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Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment

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Life Cycle Assessment

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  1. Life Cycle Assessment Scott Matthews Civil and Environmental Engineering Carnegie Mellon University

  2. LCA patterns of use • More for larger firms than smaller. • More a tool for a pull strategy than for a push strategy. • Acceptance substantially vary among countries (more accepted by developed countries than developing countries). • LCA started to become a part of the regulatory system in Europe but not in the US.

  3. Some results from the Survey by Frankel and Rubik (1999)

  4. Important applications of LCA perceived by industries Source: Frankl&Rubik, 1999

  5. Resources and materials Manufacture Disposal Use Example of process-flow diagram (aggregated): Source: Hauschild, 2003 Product system of a uniform (cloth)

  6. Example of “required data” table (Inputs and outputs table - part) (source: International Aluminum Institute, 2003)

  7. Identifying required data (cumulative input mass - part) (source: Suh, 2000)

  8. Example of inventory result (part) (source: International Aluminum Institute, 2003)

  9. Paper vs. Plastic Grocery Sacks: Comparison of Three Studies

  10. In-Class Assignment • Suppose you need to choose a new copier for an office. In a small group: • Define appropriate goals and scope for a life cycle cost and environmental life cycle assessment. • Define appropriate environmental indicators (e.g. electricity or energy use). • Define major benefit or cost categories to consider • Develop a set of processes to be considered (i.e. inputs and outputs identified and estimated). • We will have reports from groups by end of period.

  11. Example: Copier LCA • In GaBi demo, explore under Processes, Production, Materials, Metal • Look at steel (3 options) • Can also see plastic, etc options • Double click to see inputs/outputs • Generally shows normalized impacts for 1kg of output item (eg 1 kg of ABS plastic) • The data records refer to a process that requires many inputs, and produces 1 kg of ABS plastic (as well as many other outputs)

  12. Complexity • We’ve been looking at fairly small, streamlined LCI problems • How does the method scale?

  13. sub-system2 process process process process process process process process process process process process process process process process process process process process process sub-system1 Structure of a Process-based LCA Model

  14. The Boundary Issue • Where to set the boundary of the LCA? • “Conventional” LCA: include all processes, but at least the most important processes if there are time and financial constraints • In EIO-LCA, the boundary is by definition the entire economy, recognizing interrelationships among industrial sectors • In EIO LCA, the products described by a sector are representing an average product not a specific one

  15. RESOURCES waste system boundary Circularity Effects • Circularity effects in the economy must be accounted for: cars are made from steel, steel is made with iron ore, coal, steel machinery, etc. Iron ore and coal are mined using steel machinery, energy, etc... product emissions

  16. Economic Input-Output Life-Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA)

  17. Economic Input-Output Analysis • Developed by Wassily Leontief (Nobel Prize in 1973) • “General interdependency” model: quantifies the interrelationships among sectors of an economic system • Identifies direct & indirect economic inputs • Can be extended to environmental and energy analysis

  18. EIO-LCA Implementation • Use the 498 x 498 input-output matrix of the U.S. economy from 1992 • 491 for 1997 • Augment with sector-level environmental impact coefficient matrices (R) [effect/$ output from sector] • Environmental impact calculation: E = R[I - D]-1F

  19. Data Sources in EIO-LCA (1997)

  20. Life Cycle Stages • At each stage, there are some inputs used and some outputs created that need to be identified • Example: automobile production • Direct: smoke from factory • Indirect: smoke from suppliers’ factories

  21. I-O and Supply Chains Engine Steel Conferences . . . $20,000 Car: $2500 $2000 $1200 $800 $10 Other Parts Plastics Electricity . . . $2500 Engine: $300 $200 $150 $10 Steel Aluminum

  22. Effects Specified • Direct • Inputs needed for final production of product (energy, water, etc.) • Indirect • ALL inputs needed in supply chain • e.g. Metal, belts, wiring for engine • e.g. Copper, plastic to produce wires • Calculation yields every $ input needed

  23. EIO-LCA Software • Internet version http://www.eiolca.net/ • About 1 million users to date • About 1,500 registered users • update notices • other benefits • First LCA tool completely free on Internet in full version (not a ‘demo’)