International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Springer Science+Business Media
About: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment is an academic journal published by Springer Science+Business Media. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Life-cycle assessment & Environmental impact assessment. It has an ISSN identifier of 0948-3349. Over the lifetime, 2976 publications have been published receiving 139319 citations. The journal is also known as: Int J LCA (Internet) & LCA.
Topics: Life-cycle assessment, Environmental impact assessment, Impact assessment, Greenhouse gas, Sustainability
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: With version 3, the ecoinvent database substantially expands the goals and scopes of LCA studies it can support, and the new system models allow new, different studies to be performed.
Abstract: Purpose Good background data are an important requirement in LCA. Practitioners generally make use of LCI databases for such data, and the ecoinvent database is the largest transparent unit-process LCI database worldwide. Since its first release in 2003, it has been continuously updated, and version 3 was published in 2013. The release of version 3 introduced several significant methodological and technological improvements, besides a large number of new and updated datasets. The aim was to expand the content of the database, set the foundation for a truly global database, support regionalized LCIA, offer multiple system models, allow for easier integration of data from different regions, and reduce maintenance efforts. This article describes the methodological developments.
TL;DR: The IMPACT 2002+ method as mentioned in this paper proposes a feasible implementation of a combined midpoint/damage approach, linking all types of life cycle inventory results (elementary flows and other interventions) via 14 midpoint categories to four damage categories.
Abstract: The new IMPACT 2002+ life cycle impact assessment methodology proposes a feasible implementation of a combined midpoint/damage approach, linking all types of life cycle inventory results (elementary flows and other interventions) via 14 midpoint categories to four damage categories. For IMPACT 2002+, new concepts and methods have been developed, especially for the comparative assessment of human toxicity and ecotoxicity. Human Damage Factors are calculated for carcinogens and non-carcinogens, employing intake fractions, best estimates of dose-response slope factors, as well as severities. The transfer of contaminants into the human food is no more based on consumption surveys, but accounts for agricultural and livestock production levels. Indoor and outdoor air emissions can be compared and the intermittent character of rainfall is considered. Both human toxicity and ecotoxicity effect factors are based on mean responses rather than on conservative assumptions. Other midpoint categories are adapted from existing characterizing methods (Eco-indicator 99 and CML 2002). All midpoint scores are expressed in units of a reference substance and related to the four damage categories human health, ecosystem quality, climate change, and resources. Normalization can be performed either at midpoint or at damage level. The IMPACT 2002+ method presently provides characterization factors for almost 1500 different LCI-results, which can be downloaded at http://www.epfl.ch/impact
TL;DR: The ReCiPe2016 method as discussed by the authors provides a state-of-the-art method to convert life cycle inventories to a limited number of life cycle impact scores on midpoint and endpoint level.
Abstract: Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) translates emissions and resource extractions into a limited number of environmental impact scores by means of so-called characterisation factors. There are two mainstream ways to derive characterisation factors, i.e. at midpoint level and at endpoint level. To further progress LCIA method development, we updated the ReCiPe2008 method to its version of 2016. This paper provides an overview of the key elements of the ReCiPe2016 method. We implemented human health, ecosystem quality and resource scarcity as three areas of protection. Endpoint characterisation factors, directly related to the areas of protection, were derived from midpoint characterisation factors with a constant mid-to-endpoint factor per impact category. We included 17 midpoint impact categories. The update of ReCiPe provides characterisation factors that are representative for the global scale instead of the European scale, while maintaining the possibility for a number of impact categories to implement characterisation factors at a country and continental scale. We also expanded the number of environmental interventions and added impacts of water use on human health, impacts of water use and climate change on freshwater ecosystems and impacts of water use and tropospheric ozone formation on terrestrial ecosystems as novel damage pathways. Although significant effort has been put into the update of ReCiPe, there is still major improvement potential in the way impact pathways are modelled. Further improvements relate to a regionalisation of more impact categories, moving from local to global species extinction and adding more impact pathways. Life cycle impact assessment is a fast evolving field of research. ReCiPe2016 provides a state-of-the-art method to convert life cycle inventories to a limited number of life cycle impact scores on midpoint and endpoint level.
École Polytechnique de Montréal1, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology2, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute3, Radboud University Nijmegen4, University of Michigan5, ETH Zurich6, Rovira i Virgili University7, Technical University of Denmark8, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory9, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne10
TL;DR: Usetox as discussed by the authors is a scientific consensus model that contains only the most influential model elements and is used to calculate CFs for several thousand substances and forms the basis of the recommendations from UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative regarding characterisation of toxic impacts in life cycle assessment.
Abstract: In 2005, a comprehensive comparison of life cycle impact assessment toxicity characterisation models was initiated by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)–Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative, directly involving the model developers of CalTOX, IMPACT 2002, USES-LCA, BETR, EDIP, WATSON and EcoSense. In this paper, we describe this model comparison process and its results—in particular the scientific consensus model developed by the model developers. The main objectives of this effort were (1) to identify specific sources of differences between the models’ results and structure, (2) to detect the indispensable model components and (3) to build a scientific consensus model from them, representing recommended practice. A chemical test set of 45 organics covering a wide range of property combinations was selected for this purpose. All models used this set. In three workshops, the model comparison participants identified key fate, exposure and effect issues via comparison of the final characterisation factors and selected intermediate outputs for fate, human exposure and toxic effects for the test set applied to all models. Through this process, we were able to reduce inter-model variation from an initial range of up to 13 orders of magnitude down to no more than two orders of magnitude for any substance. This led to the development of USEtox, a scientific consensus model that contains only the most influential model elements. These were, for example, process formulations accounting for intermittent rain, defining a closed or open system environment or nesting an urban box in a continental box. The precision of the new characterisation factors (CFs) is within a factor of 100–1,000 for human health and 10–100 for freshwater ecotoxicity of all other models compared to 12 orders of magnitude variation between the CFs of each model, respectively. The achieved reduction of inter-model variability by up to 11 orders of magnitude is a significant improvement. USEtox provides a parsimonious and transparent tool for human health and ecosystem CF estimates. Based on a referenced database, it has now been used to calculate CFs for several thousand substances and forms the basis of the recommendations from UNEP-SETAC’s Life Cycle Initiative regarding characterisation of toxic impacts in life cycle assessment. We provide both recommended and interim (not recommended and to be used with caution) characterisation factors for human health and freshwater ecotoxicity impacts. After a process of consensus building among stakeholders on a broad scale as well as several improvements regarding a wider and easier applicability of the model, USEtox will become available to practitioners for the calculation of further CFs.