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Sample records for cycle assessments lca

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:21930527

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  14. 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...

  15. 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%.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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. PMID:19144506

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-15

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-17

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

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-01

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

  2. 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 ...

  3. EDITORIAL: THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    This is a special issue of Journal of Life Cycle Assessment that includes selected papers from the Internatonal Conference and Exhibition on Life Cycle Assessment (InLCA). In April 2000, the EPA, with co-organizer IERE, held the InLCA conferencethat attracted over 265 attendees (...

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. 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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

    Miller, Shelie A; Keoleian, Gregory A

    2015-03-01

    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.

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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...

  13. 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 ...

  14. Incorporating exposure science into life-cycle assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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. PMID:25121583

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

    PubMed

    Blengini, Gian Andrea; Busto, Mirko

    2009-03-01

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

  18. 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...

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Models for waste life cycle assessment: review of technical assumptions.

    PubMed

    Gentil, Emmanuel C; Damgaard, Anders; Hauschild, Michael; Finnveden, Göran; Eriksson, Ola; Thorneloe, Susan; Kaplan, Pervin Ozge; Barlaz, Morton; Muller, Olivier; Matsui, Yasuhiro; Ii, Ryota; Christensen, Thomas H

    2010-12-01

    A number of waste life cycle assessment (LCA) models have been gradually developed since the early 1990 s, in a number of countries, usually independently from each other. Large discrepancies in results have been observed among different waste LCA models, although it has also been shown that results from different LCA studies can be consistent. This paper is an attempt to identify, review and analyse methodologies and technical assumptions used in various parts of selected waste LCA models. Several criteria were identified, which could have significant impacts on the results, such as the functional unit, system boundaries, waste composition and energy modelling. The modelling assumptions of waste management processes, ranging from collection, transportation, intermediate facilities, recycling, thermal treatment, biological treatment, and landfilling, are obviously critical when comparing waste LCA models. This review infers that some of the differences in waste LCA models are inherent to the time they were developed. It is expected that models developed later, benefit from past modelling assumptions and knowledge and issues. Models developed in different countries furthermore rely on geographic specificities that have an impact on the results of waste LCA models. The review concludes that more effort should be employed to harmonise and validate non-geographic assumptions to strengthen waste LCA modelling.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Hellweg, Stefanie; Milà i Canals, Llorenç

    2014-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hellweg, Stefanie; Milà i Canals, Llorenç

    2014-06-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. 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. PMID:22854094

  14. 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...

  15. LIFE CYCLE IMPACT ASSESSMENT SOPHISTICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. Energy life-cycle assessment of soybean biodiesel revisited

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  1. 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. PMID:22054586

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-15

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Application of life cycle assessment for an evaluation of wastewater treatment and reuse project--case study of Xi'an, China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Q H; Wang, X C; Xiong, J Q; Chen, R; Cao, B

    2010-03-01

    In order to illuminate the benefit of a wastewater treatment and reuse project, a life cycle assessment (LCA) model was proposed by combining the process-based LCA and the input-output based LCA in one framework and using energy consumption as the sole parameter for quantitative evaluation of the project. The life cycle consumption was evaluated mainly by life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis taking into account the construction phase, operation phase and demolishment phase of the project. For evaluating the life cycle benefit of treated water reuse, attention was paid to the decrease of secondary effluent discharge and water saving. As a result of comprehensive LCA analysis of a case project in Xi'an, China, it was understood that the life cycle benefit gained from treated wastewater reuse much surpassed the life cycle energy consumption. The advantage of wastewater treatment and reuse was well shown by LCA analysis using the proposed model.

  10. [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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:19070352

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wender, Benjamin

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  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. PMID:26919970

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-15

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

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 ...

  6. 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...

  7. 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. PMID:22508125

  8. Life cycle assessment of dairy farms.

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  9. Life cycle assessment of dairy farms.

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  10. 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. PMID:17428653

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. General prevention and risk minimization in LCA: a combined approach.

    PubMed

    Sleeswijk, Anneke Wegener

    2003-01-01

    Methods for life cycle assessment of products (LCA) are most often based on the general prevention principle, as opposed to the risk minimization principle. Here, the desirability and feasibility of a combined approach are discussed, along with the conditions for elaboration in the framework of LCA methodology, and the consequences for LCA practice. A combined approach provides a separate assessment of above and below threshold pollution, offering the possibility to combat above threshold impacts with priority. Spatial differentiation in fate, exposure, and effect modelling is identified to play a central role in the implementation. The collection of region-specific data turns out to be the most elaborate requirement for the implementation in both methodology and practice. A methodological framework for the construction of characterization factors is provided. Along with spatial differentiation of existing parameters, two newly introduced spatial parameters play a key role: the sensitivity factor and the threshold factor. The practicability of the proposed procedure is illustrated by an example of its application. Providing a reasonable data availability, the development of separate LCA characterization factors for the respective assessment of pollution levels above and below environmental threshold values seems to be a feasible task that may add to LCA credibility. PMID:12635961

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

    Winkler, Jörg; Bilitewski, Bernd

    2007-01-01

    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. PMID:17428652

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Caffrey, Kevin R; Veal, Matthew W

    2013-01-01

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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Sharp, Benjamin E; Miller, Shelie A

    2016-03-15

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:22208397

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  7. Uncertainty in multi-media fate and transport models: a case study for TNT life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Mayo, Michael; Collier, Zachary A; Hoang, Vu; Chappell, Mark

    2014-10-01

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an evaluation method used by decision-makers to help assess the relative environmental impacts of various industrial processes. Despite that many LCA methods remain sensitive to uncertain input data, which can reduce the utility of their results, uncertainty arising from constituent LCA models remains poorly understood. Here, we begin to address this problem by evaluating the extent to which parameter-value uncertainty affects the SimpleBox 2.0 fate and transport model, which serves as a backbone for many LCA ecotoxicological impact categories. Two Monte Carlo type sampling methods were used to evaluate dispersion in steady-state concentration values for three chemicals involved in grenade production: toluene, 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT), and 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). Parameters were first sampled stochastically one-at-a-time, then by randomly exploring a local patch of the parameter space. We confirmed that global temperatures contribute primarily to the overall variance of model results, which at most spanned approximately 8 decades in magnitude. These results are consistent with previous results obtained for the whole of the LCA method. LCA methods carry out calculations iteratively; a reduction in the error of a single component, such as the fate and transport model, may therefore improve its performance and utility as a decision-making aid.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. How green is a chemical reaction? Application of LCA to green chemistry.

    PubMed

    Domènech, Xavier; Ayllón, José A; Peral, José; Rieradevall, Joan

    2002-12-15

    In the present work Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used in order to evaluate a chemical reaction from an environmental point of view. The objective is to assess the usefulness of this methodology as an environmental tool to be applied to green chemistry. As an example, two routes of obtaining maleic anhydride are compared using LCA, to ascertain which one is the most environmentally friendly. From the results obtained in this work it can be concluded that LCA seems to be a valuable tool for the environmental assessment of a chemical reaction, because it takes into account all the life cycle stages of the process and discusses the impact of the environmental burdens inventoried according to a diversity of impact categories. PMID:12521184

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-15

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Exploring the viability of probabilistic under-specification to streamline life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Olivetti, Elsa; Patanavanich, Siamrut; Kirchain, Randolph

    2013-05-21

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique used to assess the environmental impact of products, processes, or materials. Recently, its importance as a decision-making tool to help evaluate current inventories and innovation of environmentally responsible products has grown; however, the amount of information needed to completely assess even the simplest product's environmental impact may require significant time and resources. Myriad quantitative and qualitative effort-reducing strategies have been considered to accelerate the pace and reduce the cost of LCA. Although these streamlining methodologies reduce the time and effort of conducting LCA, they introduce variability and uncertainty into the results, creating a challenge for stakeholders who may need to make decisions based on the information. This Article explores the impact of streamlining on the credibility of LCA results given the uncertainty in the context of several case studies related to materials production in common consumer products. A technique for the structured analysis of the bill of materials is proposed, which leverages statistical analysis in the context of uncertainty. PMID:23581248

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

    PubMed

    Yue, Dajun; Pandya, Shyama; You, Fengqi

    2016-02-01

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

  2. Life Cycle Assessment modelling of stormwater treatment systems.

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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. PMID:19854813

  7. Life-cycle assessments: Linking energy, economics, and the environment. Paper No. 571

    SciTech Connect

    Shankle, S.A.

