Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) measures the environmental impact of a process, product, or service. With the information obtained from the LCA, it is possible to identify areas of opportunity where the process, product or service can be improved, not only reducing the negative environmental impact but also finding gaps where resources are being wasted and finding solutions to reduce the associated costs. The standards related to LCA are ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006.
There are 4 phases to build an LCA (Figure 1):
Goal and scope definition
This part is to define the objective and range of study (scope) of the process, product, or service. Moreover, it is defined as the functional unit (FU), which is the reference for the calculations in the impact. Depending on the study the FU can be through volume, weight, energy, and quantity of product, among others.
Life Cycle Inventory analysis (LCI)
After the goal and scope definition, it follows all the data collection needed for the analysis. According to the scope is going to be required the inputs and outputs from the study.
Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA)
For this phase, it is calculated the environmental impact. It is important to mention that there are a variety of methodologies (IPCC, ReCiPe, ecological scarcity, EPS, ecosystem damage potential, and CML, among others). The measure of the impact is corresponding to the FU, for example, kgCO2eq/FU.
Finally, after the LCIA the interpretation of the results must be shown. What are the recommendations, where are the opportunity areas, what process stands out, and what conclusions.
LCA diagram-phases ISO 14040
While the different Oleaf4Value´s valorisation routes (VRs) advance in their processes, a preliminary assessment of the VR1 (Polyphenol olive leaf valorisation route) of NATAC had been made, using SIMAPRO software through two different methods IPCC GWP20 and ReCiPe. The study was focused to measure the following impact categories:
CO2 equivalent (from the GWP20).
Stratospheric Ozone depletion (kg CFC11e).
Human carcinogenic toxicity (kg 1,4 -DCB).
Water consumption (m3).
Fine particle matter formation (kg PM2.5e).
Terrestrial acidification (kg SO2e).
were used two methods ICC GWP20 and ReCiPe.
The results show that energy is the variable responsible for most of the impact generated in VR1. That is, if the energy source were changed to a renewable source, the amount of impact would decrease considerably. The process has water as a co-product, which offsets most of the water used in the process, resulting in an impact of only 0.001 m3 of water. The results for stratospheric ozone depletion and fine particulate formation are below the milli unit; land acidification and water consumption also have a value below 0, because this process mainly consumes energy, so the biggest impact on this is human carcinogenic toxicity and CO2e.
IPCC GWP20 VR1 results.
VR1 results per kg of dry product.
In conclusion, in the case of VR1, electricity consumption is the major contributor to the negative impact, due to the energy required in all stages of the process, therefore, it is expected during the project, to improve efficiency within the process and implement renewable energy sources to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with energy consumption.
In the coming months ZER0-E will continue with the analysis for each valuation route, but now based on the latest updated data for each process, to have results closer to reality and to be able to establish improvement routes for each process and disseminate the positive results obtained.
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