction of 17% in the impact category of climate change per kg retted flax straw production from the level obtained from the IPCC method. Much higher reductions are recorded for particulate matter formation, terrestrial acidification, and marine eutrophication impact categories. Meanwhile, based on the DNDC and IPCC methods, a comparative LCA per kg flax straw is presented. For both methods sensitivity analysis as well as comparison of uncertainties parameterisation of the N2O estimates via Monte-Carlo analysis are performed. The DNDC method incorporates more relevant field emissions from the agricultural life cycle phase, which can also improve the quality of the Life Cycle Inventory as well as allow more precise uncertainty calibration in the LCA inventory.

  13. 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.).

  14. 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

  15. Life-Cycle Inventory Analysis of Laminated Veneer Lumber Production in the United States

    Treesearch

    Richard D. Bergman

    2015-01-01

    Documenting the environmental performance of building products is becoming increasingly common. Developing environmental product declarations (EPDs) based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) data is one way to provide scientific documentation. Many U.S. structural wood products have LCA-based “eco-labels” using the ISO standard. However, the standard requires underlying...

  16. Life-Cycle Inventory Analysis of I-joist Production in the United States

    Treesearch

    Richard D. Bergman

    2015-01-01

    Documenting the environmental performance of building products is becoming increasingly common. Creating environmental product declarations (EPDs) based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) data is one approach to provide scientific documentation of the products’ environmental performance. Many U.S. structural wood products have LCA-based “eco-labels” developed under the ISO...

  17. Insulation Cork Boards-Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of an Organic Construction Material.

    PubMed

    Silvestre, José D; Pargana, Nuno; de Brito, Jorge; Pinheiro, Manuel D; Durão, Vera

    2016-05-20

    Envelope insulation is a relevant technical solution to cut energy consumption and reduce environmental impacts in buildings. Insulation Cork Boards (ICB) are a natural thermal insulation material whose production promotes the recycling of agricultural waste. The aim of this paper is to determine and evaluate the environmental impacts of the production, use, and end-of-life processing of ICB. A "cradle-to-cradle" environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed according to International LCA standards and the European standards on the environmental evaluation of buildings. These results were based on site-specific data and resulted from a consistent methodology, fully described in the paper for each life cycle stage: Cork oak tree growth, ICB production, and end-of-life processing-modeling of the carbon flows (i.e., uptakes and emissions), including sensitivity analysis of this procedure; at the production stage-the modeling of energy processes and a sensitivity analysis of the allocation procedures; during building operation-the expected service life of ICB; an analysis concerning the need to consider the thermal diffusivity of ICB in the comparison of the performance of insulation materials. This paper presents the up-to-date "cradle-to-cradle" environmental performance of ICB for the environmental categories and life-cycle stages defined in European standards.

  18. Insulation Cork Boards—Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of an Organic Construction Material

    PubMed Central

    Silvestre, José D.; Pargana, Nuno; de Brito, Jorge; Pinheiro, Manuel D.; Durão, Vera

    2016-01-01

    Envelope insulation is a relevant technical solution to cut energy consumption and reduce environmental impacts in buildings. Insulation Cork Boards (ICB) are a natural thermal insulation material whose production promotes the recycling of agricultural waste. The aim of this paper is to determine and evaluate the environmental impacts of the production, use, and end-of-life processing of ICB. A “cradle-to-cradle” environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed according to International LCA standards and the European standards on the environmental evaluation of buildings. These results were based on site-specific data and resulted from a consistent methodology, fully described in the paper for each life cycle stage: Cork oak tree growth, ICB production, and end-of-life processing-modeling of the carbon flows (i.e., uptakes and emissions), including sensitivity analysis of this procedure; at the production stage—the modeling of energy processes and a sensitivity analysis of the allocation procedures; during building operation—the expected service life of ICB; an analysis concerning the need to consider the thermal diffusivity of ICB in the comparison of the performance of insulation materials. This paper presents the up-to-date “cradle-to-cradle” environmental performance of ICB for the environmental categories and life-cycle stages defined in European standards. PMID:28773516

  19. 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.

