We - Poster: Wednesday Poster Session
Assessment of biogas production scenarios from grass silage and manure in Estonia through spatial and life cycle energy analysis
Tartu University, Estonia
Biogas is an important renewable energy source, which has largely been ignored in Estonia due to lack of interest, knowledge and funding. Based on previous life cycle energy assessments and literature, geographic and statistical data from local authorities and national agricultural registrars was analyzed from a spatial perspective to develop a method for more accurate and geo-specific assessment of pig and cattle manure and grass silage resources for biogas production in Tartu country. A primary energy approach is chosen to make future economic assessments more accurate. For a more detailed description, eight case studies based on four cattle and pig farms of various sizes are performed.
The researched biogas system involves several steps of production – from silage cultivation to digestate handling. All types of biogas production chains show positive net energy balance. The most efficient are shown to be large pig farms employing co-digestion with grass silage, demonstrating 31% input consumption. The least efficient are shown to be small cattle farms with monodigestion of cattle manure. Input analysis shows a steep effect of biogas plant heat and electricity consumption – in small-scale farms electricity and heat amount to nearly 90% of all inputs, while in large-scale farms the percentage is reduced to 60%. Silage cultivation counts for roughly 10-20% of all inputs but this is offset by a more efficient transportation and biogas potential, yielding approximately 50% more primary energy.
Transport analysis encompassed a spatial assessment of resource distribution for the case studies. A model was attributed, which attempted to predict the optimal area for gathering 30% of volatile solids ratio in the co-digestion scenarios. Comparing the model to actual land analysis showed significant differences between theoretical and perceived haulage rates, which in an economical assessment would prove to be significant, however, this neglected to influence the total primary energy inputs by more than 6%.
From a primary energy perspective, all studied biogas plants are viable. Biogas plants of Tartu county could account for approximately 8.5% of the methane requirements of the city of Tartu, but biogas utilisation provides multiple other benefits as well.
Close to process changes in textile finishing industry - a key to LCM for SMEs
1Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden; 2Bergische Universitaet Wuppertal, Germany
German textile finishing companies are predominantly SMEs and these companies' managers often have a negative expectation towards measurements for environmental protection as they expect increasing costs. Changes in the production that lead a higher efficiency offer a possibility to overcome this attitude and support these companies on their way to a more sustainable production. An approach has been developed starts with a thorough process analysis to identify inefficiencies, derives improvement proposals from the identified deviation from an efficient state and also includes a testing in laboratory and pilot scale to explore the feasibility of the suggested changes. When the technical feasilibilty is established successfully, process models are used to calculate mass and energy flows for the existing state and the proposed change. The calculated results are then used in a cost comparison that is supplemented with period-oriented costs for personnel and machines. Concurrently, the results are also extended with data for upstream and downstream processes to serve as an inventory for a comparison of environmental burden. The inventory data are then used for an impact assessment that uses a normalisation and sorting steps and leads to midpoint results. Changes in costs and in environmental burden can be presented to the management in parallel to provide evidence that environmental protection can be favourable also from a business perspective. Information about environmental burden and costs is displayed transparently for the decision maker and the accompanying evaluation gives directions for process enhancements and supports decision makers. The close to process changes could be used to change the production and acquire a higher efficiency with a limited effort and the knowledge gain motivates to search for transfer possibilities.
The approach has been used with various processes and companies and has also been extended to other branches. The full paper will provide case study examples to further illustrate the approach.
LCA on bio-H2 fuel and/or bio-electricity production system in Thailand and Malaysia
Tokyo University of Science, Japan
The biomass energy system is promising one among the important renewable energy sources. Especially, Asia has a great potential for the promotion of renewable energy due to abundant biomass resources. For instance, in Thailand, the production system of bio-ethanol fuel has operated, in which the biomass resources such as cassava and/or sugar cane are used.
On the utilization of biomass resources, there are some barriers to promote the system. For instance, in general, although the CO2 reduction benefit through the system would be obtained, the installation cost would be extremely expensive. That is, from the viewpoint of an economic aspect, the suitable business model, by which the business can be operated sustainably, is absolutely necessary. For these problems, we have the following countermeasures for solving them. 1) Due to CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) scheme between the developing country and the developed one, we would use the subsidy and/or acquire the fund through the emission trading. 2) The suitable scale of the environmentally friendly system would be required. This means that we have to install the system into the most desirable market. 3) The waste material except the virgin one would be necessary from the reduction of price of feedstock. 4) Finally, since the distribution of biomass resources would be low, the smaller plant might be much better. On the other hand, the energy conversion ratio would be decrease. That is, since there is a trade-off relationship, we have to optimize the system so as to be satisfied with both eco-energy supply and low cost operation.
In this paper, we focused on the Blue Tower (BT) gasification system which would be more suitable among the distributed energy systems. Through the system, we estimated CO2 benefit based on LCA methodology at the cases of bio-H2 fuel and/or bio-electricity. Especially, using the biomass residues (bagasse, cassava chip and EFB) in Thailand and Malaysia, we executed the basic experiments on the BT process, and designed BT plant by which bio-H2 or bio-electricity would be produced. We developed the biomass utilization model based on LCA including the sub-systems of cultivation/processing, transportation, ethanol and H2 production, which is based on the mixed integer programming problem.
As a result, the specific CO2 abatements were 16% of cassava, 24% of sugarcane and 37% of EFB in case of bioelectricity, and 56% of cassava, 74% of sugarcane and 75% of EFB in case of Bio-H2.
Production of renewable liquid fuels through hydrotreatment and transesterification: LCA comparison and sustainability aspects
Ecopetrol S.A. Instituto Colombiano del Petróleo , Colombia
There is a common worldwide call for sustainable energy solutions where biomass is seen to have a great potential, yet this development must comply with the three basic sustainability pillars: social, economic and environment. A commonly agreed definition for sustainability and its measurement is not available and most of current research has focused on climate related issues ignoring other environmental dimensions. Ethanol and biodiesel (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester - FAME`s) are currently the main liquid renewable fuels supplying the transportation market. Hydrotreatment of vegetable oils (HVO) produces renewable diesel –paraffinic diesel like – with promising characteristics such as quality ignition and refinery integration which is an issue for current FAME`s. Both renewable diesel and FAME`s may be seen a competitors as they require the same feedstock. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) review provides evidence that both processes –transesterification for FAME and Hydrotreatment for renewable diesel- present similar energy efficiency (represented as Fossil Energy Demand and Cumulative Energy Demand) and Climate abatement (CO2 emissions) characteristics. Notwithstanding, is found that the term “sustainability assessment” is frequently misused and taken as LCA for climate related issues and economic performance is not integrated to sustainability analysis. The following article presents integration of economic and environmental performance, under LCA methodology, into different refining scenarios: co-processing of renewable loads in a traditional refinery, a stand-alone facility and traditional oil to FAME process, in order to integrate financial and environmental performance as decision making indicators. Results show advantage of hydrotreated fuels over traditional FAME`s mainly in climate change due to the usage of existing refining and transportation facilities as well as superior quality characteristics, however is also identified the need to establish and address a wider, yet achievable, set of sustainability indicators as future research challenges.
Life cycle assessment of biodiesel production from microalgae oil: Effect of algae species and cultivation system
1Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain; 2IMDEA Energy Institute, Spain
Biodiesel production has become a very intense research area because of the growing interest on finding new resources and alternatives for conventional transport fuels. As known, in the last few years various kinds of biomass have been identified as possible sources for biodiesel production, e.g. bio-wastes (food wastes, municipal wastes or agricultural wastes), edible and non-edible oil seeds and various aquatic plants (microalgae). Microalgae are basically a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms (CO2 is their carbon source), ranging from unicellular to multi-cellular forms. These have the potential to produce considerably greater amounts of biomass and lipids per hectare than any kind of terrestrial biomass. Traditionally, microalgae are cultivated in closed systems or open ponds, however, there are many operative parameters with great influence on the rate of microalgae growth, the total energy consumption of the system, the amount of consumed nutrients, etc. All these factors determine the net energy ratio (NER) of the process as well as its total environmental impact. Both aspects must be taken into account in order to know if the production of biodiesel from microalgae is an effective alternative to solve problems associated with the growing energy demand and global warming. In this context, life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology provides a useful tool for the evaluation of different cultivation systems and for choosing the most convenient microalgae specie. In this work, the production of biodiesel from different systems of microalgae cultivation has been studied from a life-cycle point of view. The assessment was carried out with Gabi 4.3 software by using the database Ecoinvent 2.1. The considered functional unit was the combustion of 1 MJ of fuel in a diesel engine; the boundaries include extraction and production of raw materials, facility construction and dismantling, biofuel elaboration and use in the engine. Several microalgae species were evaluated being especially interesting Nannochloropsis gaditana because it has been previously cultivated in the south of Spain and it presents high oil content. Two different cultivation systems were evaluated: open raceway ponds and outdoor photobioreactors. Although photobioreactors consumes more energy due to the artificial aeration, this fact is partially compensated by the higher microalgae production efficiency of these systems (to generate the same amount of biomass, raceway ponds would need much larger area than the photobioreactors). LCA results showed that both systems, photobioreactors and raceway ponds, have a NER > 1.
Environmental profile and sustainability of hydrogen production technologies: The PHISICO2 Program
1IMDEA Energy Institute, Spain; 2Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain; 3National Institute of Aerospace Technology, Spain
Regarding climate change mitigation, safety in energy supply and energy independence of regions, hydrogen has been anticipated as a good alternative for the current fuels system. Hydrogen is an energy carrier. Therefore, it has to be produced from primary energy sources. The conventional –and the cheapest –way to obtain it is from natural gas through steam reforming, but this technique produce a huge amount of carbon dioxide per volume of hydrogen.