    1994-08-01

    The Pacific Northwest Laboratory has been involved in a number of life-cycle assessment (LCA) projects that assess the complete lifetime energy, economic, and environmental impacts of alternative technology options. Life-cycle assessments offer one-stop shopping answers to the total energy and environmental implications of alternative technologies, as well as providing employment and income consequences. In one recently completed study, the lifetime impacts of scenarios involving the production and use of biomass ethanol transportation fuels were assessed. In an ongoing study, the lifetime impacts of electric-powered vehicles versus conventional fuels are being assessed. In a proposed study, the impacts of recycled office paper versus office paper from virgin sources would be assessed. A LCA proceeds by developing mass and energy inventories during all phases of the life-cycle. Special attention is given to energy consumption and environmental releases. Economics are incorporated by evaluating the macroeconomic impacts of the alternative policies, such as employment, wages, and output. Economics can also be incorporated by attempting to place values on the damages imposed by the environmental releases associated with alternative scenarios. This paper discusses life-cycle assessment techniques and their application to building energy issues. Life-cycle assessments show great promise for analysis of buildings energy policy questions.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

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

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

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

  15. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-15

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

  3. 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. PMID:24564585

  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 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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. PMID:22704808

  8. 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. PMID:26830787

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Yu, Fei; Han, Feng; Cui, Zhaojie

    2015-04-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bayer, Peter; Finkel, Michael

    2006-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bayer, Peter; Finkel, Michael

    2006-02-10

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

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. Comparative life-cycle assessment of fossil diesel and biodiesel

    SciTech Connect

    Spirinckx, C.; Ceuterick, D.

    1996-12-31

    Complementary to the VITO demonstration project on the use of biodiesel as engine fuel, a comparative life-cycle assessment has been made for rapeseed methyl ester (RME) and fossil diesel fuel. The study covers: (1) a description of the LCA methodology used; (2) an inventory of the consumption of energy and materials and the discharges to the environment; (3) a comparative impact assessment. The life-cycle of the biodiesel covers the cultivation of winter rapeseed in Belgium (including fertilizer production and application), oil extraction and processing, transesterification, combustion of RME in a diesel engine and the different transportation steps during the whole life-cycle. Data on fossil diesel production cover the following aspects: extraction of crude oil, refining, combustion in a diesel engine and several transportation steps. Emission data of the combustion of both RME and fossil diesel fuel in a diesel engine are based upon VITO measurements. Sensitivity analyses on the most important parameters has been carried out as e.g. type of fertilizer, allocation method, data source.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Florent, Querini; Enrico, Benetto

    2015-02-01

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

  7. 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. PMID:15644260

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

    PubMed

    Florent, Querini; Enrico, Benetto

    2015-02-01

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

  9. Reproducibility of LCA models of crude oil production.

    PubMed

    Vafi, Kourosh; Brandt, Adam R

    2014-11-01

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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. PMID:24631622

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Jana, Kuntal; De, Sudipta

    2016-09-01

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

  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. PMID:21936535

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

    2015-05-01

    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.

  19. 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

    2015-05-01

    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. PMID:25867920

  20. 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.

  1. Life cycle assessment for dredged sediment placement strategies.

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

    Foolmaun, Rajendra Kumar; Ramjeeawon, Toolseeram

    2012-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-15

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

  11. Life cycle assessment of construction and demolition waste management

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-10-15

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:26923298

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  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. PMID:21506582

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  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 of wastewater treatment options for small and decentralized communities.

    PubMed

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

    2007-01-01

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

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

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

  12. 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

  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. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  18. 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.

  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. PMID:18069462

  20. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. Life cycle assessment of nuclear-based hydrogen production via thermochemical water splitting using a copper-chlorine (Cu-Cl) cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ozbilen, Ahmet Ziyaettin

    The energy carrier hydrogen is expected to solve some energy challenges. Since its oxidation does not emit greenhouse gases (GHGs), its use does not contribute to climate change, provided that it is derived from clean energy sources. Thermochemical water splitting using a Cu-Cl cycle, linked with a nuclear super-critical water cooled reactor (SCWR), which is being considered as a Generation IV nuclear reactor, is a promising option for hydrogen production. In this thesis, a comparative environmental study is reported of the three-, four- and five-step Cu-Cl thermochemical water splitting cycles with various other hydrogen production methods. The investigation uses life cycle assessment (LCA), which is an analytical tool to identify and quantify environmentally critical phases during the life cycle of a system or a product and/or to evaluate and decrease the overall environmental impact of the system or product. The LCA results for the hydrogen production processes indicate that the four-step Cu-Cl cycle has lower environmental impacts than the three- and five-step Cu-Cl cycles due to its lower thermal energy requirement. Parametric studies show that acidification potentials (APs) and global warming potentials (GWPs) for the four-step Cu-Cl cycle can be reduced from 0.0031 to 0.0028 kg SO2-eq and from 0.63 to 0.55 kg CO2-eq, respectively, if the lifetime of the system increases from 10 to 100 years. Moreover, the comparative study shows that the nuclear-based S-I and the four-step Cu-Cl cycles are the most environmentally benign hydrogen production methods in terms of AP and GWP. GWPs of the S-I and the four-step Cu-Cl cycles are 0.412 and 0.559 kg CO2-eq for reference case which has a lifetime of 60 years. Also, the corresponding APs of these cycles are 0.00241 and 0.00284 kg SO2-eq. It is also found that an increase in hydrogen plant efficiency from 0.36 to 0.65 decreases the GWP from 0.902 to 0.412 kg CO 2-eq and the AP from 0.00459 to 0.00209 kg SO2-eq for 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. PMID:23900083

  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. 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.

  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. PMID:24195778

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

    PubMed

    Pattara, Claudio; Raggi, Andrea; Cichelli, Angelo

    2012-06-01

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

  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. PMID:26218291

  12. 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.

  13. Life cycle assessment of fertilizers: a review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skowrońska, Monika; Filipek, Tadeusz

    2014-03-01

    Life cycle assessment has become an increasingly common approach for identifying, quantifying, and evaluating the total potential environmental impact of production processes or products, from the procurement of raw materials (the `cradle'), to production and utilization (the `gates') and their final storage (the `grave'), as well as for determining ways to repair damage to the environment. The paper describes life cycle assessment of mineral fertilizers. On the basis of results provided by life cycle assessment, it can be concluded that an effective strategy for protecting the environment against the harmful effects of fertilizers is to attempt to `seal' the nutrient cycle on a global, regional, and local scale. Pro-environ- mental measures aim on the one hand to reduce resource utilization, and on the other hand to limit losses of nutrients, during both production and use of fertilizers. An undoubted challenge for life cycle assessment when used in agricultural production is the need for relevance at each scale.

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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. PMID:16825464

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Guinee, J.B.; Heijungs, R.

    1995-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  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 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

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

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

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

  19. 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. PMID:22098783

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

  1. 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.