  20. Environmental life cycle assessment on the separation of rare earth oxides through solvent extraction.

    PubMed

    Vahidi, Ehsan; Zhao, Fu

    2017-12-01

    Over the past decade, Rare Earth Elements (REEs) have gained special interests due to their significance in many industrial applications, especially those related to clean energy. While REEs production is known to cause damage to the ecosystem, only a handful of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) investigations have been conducted in recent years, mainly due to lack of data and information. This is especially true for the solvent extraction separation of REEs from aqueous solution which is a challenging step in the REEs production route. In the current investigation, an LCA is carried out on a typical REE solvent extraction process using P204/kerosene and the energy/material flows and emissions data were collected from two different solvent extraction facilities in Inner Mongolia and Fujian provinces in China. In order to develop life cycle inventories, Ecoinvent 3 and SimaPro 8 software together with energy/mass stoichiometry and balance were utilized. TRACI and ILCD were applied as impact assessment tools and LCA outcomes were employed to examine and determine ecological burdens of the REEs solvent extraction operation. Based on the results, in comparison with the production of generic organic solvent in the Ecoinvent dataset, P204 production has greater burdens on all TRACI impact categories. However, due to the small amount of consumption, the contribution of P204 remains minimal. Additionally, sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid are the two impactful chemicals on most environmental categories used in the solvent extraction operation. On average, the solvent extraction step accounts for 30% of the total environmental impacts associated with individual REOs. Finally, opportunities and challenges for an enhanced environmental performance of the REEs solvent extraction operation were investigated. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. 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

    2015-07-07

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. Economic input-output life-cycle assessment of trade between Canada and the United States.

    PubMed

    Norman, Jonathan; Charpentier, Alex D; MacLean, Heather L

    2007-03-01

    With increasing trade liberalization, attempts at accounting for environmental impacts and energy use across the manufacturing supply chain are complicated by the predominance of internationally supplied resources and products. This is particularly true for Canada and the United States, the world's largest trading partners. We use an economic input-output life-cycle assessment (EIO-LCA) technique to estimate the economy-wide energy intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity for 45 manufacturing and resource sectors in Canada and the United States. Overall, we find that U.S. manufacturing and resource industries are about 1.15 times as energy-intensive and 1.3 times as GHG-intensive as Canadian industries, with significant sector-specific discrepancies in energy and GHG intensity. This trend is mainly due to a greater direct reliance on fossil fuels for many U.S. industries, in addition to a highly fossil-fuel based electricity mix in the U.S. To account for these differences, we develop a 76 sector binational EIO-LCA model that implicitly considers trade in goods between Canada and the U.S. Our findings show that accounting for trade can significantly alter the results of life-cycle assessment studies, particularly for many Canadian manufacturing sectors, and the production/consumption of goods in one country often exerts significant energy- and GHG-influences on the other.

  4. Towards the integration of orbital space use in Life Cycle Impact Assessment.

    PubMed

    Maury, Thibaut; Loubet, Philippe; Ouziel, Jonathan; Saint-Amand, Maud; Dariol, Ludovic; Sonnemann, Guido

    2017-04-09

    A rising sustainability concern is occurring in the space sector: 29,000 human-made objects, larger than 10cm are orbiting the Earth but only 6% are operational spacecrafts. Today, space debris is today a significant and constant danger to all space missions. Consequently, it becomes compelled to design new space missions considering End-of-Life requirements in order to ensure the sustainable use of space orbits. Furthermore, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been identified by the European Space Agency as an adequate tool to measure the environmental impact of spacecraft missions. Hence, our challenge is to integrate orbital space use into Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) to broaden the scope of LCA for space systems. The generation of debris in the near-Earth's orbital regions leads to a decrease in volume availability. The Area-of-Protection (AoP) 'resources' seems to be the most relevant reflection of this depletion. To address orbital space use in a comprehensive way, we propose a first attempt at establishing an impact pathway linking outer space use to resources. This framework will be the basis for defining new indicator(s) related to orbital space use.