The so-called PHISICO2 Programme, a Community of Madrid regional activities program, studies several ‘clean’ techniques to produce hydrogen: methane decomposition, solar two-step thermochemical cycles and photodecomposition of water. In this context, Life Cycle Assessment tools have been employed to evaluate the environmental profile of those technologies and to compare them to conventional or alternative hydrogen sources: steam reforming with carbon capture and storage system and electrolysis with different electricity origins (grid, photovoltaic and wind). The assessments have been focused on the greenhouse gases emissions, the renewable character of the produced hydrogen, calculated through the consumption of energy resources in the life cycle, and exergy efficiency. The last one has been calculated to assess if the process consumes or produces usable work from nature.
Results indicate that water photodecomposition has the best environmental performance, it produces less carbon dioxide emissions, the hydrogen obtained is completely renewable and its exergy efficiency is higher than 1 (it produces net work). Unfortunately, its behavior is highly dependent from its efficiency and durability, which currently are quite low. Processes with fossil resources as raw materials (steam reforming and methane decomposition) also show a good environmental behavior. In fact, methane decomposition produces, apart from hydrogen, high quality carbon, which is,a great advantage from the environmental point of view, if allocation in other sectors is considered in the assessment. On the other hand, solar thermochemical cycles are quite sensitive to process yield and materials lifetime.
Life cycle assessment of biogas plant from solid waste in Marianao, Cuba.
Universidad Central Marta Abreu de Las Villas, Cuba
Cuban population growth and housing development, as well as other processes have produced a considerable increase in the amount and variety of generated solid waste. Problems generated due to an inadequate handling of these wastes are affecting cities and its outlying areas as well as small rural populations.
The inadequate management of solid wastes involves a series of processes that can have a negative impact on the environment. Final disposal of all solid wastes in landfills is a problem affecting environment, human health and landscape since it has not been sufficiently discussed for a final decision in terms of ecology.
Waste from agro markets in Cuba has a higher organic fraction and may have treatment in a biogas plant.
This paper presents the results of environmental assessments in biogas plant that utilized biodegradable solid waste from municipal agro market in Marianao, Cuba. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was used for environmental analysis.
Potential impacts such as global warming, acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion, and photo-oxidant formation were analyzed.
The results of this research have shown the negative impact of the current urban solid waste management system regarding environment, ecosystem and human health in the city of Marianao.
In addition, the analyzed scenarios had a better performance than that of the current management system as they included the inorganic waste recycling process as well as the biological treatment of the organic fraction; and at the same time they achieved a reduction of the controlled dumping of waste.
The most feasible alternative from the environmental and economic point of view was A2 alternative; as it used the Urban Solid Waste organic fraction through biological treatment, as it recycled inorganic waste and reduced direct disposal of waste to landfills.
Modeling the inventory of hydropower plants
1CIRAIG, Canada; 2LVM Dessau, Canada; 3Ecole Polytechnique Montreal, Canada
Hydroelectric power generation accounts for approximately 16% of world electricity output. Despite widespread claims of hydroelectricity being a 'clean' source of power, very few studies on its potential impact exist. Indeed less than a handful life cycle assessments (LCAs) have been conducted on hydro power plants resulting in poor data quality from inventory databases. The specificity of hydroelectric power makes up for much of this void and lack of data. Generic hydropower plants hardly exist. Moreover, large hydropower projects get larger with time, multiplying data collection efforts and challenging the development of environmental assessment tools.
In this paper, the authors propose a characterization of hydropower plants based on variables such as the type and capacity of a plant, annual production, surface and volume of reservoir if any. We hypothesize that statistical estimators based on these characteristic variables, allow for accurate estimation of missing material and energy flow data. In other words, flexible models adapted from spatial statistics are better suited for estimating data gaps in life cycle inventories than conventional practices of substitution or extrapolation.
Different kriging models and regression analysis are compared with empirical data from one of the world's quintessential example of large hydroelectric generation, as well as existing databases and literature references. Generally this applies to hydropower plants for which the provision of energy and materials as well as construction dominate the LCA results. Concentrating on large flows for which data is either complete or missing in relatively high proportions, the results provide supporting evidence in favor of kriging. In cases of data gaps scattered across observations, the errors observed from single and multivariate kriging are almost halved with respect to regression. The advantages of kriging also show when several characteristic variables contribute to the estimation process. By using more than one of the power plants' characteristics, the errors in material flows with incomplete data are also lowered.
The properties of kriging, particularly in its multivariate version, are promising signs for the statistical estimation of missing life cycle inventory data for hydropower or other large energy systems. What can be done for the inventory of material and energy flows as shown here, could sort out controversies in the estimation of reservoir emissions and dismantling of hydroelectric dams. With kriging, comparatively small samples are needed for valid results.
RECOMBIO: Life cycle assessment of solid recovered fuels combined with biomass
The massive use of fossil fuels has caused a substantial increase of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. In order to meet the international targets on the reduction of greenhouse gases, the use of biomass and bio-waste derived fuels in power plants is being worldwide promoted.
RECOMBIO is a project conducted under the Seventh Framework Programme to enhance the future use of biomass and Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), facilitating the creation of a sustainable energy market across Europe and demonstrating the use of short-term available technologies to reduce CO2 emissions significantly and cost-efficiently.
A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) will be conducted following recommendations given in the ILCD Handbook and will comply with the ISO 14040 and 14044:2006 guidelines.
The objective is to identify and quantify environmental advantages and disadvantages of the production of SRF from commercial and industrial waste (C&IW) and it use combined with biomass to produce electricity and district heating in comparison with a conventional alternative.
Two systems, system A1 and system A2, will be analyzed and compared with a conventional alternative, system B.
Results will show the advantages and disadvantages of combining biomass with SRF, supporting the development of this market in Europe
LCA characterization of freshwater use on human health and through compensation
While potential environmental impacts from pollutant emissions into water are characterized in LCA, impacts from water unavailability are not yet fully quantified. Using water can make it unavailable to other users by displacement or quality degradation. When water availability to human users is reduced, it can potentially affect human health through diseases or malnutrition or, if financial resources are available, adaptation can occur, which may in turn generate other environmental impacts through the use of backup technologies. Example of backup technologies include treatment, desalination, importation of water or agricultural goods, etc. Just like the intensity of human health impacts will vary from one region to another, the backup technology used is also strongly region-dependent. This paper proposes a model to evaluate these potential impacts in an LCA context while accounting for the type of use (ex: degradative or consumptive) and as a function of regional water scarcity, quality of water used and released, type of resource used (groundwater, surface water), ability to adapt to freshwater scarcity (through the use of backup technologies) and impact intensity on human health (in DALY/ m³, for each user deprived). Results are presented in disabled-adjusted life years (DALY) for impacts on human health and/or as a quantified inventory from default scenarios of users adapting to a situation in which water is scarce or unavailable. This inventory can then be assessed through a conventional LCA method and the results added to the impacts in all existing categories. A case study is presented for the production of corrugated board with different effluent and geographical locations scenarios, showing the importance of considering quality, released flows, regionalization and backup technologies.
LCA implementation in firms EMS trough modular PLC descriptions
1Institute for Industrial Technologies and Automation – National Research Council, Italy; 2Synesis Consortium, Italy
The quantitative environmental performance based on comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) constitutes an increasing area of interest for the suppliers competitiveness in the product chain. Studies highlight that a proper information management can influence the full implementation of LCA methodology within environmental management system (EMS) of single firms. However the sources of uncertainties still constitute a relevant barrier for the full LCA utilization. The number of data for complex products and the high variability in the bill of materials (BOM) elements can cause several approximation types. The resulting aggregation of inventory data involves a general increase in the degree of uncertainty. Such reduced precision may invalidate the whole reliability in the comparison of environmental impacts for different products.
Using standard modules of information for single life cycle stages this paper presents a systematic methodology for the application of an independent information modules approach (IIMs) in order to deal with the complexity in manufacturing chains. Qualitative and quantitative aspects have been considered separately. Material and energy flows are inventoried for single independent stages while characteristic impacts of processes are calculated for unitary flows. The impact assessment is then composed through a separate sum of incremental LCAs. Such approach requires a dedicated modular description both for the enterprise activity and for the supply framework conditions. The resulting description is “firm specific” and based on shared assumptions in order to be rapidly reusable.
A case study was carried out in the footwear chain for different component suppliers. Findings of this preliminary study show that the clear definition of relevant parameters can limit the redundancies in LCAs and firm efforts in the inventory of consumption and emission patterns. Further deepening of such methodology can introduce an integration of attributional and consequential LCA approaches by emphasizing the dependencies between product life cycle scenarios and the resulting impacts.
LCIA of agricultural water use: Implications for sustainable regional water management
1Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon, Switzerland; 2ETHZ, Switzerland
When considering assessment of water use, a large source of uncertainty is agriculture. One way of reducing this uncertainty is to develop assessment methods with sufficient spatial resolution for the sub-watershed level, and to include temporally explicit impact factors. This paper discusses how LCIA can contribute to the sustainable management of water resources by a) providing a spatially and temporally explicit prospective multicriteria assessment of the environmental impacts of water use and b) assessing agricultural adaptation strategies under climate change, in combination with economic analysis, with Switzerland as a case study.
Due to climate change, irrigation in Switzerland will increase in future. This poses new challenges for regional water resource management, as demands from diverse users increase and resources become periodically limited. Agriculture therefore requires the development of operational management strategies (including new crops, technologies and land use planning). In the frame of the Swiss National Research Program NRP 61, the project AGWAM develops sustainable agricultural management strategies at the farm and regional level, that maximize yield and revenue, and minimize environmental impacts. Stakeholders are integrated in the elaboration of methods and the evaluation of results through workshops. Two case study regions are analysed in detail ("Broye" and "Greifensee" watersheds) for the time horizon 2050.
