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[en] Previous studies have proposed several methods for integrating characterized environmental impacts as a single index in life cycle assessment. Each of them, however, may lead to different results. This study presents internal and external normalization methods, weighting factors proposed by panel methods, and a monetary valuation based on an endpoint life cycle impact assessment method as the integration methods. Furthermore, this study investigates the differences among the integration methods and identifies the causes of the differences through a case study in which five elementary school buildings were used. As a result, when using internal normalization with weighting factors, the weighting factors had a significant influence on the total environmental impacts whereas the normalization had little influence on the total environmental impacts. When using external normalization with weighting factors, the normalization had more significant influence on the total environmental impacts than weighing factors. Due to such differences, the ranking of the five buildings varied depending on the integration methods. The ranking calculated by the monetary valuation method was significantly different from that calculated by the normalization and weighting process. The results aid decision makers in understanding the differences among these integration methods, and, finally, help them select the method most appropriate for the goal at hand.
[en] A framework to include a Life Cycle Assessment in the significance evaluation of the environmental aspects of an Environmental Management System has been studied for some industrial sectors, but there is a literature gap at the territorial level, where the indirect impact assessment is crucial. To overcome this criticality, our research proposes the Life Cycle Assessment as a framework to assess environmental aspects of public administration within an Environmental Management System applied at the territorial level. This research is structured in two parts: the design of a new methodological framework and the pilot application for an Italian municipality. The methodological framework designed supports Initial Environmental Analysis at the territorial level thanks to the results derived from the impact assessment phase. The pilot application in an Italian municipality EMAS registered demonstrates the applicability of the framework and its effectiveness in evaluating the environmental impact assessment for direct and indirect aspects. Through the discussion of the results, we underline the growing knowledge derived by this research in terms of the reproducibility and consistency of the criteria to define the significance of the direct and indirect environmental aspects for a local public administration. - Highlights: • The combination between Environmental Management System and LCA is studied. • A methodological framework is elaborated and tested at the territorial level. • Life Cycle Impact Assessment supports the evaluation of aspects significance. • The framework assures consistency of evaluation criteria on the studied territory.
[en] As a core product category rule (PCR), EN 15804 defines rules for conducting the life cycle assessment (LCA) of building products in the context of environmental product declarations (EPDs). This European standard is complemented by EN 16485, which provides further guidance for specific aspects for the LCA of wood and wood-based construction products. For all life cycle stages under consideration, the renewable and non-renewable primary energy employed for energy generation or material use is accounted for. Furthermore, the inputs and outputs of secondary materials (SM), renewable secondary fuels (RSF) and non-renewable secondary fuels (NRSF) have to be reported. Especially in the end-of life stage as well as in the production stage, the standards do not exactly rule the accounting method of the primary energy contained in SM, RSF and NRSF. As both standards leave room for interpretation, we wrote this discussion article to introduce this issue to the LCA community and to present our developed accounting specifications. In general, we consider EN 15804 and EN 16485 as helpful tools for the LCA of building products. We hope that our ideas on certain aspects contribute to a better understanding of the standards, possibly leading to further improvement in the course of the standardization process.
[en] Knowledge of the residual elastic strain (RES) in polycrystalline materials is of primary importance for understanding the deformation behavior and fatigue lifetimes of engineering components. Bragg-edge neutron strain tomography is a recently developed technique that is showing great promise as a time efficient, non-destructive method of mapping the three-dimensional strain profile in whole components and bulk materials at high resolution. In Bragg-edge neutron strain tomography, the energy-resolved neutron transmission spectrum is collected from a polycrystalline sample. This spectrum displays sudden well-defined increases in intensity known as 'Bragg-edges' which provide a direct measure of the average through thickness strain. By measuring the transmission spectrum for a number of sample orientations it is possible to recover the underlying three-dimensional RES. Newly developed high resolution Microchannel Plate Timepix detector in Time-of-Flight (TOF) experiments have been used to obtain three-dimensional strain maps at 55m resolution. Here we describe the principles and practice of the Bragg-edge measurement technique. The successful implementation of this technique for arbitrary strain distributions offers the potential of significantly improving the resolution and data acquisition times for imaging RES over previous diffraction based approaches.
[en] Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is one of basic steps in life cycle assessment methodology (LCA). This paper presents a comparative study of the LCIA of different life cycle inventories (LCI) for EU cements. The analysis unit used is the manufacture of 1 kg of cement, from 'cradle to gate'. The impact categories considered are those resulting from the manufacture of cement and include greenhouse effects, acidification, eutrophication and summer and winter smog, amongst others. The results of the study highlighted some inconsistencies in existing inventories. As for the LCIA, the main environmental interventions related to cement manufacture were classified and characterised and their effect on different impact categories analysed. Differences observed in evaluation of the impact of cement type were essentially related to their clinker content
[en] One method of assessing the sustainability of manufactured products involves performing a life cycle analysis for a product and comparing it to alternative ones, or else examining if individual stages of the product can be modified. LCA applications are being used more extensively, especially in the automotive and related industries. Automotive plastics in particular are being scrutinized with much greater care. Plastic components have replaced metal ones in vehicle manufacturing to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and aesthetics. However, at the end of a vehicle's life, recycling rates for plastic are negligible when compared to those of steel. In order to gain the full environmental benefits of using plastic as a vehicle material, plastics must be recycled at the end of a vehicle's life, especially given their increasing use. While a variety of processes have been developed for the recycling of automotive plastics, the challenges of sorting, processing, and finally recycling a heterogeneous mixture of used plastics have yet to be effectively solved. A preliminary life cycle assessment of a plastic automotive fascia demonstrates the usefulness of this eco-balance technique in evaluating potential improvements to manufacturing and end-of-life processes. Improving the manufacturing process may reduce environmental burdens to a larger extent than just recycling the plastic. (author)
[en] Technical programmes of work managed and undertaken by the UK nuclear power generation industry to develop the R5 high temperature assessment procedures have been ongoing for many years. The development programmes are undertaken by British Energy Generation Limited in collaboration with Serco Assurance. The work programmes have largely been driven by the need to advance the methodologies to enable increasingly complex fitness-for-purpose and plant life extension assessments to be undertaken. This is especially true for plant that has been in operation for a number of years where ageing and material degradation issues are prevalent. The R5 procedures are updated on a regular basis, taking into account the information resulting from the development programmes, and other available information world-wide. This paper provides details of the recent advances in the procedures for assessing creep-fatigue initiation and crack growth in high temperature plant. (author)
[en] Work is ongoing on several schemes of biological hydrogen production. At one end is the genetic modification of biological systems (such as algae or cyanobacteria) to produce hydrogen from photosynthesis, instead of the energy-rich compounds (such as NADPH2) normally constituting the endpoint of the transformations through the photo-systems. A second route is to collect and use the biomass produced by normal plant growth processes in a separate step that produces hydrogen. This may be done similar to biogas production by fermentation, where the endpoint is methane (plus CO2 and minor constituents). Hydrogen could be the outcome of a secondary process starting from methane, involving any of the conventional methods of hydrogen production from natural gas. An alternative to fermentation is gasification of the biomass, followed by a shift-reaction leading to hydrogen. I compare advantages and disadvantages of these three routes, notably factors such as system efficiency, cost and environmental impacts, and also compare them to liquid biofuels. (author)