  5. 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

  6. 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. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Life Cycle Assessment and Carbon Footprint in the Wine Supply-Chain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  13. From beans to bar: A life cycle assessment towards sustainable chocolate supply chain.

    PubMed

    Recanati, Francesca; Marveggio, Davide; Dotelli, Giovanni

    2017-09-21

    The environmental sustainability has emerged as a crucial aspect in the agri-food sector, nevertheless environmental assessments and certifications of cocoa and chocolate are still missing. Given this gap and the increasing global demand for cocoa derivatives, this study aims to evaluate the environmental impacts of an Italian dark chocolate through a holistic cradle-to-grave Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The impact categories assessed are acidification potential (AC), eutrophication potential (EU), global warming potential (GW), photochemical ozone creation potential (POC), ozone layer depletion potential (OD), abiotic depletion (AD) and cumulative energy demand (CED). The obtained results highlight the relevant contributions of upstream phase (63% for the ODP, 92% for EU and 99% for the AD) and core processes (39% for the GW and 49% for the CED) on the overall impacts. Specifically, cocoa provisioning and energy supply at the manufacturing plant emerged as environmental hotspots and have been deeper investigated through a sensitivity analysis. Obtained outcomes show the significant variability of the environmental impacts due to the agricultural phase (i.e., depending on agroecosystems and practices) and environmental benefits guaranteed by an efficient trigeneration system implemented in the manufacturing plant. The quantification of the environmental impacts of chocolate through LCA, the identification of the main hotspots along the supply chain and the sensitivity analysis performed in this study could effectively support chocolate companies in their pathway towards environmentally sustainable productions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    Pattara, Claudio; Raggi, Andrea; Cichelli, Angelo

    2012-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Scanlon, Kelly A; Gray, George M; Francis, Royce A; Lloyd, Shannon M; LaPuma, Peter

    2013-03-06

    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. 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. 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. Results support the use of the WE-DALY in a characterization factor in LCA. Integrating

  17. When product diversification influences life cycle impact assessment: A case study of canned anchovy.

    PubMed

    Laso, Jara; Margallo, María; Fullana, Pére; Bala, Alba; Gazulla, Cristina; Irabien, Ángel; Aldaco, Rubén

    2017-03-01

    The anchovy canning industry is one of the most important economic resources of the Cantabria region in Spain. However, environmental, economic and social problems over the past years have forced companies to apply marketing strategies, develop product diversification, create new products and introduce them in new "green markets". Launching Cantabrian canned anchovies into more sustainable markets requires measuring the environmental performance using Product Category Rules (PCRs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). EPDs and PCRS include the environmental profile of a range of similar products, such as all of the available canned anchovy products. The great variety of anchovy canned products depends on three process variables: the origin of the anchovy (Cantabria, Argentina and Chile or Peru), the type of oil (refined olive oil, extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oil) and the packaging (aluminum, tinplate, glass and plastic). This work aims to assess the environmental impact from cradle to grave of canned anchovies in oil using the life cycle assessment methodology (LCA). Moreover, the paper evaluates the influence of the above-mentioned three product variables in the LCA results. The results show that out of all of the alternatives, Chilean and Peruvian anchovies have the highest environmental burdens due to the transportation by ship. The production of anchovies in sunflower oil is a less environmentally friendly oil process due to the low yield per hectare of sunflower cultivation. Finally, the use of aluminum as the packaging material has the largest environmental impact out of almost all of the impact categories. Moreover, because the LCA results can be significantly affected by the allocation procedure, a sensitivity analysis comparing system expansion, mass and economic allocation is performed. In this case, the system expansion approach presents the highest environmental impacts followed by the mass allocation. Copyright © 2017 The Authors

  18. Greenhouse gas emissions from forestry operations: a life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Sonne, Edie