Ecosystem productivity and biodiversity losses were identified as the main impacts related to water use in Switzerland. Existing water footprinting and LCIA methods for water use are not directly applicable, since their spatial and temporal resolution is too low. Therefore regionalized impact factors were developed for Switzerland for the future time horizon, ensuring locally significant results and sufficient discriminative power to assess small variations.
The resulting water use impact assessment method will be applied alongside existing farm LCA tools addressing other environmental impacts, to accomplish a prospective evaluation of the agricultural management strategies. These strategies can thus be ranked according to a broad range of impact categories, including water use. In combination with economic analyses, both economic and environmental aspects of sustainability will be integrated. Comparisons between scientific results and stakeholder opinions will be explored. Developed methodologies will be applied to the two case study regions, allowing the formulation of recommendations for agricultural practitioners and policy-makers.
Methods addressing water use in LCA: Review and recommendations
1Quantis, Switzerland; 2CIRAIG, Canada; 3ETH, Switzerland; 4Véolia, France
Stress on global water resources is recognized as an important issue and the need for adequate water use assessment methods for companies is growing. Although the impacts related to water use on human life, and on biotic and abiotic environments can be considerable, such impacts have only recently been assessed in LCA.
The present project aims at reviewing and performing a systematic qualitative analysis of existing methods linked to assessment of water use. This project is part of the work undertaken by the « Water Use in LCA » working group of the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. The methods are assessed according to a set of pre-defined criteria (completeness of scope; environmental relevance; scientific robustness and certainty; documentation, transparency and reproducibility; applicability and potential stakeholder acceptance) and a procedure as proposed by the ILCD Handbook.This work looks at similarities and differences between methods, identifies key elements and provides indications for deriving operational characterization methods and factors to assess water use in LCA. Interim recommendations on water use modeling, inventory database development and impact assessment methods are formulated to support practitioners in their short term application. The methods evaluation as well as the outcoming recommendations will be presented as the results of this work.
The methods assessed are: Inventory databases: ecoinvent; GaBi; Quantis (in development), WFN database (in development) Inventory methods: WBCSD 2007 (Global Water Tool); Chapagain and Hoekstra 2009; Vince 2007; Boulay 2010; Bayart 2008; Milà I Canals 2009; Peters 2010; Quantis 2010 (in development). Midpoint impact assessment: WFN 2009; Ridoutt and Pfister 2010; Frischknecht 2006; Pfister 2009; Milà I Canals 2009; Boulay 2010;Veolia 2010, Bayart 2008. Damage impact assessment: Pfister 2009; Motoshita 2010; Boulay 2010; Maendly and Humbert 2010; Verones 2010; van Zelm 2010; Bösch 2007 (CExD).
With the contribution of Jane Bare, Jean-Baptiste Bayart, Markus Berger, Anne-Marie Boulay, Cecile Bulle, Yiwen Chiu, Rolf Frischknecht, Arjen Hoekstra, Donna Jefferies, Sven Lundie, Llorenc Mila-i-Canals, Rimousky Menkveld, Masaharu Motoshita, Montserrat Nunez, Greg Peters, Stephan Pfister, Brad Ridoutt, Rosalie van Zelm, and Francesca Verones
Towards comprehensive inventory data for Water Footprinting
1Quantis, Switzerland; 2Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland
Water is a growing concern in life cycle assessment. Several impact assessment methods have been developed or are being developed to assess the impacts on water. However, current inventory databases (Ecoinvent, GaBi, etc) do provide only limited data on water, mainly on withdrawal, and are all mis-matching the elementary flows requirement of the methods developed recently to address the issue of water impact assessment (such as the methods of Pfister et al. 2010, Water Footprint Network, Veolia, Motoshita et al. 2010, Van Zelm et al. 2010 or Verones et al. 2010). Furthermore, a lack of sufficient and relevant data is in many cases the greatest factor limiting the ability of corporate water accounting and impact assessment (CEO Water Mandate 2010). In light of this issue, a project was launched by a consortium of companies – including Danone, Kraft, Molson Coors Brewing Company, Natura, Unilever, Veolia Environnement, Ecoinvent, and leaded by Quantis - to create an exhaustive “water” life cycle database. This water database is based on the Ecoinvent database and will include, for approximately 4’000 processes:
The project is foreseen to deliver a readily usable database in summer 2011. The applications in life cycle inventory and impact assessment ranges from assessing a large number of products easily, assessing the supply chain and indirect water consumption of materials and energy for corporate reporting, water management and risk assessment. The use of this database will also make possible for the researchers to apply and develop further the methods to assess the different types of environmental impact related to water. The availability of inventory data will make it possible to widen the scope of actual “water footprint” (at inventory and impact level) studies and include in-stream and off-stream water uses, consumptive, non-consumptive and degradation water uses in a consistent way. Result on a case study will be presented to show the applicability of the database.
The importance of considering loss rates in life cycle assessment: An example of wine bottle closure systems
1Quantis, Switzerland; 2Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland; 3Ing. Oenologist, Switzerland; 4CIRAIG, Canada
Among published studies assessing the environmental impacts of wine, few consider the environmental impacts of different closures systems. However, different types of closures—such as natural cork stoppers or screw caps—have different properties and can therefore present varying risk for wine loss. The environmental implications of loss rates associated with different wine closures are questioned. A first observation of this study is that the contribution of different closure systems in all studies under consideration is comparably small in view of the wine production or packaging. A second observation is that the functional unit used in literature addressing environmental impacts of bottled wine does not imply an equivalent function among all closure types and thus needs to be adapted to consider the different loss rates associated with different closures. The present evaluation concludes that the wine loss rate induced by the type of closure is an important parameter to consider and can, in the case of cork stopper, be more influential than the closure material itself in the environmental performance of the closure systems. For instance, when only considering the closure system, a cork stopper can have less impact than, e.g., a screw cap. If loss rates of wine are considered adequately this observation is reverted as the losses overcompensate the difference between closure systems. This study illustrates the danger of drawing conclusions regarding environmental preferability of options without considering the full implications of the options studied.
Setting up a relevant methodology and format for monitoring and communicating to the consumer the environmental impacts of water usage
1Lyonnaise des Eaux, France; 2Solinnen, France
New environmental expectations are arising among Lyonnaise des Eaux’s local authorities and private customers. The French local municipalities are active via “Agenda 21” action plans in favour of environmental protection and “Territories Climate action Plans” or “Biodiversity action Plans” with the aim of monitoring and reducing their environmental impact, and final customers are requesting clear and didactic information regarding the water they use, in order to be actors of this consumption. The infrastructure to guarantee 24 hour a day access to tap water is the result of a century of investment. The rising concern on water now shifts towards the water cycle, including the protection of the water resources and the impact of water discharge into the natural receiving body.
In this context, the environmental communication concerning tap water usage has a key role to play.
LdE and Solinnen would like to illustrate during this SETAC conference regarding LCM how the application of Life Cycle Assessment principles enables to provide a relevant methodology and format for monitoring and communicating the environmental impacts of the public water and wastewater service to the consumer, in the scope of the French National environmental communication experimentation project initiated by the French EPA (ADEME) and the French Ministry of Environment (MEDDTL).
The presentation will focus on:
This presentation will provide the participants with background information regarding the French environmental communication project, and be the opportunity to see how Life Cycle concepts are grasped by French consumers in a field which is a World issue.
Simplifying life cycle assessment to the essentials: Sustainability screening for decision-making assistance for SME
Technische Universität München, Germany
Following in the footsteps of sustainable development, Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) have been gaining in importance in the last decades for businesses to evaluate their products and/or services. On the one hand, LCA-methodologies based on the ISO-standards are precise but need experts and time. On the other hand, CO2-appraisals give a quick overview about greenhouse gas emissions, but they are restrictive to one indicator and their accuracy is not guaranteed. For small and medium enterprises (SME) without own environmental department, the challenge of a sustainability assessment is to merge accuracy and quickness: To what extent can a LCA be simplified in order to be especially suitable for SME?
To answer this question, a sustainability screening has been developed within a case study to evaluate quickly any product or service under environmental, economic and social aspects (i.e. the three pillars of sustainability).
The input for the screening is a list of ideas, which have to be evaluated. These ideas may come directly from enterprises (e.g. prototypes) or can come from user integration, as it was for our case study.
Within the screening, a life cycle approach enables the calculation of the impacts with a set of sustainability indicators. The set of indicators is composed of core indicators (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions or costs for the user) and specific indicators (e.g. pollutant emissions). The calculation is done by using data of the involved enterprises and databases like the Ecoinvent-database.
Once the sustainability screening has been provided, the results are aggregated and represented for each idea into a decision matrix with a traffic light system.
In the case study, users have developed ideas (products or services) in the field “urban mobility”. The decision matrix presents the best “sustainability score” for the ideas real-time information and cell-phone ticket (numerous green traffic lights). The two ideas imply indeed few material consumption and high attractiveness for public transport, and thus a potential reduction of car traffic. Other ideas, like taxi-sharing or electric vehicles, were also evaluated but had red traffic lights for pollutant emissions or high costs for the users.
Thus, the sustainability screening affords a first estimation to know in a short time if an idea will have positive or negative contribution to sustainability. In decision-making processes of SME, the screening is essential as “pre-feasibility” study. It helps for instance to choose from several ideas, the preferential one that should be implemented at first.