  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. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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…

  13. LCA and emergy accounting of aquaculture systems: towards ecological intensification.

    PubMed

    Wilfart, Aurélie; Prudhomme, Jehane; Blancheton, Jean-Paul; Aubin, Joël

    2013-05-30

    An integrated approach is required to optimise fish farming systems by maximising output while minimising their negative environmental impacts. We developed a holistic approach to assess the environmental performances by combining two methods based on energetic and physical flow analysis. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a normalised method that estimates resource use and potential impacts throughout a product's life cycle. Emergy Accounting (EA) refers the amount of energy directly or indirectly required by a product or a service. The combination of these two methods was used to evaluate the environmental impacts of three contrasting fish-farming systems: a farm producing salmon in a recirculating system (RSF), a semi-extensive polyculture pond (PF1) and an extensive polyculture pond (PF2). The RSF system, with a low feed-conversion ratio (FCR = 0.95), had lower environmental impacts per tonne of live fish produced than did the two pond farms, when the effects on climate change, acidification, total cumulative energy demand, land competition and water dependence were considered. However, RSF was clearly disconnected from the surrounding environment and depended highly on external resources (e.g. nutrients, energy). Ponds adequately incorporated renewable natural resources but had higher environmental impacts due to incomplete use of external inputs. This study highlighted key factors necessary for the successful ecological intensification of fish farming, i.e., minimise external inputs, lower the FCR, and increase the use of renewable resources from the surrounding environment. The combination of LCA and EA seems to be a practical approach to address the complexity of optimising biophysical efficiency in aquaculture systems.

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

    PubMed

    Place, Sara E; Mitloehner, Frank M

    2012-11-01

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

  15. 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

  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. 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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    Fusi, Alessandra; Guidetti, Riccardo; Benedetto, Graziella

    2014-02-15

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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). PMID:24759537

  2. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2009-07-01

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

  4. Red meat production in australia: life cycle assessment and comparison with overseas studies.

    PubMed

    Peters, Gregory M; Rowley, Hazel V; Wiedemann, Stephen; Tucker, Robyn; Short, Michael D; Schulz, Matthias

    2010-02-15

    Greenhouse gas emissions from beef production are a significant part of Australia's total contribution to climate change. For the first time an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) hybridizing detailed on-site process modeling and input-output analysis is used to describe Australian red meat production. In this paper we report the carbon footprint and total energy consumption of three supply chains in three different regions in Australia over two years. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use data are compared to those from international studies on red meat production, and the Australian results are either average or below average. The increasing proportion of lot-fed beef in Australia is favorable, since this production system generates lower total GHG emissions than grass-fed production; the additional effort in producing and transporting feeds is effectively offset by the increased efficiency of meat production in feedlots. In addition to these two common LCA indicators, in this paper we also quantify solid waste generation and a soil erosion indicator on a common basis. PMID:20067280

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

    PubMed

    Castellani, Valentina; Sala, Serenella; Mirabella, Nadia

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Castellani, Valentina; Sala, Serenella; Mirabella, Nadia

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Ibarrola, Rodrigo; Shackley, Simon; Hammond, James

    2012-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-30

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

  9. Consumption-weighted life cycle assessment of a consumer electronic product community.

    PubMed

    Ryen, Erinn G; Babbitt, Callie W; Williams, Eric

    2015-02-17

    A new approach for quantifying the net environmental impact of a "community" of interrelated products is demonstrated for consumer electronics owned by an average U.S. household over a 15-year period (1992-2007). This consumption-weighted life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology accounts for both product consumption (number of products per household) and impact (cumulative energy demand (MJ) and greenhouse gas emissions (MT CO2 eq) per product), analyzed using a hybrid LCA framework. Despite efficiency improvements in individual devices from 1992 to 2007, the net impact of the entire product community increased, due primarily to increasing ownership and usage. The net energy impact for the product community is significant, nearly 30% of the average gasoline use in a U.S. passenger vehicle in 2007. The analysis points to a large contribution by legacy products (cathode ray tube televisions and desktop computers), due to historically high consumption rates, although impacts are beginning to shift to smaller mobile devices. This method is also applied to evaluate prospective intervention strategies, indicating that environmental impact can be reduced by strategies such as lifespan extension or energy efficiency, but only when applied to all products owned, or by transforming consumption trends toward fewer, highly multifunctional products.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Hsu, D. D.

    2011-03-01

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

  11. Red meat production in australia: life cycle assessment and comparison with overseas studies.

    PubMed

    Peters, Gregory M; Rowley, Hazel V; Wiedemann, Stephen; Tucker, Robyn; Short, Michael D; Schulz, Matthias

    2010-02-15

    Greenhouse gas emissions from beef production are a significant part of Australia's total contribution to climate change. For the first time an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) hybridizing detailed on-site process modeling and input-output analysis is used to describe Australian red meat production. In this paper we report the carbon footprint and total energy consumption of three supply chains in three different regions in Australia over two years. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use data are compared to those from international studies on red meat production, and the Australian results are either average or below average. The increasing proportion of lot-fed beef in Australia is favorable, since this production system generates lower total GHG emissions than grass-fed production; the additional effort in producing and transporting feeds is effectively offset by the increased efficiency of meat production in feedlots. In addition to these two common LCA indicators, in this paper we also quantify solid waste generation and a soil erosion indicator on a common basis.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  14. LCA applied to elucidate opportunities for biogas from wastewaters in Colombia.

    PubMed

    Meneses-Jácome, A; Osorio-Molina, A; Parra-Saldívar, R; Gallego-Suárez, D; Velásquez-Arredondo, H I; Ruiz-Colorado, A A

    2015-01-01

    Biogas produced in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities (BWWF) is a resource wasted in several socio-economic contexts. BWWF-based projects are compared against energy projects using conventional electricity or natural gas (NG), following strict economic considerations that usually tip the balance in favour of conventional energy supply. This is because the economic gain associated with the environmental benefits of using small biogas sources like BWWF does not overcome the technical and financial effort required in these types of project. This paper shows a broader application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to explore opportunities for positive (or effective) utilization of BWWF in the Colombian context. LCA has been used to evaluate the supply-chain of NG which is the direct competitor of BWWF, in three different Colombian regions, in order to identify those where higher NG environmental impacts offer increased environmental added-value to BWWF use. LCA was also applied to study two BWWF valorization scenarios in the poultry processing industry. It shows how valorization options for BWWF are more realistic and effective when specific-regional loads are applied to the environmental assessment of NG supply-chain and BWWF valorization.

  15. LCA applied to elucidate opportunities for biogas from wastewaters in Colombia.

    PubMed

    Meneses-Jácome, A; Osorio-Molina, A; Parra-Saldívar, R; Gallego-Suárez, D; Velásquez-Arredondo, H I; Ruiz-Colorado, A A

    2015-01-01

    Biogas produced in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities (BWWF) is a resource wasted in several socio-economic contexts. BWWF-based projects are compared against energy projects using conventional electricity or natural gas (NG), following strict economic considerations that usually tip the balance in favour of conventional energy supply. This is because the economic gain associated with the environmental benefits of using small biogas sources like BWWF does not overcome the technical and financial effort required in these types of project. This paper shows a broader application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to explore opportunities for positive (or effective) utilization of BWWF in the Colombian context. LCA has been used to evaluate the supply-chain of NG which is the direct competitor of BWWF, in three different Colombian regions, in order to identify those where higher NG environmental impacts offer increased environmental added-value to BWWF use. LCA was also applied to study two BWWF valorization scenarios in the poultry processing industry. It shows how valorization options for BWWF are more realistic and effective when specific-regional loads are applied to the environmental assessment of NG supply-chain and BWWF valorization. PMID:25633944

  16. Quantifying uncertainty in LCA-modelling of waste management systems

    SciTech Connect

    Clavreul, Julie; Guyonnet, Dominique; Christensen, Thomas H.