    2006-01-01

    Most forest carbon assessments focus only on biomass carbon and assume that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forestry activities are minimal. This study took an in-depth look at the direct and indirect emissions from Pacific Northwest (PNW) Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco] forestry activities to support or deny this claim. Greenhouse gas budgets for 408 "management regimes" were calculated using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. These management regimes were comprised of different combinations of three types of seedlings (P + 1, 1 + 1, and large plug), two types of site preparation (pile and burn, and chemical), 17 combinations of management intensity including fertilization, herbicide treatment, pre-commercial thinning (PCT), commercial thinning (CT), and nothing, and four different rotation ages (30, 40, 50, and 60 yr). Normalized to 50 yr, average direct GHG emissions were 8.6 megagrams (Mg) carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) ha(-1), which accounted for 84% of total GHG emissions from the average of 408 management regimes. Harvesting (PCT, CT, and clear cutting) contributed the most to total GHG emissions (5.9 Mg CO2e per 700 m3 harvested timber), followed by pile and burn site preparation (4.0 Mg CO2e ha(-1) or 32% of total GHG emissions) and then fertilization (1.9 Mg CO2e ha(-1) or 15% of total GHG emissions). Seedling production, seedling transportation, chemical site preparation, and herbicide treatment each contributed less than 1% of total GHG emissions when assessed per hectare of planted timberland. Total emissions per 100 m3 averaged 1.6 Mg CO2e ha(-1) over all 408 management regimes. An uncertainty analysis using Monte Carlo simulations revealed that there are significant differences between most alternative management regimes.

  19. Space transportation main engine cycle assessment process

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcconnaughey, H. V.; Lyles, G. M.

    1991-01-01

    The Advanced Launch System (ALS) program selection process for a space transportation main engine (STME) power cycle is described in terms of the methodology employed. Low cost, robustness, and high reliability are the primary parameters for engine choice, suggesting simplicity of design and efficient fabrication methods as the crucial characteristics. An evaluation methodology is developed based on the Pugh (1981) process and the King (1989) matrices. The cycle configurations considered are the gas generator (GG), the closed expander, and the open expander. The cycle assessment team determined that the GG cycle is favored by most cycle discriminators, based on an assessment of the characteristics in terms of ALS goals. The lower development risk of the GG-cycle STME is consistent with the goals of the ALS program in terms of reliability and cost efficiency.

  20. Space transportation main engine cycle assessment process

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcconnaughey, H. V.; Lyles, G. M.

    1991-01-01

    The Advanced Launch System (ALS) program selection process for a space transportation main engine (STME) power cycle is described in terms of the methodology employed. Low cost, robustness, and high reliability are the primary parameters for engine choice, suggesting simplicity of design and efficient fabrication methods as the crucial characteristics. An evaluation methodology is developed based on the Pugh (1981) process and the King (1989) matrices. The cycle configurations considered are the gas generator (GG), the closed expander, and the open expander. The cycle assessment team determined that the GG cycle is favored by most cycle discriminators, based on an assessment of the characteristics in terms of ALS goals. The lower development risk of the GG-cycle STME is consistent with the goals of the ALS program in terms of reliability and cost efficiency.

  1. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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

    2014-10-07

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. The Assessment Cycle: A Model for Learning through Peer Assessment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reinholz, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    This paper advances a model describing how peer assessment supports self-assessment. Although prior research demonstrates that peer assessment promotes self-assessment, the connection between these two activities is underspecified. This model, the assessment cycle, draws from theories of self-assessment to elaborate how learning takes place…

  10. The Assessment Cycle: A Model for Learning through Peer Assessment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reinholz, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    This paper advances a model describing how peer assessment supports self-assessment. Although prior research demonstrates that peer assessment promotes self-assessment, the connection between these two activities is underspecified. This model, the assessment cycle, draws from theories of self-assessment to elaborate how learning takes place…

  11. Environmental impact efficiency of natural gas combined cycle power plants: A combined life cycle assessment and dynamic data envelopment analysis approach.