Water footprint of soybean production in Argentina
1UTN FRM, Argentina; 2CONICET, Argentina
Argentina is one of the greatest grain producers in the world, specifically of soybean, but also has a leading role as exporter of vegetal oils. In the last decade, the use of biomass for energy purposes has raised high expectations for the production of liquid biofuels in the country. Thus, the production of biodiesel in 2010 increased by 37% over the previous year. This situation involves first economical benefits and new opportunities of trade with consumer countries. But on the other hand, impacts as the change in land use, deforestation or water withdrawal may be intensified. The water requirements of biofuel production mainly depend on the type of feedstock and on regional variables such as climate and geographical characteristics, being feedstock cultivation, the most water-intensive of biofuel production process. This situation has highlighted the need for assessment tools in biofuels production systems that consider water use and consumption. This paper presents the calculation of the water footprint for soybean cultivation in two different regions of Argentina under irrigated and non-irrigated conditions, using the method proposed by the Water Footprint Network. The result of the assessment carried out provides relevant information for a sustainable water management according to the local conditions useful for local producers.
Enhanced resource efficiency with packaging steel
1APEAL, Belgium; 2Stahlinstitut VDEh im Stahl-Zentrum, Germany
Packaging steel is used for the safe and efficient distribution of different products worldwide. The combination of a strong material with perfect barrier behaviours enables to deliver safe products to the consumer without losses. Concerning the total environmental benefits, it can be demonstrated that in the long line of improvement of steel packaging the total volume of canned products per tonne of packaging steel has increased dramatically in the last 50 years. This result is directly linked to a better use of the resources necessary for making packaging steel.
The recycling rate for packaging steel in the EU is now 71 per cent; some member states such as Germany or Belgium have reached recycling rates of more than 90 per cent. Efficient recycling can also be seen as a multi-use system from the material point of view. The recycling of the core material enables the industry to avoid a CO2 burden in the production route.
These above mentioned characteristics have to be taken into account when studying the life cycle of packaging steel. Resource efficiency has direct effects on other life cycle parameters such as green house gas emissions or energy use. This will be shown in some examples.
In the past, APEAL has commissioned life cycle studies and sustainability studies to clarify the benefits of packaging steel for the environment and the society. An outlook for future developments will be given as well.
Environmental evaluation by means of LCA of champagne cork stopper production
1Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain; 2Catalan Cork Institute, Spain
Cork is a natural and renewable resource harvested in the western part of the Mediterranean area and useful to manufacture lots of applications. Champagne stoppers are a product made of two parts: an agglomerated cork body made from triturated cork and two natural cork discs made by punching solid cork. This type of stopper is mainly intended to seal champagne, cava, and other carbonated wines.
In this paper, the production of champagne stoppers was analysed from an environmental perspective, analysing their industrial cycle from the initial transportation of raw cork from the forest to the disposal of the product. This research is highly indicative of the state of the champagne cork industry because in 2009 Catalonia produced 60% of all cork champagne stoppers worldwide. The study applies the concepts of industrial ecology and life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, and 5 companies representative of the sector was analysed. Each company provides all the data related to their production and this was subsequently averaged in order to obtain sector results and not individual data. The main aim of the research was determine which stages contributed most to the environmental impact of the champagne stopper production life cycle, in order to detect opportunities to improve the production technologically and especially from an environmental point of view.
It was stated in the inventory phase that to produce the functional unit of a million of natural cork stoppers weighting 9 t, the sector required 16,771 kg of virgin raw cork, 1,279 kg of polyurethane, 111 kg of casein, 19,775 l of water, 1,157 kg of diesel oil and 81,445 MJ of electricity as well as other resources in lower quantities. After analysing all the productive stages in the life cycle of champagne stoppers – cork slabs preparation, granulate production, disc production, champagne stopper manufacture, finishing and different transports between the different stages – it was found that the manufacturing stage, including the agglomeration of cork granulates and their bonding with two pieces of natural cork in the end of the stopper, presented the greatest impact in terms of abiotic depletion, global warming, acidification, eutrophication, ozone layer depletion and photochemical ozone creation. Specifically, it was found that handle bonded and disc-glueing operations were the most polluting. Finally, it was also observed that some companies pollute more when producing a champagne stopper than others, which means that some of them can improve with the currently technology available.
LCA of ready-to-serve lasagne bolognese packed in aluminium foil containers
The evaluation of the environmental performance of packaging usually concentrates on a comparison of different packaging materials or types of packaging designs. Some LCA studies of food include the packaging with specific focus on the contribution of the packaging for the total results. The consumption behaviour is often assessed only roughly. Broader approaches, which focus on the life cycle of packed goods, including the entire supply system and the consumption of goods, are necessary to get an environmental footprint of the system with respect to sustainable production and consumption.
A life cycle assessment study has been conducted for the full life cycle of ready-to-serve lasagne Bolognese. The study looks on the environmental relevance of stages and interdependencies within the life cycle while taking consumers’ behaviour and portion sizes into consideration.
The most important factors concerning the environmental impact from the whole supply chain, is the cultivation of the main ingredients like meat, cheese, tomatoes. Thus, meat content is a critical factor for the overall impacts. Further impacts are due to refrigeration in the supply chain and heating by the consumer. The influence of packaging is very small due to the general low influence of packaging in both food systems.
This presentation will show that a reduction of relevant environmental impacts can only be achieved if also aspects indirectly influenced by the packaging are taken into account. Thus, the packaging industry should not only aim to improve the production process of their packages, but also to provide packages whose functionality helps to reduce other more relevant environmental impacts in the life cycle as e.g. losses.
Sustainable food packaging: A case study of chocolate products
Politecnico di Torino, Italy
The paper deals with a multidisciplinary research, supported by the Piedmont Region, with the purpose to develop a sustainability index able to take in account the environmental, social and good quality aspects of agri-food products along with their life cycle. In other words it aims at defining an evaluation system adoptable by the agri-food producers in order to evaluate the sustainability level of their products and the same time able to guide the consumer into the choice of food products more sustainable. In this multidisciplinary research the Industrial Design Research Unit of the DIPRADI Department (Politecnico di Torino) is involved in developing an assessment method for the food packaging.
The food packaging could be considered a key element, because it can be the way by means communicate and increase the “sustainability of food”, arise the awareness of consumers and promote the traditional value of regional products. Conversely the food packaging is one of the most responsible of the waste generation, as indicated in the current EU waste packaging directive. As a result it is necessary an investigation of the potential impacts of the waste treatments of food packaging materials, where the recycling scenario have been analysed according to the Italian waste management system.
On these assumptions the research has been started from an analysis of the state of the art of the packaging concerning three specific agri-food products, which are representative of the traditional agri-food production chain of the Piedmont Region: chocolate and sweet products, alcoholic beverage, meats and cold cuts.
Specifically in the chocolate case study, after the definition of four main categories of products (cream, tablet, chocolate candy and special size), several chocolate products available on the market have been selected and they are analysed by using a common format. In this format the life cycle performances of the analysed packaging are described in accordance with three main needs, which have to be satisfied by a green food packaging, such as: environmental, functional and communicative aspects. In this way several qualitative and quantitative requirements have been identified on which based a multicriteria evaluation system useful for the analysis and assessment of eco-compatibility level of food packaging along its life cycle.
The paper illustrates the methodological approach which has been adopted in order to define an evaluation method adoptable for the assessment of food packaging life cycle performances
Taking-home goods from supermarket: The role of biodegradable carrier bags
Carrier bags distributed by supermarket cash desks are regarded with concern because consumed in huge amount at worldwide level and subjected to uncontrolled release (littering). Better solutions are sought by retailers. The most preferable option is "waste prevention" i.e. the use of long life reusable bags (i.e. shopping basket). Nevertheless, disposable bags are still requested at the cash desk by consumers who have forgotten home their reusable bags.
More and more, biodegradable and compostable (B&C) bags are offered for such occurrences. By supplying B&C bags, retailers offer both a service to customers and a product that after its primary use (take-home goods) can be used as a "multi-purpose" waste bag, needed for the proper management of household waste. As a matter of fact, the B&C bags can be used both for residual waste (any waste that cannot be collected in a separate way) as well as for the bio-waste (e.g. kitchen waste). In the first case compostability is a ‘neutral’ property, neither necessary nor deleterious. Residual wastes are disposed of by incineration with energy recovery or in controlled landfills, being both systems unaffected by the presence of B&C bags. In the second case the use of B&C bags is a very important factor, because it allows the creation of a homogeneous waste, where both the content (bio-waste) and the container (B&C bag) share the same ‘degradability’ property. This, in turn, improves recyclability i.e. the quantity and quality of compost, whose marketability, as known, is ruined by residual plastics and other contaminants. A Carbon Footprint (CF) analysis based on such scenarios suggests that B&C carrier bags do not generate significant GHG emissions. For example “cradle to grave” CF ranged from 1 to 1.3 kg CO2 eq. every 100 biodegradable carrier bags used.
In conclusion, the policy of promoting long-life bags and B&C disposable bags seems to have two positive consequences. On one hand, the use of long-life bags causes a drop in consumption of disposable carrier bags. Less disposable bags available, less littering possible. On the other hand, the consumers still taking home goods with disposable carrier bags are expected to use them, at home, as multi-purpose waste bags, an application that is naturally destined to recovery. Last but not least, biodegradability can reduce the environmental impact in case of uncontrolled release.
A semantic wiki approach for peer review and collaborative curation of LCA data
Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
While Life Cycle Management practitioners document global networks composed of interconnected processes, they do not often publish their data in a form that natively enables interconnection. In other words, there is no easy way in which data about new processes can be "plugged in" to a larger network of other processes collectively gathered by other researchers. While various research groups do maintain their own databases, these tend to act as walled gardens, and do not easily contribute to the entire body of knowledge collected.