    2012-12-15

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Uncertainty in LCA-modelling of waste management is significant. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Model, scenario and parameter uncertainties contribute. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Sequential procedure for quantifying uncertainty is proposed. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Application of procedure is illustrated by a case-study. - Abstract: Uncertainty analysis in LCA studies has been subject to major progress over the last years. In the context of waste management, various methods have been implemented but a systematic method for uncertainty analysis of waste-LCA studies is lacking. The objective of this paper is (1) to present the sources of uncertainty specifically inherent to waste-LCA studies, (2) to select and apply several methods for uncertainty analysis and (3) to develop a general framework for quantitative uncertainty assessment of LCA of waste management systems. The suggested method is a sequence of four steps combining the selected methods: (Step 1) a sensitivity analysis evaluating the sensitivities of the results with respect to the input uncertainties, (Step 2) an uncertainty propagation providing appropriate tools for representing uncertainties and calculating the overall uncertainty of the model results, (Step 3) an uncertainty contribution analysis quantifying the contribution of each parameter uncertainty to the final uncertainty and (Step 4) as a new approach, a combined sensitivity analysis providing a visualisation of the shift in the ranking of different options due to variations of selected key parameters. This tiered approach optimises the resources available to LCA practitioners by only propagating the most influential uncertainties.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  19. Environmental performance of power generation system in China based on LCA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Su, Xing; Zhang, Xu; Yuan, Yuan

    2010-11-01

    In this study, LCA (life cycle assessment) is used as a tool for the assessment of energy consumption and associated impacts generated from utilization of energy in various power generation systems in China. The details follow the methodology outlined in ISO14040. The scope of this research includes energy production, energy transportation, and energy utilization. The function unit of life cycle inventory is 1 kJ electricity power. Most of the inventory data have been collected from Yearbook of China. Compared to fuel-fired power generation system, hydropower and nuclear power are more environment-friendly according to life cycle inventory analysis results, so increasing the proportion of hydropower and nuclear power in the power industry has a significant improvement effect on the development of China's power industry. The life cycle environmental impact of integrated power generation level in 2010 will be 13.8% lower than in 1999 according to National energy policy of China.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    2012-11-01

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

  1. Environmental assessment of different dewatering and drying methods on the basis of life cycle assessment.

    PubMed

    Stefaniak, J; Zelazna, A; Pawłowski, A

    2014-01-01

    Sewage sludge is an inevitable product of wastewater treatment in municipal wastewater plants and its amount has increased dramatically due to the growing number of sewage systems users. This sludge needs to be adequately treated in order to decrease its hazardous properties and any negative influence on the environment. In this paper, gate to gate analysis, on the basis of life cycle assessment (LCA), was carried out in order to compare the environmental impact of alternative ways of sludge processing employing a dewatering press and three different kinds of dryers - belt dryer, container dryer and batch dryer. SimaPro 7.2 software and Ecoinvent 2.2 database were used to estimate the carbon footprint and energy balance of these processes. The main energy consumption in the scenarios analyzed is caused by the drying process. The solution based on application of the batch dryer allows a saving of 39.6% of energy compared with the most energy-consuming solution using a belt dryer. Sludge processing using belt and container dryers cause greater environmental burdens. PMID:24569277

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-21

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2014-09-15

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mukherjee, Shilpi

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

  6. Life cycle assessment of swine and dairy manure: pyrolysis and combustion processes.

    PubMed

    Fernandez-Lopez, M; Puig-Gamero, M; Lopez-Gonzalez, D; Avalos-Ramirez, Antonio; Valverde, J; Sanchez-Silva, L

    2015-04-01

    The valorization of three different manure samples via pyrolysis and combustion processes was evaluated. Dairy manure (sample Pre) was biologically pretreated by anaerobic digestion (sample Dig R) whereas swine manure (sample SW) was pretreated by a biodrying process. Thermal behavior of manure samples were studied by means of thermogravimetric analysis coupled with mass spectrometry (TGA-MS). These processes could be divided into four general stages: dehydration, devolatilization, char transformation (oxidation for combustion) and inorganic matter decomposition. The main differences observed among the samples were attributed to their different composition and pretreatment. The economic feasibility, energetic and environmental impacts of pyrolysis and combustion technologies for dairy samples were carried out by means of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. Four different scenarios were analyzed. The economic feasibility of the pyrolysis process was demonstrated, being sample Dig R the best environmental option. However, the combustion of sample Pre was the best energetic option.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

  12. Environmental assessment of low-organic waste landfill scenarios by means of life-cycle assessment modelling (EASEWASTE).

    PubMed

    Manfredi, Simone; Christensen, Thomas H; Scharff, Heijo; Jacobs, Joeri

    2010-02-01

    The environmental performance of two low-organic waste landfill scenarios ('low-organic-energy' and 'low-organic-flare') was developed and compared with two household waste landfill scenarios ('household-energy' and 'household-flare') by means of LCA-modelling. The LCA-modelling was made for 1 tonne of wet waste landfilled and the environmental aspects were evaluated for a 100-year period after disposal. The data utilized in the LCA-calculations to model the first 10-20 years of landfilling of the two low-organic waste scenarios make extensive use of site-specific data from the Nauerna Landfill (The Netherlands), but average data from other comparable, existing landfills were used too. As data from full-scale landfills do not cover more than 30-40 years of landfilling, data from laboratory simulations and accelerated tests of limited scale were also utilized. The life-cycle impact assessments show that the low-organic waste scenarios achieved better environmental performance than the household waste scenarios with regard to both ordinary and toxicity-related environmental impact categories. This indicates that the reduction of organic matter accepted at landfills (as prescribed by the European Union Landfill Directive: Council Directive 1999/31/EC, EU, Brussels, 1999) can be a successful approach to decrease the environmental loads in several impact categories in comparison with landfilling of waste with significant organic content. However, when utilization of landfill gas is accounted for in the life-cycle impact assessment calculation, the small gas generation in low-organic waste landfills reduced the actual potential for energy generation and therefore the environmental savings obtained were reduced proportionally. Groundwater pollution from input of leachate was also evaluated and the WHO (Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality; WHO, Geneva, 2006) guideline for drinking water quality was assumed as reference. The results show that low-organic waste landfills

  13. LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA) AS A FRAMEWORK FOR ADDRESSING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF CONCENTRATED ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS (CAFOS)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The challenges Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) directly pose to sustainability include their impact on human health, receiving water bodies, groundwater, and air quality. These challenges result from the large quantities of macronutrients (carbon, nitrogen, and pho...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  16. The joint use of LCA and emergy evaluation for the analysis of two Italian wine farms.

    PubMed

    Pizzigallo, A C I; Granai, C; Borsa, S

    2008-01-01

    The aim of this paper is to evaluate two agroindustrial productive processes in their entirety (one organic and one semi-industrial), focusing on the comparison of impacts derived from the inputs and outputs of the system (life cycle assessment, LCA), integrated with a physical evaluation of the resources and natural services, on a common basis (emergy). Methods based on the joint use of LCA and emergy evaluation are useful, as they measure the contribution of environmental services and products to the productive process thus focusing primarily on the environmental impact of emissions and non-renewable energy inputs. The complementarity of the methods used in this paper contributes important elements and information useful for the comprehension of the organization of agriculture within Siena's territory. The results show important elements and useful information: (1) for the comprehension of the two agroecosystems' organization; (2) for the use of the energy flows that determine their development. Moreover, the combined use of emergy and LCA gives a comparative thermodynamic performance evaluation between organic and semi-industrial farming. PMID:17097798

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

    PubMed

    Kliucininkas, L; Matulevicius, J; Martuzevicius, D

    2012-05-30

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

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

    PubMed

    Kliucininkas, L; Matulevicius, J; Martuzevicius, D

    2012-05-30

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  2. LCA – Unique and Controversial Case Studies

    EPA Science Inventory

    This session will focus on case studies and applications that have a unique or controversial aspect. Some of the most recent topics that seem to have significant interest include: LCA-based product declarations, LCA-based standards, LCA-based labels, alternative energy, agricul...