    PubMed

    Martín-Gamboa, Mario; Iribarren, Diego; Dufour, Javier

    2017-09-26

    The energy sector is still dominated by the use of fossil resources. In particular, natural gas represents the third most consumed resource, being a significant source of electricity in many countries. Since electricity production in natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants provides some benefits with respect to other non-renewable technologies, it is often seen as a transitional solution towards a future low‑carbon power generation system. However, given the environmental profile and operational variability of NGCC power plants, their eco-efficiency assessment is required. In this respect, this article uses a novel combined Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and dynamic Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) approach in order to estimate -over the period 2010-2015- the environmental impact efficiencies of 20 NGCC power plants located in Spain. A three-step LCA+DEA method is applied, which involves data acquisition, calculation of environmental impacts through LCA, and the novel estimation of environmental impact efficiency (overall- and term-efficiency scores) through dynamic DEA. Although only 1 out of 20 NGCC power plants is found to be environmentally efficient, all plants show a relatively good environmental performance with overall eco-efficiency scores above 60%. Regarding individual periods, 2011 was -on average- the year with the highest environmental impact efficiency (95%), accounting for 5 efficient NGCC plants. In this respect, a link between high number of operating hours and high environmental impact efficiency is observed. Finally, preliminary environmental benchmarks are presented as an additional outcome in order to further support decision-makers in the path towards eco-efficiency in NGCC power plants. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Consensus building on the development of a stress-based indicator for LCA-based impact assessment of water consumption: outcome of the expert workshops

    EPA Science Inventory

    The WULCA group, active since 2007 on Water Use in LCA, commenced the development of consensus-based indicators in January 2014. This activity is planned to last 2 years and covers human health, ecosystem quality, and a stress-based indicator. This latter encompasses potential de...

  13. Consensus building on the development of a stress-based indicator for LCA-based impact assessment of water consumption: outcome of the expert workshops

    EPA Science Inventory

    The WULCA group, active since 2007 on Water Use in LCA, commenced the development of consensus-based indicators in January 2014. This activity is planned to last 2 years and covers human health, ecosystem quality, and a stress-based indicator. This latter encompasses potential de...

  14. Landfill modelling in LCA - a contribution based on empirical data.

    PubMed

    Obersteiner, Gudrun; Binner, Erwin; Mostbauer, Peter; Salhofer, Stefan

    2007-01-01

    Landfills at various stages of development, depending on their age and location, can be found throughout Europe. The type of facilities goes from uncontrolled dumpsites to highly engineered facilities with leachate and gas management. In addition, some landfills are designed to receive untreated waste, while others can receive incineration residues (MSWI) or residues after mechanical biological treatment (MBT). Dimension, type and duration of the emissions from landfills depend on the quality of the disposed waste, the technical design, and the location of the landfill. Environmental impacts are produced by the leachate (heavy metals, organic loading), emissions into the air (CH(4), hydrocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbons) and from the energy or fuel requirements for the operation of the landfill (SO(2) and NO(x) from the production of electricity from fossil fuels). To include landfilling in an life-cycle assessment (LCA) approach entails several methodological questions (multi-input process, site-specific influence, time dependency). Additionally, no experiences are available with regard to mid-term behaviour (decades) for the relatively new types of landfill (MBT landfill, landfill for residues from MSWI). The present paper focuses on two main issues concerning modelling of landfills in LCA: Firstly, it is an acknowledged fact that emissions from landfills may prevail for a very long time, often thousands of years or longer. The choice of time frame in the LCA of landfilling may therefore clearly affect the results. Secondly, the reliability of results obtained through a life-cycle assessment depends on the availability and quality of Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data. Therefore the choice of the general approach, using multi-input inventory tool versus empirical results, may also influence the results. In this paper the different approaches concerning time horizon and LCI will be introduced and discussed. In the application of empirical results, the presence of

  15. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Coal-Biomass to Liquid Jet Fuel Compared to Petroleum-Derived JP-8 Jet Fuel

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-03-01

    first additive in JP-8 is a Fuel System Icing Inhibitor (FSII). The first FSII used was Ethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ehther (EGME) consisting of 87.3...Co Cobalt  CO2 Carbon Dioxide  DiEGME Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether  DOD Department of Defense  DOE Department of Energy  E.O...Executive Order  EGME Ethyl Glycol Monomethyl Ether  EIA Energy Information Administration  EIO-LCA Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment  EISA

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Life cycle assessment of the production and use of polypropylene tree shelters.