We will describe a live example on the Web that demonstrates advanced management techniques of LCA data through the use of a Semantic Wiki. This platform allows for both unstructured and structured data to co-exist on the same pages. The implication is that users can contribute plain text to a page in order to help give context, while other types of data regarding inputs, outputs, measurements, etc. can be annotated in such a way that this information can be retrieved using a formal query language, just as with a database. An advantage of this approach is that it natively supports network data. A page describing a process contains links to pages for products constituting its input and output flows. Because these flows are annotated as structured data, we can run queries to automatically extract and visualize the connections that can be made between different processes with compatible flows. Results of queries can also be fed to a variety of visualization techniques to check different aspects of data quality.
While important, this is still only a basic first step. We will also show techniques for the maintenance and improvement of the data. For example, queries can be used to identify the boundaries of the data, such as highlighting products that are used as an input for a process, but for which its own manufacturing process is not defined. Based on this information, users are guided in the process of expanding the knowledge base. We will also demonstrate how external outside data sources on the Semantic Web can be used in order to identify different names for the same product. This is a major issue in connecting diverse elements of data, and by leveraging the efforts of others, it reduces the amount of effort maintainers of the data have to put forth. Finally, we will explore the next steps that are possible given this platform.
A socio-economic comparison of green and conventional products (TV-sets, washing machines, textile services, bookshelves and copy paper)
1University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; 2Ramboll Management, Denmark
This paper presents an environmental and socio-economic comparison of functionally equivalent product pairs: a product (or service) complying with eco-labelling criteria towards a conventional product (or service) within the same product/service group. The comparison comprises product pairs within the categories of TV-sets, washing machines, textile services, bookshelves and copy paper. The study included development of a methodology for the environmental and socio-economic comparison as well as the application of the methodology on the selected product groups. The study was funded and published by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency 2009-2010 (Ref. 1)
The definition of product pairs took offset in criteria for environmental labelling schemes as The EU Ecolabel and The Nordic Swan – label. The “green product” meets as a minimum requirement the standards for ecolabeling. The similar “conventional products” were “typical” representatives for the main part of the products on the actual market. This analysis comprises the entire life cycle from production, transportation, distribution to consumption and finally disposal where significant differences are identified for the alternatives.
Information about marked prices for the selected products was found by interviewing relevant producers. Focus was on the difference between the selected green and conventional products, and therefore the gross economic impact in absolute terms has not been estimated.
The analysis shows, that most green products pays off in terms of societal costs.
The study demonstrates that the net environmental and socio-economic effect of choosing a green product is mainly related to the energy in the use phase. For products with no energy use, the lifetime, the consumer accepts before replacing the product with a new version, is most important.
The paper will in particular describe how are green and conventional products are defined for each product group, describe the method for the economic analysis and present the environmental and economic results of the analysis for each product group.
”Samfundsøkonomiske gevinster og omkostninger ved grønne produkter Miljøprojekt nr. 1349, 2010.” Published only electronically and in Danish (Miljøstyrelsen, 2011):
Application of LCA in the built environment
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
The built environment uses resources such as energy, water and raw materials. It generates waste and emits potentially harmful atmospheric emissions. Sustainability in the built environment is a major issue facing policy-makers, planners, developers, engineers, researchers and designers at national, regional, and global levels. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is widely used as a tool for assessing global environmental impact during the life span of a building and infrastructure.
The aim of this study is to review the application of LCA in buildings and infrastructure. Furthermore, the current situation is critically analysed and the future of the research area is speculated. Topics for further research are discussed. The focus of this study is buildings and infrastructure. Buildings cover residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The infrastructure reviewed in the present paper is transportation, water management, waste management, energy and communication infrastructure.
Assessing environmental sustainability of different apple supply chains in Northern Italy
1University of Turin, Italy; 2University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Although a lot of aspects of the environmental accounting methodologies in food production are already investigated, the application of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) in the fruit sector is still rare and no consensus can be found on which accounting method to use. The application of environmental assessment methods in the fruit sector is conventionally divided in field phases and commercial phases. Although there are important differences in the environmental impacts in field phases, mayor part of impact of the final product is considered to be related to the management of the fruit and the distribution chain.
An LCA – with focus on energy consumption and global warming potential – has been performed on three apple supply chains in Piedmont (Northern Italy). The investigated orchards and firms have been chosen in order to be representative of the main trade systems of the Region.
The assessment covers the whole supply chain, including agricultural production and its inputs: processing, cooling, storage and transportation up to the consumer’s phase. Storage and consumption within the consumer’s house have not been included because they are considered to be the same regardless the supply chain. The functional unit was 1 kg of apple at the consumer’s phase.
This study has been performed in accordance with the guidelines and requirements of the ISO 14040 standard series and with the cradle-to-use approach as the basis for the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) of the study. Data regarding agricultural inputs, consumption and agrotechnique have been obtained directly from the growers, whom filled in a questionnaire for the season 2009-2010, and consulting the Italian protocols for such production. The environmental aspects of the production of fertilizers and pesticides have been included within the boundaries, according to the Ecoinvent method. Data regarding resource use and supply chain properties have been obtained from retailers thorough interviews and field surveys.
Thus, the objectives of this research are (I) to qualify and quantify the main environmental aspects of apple supply chain in Piedmont in order to establish parameters for the sustainability of that product; (II) to evaluate the relative impact of the two investigated phases (production and commercial) on the overall environmental burden of the produce; (III) to quantify the differences in environmental sustainability of the investigated distribution systems, in particularly the impact of transportation.
Environmental performance of a photovoltaic solar electrooxidation (PSEO) process: Comparison with a conventional biological treatment
1Cantabria University, Spain; 2Rovira and Virgili University, Spain
Generally, wastewater treatment is carried out using primary, secondary or tertiary methods, depending of the nature of the pollutant. As far as organic pollutants in wastewaters are concerned, biological abatement may sometimes be impossible, due to the bio-refractory and recalcitrant character of the substances. So, in these cases, the application of electrochemical technologies becomes clear as a versatile and potential cost effective alternative treatment. One of the most remarkable electrochemical techniques is the electrochemical oxidation or electro-oxidation (EO) that in the recent years, have been applied in several works in order to eliminate a wide variety of pollutants normally present in wastewaters.
This technology has been applied to treat effluents from landfill and a wide diversity of industrial effluents including agro-industrial, chemical, textile, tannery and food industry. The potential of electrochemical oxidation for destroying almost any organic contaminant is widely recognised, but it is also known that they entail higher costs as compared to biological treatment, due to an intensive use of energy. In order to overcome this problem, the substitution of electricity by solar energy, have been proposed as a suitable strategy.
Likewise the electrochemical oxidation is a novel technology so this is one of the main raisons of the disadvantages of this technology. So it is necessary to assess the environmental performance of the electrochemical oxidation in order to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of this novel technology and to compare it with the biological treatment carry out in a WWTP. To evaluate the environmental performance of good, products and services the LCA methodology is used. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a powerful tool for assessing the environmental performance of a product, process or activity from “cradle to grave”. It can be used to support the decision making in order to identify the clean and sustainable alternatives in the process design activity.
In this work, the LCA methodology has been applied in order assess the environmental performance of a conventional biological treatment of a WWTP and the electrochemical oxidation process, comparing both technologies for wastewater treatment.
Environment product declaration in ceramic materials as sustainability tool
1Centro Tecnológico da Cerâmica e do Vidro, Portugal; 2Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal; 3Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
Strategies for sustainable building are based, among other variables, in the selection of sustainable materials, i.e., with the lowest possible impact on the environment throughout its life cycle. According to the construction product Council Directive, the environmental aspects are one of the essential requirements in construction products.
The ceramic industry is a traditional sector in Portugal, with a typology of products adapted to the diverse habitat requirements. Brick is one of the most widely used materials in construction works. The ceramic industry, like other sectors, generates aspects and impacts over its life cycle (from the extraction of resources until the final disposal of waste ceramics, ie from "cradle to grave"), such as consumption of resources, water and energy, air emissions, emissions to water, waste, noise, etc… This paper presents the methodology and results obtain in the development of an environmental product declaration (EPD) in the ceramic sector, namely ceramic brick, based on a definition of scope, the required data, collection procedures, data treatment and interpretation.
The methodology to develop the EPD takes into account the ISO 14025, ISO 21930, prEN 15978 and the International EPD System ®. The environmental profile was based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of representative bricks and covers the stages from the process of mining and mining facilities, transport and production in factory (cradle to gate).
The impact categories selected for this study were: global warming (GWP100), ozone layer depletion (ODP), photochemical oxidation, acidification and eutrophication.
In general, the impacts are mostly focused on air quality, particularly global warming category, witch varies in the sample study from 1,4E-01 to 1,85 E-01 kg CO2 eq/kg brick, mainly due to the CO2 emission in the firing operation. The category less relevant was ozone layer depletion which varies from 3,04E-09 to 2,93E-08.
The results of LCA provide also the EPD data and information to consumers about the environmental quality of products. This information is assumed as an environmental marketing tool with impacts on the image of their responsibility and sustainability. This information can also be used to
For the category of impacts chosen, in general, the best environmental performance was achieved for production of brick with natural gas, and the worst with coke.
Green or ecological roofs?
Technical University of Madrid, Spain
Commercial buildings contribute significantly to resource consumption, as well as to other environmental impacts such as air emissions and solid waste generation. The building construction industry consumes 40% of the materials entering the global economy and generates 40–50% of the global output of greenhouse gases and agents of acid rain. Therefore, there is a clear challenge for the construction industry if a long-term sustainability is desired.