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

    PubMed

    Inoue, Yasushi; Katayama, Arata

    2011-09-15

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sydnor, George Honeycutt

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Thanh, Nguyen Phuc; Matsui, Yasuhiro

    2013-10-01

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

  6. Life cycle assessment of a national policy proposal - the case of a Swedish waste incineration tax.

    PubMed

    Björklund, Anna E; Finnveden, Göran

    2007-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Bjoerklund, Anna E. Finnveden, Goeran

    2007-07-01

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

  8. Life cycle assessment of a national policy proposal - the case of a Swedish waste incineration tax.

    PubMed

    Björklund, Anna E; Finnveden, Göran

    2007-01-01

    At the core of EU and Swedish waste policy is the so-called waste hierarchy, according to which waste should first be prevented, but should otherwise be treated in the following order of prioritisation: reuse, recycling when environmentally motivated, energy recovery, and last landfilling. Some recent policy decisions in Sweden aim to influence waste management in the direction of the waste hierarchy. In 2001 a governmental commission assessed the economic and environmental impacts of introducing a weight-based tax on waste incineration, the purpose of which would be to encourage waste reduction and increase materials recycling and biological treatment. This paper presents the results of a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the waste incineration tax proposal. It was done in the context of a larger research project concerning the development and testing of a framework for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The aim of this paper is to assess the life cycle environmental impacts of the waste incineration tax proposal, and to investigate whether there are any possibilities of more optimal design of such a tax. The proposed design of the waste incineration tax results in increased recycling, but only in small environmental improvements. A more elaborate tax design is suggested, in which the tax level would partly be related to the fossil carbon content of the waste. PMID:17419045

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-04-01

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

  13. Identification of 'carbon hot-spots' and quantification of GHG intensities in the biodiesel supply chain using hybrid LCA and structural path analysis.

    PubMed

    Acquaye, Adolf A; Wiedmann, Thomas; Feng, Kuishang; Crawford, Robert H; Barrett, John; Kuylenstierna, Johan; Duffy, Aidan P; Koh, S C Lenny; McQueen-Mason, Simon

    2011-03-15

    It is expected that biodiesel production in the EU will remain the dominant contributor as part of a 10% minimum binding target for biofuel in transportation fuel by 2020 within the 20% renewable energy target in the overall EU energy mix. Life cycle assessments (LCA) of biodiesel to evaluate its environmental impacts have, however, remained questionable, mainly because of the adoption of a traditional process analysis approach resulting in system boundary truncation and because of issues regarding the impacts of land use change and N(2)O emissions from fertilizer application. In this study, a hybrid LCA methodology is used to evaluate the life cycle CO(2) equivalent emissions of rape methyl ester (RME) biodiesel. The methodology uses input-output analysis to estimate upstream indirect emissions in order to complement traditional process LCA in a hybrid framework. It was estimated that traditional LCA accounted for 2.7 kg CO(2)-eq per kg of RME or 36.6% of total life cycle emissions of the RME supply chin. Further to the inclusion of upstream indirect impacts in the LCA system (which accounted for 23% of the total life cycle emissions), emissions due to direct land use change (6%) and indirect land use change (16.5%) and N(2)O emissions from fertilizer applications (17.9%) were also calculated. Structural path analysis is used to decompose upstream indirect emissions paths of the biodiesel supply chain in order to identify, quantify, and rank high carbon emissions paths or 'hot-spots' in the biodiesel supply chain. It was shown, for instance, that inputs from the 'Other Chemical Products' sector (identified as phosphoric acid, H(3)PO(4)) into the biodiesel production process represented the highest carbon emission path (or hot-spot) with 5.35% of total upstream indirect emissions of the RME biodiesel supply chain. PMID:21319814

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-19

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-19

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

  16. Recommendation for Land Use Impact Assessment: First Steps into Framework, Theory, and Implementation

    EPA Science Inventory

    Although early Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology researchers focused on the modeling of impacts from chemical emissions, it has become obvious that resource depletion categories such as land use, water use, and fossil fuel depletion require additional attention to appropria...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-15

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Abeliotis, Konstadinos; Kalogeropoulos, Alexandros; Lasaridi, Katia

    2012-01-15

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

  20. Life Cycle Assessment of urban wastewater reuse with ozonation as tertiary treatment: a focus on toxicity-related impacts.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Ivan; Rodríguez, Antonio; Rosal, Roberto; Fernández-Alba, Amadeo R

    2009-02-01

    Life Cycle Assessment has been used to compare different scenarios involving wastewater reuse, with special focus on toxicity-related impact categories. The study is based on bench-scale experiments applying ozone and ozone in combination with hydrogen peroxide to a wastewater effluent from a Spanish sewage treatment plant. Two alternative characterisation models have been used to account for toxicity of chemical substances, namely USES-LCA and EDIP97. Four alternative scenarios have been assessed: wastewater discharge plus desalination supply, wastewater reuse without tertiary treatment, wastewater reuse after applying a tertiary treatment consisting on ozonation, and wastewater reuse after applying ozonation in combination with hydrogen peroxide. The results highlight the importance of including wastewater pollutants in LCA of wastewater systems assessing toxicity, since the contribution of wastewater pollutants to the overall toxicity scores in this case study can be above 90%. Key pollutants here are not only heavy metals and other priority pollutants, but also non-regulated pollutants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Wastewater reuse after applying any of the tertiary treatments considered appears as the best choice from an ecotoxicity perspective. As for human toxicity, differences between scenarios are smaller, and taking into account the experimental and modelling uncertainty, the benefits of tertiary treatment are not so clear. From a global warming potential perspective, tertiary treatments involve a potential 85% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions when compared with desalination.

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

    PubMed

    Shadbahr, Jalil; Zhang, Yan; Khan, Faisal

    2015-01-01

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

  2. LCA comparison of container systems in municipal solid waste management

    SciTech Connect

    Rives, Jesus; Rieradevall, Joan; Gabarrell, Xavier

    2010-06-15

    The planning and design of integrated municipal solid waste management (MSWM) systems requires accurate environmental impact evaluation of the systems and their components. This research assessed, quantified and compared the environmental impact of the first stage of the most used MSW container systems. The comparison was based on factors such as the volume of the containers, from small bins of 60-80 l to containers of 2400 l, and on the manufactured materials, steel and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Also, some parameters such as frequency of collections, waste generation, filling percentage and waste container contents, were established to obtain comparable systems. The methodological framework of the analysis was the life cycle assessment (LCA), and the impact assessment method was based on CML 2 baseline 2000. Results indicated that, for the same volume, the collection systems that use HDPE waste containers had more of an impact than those using steel waste containers, in terms of abiotic depletion, global warming, ozone layer depletion, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical oxidation, human toxicity and terrestrial ecotoxicity. Besides, the collection systems using small HDPE bins (60 l or 80 l) had most impact while systems using big steel containers (2400 l) had less impact. Subsequent sensitivity analysis about the parameters established demonstrated that they could change the ultimate environmental impact of each waste container collection system, but that the comparative relationship between systems was similar.

  3. LCA comparison of container systems in municipal solid waste management.

    PubMed

    Rives, Jesús; Rieradevall, Joan; Gabarrell, Xavier

    2010-06-01

    The planning and design of integrated municipal solid waste management (MSWM) systems requires accurate environmental impact evaluation of the systems and their components. This research assessed, quantified and compared the environmental impact of the first stage of the most used MSW container systems. The comparison was based on factors such as the volume of the containers, from small bins of 60-80l to containers of 2400l, and on the manufactured materials, steel and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Also, some parameters such as frequency of collections, waste generation, filling percentage and waste container contents, were established to obtain comparable systems. The methodological framework of the analysis was the life cycle assessment (LCA), and the impact assessment method was based on CML 2 baseline 2000. Results indicated that, for the same volume, the collection systems that use HDPE waste containers had more of an impact than those using steel waste containers, in terms of abiotic depletion, global warming, ozone layer depletion, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical oxidation, human toxicity and terrestrial ecotoxicity. Besides, the collection systems using small HDPE bins (60l or 80l) had most impact while systems using big steel containers (2400l) had less impact. Subsequent sensitivity analysis about the parameters established demonstrated that they could change the ultimate environmental impact of each waste container collection system, but that the comparative relationship between systems was similar.

  4. Estimates of embodied global energy and air-emission intensities of Japanese products for building a Japanese input-output life cycle assessment database with a global system boundary.

    PubMed

    Nansai, Keisuke; Kondo, Yasushi; Kagawa, Shigemi; Suh, Sangwon; Nakajima, Kenichi; Inaba, Rokuta; Tohno, Susumu

    2012-08-21

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

  5. Estimates of embodied global energy and air-emission intensities of Japanese products for building a Japanese input-output life cycle assessment database with a global system boundary.