    PubMed

    Arnold, J C; Alston, S M

    2012-02-01

    A detailed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been conducted for the manufacture, use and disposal of polypropylene tree shelters, which are used to protect young seedlings in the first few years of growth. The LCA was conducted using Simapro software, the Ecoinvent database and ReCiPe assessment methodology. Detailed information on materials, manufacturing, packaging and distribution of shelters was obtained from Tubex Ltd. in South Wales, UK. Various scenarios based on different forest establishment methods, with or without tree shelters were derived and analysed using data from published literature and independent sources. The scenarios included commercial forestry in northern temperate conditions, amenity forest establishment in temperate conditions, and forest establishment in semi-arid conditions. For commercial forestry, a reduction in required seedling production and planting as well as additional time-averaged wood production led to significant benefits with tree shelters, both compared to unprotected and fenced cases. For the amenity forest scenarios, tree shelter use had a net environmental impact, while for semi-arid forestry, the benefits of reduction in water use outweighed shelter production impacts. The current practice of in-situ degradation was compared to collection and disposal and it was found that in-situ degradation was slightly preferable in terms of overall environmental impact. Use of biopolymer-based shelters would improve the environmental performance slightly. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Two-step sensitivity testing of parametrized and regionalized life cycle assessments: methodology and case study.

    PubMed

    Mutel, Christopher L; de Baan, Laura; Hellweg, Stefanie

    2013-06-04

    Comprehensive sensitivity analysis is a significant tool to interpret and improve life cycle assessment (LCA) models, but is rarely performed. Sensitivity analysis will increase in importance as inventory databases become regionalized, increasing the number of system parameters, and parametrized, adding complexity through variables and nonlinear formulas. We propose and implement a new two-step approach to sensitivity analysis. First, we identify parameters with high global sensitivities for further examination and analysis with a screening step, the method of elementary effects. Second, the more computationally intensive contribution to variance test is used to quantify the relative importance of these parameters. The two-step sensitivity test is illustrated on a regionalized, nonlinear case study of the biodiversity impacts from land use of cocoa production, including a worldwide cocoa products trade model. Our simplified trade model can be used for transformable commodities where one is assessing market shares that vary over time. In the case study, the highly uncertain characterization factors for the Ivory Coast and Ghana contributed more than 50% of variance for almost all countries and years examined. The two-step sensitivity test allows for the interpretation, understanding, and improvement of large, complex, and nonlinear LCA systems.

  2. Identifying energy and carbon footprint optimization potentials of a sludge treatment line with Life Cycle Assessment.

    PubMed

    Remy, C; Lesjean, B; Waschnewski, J

    2013-01-01

    This study exemplifies the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a tool to quantify the environmental impacts of processes for wastewater treatment. In a case study, the sludge treatment line of a large wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is analysed in terms of cumulative energy demand and the emission of greenhouse gases (carbon footprint). Sludge treatment consists of anaerobic digestion, dewatering, drying, and disposal of stabilized sludge in mono- or co-incineration in power plants or cement kilns. All relevant forms of energy demand (electricity, heat, chemicals, fossil fuels, transport) and greenhouse gas emissions (fossil CO(2), CH(4), N(2)O) are accounted in the assessment, including the treatment of return liquor from dewatering in the WWTP. Results show that the existing process is positive in energy balance (-162 MJ/PE(COD) * a) and carbon footprint (-11.6 kg CO(2)-eq/PE(COD) * a) by supplying secondary products such as electricity from biogas production or mono-incineration and substituting fossil fuels in co-incineration. However, disposal routes for stabilized sludge differ considerably in their energy and greenhouse gas profiles. In total, LCA proves to be a suitable tool to support future investment decisions with information of environmental relevance on the impact of wastewater treatment, but also urban water systems in general.