Green roofs are among several technologies for developing more environmentally sustainable buildings and creating visually attractive urban environments. The use of green roofs has increased noticeably in recent years in many countries, but relevant up-to-date environmental data is needed to allow the environmental comparison of green roofs with conventional solutions. This will help us to assess their behaviour and analyse if, just because they have vegetation, we can call them ecological roofs .
In a previous work, LCA was applied to study the environmental profile of the materials used to build green roofs in Spain, and how their adaptation to climatic conditions affects their environmental impact. The objective of the present work is to assess the importance of green roofs related to the environmental impact of the entire life cycle of building. The functional unit chosen is 1m2 flat inverted pedestrian with tiles supported by pedestals for private use; the design of both conventional and green roofs has been adapted to the needs of the different locations analysed (Cadiz, Valencia, Vigo, Madrid and Soria). Operations phase activities include heating, cooling and ventilating the building. Lighting, water supply and water heating were excluded according to the principle of excluding identical activities for comparative assessments. Both Ecoindicator 99 and CML 2000 methodologies have been used to detect the critical elements of the system.
Results obtained for the different scenarios are presented and evaluated. It is observed that energy consumption gives rise to a significant component of environmental impacts in the building’s life cycle. When comparing green roofs options with conventional practices of roof design, the results show a significant improvement in the environmental performance when green roof strategy is applied (50% to 85%, with the exception of the category of ozone layer depletion, for the categories analysed according to Ecoindicator 99 and CML 2000 methodologies). This fact is explained in simple terms by the saving of energy consumption during the use of the building.
How to apply the life cycle thinking in the construction sector at local policy level: A survey from the European F.R.E.S.H. project
1University of Padova, Italy; 2Kainuun Etu Oy, Finland
The purpose of this paper is to present part of the results of the ongoing European project FRESH (Forwarding Regional Environmental Sustainable Hierarchies), financed by the EU inside the Interreg IV C Programme; it involves 12 partners, coming from several European countries including regional development agencies, universities and regional authorities. The overall aim of the project is to strengthen Sustainable Value Creation (SVC) – based development at regional level, focussing on the sustainable construction sector, a very important innovation area in the EU.
One of the main phases of the project deals with the identification and collection of good practices of the so-called “Eco-design planning tools”, i.e. any examples of tools which can be used to plan or develop an eco-design strategy using the life cycle thinking approach in the regional development policies.
As a result of the survey, 6 good practices emerged to be relevant in the field of sustainable construction: all of them revealed to be an application of life cycle thinking, even if they refer to different aspect of the construction supply chain, namely the building design, building construction design, plans and programmes level or the whole construction supply chain. The good practices collected were analyzed according to different criteria: the category of good practice (process, product, system), the stage of the construction process addressed, the type of tools (i.e. regional law, design statement, score-based evaluation), the environmental aspects assessed.
For every good practice at least three aspects to be transferred have been identified, with regard to both technical matters and policy level, i.e. examples on how to involve the decision makers and the companies at strategic level, or the definition of criteria to assess the sustainability of a project in the design phase. This allowed to identify the more relevant aspects of the ecodesign planning tools, which can be a basis to develop or strengthen the life cycle approach in the sustainable construction sector of every partner region.
The future perspective in the project is to include the remarks by the CEN-TC 350 “Sustainability of construction works” about the development of measuring and configuring tools for environmental, economic and social impact of all types of buildings, for the assessment of the performance of new buildings over the entire life cycle, and of existing buildings over their remaining service life and end of life stage.
Stakeholder consultation: What do decision makers in public policy and industry want to know regarding abiotic resource use?
1PRé Consultants, Netherlands; 2Raw Materials Group, Sweden
The lack of consensus on what society understands as resource depletion is a major dilemma in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This results on completely different outcomes depending on the impact assessment method used because each method considers a different problem. Therefore, further clarity on the concern for the use of abiotic resources, called Area of Protection (AoP) in the LCA terminology, is needed to develop a harmonized life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) method on resource depletion. This way, the first and foremost research need is to determine what the method should express: What is the problem of extracting and depleting a resource? This research is part of the project LC-IMPACT which is funded by the European Union FP7 programme.
To address the main question and before any future effort is included on research, a stakeholder consultation procedure with public policy makers, researchers and industry was executed. The stakeholder consultation procedure consisted of a one-day workshop plus individual interviews attended by a total of 20 participants. Stakeholders were asked in which decision context they would use a resource indicator and what this should express. Additionally, we interrogated how to deal with aspects like recyclability, substitution, and expected technology developments, among others.
The decision contexts obtained were different depending on the group of stakeholders consulted. While public policy makers aim at foreseeing long-term (up to 50 years) issues regarding resource depletion and at stimulating innovation; industry endeavours to know the impact of the corporation on a medium- or short-time scale (5 to 20 years), to make informed decisions on existing or future operations, and to have resources available at a reasonable price.
The conclusion is that stakeholders are not interested in very long-time perspectives as often seen in LCIA methods. On a 50-year time frame, public policy makers are interested in an availability estimate; on a 20-year time frame, they show interest in an indicator that expresses the increased efforts to mine a resource at lower grades; on a 5-year time frame they discuss how the politics around resource will develop. The latter, especially relevant for fossil resources, might be difficult to include in LCIA but it is notably a point of interest.
Although the questions asked did not result in a crystal clear picture, this paper gives an overview of the findings and a proposal on how to deal with these preferences in the future impact assessment research.
The integration of LCM and ecodesign in a multinational electrical devices company: Return on experience (2000-2010) with a managerial approach.
Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada
With sustainable development, competition by innovation between companies often becomes "competition by eco-innovation”. To respond to this evolving context, competitors need to strengthen their innovative and organizational capabilities, through the implementation of LCM tools such as LCA software, eco-design methodologies and product-oriented environmental management systems.
However beyond a pilot trial on a product, the systematic integration of LCM tools in R&D processes, in the supply chain management or in company’s strategy is not obvious. What are the managerial issues and conditions to consider in such an implementation? What are the principles of a “LCM oriented organization”?
We will address these issues on the base of a return on experience (2000-2010) on LCM tools implementation in a French electrical devices Company (wiring devices, cables, power distribution). In 2010, this company has routinized the use of screening LCA and ecodesign methods in New products development, has issued many EPDs, cooperates with suppliers on LCM and uses environment as a strategic criteria to design products and services for emerging green markets. However, a decade before, LCM approaches and tools were experimental in the company, and implementation failures occurred due to inadequate managerial approaches.
To formalize the lessons learned from this case, we will present in the final paper these ten years learning process through the formalization of two periods, each ot them with an associated LCM scheme. In the first one we will present how an emerging LCM managerial approach in the company has been strongly structured by a first generation of LCA-based-ecodesign softwares (around 2000), and how it has led to an inappropriate management system (focus will be on the implicit managerial hypothesis of the tool, with its LCM consequences). In the second one we will present through an example of a product family how the company has progressively built until 2010 a much more complex and efficient managerial device on LCM (the LCA tool being integrated as a specific element of the system).
The two LCM models will be compared through tree managerial aspects:
1/ the relation to the market (static versus dynamic, with the strategy of competition by the norms); 2/ the management of creativity in projects (static LCA evaluations versus "life cycle cooperation and exploration" with learning loops and cross-learning interactions between environmental experts and design teams and suppliers); and 3/ the type of knowledge management between projects for a systematic integration of LCM in the company.
Five companies and type I ecolabelling
Ecolabelling Denmark, Denmark
More and more companies use type I ecolabelling as a life cycle based tool – for many different reasons.
Based on interviews with five companies in different branches this paper will present their learnings from implementing the Ecolabel in practice.
Dermapharm (cosmetics) finds that cooperating with Ecolabelling Denmark has a positive impact on their products and that labeling creates loyalty among consumers.
Moelven (wood based construction materials). In spite of warnings from skeptical colleagues in and outside of the company Moelven chose to ecolabel their Thermowood products a few years ago. Thermowood is a heat-treated alternative to pressure-treated wood and saves the environment from dangerous chemicals. Few people imagined that ecolabelling construction materials would result in anything but extra costs and paper work. On the contrary ecolabelling has proved to be a very good business for Moelven.
Abena (diapers) uses the ecolabel to strengthen their environmental profile and to demonstrate their credibility as a responsible company.
Berendsen (textile service) has ecolabelled their laundries in Denmark on request from some of their important customers. Besides the commercial advantage Berendsen has also experienced that employees are more proud of their workplace and that it has become easier to attract applicants for new jobs.
Montana (Furniture) has recently ecolabelled a range of bookcases for the B2B market. The aim is to increase focus on sustainable production and increased durability – and to make it easier for customers to choose more sustainable furniture.
Increased focus on ecolabelled cosmetics - or how to go from a 30€ to a 3€ moisturizer and be happy about it
Ecolabelling Denmark, Denmark
In the past years, the demand for ecolabelled cosmetics has drastically increased in Denmark. The trend also shows a wide expansion of the range of ecolabelled cosmetics on the market. In this paper, we will investigate the reasons for this development and if there is a potential for a further increase in demand. The investigation will be based on the development of ecolabelled cosmetics carrying the Nordic Ecolabel in Denmark since 2004. The Nordic Ecolabel is by far the most widespread of the two official ecolabels in Denmark (the second is the EU Ecolabel).
The Nordic Ecolabel is an ISO type 1 ecolabel, meaning that it is multi criteria based and builds on a cradle to grave life cycle perspective. In addition to environmental criteria, the Nordic Ecolabel also has requirements to both the quality and health impact of a product. These parameters work in harmony, as it is pointless to certify environmentally sound products, if they are unhealthy or of poor quality. It is conceivable that it is the combination of these parameters, in particular the health criteria, rather than just the ecological qualities, that have spawned the increasing demand for the label when it comes to cosmetic products.