    PubMed

    Nansai, Keisuke; Kondo, Yasushi; Kagawa, Shigemi; Suh, Sangwon; Nakajima, Kenichi; Inaba, Rokuta; Tohno, Susumu

    2012-08-21

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hou, D.; Al-Tabbaa, A.

    2012-12-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-06-01

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

  10. Geographical scenario uncertainty in generic fate and exposure factors of toxic pollutants for life-cycle impact assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Huijbregts, Mark A.J.; Lundi, Sven; McKone, Thomas E.; van de Meent, D.

    2003-02-01

    In environmental life-cycle assessments (LCA), fate and exposure factors account for the general fate and exposure properties of chemicals under generic environmental conditions by means of 'evaluative' multi-media fate and exposure box models. To assess the effect of using different generic environmental conditions, fate and exposure factors of chemicals emitted under typical conditions of (1) Western Europe, (2) Australia and (3) the United States of America were compared with the multi-media fate and exposure box model USES-LCA. Comparing the results of the three evaluative environments, it was found that the uncertainty in fate and exposure factors for ecosystems and humans due to choice of an evaluative environment, as represented by the ratio of the 97.5th and 50th percentile, is between a factor 2 and 10. Particularly, fate and exposure factors of emissions causing effects in fresh water ecosystems and effects on human health have relatively high uncertainty. This uncertainty i s mainly caused by the continental difference in the average soil erosion rate, the dimensions of the fresh water and agricultural soil compartment, and the fraction of drinking water coming from ground water.

  11. Geographical scenario uncertainty in generic fate and exposure factors of toxic pollutants for life-cycle impact assessment.

    PubMed

    Huijbregts, M A J; Lundi, S; McKone, T E; van de Meent, D

    2003-05-01

    In environmental life-cycle assessments (LCA), fate and exposure factors account for the general fate and exposure properties of chemicals under generic environmental conditions by means of 'evaluative' multi-media fate and exposure box models. To assess the effect of using different generic environmental conditions, fate and exposure factors of chemicals emitted under typical conditions of (1). Western Europe, (2). Australia and (3). the United States of America were compared with the multi-media fate and exposure box model USES-LCA. Comparing the results of the three evaluative environments, it was found that the uncertainty in fate and exposure factors for ecosystems and humans due to choice of an evaluative environment, as represented by the ratio of the 97.5th and 50th percentile, is between a factor 2 and 10. Particularly, fate and exposure factors of emissions causing effects in fresh water ecosystems and effects on human health have relatively high uncertainty. This uncertainty is mainly caused by the continental difference in the average soil erosion rate, the dimensions of the fresh water and agricultural soil compartment, and the fraction of drinking water coming from ground water.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-30

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-30

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-30

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  18. Combinatorial life cycle assessment to inform process design of industrial production of algal biodiesel.

    PubMed

    Brentner, Laura B; Eckelman, Matthew J; Zimmerman, Julie B

    2011-08-15

    The use of algae as a feedstock for biodiesel production is a rapidly growing industry, in the United States and globally. A life cycle assessment (LCA) is presented that compares various methods, either proposed or under development, for algal biodiesel to inform the most promising pathways for sustainable full-scale production. For this analysis, the system is divided into five distinct process steps: (1) microalgae cultivation, (2) harvesting and/or dewatering, (3) lipid extraction, (4) conversion (transesterification) into biodiesel, and (5) byproduct management. A number of technology options are considered for each process step and various technology combinations are assessed for their life cycle environmental impacts. The optimal option for each process step is selected yielding a best case scenario, comprised of a flat panel enclosed photobioreactor and direct transesterification of algal cells with supercritical methanol. For a functional unit of 10 GJ biodiesel, the best case production system yields a cumulative energy demand savings of more than 65 GJ, reduces water consumption by 585 m(3) and decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 86% compared to a base case scenario typical of early industrial practices, highlighting the importance of technological innovation in algae processing and providing guidance on promising production pathways. PMID:21662987

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Life cycle assessment of water reuse systems in an industrial park.

    PubMed

    Tong, Le; Liu, Xin; Liu, Xuewei; Yuan, Zengwei; Zhang, Qiong

    2013-11-15

    The rapid development of industrial parks in China has resulted in large resource consumption and pollutant emissions, especially freshwater use and wastewater discharge. Water reuse has attracted much attention from governments because of its potential to conserve freshwater and reduce pollutant emissions. However, water reuse usually means adding advanced treatment which consumes chemicals, materials and energy. Is the water reuse beneficial for the environment from a life cycle perspective? To answer this question, we quantified the environmental impacts of reusing treated wastewater at industrial parks under different scenarios through a comparative life-cycle assessment (LCA). Four scenarios are assessed: wastewater is treated and discharged, 20% and 99% of wastewater is treated and reused as industrial process water, and treated wastewater is used for horticulture. Inventory data were mainly obtained from a facility which manages the wastewater treatment and reuse system of an industrial park in Jiangsu Province. Environmental impacts were evaluated using the CML2001 method built into the GaBi version 4.3 database. The results show the water reuse is beneficial and the reuse rate significantly affects environmental performance of the system. It is also found that using the reclaimed water for higher value applications results in larger environmental credit. Decision makers in water management should consider both water quantity and quality and associated environmental impacts for different water reuse applications.

  1. Combinatorial life cycle assessment to inform process design of industrial production of algal biodiesel.

    PubMed

    Brentner, Laura B; Eckelman, Matthew J; Zimmerman, Julie B

    2011-08-15

    The use of algae as a feedstock for biodiesel production is a rapidly growing industry, in the United States and globally. A life cycle assessment (LCA) is presented that compares various methods, either proposed or under development, for algal biodiesel to inform the most promising pathways for sustainable full-scale production. For this analysis, the system is divided into five distinct process steps: (1) microalgae cultivation, (2) harvesting and/or dewatering, (3) lipid extraction, (4) conversion (transesterification) into biodiesel, and (5) byproduct management. A number of technology options are considered for each process step and various technology combinations are assessed for their life cycle environmental impacts. The optimal option for each process step is selected yielding a best case scenario, comprised of a flat panel enclosed photobioreactor and direct transesterification of algal cells with supercritical methanol. For a functional unit of 10 GJ biodiesel, the best case production system yields a cumulative energy demand savings of more than 65 GJ, reduces water consumption by 585 m(3) and decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 86% compared to a base case scenario typical of early industrial practices, highlighting the importance of technological innovation in algae processing and providing guidance on promising production pathways.

  2. Environmental impacts of surgical procedures: life cycle assessment of hysterectomy in the United States.

    PubMed

    Thiel, Cassandra L; Eckelman, Matthew; Guido, Richard; Huddleston, Matthew; Landis, Amy E; Sherman, Jodi; Shrake, Scott O; Copley-Woods, Noe; Bilec, Melissa M

    2015-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-01

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

  4. LCA of selective waste collection systems in dense urban areas.

    PubMed

    Iriarte, Alfredo; Gabarrell, Xavier; Rieradevall, Joan

    2009-02-01

    This paper presents research concerning the environmental analysis of the selective collection management of municipal solid waste. The main goal of this study is to quantify and to compare, by means of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the potential environmental impacts of three selective collection systems modelled on densely populated urban areas. These systems are: the mobile pneumatic, the multi-container and the door-to-door. Impact assessment method based on CML 2 baseline 2000 is applied to the different systems. The study separates and analyzes the collection systems in substages: two urban substages and one inter-city substage. At the urban level, the multi-container system has the least environmental impact of all systems. The mobile pneumatic system has greater environmental impacts in terms of global warming, fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, acidification and eutrophication. In this system, the pipes and the pneumatic transport have the greatest impacts. The door-to-door system has a greatest environmental impact in terms of abiotic depletion, ozone layer depletion and human toxicity. An overall evaluation of the three substages, with a sensitivity analysis, indicates that the mobile pneumatic system at an inter-city distance of 20 km shows the greatest environmental impacts and the greatest energy demand. Inter-city transport is key; the results show that from an inter-city distance of 11 km onwards, this becomes the substage which most contributes to global warming impact and energy demand, in all the systems.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-09-01