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Life cycle based risk assessment of recycled materials in roadway construction.

    PubMed

    Carpenter, A C; Gardner, K H; Fopiano, J; Benson, C H; Edil, T B

    2007-01-01

    This paper uses a life-cycle assessment (LCA) framework to characterize comparative environmental impacts from the use of virgin aggregate and recycled materials in roadway construction. To evaluate site-specific human toxicity potential (HTP) in a more robust manner, metals release data from a demonstration site were combined with an unsaturated contaminant transport model to predict long-term impacts to groundwater. The LCA determined that there were reduced energy and water consumption, air emissions, Pb, Hg and hazardous waste generation and non-cancer HTP when bottom ash was used in lieu of virgin crushed rock. Conversely, using bottom ash instead of virgin crushed rock increased the cancer HTP risk due to potential leachate generation by the bottom ash. At this scale of analysis, the trade-offs are clearly between the cancer HTP (higher for bottom ash) and all of the other impacts listed above (lower for bottom ash). The site-specific analysis predicted that the contaminants (Cd, Cr, Se and Ag for this study) transported from the bottom ash to the groundwater resulted in very low unsaturated zone contaminant concentrations over a 200 year period due to retardation in the vadose zone. The level of contaminants predicted to reach the groundwater after 200 years was significantly less than groundwater maximum contaminant levels (MCL) set by the US Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water. Results of the site-specific contaminant release estimates vary depending on numerous site and material specific factors. However, the combination of the LCA and the site specific analysis can provide an appropriate context for decision making. Trade-offs are inherent in making decisions about recycled versus virgin material use, and regulatory frameworks should recognize and explicitly acknowledge these trade-offs in decision processes.

  9. 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). Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. 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

  11. Reinforcing the Cycle of Assessment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harhai, Marilyn K.; Krueger, Janice M.

    2014-01-01

    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the Multi-Subject Learning Survey (MSLS) as an assessment instrument for graduate students. Methodology: The MSLS was administered as a pre-test to 124 students enrolled in the introductory course for the Master of Science in Library Science degree at an American Library…

  12. Regional characterization of freshwater Use in LCA: modeling direct impacts on human health.

    PubMed

    Boulay, Anne-Marie; Bulle, Cécile; Bayart, Jean-Baptiste; Deschênes, Louise; Margni, Manuele

    2011-10-15

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology that quantifies potential environmental impacts for comparative purposes in a decision-making context. While potential environmental impacts from pollutant emissions into water are characterized in LCA, impacts from water unavailability are not yet fully quantified. Water use can make the resource unavailable to other users by displacement or quality degradation. A reduction in water availability to human users can potentially affect human health. If financial resources are available, there can be adaptations that may, in turn, shift the environmental burdens to other life cycle stages and impact categories. This paper proposes a model to evaluate these potential impacts in an LCA context. It considers the water that is withdrawn and released, its quality and scarcity in order to evaluate the loss of functionality associated with water uses. Regionalized results are presented for impacts on human health for two modeling approaches regarding affected users, including or not domestic uses, and expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALY). A consumption and quality based scarcity indicator is also proposed as a midpoint. An illustrative example is presented for the production of corrugated board with different effluents, demonstrating the importance of considering quality, process effluents and the difference between the modeling approaches.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. A case study by life cycle assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Shuyun

    2017-05-01

    This article aims to assess the potential environmental impact of an electrical grinder during its life cycle. The Life Cycle Inventory Analysis was conducted based on the Simplified Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) Drivers that calculated from the Valuation of Social Cost and Simplified Life Cycle Assessment Model (VSSM). The detailed results for LCI can be found under Appendix II. The Life Cycle Impact Assessment was performed based on Eco-indicator 99 method. The analysis results indicated that the major contributor to the environmental impact as it accounts for over 60% overall SLCA output. In which, 60% of the emission resulted from the logistic required for the maintenance activities. This was measured by conducting the hotspot analysis. After performing sensitivity analysis, it is evidenced that changing fuel type results in significant decrease environmental footprint. The environmental benefit can also be seen from the negative output values of the recycling activities. By conducting Life Cycle Assessment analysis, the potential environmental impact of the electrical grinder was investigated.