The consumers’ attention to badly used chemicals in cosmetic products, e.g. allergens, parabens, etc., is growing. Arguably, this may be deduced from the increased focus on the matter in the media, as the media is a reflection of the consumers’ interests. But what gives this a news value? Today more people in Denmark are developing allergies, 10% of all children are born as a result of fertility treatment and by some experts mothers are now recommended not to breastfeed more than 4 months to prevent a high concentration of persistent toxic chemicals in the baby causing an increased risk of developing cancer and heart diseases. These examples are all alarming, and a good indication of why people may choose an ecolabelled cosmetic over a non-ecolabelled one. But is the knowledge enough to change our patterns and product choice, or will we continue to choose the expensive 30€ lotion from the popular brand?
Germanium wafers for high concentration photovoltaics: Exergetic resource consumption
1University Ghent, Belgium; 2Umicore, Belgium
The goal of the study was to determine the resource consumption of the production of germanium wafers and relating it to the possible resource savings by their application in high concentration photovoltaic systems. The material and energetic requirements for a current production of germanium wafers have been inventoried and converted to cumulative exergy requirements. The results showed a Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment of 258 MJex per four inch wafer.
This data has been used to determine a partial exergy payback time of germanium wafers used in an high concentration photovoltaic system installed in the South-West USA. The calculated partial exergy payback time was 4.2 days. As lenses, concentrating the sunlight, are applied in the photovoltaic system, the amount of costly semi-conductor material required is reduced. Comparing the results to reported energy payback times of complete systems, is clear that the germanium wafer only accounts for a small amount of the overall resource consumption for a complete system.
To study the sensitivity of the results one parameter with respect to the location of germanium wafer production and two parameters with respect to the location of installation of the photovoltaic system have been varied. In case of location of production the resource profile of the electricity input to germanium wafer production and important upstream processes has been adapted. In case of location of installation direct normal irradiation and the profile of the substituted electricity have been adapted according to country and/or region. This showed that the location of germanium wafer production and of installation of the photovoltaic system both have a considerable impact on partial exergy payback times.
Greening events: Waste reduction through the integration of life cycle management into event organisation at ESCi
The organisation of conferences, small and medium-size meeting, workshops and other types of events, has become an increasingly important contributor to environmental impact. Universities are no exception, being responsible of many different event-related activities such as conference organisation, lecturing, graduation ceremonies and other tutorial activities addressed to both the students and the academic community. The Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional (ESCI) in Barcelona (Spain), is working towards implementing greening principles in the organisation of all its events, following a life cycle perspective. The aim of this project is to minimize, reuse and recycle all waste produced in the preparation, implementation and post-event phases by following these principles. Communication and training activities on how to introduce the Life Cycle Perspective into event organisation are also foreseen in the project. A practical guide will finally be developed, containing recommendations and examples of best practice cases studies such as the FENIX: 1st International Conference on Life Cycle Thinking that was organised at ESCI in September 2010; other small scale events, such as teaching classes, will also specifically addressed as these are seldom treated in the available literature on greening events.
Impacts of different drying process on the primary energy demand and global warming potential of maize
1ARVALIS-Institut du Végétal, France; 2MTE, France
Context and objectives
Drying process induces 45% of the energy demand and 30% of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions of the maize. Therefore, there is a high interest for reducing the impacts of this operation. Within the framework of a case study of a French farm which aims to assess by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach the primary energy demand and global warming potential (GWP) of maize from seeding to conveying, we have analysed different farm drying process currently implemented in France.
The study has been done on a specific farm in South Western France, producing maize on 64 ha. Six different drying scenarii have been established assuming different constraints (economic, quality, time organization) and have been assessed by LCA. Energy consumption and GHG emissions from the harvesting to conveying from storage tanks (comprising inputs, building and equipment manufacture) were taken into account. The process implemented by the farmer (drying of 210 t at 140°C in a dryer, then stored in 3 bins) was compared to the different scenarii: 1) drying at a lower temperature (110°C), 2) drying by dry-aeration, 3) effect of sizing storage buildings, 4) continuous flow drying, 5) pre-storage followed by continuous flow drying.
Results and discussion
Our results shows that the energy demand for drying process is comprised between 1 170 and 1 530 MJ/t MS and GWP between 68 and 78 kg eq CO2 / t dry matter. In any case, natural gas consumption represents the highest part of primary energy consumption (75-95%) and GWP (95-98%), while equipment and buildings manufacture induces less than 10% of the total impact. Most of the differences between the scenarii is explained by differences of energy resources: the continuous flow drying needs less natural gas as the heat temperature is lower (65°C) but it induces higher electricity consumption for the ventilation and grain mixing. As electricity is a more impacting resource from primary energy and GWP point of view, scenarii 4) and 5) were less favourable.
For the first time, different drying processes have been assessed by LCA. This study provides estimations for different alternatives in view of reducing energy demand and GWP of maize. In the near future, we will extend our approach to other farming systems and to economical and agronomical impacts.
LCM of green food production in Mediterranean cities: Environmental benefits associated to the distribution stage of Roof Top Greenhouse (RTG) systems. A case study in the city of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain)
1Inèdit Innovació, Spain; 2Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain; 3SosteniPrA, Spain
Cities have a key role in the global environment as they are depending systems of external sources of energy and goods. As urban areas concentrate 50% of the world population and agrifood production areas are not necessarily close to them, the supply of agricultural products to cities are linear systems that has recently been pointed as one of the potential issues to be improved in order to reduce the environmental impact associated to cities.
There have been several attempts to introduce ornamental or productive green areas in cities such as green roofs (GR), vertical farming (VF) or roof top greenhouses (RTG), known as urban agriculture systems. Firstly, roofs of buildings were used to install intensive cultivation systems (GR). And, later, acclimatized systems in order to improve production were integrated to buildings using it walls (VF) or in the roofs (RTG).
In this sense, RTG systems in Mediterranean areas may play a significant role in feeding urban population with a lower environmental impact as closed systems. On the one hand, transport requirements of agricultural products would be lower, as they drastically reduce the average distance between crop areas and cities and, consequently, decrease the energy consumption and GEH emissions related to the distribution stage. And, on the other hand, RTG systems also open an opportunity for more sustainable packaging models in a local distribution.
In this context, this study aims to assess the environmental benefits associated to the distribution stage of agricultural products through RTG systems in Mediterranean areas, and the city of Barcelona has been selected as a case study.
Currently, 90.2% of agricultural products sold in Barcelona city come from outside its province and some of them from very specific locations (Almeria, 12.3%; France, 11%; Valencia, 9.6%; Brazil, 2%). So, there is an important environmental impact caused by the distribution of these products, standing out the GEH emissions from a transport and resources depletion from packaging. In parallel, Barcelona City Council has calculated that the city has a potential roof surface for installing RTG systems of 95 hectares in public and private buildings, improving the environmental performance.
According to this, a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of all the distribution stage, including packaging, and GIS analysis of the transport model will be done in order to quantify and assess the potential reduction of environmental impacts comparing the current agrifood system with a RTG option as a local production system.
Life cycle assessment approach for ArcelorMittal Steel in Krakow, Poland processes
AGH-University of Science and Technology, Poland
The article proposes an approach for the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study for processes production applied to the ArcelorMittal Steel Poland Power Plant (AMSPPP) in Krakow, Poland. The functional unit, which is listed as follows: “total emissions and resource consumptions’ of the processes production includes all activities linked with the steel production, and system boundary, (gate-to-gate), are discussed. The emissions of SO2, CO2, NOx, dust and heavy metals (Cr, Cd, Cu, Pb, Ni and Mn), were estimated (investigated). The scope of this study covers all steel production processes in AMSPPP (including the sintering plant, blast furnace, hot rolling mill, etc.). The study is based on a reference case for the year 2005.
Life cycle sustainability assessment: An implementation to marble products
1University of Palermo, Italy; 2Technische Universitaet Berlin, Germany
Sustainability is today an overused word in different political and scientific contests. The ambitious target of sustainable development, that according to Bruthland report, “means a development that meets the present generation needs without compromising the opportunity of the future generations to meet their owns” is the main objective of local and national governments. This target is getting particular important for the building sector that presents a high economic, mainly positive, and environmental, mainly negative, impact. Several methodologies and tools have been carried out and implemented for assessing sustainability performances in different sectors. A new meaningful contribution for assessing products and processes is represented by Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). This methodology assesses sustainability performance of product through its entire life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials, to production, use and disposal. This methodology moreover, integrates all three pillars of sustainability, by measuring positive and negative impacts to environment, economy and society at microeconomic level.
Starting from the consideration that the marble sector is considered one of the most productive in the Sicilian region an implementation of LCSA and its results on this sector is presented in this work.
The assessment has been carried out with primary data coming from two representative companies that produce marble tiles and slabs in Custonaci basin, belonging to the Trapani province. The considered system encompasses the extraction of raw material, the cutting and treatment steps, the finishing treatments and all the involved transportation phases. Because LCSA is applied here for the first time to this building material, particular attention has been paid to the selection of indicators able of measuring the social dimension of the impacts. In this case a combined top-down and bottom approach has been used. The set of the selected indicators and their values are reported here and are utilized for presenting an integrated sustainability assessment of the marble performance.
Quantitative life cycle sustainability assessment using monetization
RDC Environment, Belgium
RDC-Environment has developed a methodology based on life cycle assessment and monetisation to evaluate in a quantitative way the environmental, social and economic impacts of a product, service or policy.