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

  6. Life cycle assessment of electronic waste treatment

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-04-15

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-01-15

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

  8. LCA and economic evaluation of landfill leachate and gas technologies.

    PubMed

    Damgaard, Anders; Manfredi, Simone; Merrild, Hanna; Stensøe, Steen; Christensen, Thomas H

    2011-07-01

    Landfills receiving a mix of waste, including organics, have developed dramatically over the last 3-4 decades; from open dumps to engineered facilities with extensive controls on leachate and gas. The conventional municipal landfill will in most climates produce a highly contaminated leachate and a significant amount of landfill gas. Leachate controls may include bottom liners and leachate collection systems as well as leachate treatment prior to discharge to surface water. Gas controls may include oxidizing top covers, gas collection systems with flares or gas utilization systems for production of electricity and heat. The importance of leachate and gas control measures in reducing the overall environmental impact from a conventional landfill was assessed by life-cycle-assessment (LCA). The direct cost for the measures were also estimated providing a basis for assessing which measures are the most cost-effective in reducing the impact from a conventional landfill. This was done by modeling landfills ranging from a simple open dump to highly engineered conventional landfills with energy recovery in form of heat or electricity. The modeling was done in the waste LCA model EASEWASTE. The results showed drastic improvements for most impact categories. Global warming went from an impact of 0.1 person equivalent (PE) for the dump to -0.05 PE for the best design. Similar improvements were found for photochemical ozone formation (0.02 PE to 0.002 PE) and stratospheric ozone formation (0.04 PE to 0.001 PE). For the toxic and spoiled groundwater impact categories the trend is not as clear. The reason for this was that the load to the environment shifted as more technologies were used. For the dump landfill the main impacts were impacts for spoiled groundwater due to lack of leachate collection, 2.3 PE down to 0.4 PE when leachate is collected. However, at the same time, leachate collection causes a slight increase in eco-toxicity and human toxicity via water (0.007 E to 0

  9. LCA and economic evaluation of landfill leachate and gas technologies.

    PubMed

    Damgaard, Anders; Manfredi, Simone; Merrild, Hanna; Stensøe, Steen; Christensen, Thomas H

    2011-07-01

    Landfills receiving a mix of waste, including organics, have developed dramatically over the last 3-4 decades; from open dumps to engineered facilities with extensive controls on leachate and gas. The conventional municipal landfill will in most climates produce a highly contaminated leachate and a significant amount of landfill gas. Leachate controls may include bottom liners and leachate collection systems as well as leachate treatment prior to discharge to surface water. Gas controls may include oxidizing top covers, gas collection systems with flares or gas utilization systems for production of electricity and heat. The importance of leachate and gas control measures in reducing the overall environmental impact from a conventional landfill was assessed by life-cycle-assessment (LCA). The direct cost for the measures were also estimated providing a basis for assessing which measures are the most cost-effective in reducing the impact from a conventional landfill. This was done by modeling landfills ranging from a simple open dump to highly engineered conventional landfills with energy recovery in form of heat or electricity. The modeling was done in the waste LCA model EASEWASTE. The results showed drastic improvements for most impact categories. Global warming went from an impact of 0.1 person equivalent (PE) for the dump to -0.05 PE for the best design. Similar improvements were found for photochemical ozone formation (0.02 PE to 0.002 PE) and stratospheric ozone formation (0.04 PE to 0.001 PE). For the toxic and spoiled groundwater impact categories the trend is not as clear. The reason for this was that the load to the environment shifted as more technologies were used. For the dump landfill the main impacts were impacts for spoiled groundwater due to lack of leachate collection, 2.3 PE down to 0.4 PE when leachate is collected. However, at the same time, leachate collection causes a slight increase in eco-toxicity and human toxicity via water (0.007 E to 0

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

    PubMed

    Bare, Jane; Gloria, Thomas; Norris, Gregory

    2006-08-15

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

  11. Simplified LCA and matrix methods in identifying the environmental aspects of a product system.

    PubMed

    Hur, Tak; Lee, Jiyong; Ryu, Jiyeon; Kwon, Eunsun

    2005-05-01

    In order to effectively integrate environmental attributes into the product design and development processes, it is crucial to identify the significant environmental aspects related to a product system within a relatively short period of time. In this study, the usefulness of life cycle assessment (LCA) and a matrix method as tools for identifying the key environmental issues of a product system were examined. For this, a simplified LCA (SLCA) method that can be applied to Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) was developed to efficiently identify their significant environmental aspects for eco-design, since a full scale LCA study is usually very detailed, expensive and time-consuming. The environmentally responsible product assessment (ERPA) method, which is one of the matrix methods, was also analyzed. Then, the usefulness of each method in eco-design processes was evaluated and compared using the case studies of the cellular phone and vacuum cleaner systems. It was found that the SLCA and the ERPA methods provided different information but they complemented each other to some extent. The SLCA method generated more information on the inherent environmental characteristics of a product system so that it might be useful for new design/eco-innovation when developing a completely new product or method where environmental considerations play a major role from the beginning. On the other hand, the ERPA method gave more information on the potential for improving a product so that it could be effectively used in eco-redesign which intends to alleviate environmental impacts of an existing product or process.

  12. Simplified LCA and matrix methods in identifying the environmental aspects of a product system.

    PubMed

    Hur, Tak; Lee, Jiyong; Ryu, Jiyeon; Kwon, Eunsun

    2005-05-01

    In order to effectively integrate environmental attributes into the product design and development processes, it is crucial to identify the significant environmental aspects related to a product system within a relatively short period of time. In this study, the usefulness of life cycle assessment (LCA) and a matrix method as tools for identifying the key environmental issues of a product system were examined. For this, a simplified LCA (SLCA) method that can be applied to Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) was developed to efficiently identify their significant environmental aspects for eco-design, since a full scale LCA study is usually very detailed, expensive and time-consuming. The environmentally responsible product assessment (ERPA) method, which is one of the matrix methods, was also analyzed. Then, the usefulness of each method in eco-design processes was evaluated and compared using the case studies of the cellular phone and vacuum cleaner systems. It was found that the SLCA and the ERPA methods provided different information but they complemented each other to some extent. The SLCA method generated more information on the inherent environmental characteristics of a product system so that it might be useful for new design/eco-innovation when developing a completely new product or method where environmental considerations play a major role from the beginning. On the other hand, the ERPA method gave more information on the potential for improving a product so that it could be effectively used in eco-redesign which intends to alleviate environmental impacts of an existing product or process. PMID:15829365

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-15

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lee, Soo-Sun; Hong, Tae-Whan

    2016-02-01

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

  18. Implementing groundwater extraction in life cycle impact assessment: characterization factors based on plant species richness for The Netherlands.

    PubMed

    van Zelm, Rosalie; Schipper, Aafke M; Rombouts, Michiel; Snepvangers, Judith; Huijbregts, Mark A J

    2011-01-15

    An operational method to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with groundwater use is currently lacking in life cycle assessment (LCA). This paper outlines a method to calculate characterization factors that address the effects of groundwater extraction on the species richness of terrestrial vegetation. Characterization factors (CF) were derived for The Netherlands and consist of a fate and an effect part. The fate factor equals the change in drawdown due to a change in groundwater extraction and expresses the amount of time required for groundwater replenishment. It was obtained with a grid-specific steady-state groundwater flow model. Effect factors were obtained from groundwater level response curves of potential plant species richness, which was constructed based on the soil moisture requirements of 625 plant species. Depending on the initial groundwater level, effect factors range up to 9.2% loss of species per 10 cm of groundwater level decrease. The total Dutch CF for groundwater extraction depended on the value choices taken and ranged from 0.09 to 0.61 m(2)·yr/m(3). For tap water production, we showed that groundwater extraction can be responsible for up to 32% of the total terrestrial ecosystem damage. With the proposed approach, effects of groundwater extraction on terrestrial ecosystems can be systematically included in LCA.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Banar, Mufide Cokaygil, Zerrin; Ozkan, Aysun