  16. 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

  17. Variability and uncertainty in life cycle assessment models for greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian oil sands production.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Adam R

    2012-01-17

    Because of interest in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels production, a number of recent life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have calculated GHG emissions from oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining pathways. The results from these studies vary considerably. This paper reviews factors affecting energy consumption and GHG emissions from oil sands extraction. It then uses publicly available data to analyze the assumptions made in the LCA models to better understand the causes of variability in emissions estimates. It is found that the variation in oil sands GHG estimates is due to a variety of causes. In approximate order of importance, these are scope of modeling and choice of projects analyzed (e.g., specific projects vs industry averages); differences in assumed energy intensities of extraction and upgrading; differences in the fuel mix assumptions; treatment of secondary noncombustion emissions sources, such as venting, flaring, and fugitive emissions; and treatment of ecological emissions sources, such as land-use change-associated emissions. The GHGenius model is recommended as the LCA model that is most congruent with reported industry average data. GHGenius also has the most comprehensive system boundaries. Last, remaining uncertainties and future research needs are discussed.

  18. 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.

  19. Comparing environmental impacts of tertiary wastewater treatment technologies for advanced phosphorus removal and disinfection with life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Remy, C; Miehe, U; Lesjean, B; Bartholomäus, C

    2014-01-01

    Different technologies for tertiary wastewater treatment are compared in their environmental impacts with life cycle assessment (LCA). Targeting very low phosphorus concentration (50-120 μg/L) and seasonal disinfection of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) secondary effluent, this LCA compares high-rate sedimentation, microsieve, dual media filtration (all with UV disinfection), and polymer ultrafiltration or ceramic microfiltration membranes for upgrading the large WWTP Berlin-Ruhleben. Results of the LCA show that mean effluent quality of membranes is highest, but at the cost of high electricity and chemical demand and associated emissions of greenhouse gases or other air pollutants. In contrast, gravity-driven treatment processes require less electricity and chemicals, but can reach significant removal of phosphorus. In fact, dual media filter or microsieve cause substantially lower specific CO2 emissions per kg P removed from the secondary effluent (180 kg CO2-eq/kg P, including UV) than the membrane schemes (275 kg CO2-eq/kg P).

  20. Environmental impact assessment of a package type IFAS reactor during construction and operational phases: a life cycle approach.

    PubMed

    Singh, Nitin Kumar; Singh, Rana Pratap; Kazmi, Absar Ahmad

    2017-05-01

    In the present study, a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach was used to analyse the environmental impacts associated with the construction and operational phases of an integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS) reactor treating municipal wastewater. This study was conducted within the boundaries of a research project that aimed to investigate the implementation related challenges of a package type IFAS reactor from an environmental perspective. Along with the LCA results of the construction phase, a comparison of the LCA results of seven operational phases is also presented in this study. The results showed that among all the inputs, the use of stainless steel in the construction phase caused the highest impact on environment, followed by electricity consumption in raw materials production. The impact of the construction phase on toxicity impact indicators was found to be significant compared to all operational phases. Among the seven operational phases of this study, the dissolved oxygen phase III, having a concentration of ∼4.5 mg/L, showed the highest impact on abiotic depletion, acidification, global warming, ozone layer depletion, human toxicity, fresh water eco-toxicity, marine aquatic eco-toxicity, terrestrial eco-toxicity, and photochemical oxidation. However, better effluent quality in this phase reduced the eutrophication load on environment.