Integrating the three pillars of sustainable development takes place through the concept of well-being, depending on the quality of environmental, social and economic aspects. Using monetisation, the well-being is expressed in euro by assigning monetary values to the following final effects:
The methodology brings consistency in the assessment of the three pillars by
The methodology has been applied in several case studies for providing quantitative monetised results per pillar, as well as aggregated in a single score. Feasibility, potentials and limits of the methodology are enlightened. It provides help to the decision making process such as for example when comparing different waste management systems at the regional scale.
Resource management stability: Outlook on issues and analysis
ENGECON, Russian Federation
The current world economic crisis has induced the strategic challenge for the further development of market based instruments. The innovation area in this context belongs to the consensus of the modern environmental efforts within the competitive markets to provide sustainable production and consumption. Numerous attempts currently are undertaking towards this problem, among which the Life Cycle Paradigm provides wide prospects to follow promising sustainable development.
The classic life cycle concept of the treatment chain “resources – production – consumption – wastes” is under consideration in conjunction with the market forces. The consensus approach via models and case studies is tested towards efficient ecological and economic resource management. The life cycle model is the starting point. Here are introduced “classic” elements like the life cycle stages, and transaction activities in the form of markets (resources, products, depositions), also the pollution release is taken into account. Economic issues are introduced by the private agents in the chain having the appropriate profit and utility functions, and the material stream is designed in balance of demand and supply driving forces. Ecological issues follow after currently well approved environmental indicator scheme, having the pollution release, which negative impact is represented by some damage power, as a rule, at the form of progressive growing function.
As it seen from the undertaken analysis, the treatment chain could be reduced to the equivalent production and consumption activities. The introduced approach looks fruitful at forthcoming implementation of wide version for producer responsibility principle in market based instruments to balance demand and supply. Also, one can find here the instruments for marketing of the environmental sound goods and extremely important issue of stability analysis. The represented case-study provides the sure on the prospects of rational environmental management. As it can be resumed, the rational resource management is seen via the optimization problem with the multiple objectives: Economic, Environmental, and Social. By identifying the key nodes at the causal network referring to resource management processes the introduced approach can:
• Help in getting to grips with cross-thematic and cross-sectional issues;
• Assist in constructing more focused indicator sets;
• Facilitate identification of supervision for sustainability and stability; etc.
Comparative LCA of a digital invoice versus a paper invoice
1EVEA Evaluation et Accompagnement, France; 2CNRS, France
For economic and strategic motive as much as environmental motive, service provider companies are engaged into a transition from paper invoice sent by postmail to digital invoice via Internet. EVEA, with support of EcoInfo Cluster, carried out a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of a digital invoice versus a paper invoice. This study was made on behalf of POCHECO, a french company which manufactures and sells envelopes for service providers which need to send invoices to their customers. In this article, the authors present a comprehensive synthesis of this LCA study, from goal, scope, and main assumptions founding the modelling with SimaPro software, to the comparative results. Finally, a discussion about the results is proposed, specially about the main contribution of final customer behavior, and including a brief comparison with Moberg's results.
Assessing the environmental profile of candles made from used cooking oil
1Lisbon University, Portugal; 2University “G. d´Annunzio”, Pescara, Italy; 3National Laboratory of Energy and Geology, Portugal
The Home Recycling Solutions SA has recently developed the Candlemaker, an innovative solution for recovering the used household cooking oil. This small appliance is very similar to a coffee machine and allows the transformation of the used cooking oil into candles. Each candle, produced in the Candlemaker is composed of a pod - the Candlepod - and used oil.
This paper presents the environmental profile of this new candle by analysing the results of three assessment methodologies: a screening Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), given the difficulty in obtaining background data for a full LCA; a Life Cycle-oriented methodology developed by the “Forum for the Future”; and an audit against the Swan eco-label criteria specifically developed for candles.
The screening LCA was conducted for a 125 ml candle produced in the Candlemaker, wich is able to generate up to 25 hours of light. The EDIP methodology was applied in the impact assessment phase. The normalized results of the assessment indicate that the categories of greatest impact are eutrophication, ecotoxicity soil chronic and human toxicity. Production of reagent A is responsible for the impacts in the latter two categories, while eutrophication results mostly from production of component B. By comparing the environmental performance of the candles from used cooking oil with those from paraffin, both produced in the Candlemaker, it emerges that the first ones are less polluting over the most environmental impacts with the global warming performance being half the one produced by paraffin candles.
The SLCA indicates that the new candle has a good environmental performance in the early stages of packaging and distribution, use and end-of-life. The available information is not sufficient to conclude about the phases of raw material supply and candle production.
The Swan eco-labeling requirements seem to be met by the new candle in the most of cases. The only non-conformities are related with the requirement on the fragrance use and some criteria that still require further chemical tests.
Ecodesign Management certifiable standard: A proven instrument as a widespread driver of LCA in SMEs
Ihobe- Basque Government, Spain
One of the main demands of companies considering their impact on the environment is to have a mechanism for external recognition of their work. While the existence of product certification schemes by eco-labels, they do not cover all types of products on the market. For this reason, in 2002, the Public Agency for Environmental IHOBE in collaboration with various public and private actors involved in the definition of a standard that would give a response to this demand, because if it is true that there are rules that gives guidance to organizations on how to perform a LCA, or how to integrate environmental aspects into product development, there was no rule that provides organizations with the elements of an environmental management system process design and development of products or services. In addition, there were two requirements for the environmental management system design and development process, it can be integrated with other management requirements (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001:1996) and can be certified by external agents.
This standard adopted in June 2003 and called "UNE 150.301. Environmental Management of the design and development - eco-design”, allows organizations to incorporate a system to identify, monitor and improve the environmental aspects related to products designed for them and certifies that the entire design and development process have been taken into account possible environmental conditions of the product to reduce them. This standard will become the future standard ISO 14006 for next summer.
The implementation of Ecodesign standard follows an IPP focus, due to management of the environmental aspects of all products and / or services designed by the company throughout its life cycle, thereby involving their suppliers and thereby controlling supply chain, consumers, distributors and managers of end of life, thereby systematizing extended producer responsibility. That is why for those sectors covered by the Directive 2009/125/EC on Energy-Related Products, certification of Eco-design management system ensures compliance with legal requirements for it. This provides an increase in certificates according to the standard of Ecodesign.
Moreover, the use of methodologies for LCA to identify the environmental aspects, facilitates the generation of public environmental information systems based on eco-labeling. Furthermore, many of the companies choose to provide environmental information in their products as eco-labels or Type III Environmental Product Declarations. The ease of generation of environmental information is a factor to be accounted for public tenders, as they find it easier to understand and comply with those requirements.
Exergoenvironmental analysis - A combination of exergy analysis and LCA to support the design for environment of energy conversion processes
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
LCA is widely known to design for environment (DfE) of energy conversion processes. It covers the environmental impacts over the entire life cycle from cradle to grave. However, due to the methodological scope of LCA, the environmental impact is related to the product of the energy conversion process, e.g. to the amount of electric energy generated by a power plant. Especially the functional interdependencies between the various process components and their influence on the total environmental impact are determined by different physical units of each process component like a flue gas particle filter or a heat exchanger and so on.
This gap can be closed by an exergy analysis which describes the thermodynamical properties of each process component and each material and energy flow. The analysis provides exergy flows as a consistent thermodynamical basis of the overall energy conversion process. In the second step, a LCA is determined the required values of the environmental impact of each process component. In the last step, the environmental impact associated with each component is assigned to the product exergy flows of the component.
The so called exergoenvironmental analysis identifies the environmentally most relevant process components as well as the influence of the thermodynamic inefficiencies within each process component to minimize the environmental impacts of the entire energy conversion process by an improved process design.
As a case study, an energy conversion process consisting of a high-temperature solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) integrated with an allothermal biomass gasification has been analyzed. The investigation reveals that the gasifier, heat exchanger HXA1, and SOFC are the most environmental relevant components of the system. Furthermore it is shown the distinctions between the results of the LCA and the exergoenvironmental analysis, as well as the influence of the thermodynamic inefficiencies on its environmental impacts.
Decision for packaging waste management from a life cycle perspective. The FENIX project
1Cantabria University, Spain; 2Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional, Spain; 3Universidad San Jorge, Spain
From an environmental perspective, raw material used, energy consumption and emissions during packaging production are quantitatively comparable to the levels consumed and emitted during the recycling process of waste packaging materials. To obtain raw materials from waste recycling, it is necessary to collect, transport, classify and finally process them, which also imply the consumption of water, energy and additional materials. Thus, it is necessary to make a balance and check whether environmental benefits of selective collection and recycling are higher than resource consumption and pollution during those processes.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well known and objective tool for environmental analysis of products and services. LCA could be used to compare different waste treatment options or to compare different stages of the process (containers production, transport, recycling, landfilling…). This methodology allows to determine which stages are the most environmentally harmful and to do a balance among the benefits of the recycling activity in comparison with collection and transportation phases, for instance.
In order to achieve all the potential benefits of LCA for packaging waste management, it is essential to have an interactive and easy-to-use LCA software tool, including different waste treatment options and models that could be adapted to different realities.
The FENIX project aims at developing a software tool to assist Spanish and Portuguese municipalities in the decision-making for packaging waste management from a life cycle perspective, integrating environmental, economic and social aspects. The tool will allow the different users to introduce and modify parameters (km travelled, selection between different collection and treatment options, plant efficiency, etc.) to adapt the models created in the tool to the real situation. With the aim of promoting more sustainable packaging waste management and minimizing environmental impact, the tool will aid in creating more sustainable collection systems adapted to the different situations of today’s European societies, fostering sustainable development and the protection of our environment.