    2009-01-15

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

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

    PubMed

    Banar, Mufide; Cokaygil, Zerrin; Ozkan, Aysun

    2009-01-01

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

  1. Life cycle assessment of electronic waste treatment.

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2012-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  6. Life Cycle Impact Assessment Research Developments and Needs

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2013-03-01

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

  8. Multiple data sets and modelling choices in a comparative LCA of disposable beverage cups.

    PubMed

    van der Harst, Eugenie; Potting, José; Kroeze, Carolien

    2014-10-01

    This study used multiple data sets and modelling choices in an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare typical disposable beverage cups made from polystyrene (PS), polylactic acid (PLA; bioplastic) and paper lined with bioplastic (biopaper). Incineration and recycling were considered as waste processing options, and for the PLA and biopaper cup also composting and anaerobic digestion. Multiple data sets and modelling choices were systematically used to calculate average results and the spread in results for each disposable cup in eleven impact categories. The LCA results of all combinations of data sets and modelling choices consistently identify three processes that dominate the environmental impact: (1) production of the cup's basic material (PS, PLA, biopaper), (2) cup manufacturing, and (3) waste processing. The large spread in results for impact categories strongly overlaps among the cups, however, and therefore does not allow a preference for one type of cup material. Comparison of the individual waste treatment options suggests some cautious preferences. The average waste treatment results indicate that recycling is the preferred option for PLA cups, followed by anaerobic digestion and incineration. Recycling is slightly preferred over incineration for the biopaper cups. There is no preferred waste treatment option for the PS cups. Taking into account the spread in waste treatment results for all cups, however, none of these preferences for waste processing options can be justified. The only exception is composting, which is least preferred for both PLA and biopaper cups. Our study illustrates that using multiple data sets and modelling choices can lead to considerable spread in LCA results. This makes comparing products more complex, but the outcomes more robust.

  9. Multiple data sets and modelling choices in a comparative LCA of disposable beverage cups.

    PubMed

    van der Harst, Eugenie; Potting, José; Kroeze, Carolien

    2014-10-01

    This study used multiple data sets and modelling choices in an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare typical disposable beverage cups made from polystyrene (PS), polylactic acid (PLA; bioplastic) and paper lined with bioplastic (biopaper). Incineration and recycling were considered as waste processing options, and for the PLA and biopaper cup also composting and anaerobic digestion. Multiple data sets and modelling choices were systematically used to calculate average results and the spread in results for each disposable cup in eleven impact categories. The LCA results of all combinations of data sets and modelling choices consistently identify three processes that dominate the environmental impact: (1) production of the cup's basic material (PS, PLA, biopaper), (2) cup manufacturing, and (3) waste processing. The large spread in results for impact categories strongly overlaps among the cups, however, and therefore does not allow a preference for one type of cup material. Comparison of the individual waste treatment options suggests some cautious preferences. The average waste treatment results indicate that recycling is the preferred option for PLA cups, followed by anaerobic digestion and incineration. Recycling is slightly preferred over incineration for the biopaper cups. There is no preferred waste treatment option for the PS cups. Taking into account the spread in waste treatment results for all cups, however, none of these preferences for waste processing options can be justified. The only exception is composting, which is least preferred for both PLA and biopaper cups. Our study illustrates that using multiple data sets and modelling choices can lead to considerable spread in LCA results. This makes comparing products more complex, but the outcomes more robust. PMID:25037049

  10. Life cycle assessment of wood wastes: A case study of ephemeral architecture.

    PubMed

    Rivela, Beatriz; Moreira, María Teresa; Muñoz, Iván; Rieradevall, Joan; Feijoo, Gumersindo

    2006-03-15

    One of the most commonly used elements in ephemeral architecture is a particleboard panel. These types of wood products are produced from wood wastes and they are used in temporary constructions such as trade fairs. Once the event is over, they are usually disposed into landfills. This paper intends to assess the environmental effects related to the use of these wood wastes in the end-of-life stage. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of two scenarios was performed, considering the recycling of wood waste for particleboard manufacture and energy generation from non-renewable resources (Scenario 1) versus the production of energy from the combustion of wood waste and particleboard manufacture with conventional wooden resources (Scenario 2). A sensitive analysis was carried out taking into account the influence of the percentage of recycled material and the emissions data from wood combustion. According to Ecoindicator 99 methodology, Damage to Human Health and Ecosystem Quality are more significant in Scenario 2 whereas Scenario 1 presents the largest contribution to Damage to Resources. Between the two proposed alternatives, the recycling of wood waste for particleboard manufacture seems to be more favorable under an environmental perspective. PMID:15922411

  11. Evaluating holistic environmental consequences of brownfield management options using consequential life cycle assessment for different perspectives.

    PubMed

    Lesage, Pascal; Deschênes, Louise; Samson, Réjean

    2007-08-01

    Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or underused sites whose reuse necessitates some sort of intervention. These sites are largely urban and are frequently contaminated. Brownfield management options can be associated with three types of environmental consequences: those resulting from changes in the site's environmental quality (primary impacts); those resulting from the actual intervention stage (secondary impacts); and, if the vocation of the site changes, those resulting from effects on regional land use (tertiary impacts). Different stakeholders and decision-making contexts will place a different importance on each of these types of impacts. This article proposes a framework for comparing brownfield management options in regard to these three types of environmental impacts and for interpreting these results from different perspectives. The assessment framework is based on consequential life cycle assessment (LCA), which is shown to provide environmental information on the three types of impacts. The results for a case study are presented, where a "rehabilitation" option allowing residential redevelopment is compared to an "exposure minimization" option not resulting in the site being reused. Calculated primary and tertiary impacts are favorable to the rehabilitation option, whereas secondary impacts are favorable to the exposure minimization option. A ternary diagram presents the favorable option for different stereotypical perspectives. Tertiary impacts are much greater than secondary impacts, and consequently all perspectives that consider tertiary impacts favor rehabilitation. The perspective that considers primary and secondary impacts receives conflicting information. The ternary diagram, showing results for all perspectives, could possibly be useful for consensus-building among stakeholders.

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

    PubMed

    Abeliotis, Konstadinos; Kalogeropoulos, Alexandros; Lasaridi, Katia

    2012-01-01

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

  13. Life cycle assessment of wood wastes: A case study of ephemeral architecture.

    PubMed

    Rivela, Beatriz; Moreira, María Teresa; Muñoz, Iván; Rieradevall, Joan; Feijoo, Gumersindo

    2006-03-15

    One of the most commonly used elements in ephemeral architecture is a particleboard panel. These types of wood products are produced from wood wastes and they are used in temporary constructions such as trade fairs. Once the event is over, they are usually disposed into landfills. This paper intends to assess the environmental effects related to the use of these wood wastes in the end-of-life stage. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of two scenarios was performed, considering the recycling of wood waste for particleboard manufacture and energy generation from non-renewable resources (Scenario 1) versus the production of energy from the combustion of wood waste and particleboard manufacture with conventional wooden resources (Scenario 2). A sensitive analysis was carried out taking into account the influence of the percentage of recycled material and the emissions data from wood combustion. According to Ecoindicator 99 methodology, Damage to Human Health and Ecosystem Quality are more significant in Scenario 2 whereas Scenario 1 presents the largest contribution to Damage to Resources. Between the two proposed alternatives, the recycling of wood waste for particleboard manufacture seems to be more favorable under an environmental perspective.

  14. A life cycle assessment of destruction of ammunition.

    PubMed

    Alverbro, K; Björklund, A; Finnveden, G; Hochschorner, E; Hägvall, J

    2009-10-30

    The Swedish Armed Forces have large stocks of ammunition that were produced at a time when decommissioning was not considered. This ammunition will eventually become obsolete and must be destroyed, preferably with minimal impact on the environment and in a safe way for personnel. The aim of this paper is to make a comparison of the environmental impacts in a life cycle perspective of three different methods of decommissioning/destruction of ammunition, and to identify the environmental advantages and disadvantages of each of these destruction methods: open detonation; static kiln incineration with air pollution control combined with metal recycling, and a combination of incineration with air pollution cont