ME515 Life Cycle Assessment
Winter quarter 2014
Joyce Smith Cooper, Professor of Mechanical Engineering firstname.lastname@example.org (office hours before class and by appointment)
The computational structure and data sources for environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) are presented, discussed, and used to analyze materials, products, and services from materials acquisition through end-of-life. Assessments either identifies opportunities for improvements or selects a superior alternative on the basis of pollution prevention and resource conservation.
Students individually prepare an LCA starting with a project proposal identifying their topic of interest. Project documention is submitted throughout the quarter as a goal and scope document, an inventory analysis, and a final report including impact assessment and interpretation.
Grading is based on the proposal, interim and final reports, and one in-class quiz. 0.1 points will be lost from the final grade for each day past any reporting deadline. All interim and final reports should be submitted through the class catalyst 2014 LCA dropbox
- Textbook: Heijungs, R., S. Suh (2002) The Computational Structure of Life Cycle Assessment, Kluwar Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, The Netherlands (in-part available through google books) Standards: ISO 14040: 2006 and ISO 14044:2006
- Articles listed on the syllabus.
Jan. 7-9 Course introduction
READING: Heijungs & Suh chapter 1 and ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006
- 2014 course introduction (lecture in pdf)
Jan. 9 - 21: Goal and scope definition and the basic model for inventory analysis
READING: Heijungs & Suh chapter 2
Jan. 10: Project topic to be submitted for approval (submit to the class dropbox by 5pm)
Jan. 17: Project proposal due (submit to the class catalyst dropbox by 5pm)
Jan. 23 - Feb. 4: Inventory data sources
- 2014 inventory data sources (lecture in pdf)
READING: Jiménez-González, C., S. Kim, M.R. Overcash (2000) “Methodology for Developing Gate-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory Information,” International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 5(3) 153-159
Jan. 24: Goal and scope report due (submit to the class catalyst dropbox by 5pm)
Feb. 6: The refined model for inventory analysis
- 2014 refined inventory model (lecture in pdf)
READING: Heijungs & Suh chapters 3
Feb. 11: Inventory analysis help session
Feb. 13: QUIZ (in-class) (quiz notes in pdf)
Feb. 18: Impact Assessment
- 2014 impact assessment (lecture in pdf)
READING: Heijungs & Suh section 8.1 and BARE, J. C. TRACI 2.0 - The Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and other environmental Impacts. CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, 13(5):687-696, (2011)
Feb. 20: Inventory analysis due (submit to the class catalyst dropbox by 5pm)
Feb. 25: GUEST SPEAKERS: Joshua Kusnitz and Gary May of The Boeing Company
Feb. 27: Interpretation
READING: Heijungs & Suh chapters 4 and 6 and section 8.2 and Heijungs, R., R. Kleijn (2001) “Numerical approaches towards life cycle interpretation: five examples,” International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 6(3) Available at http://www.leidenuniv.nl/cml/ssp/publications/wp2000-001.pdf
March 4: LCA Tools, issues and status
- 2014 Wrap up (lecture in pdf)
March 6: Interpretaton help session
Mar. 11 - 13: LCA project forum- BRIEF oral reports given in class (what to include)
Mar. 17 Final report due (submit to the class catalyst dropbox by 5pm)
Your project will be a LCA that recommends improvement opportunities for a life cycle of a system of your choosing. HOWEVER:
- You may not recreate an existing LCA (this means you must start with a literature review including BOTH a journal and web search)
- You may choose from one of the following two types
- Prepare an LCA on a product or production process that has not been done
- Prepare an LCA that starts with an existing LCA
as the basis and
- ADDS for 2 or more process alternatives (technologies not previously considered) AND at least 1 life cycle impact that has not previously been assessed
- YOUR SYSTEM MUST PRODUCE AT LEAST ONE CO-PRODUCT
- All project proposals must be approved by the instructor
During the quarter, you will submit a proposal, interim reports, and a final report
Proposal: Your ~2-page proposal should include:
- An introduction including:
- A description of the specific system you will evaluate and why you have chosen it (e.g., it is related to your thesis or dissertation, it is related to your current job or career goals, it is related to an environmental question you have had for some time, etc.).
- The results of your literature review covering
- Relevant articles/reports describing core production data
- Relevant LCAs including a description of the geographic specificity, functional unit, scope (including a hierarchical list of included processes), impact assessment, comparisons made, and conclusions drawn.
- A description of your proposed LCA including:
- identification of the product and co-product(s)
- identification of the geographic specificity (what region will you study?-- the US? the globe?)
- the function of your system (to generate electricity, transport people to work...)
- a description of how you will model "core production" (include references to data or models to be used)
- a hierarchical list of unit processes to be included in the life cycle (using abbreviations as needed, such as "the life cycle of aluminum production")
- a description of what will be tracked in the impact assessment (such as "the contribution to climate change") and a statement on why you have chosen these impacts (references are appropriate here)
- Conclude with a list of the references used, formatted as described at http://libguides.hsl.washington.edu/apa and please consider the use of appendices (e.g., for process lists) which do not need to comply with the page limit
Part 1. Goal and scope definition.
Follow the structure described in the ISO Standards. You will be both reformatting some of the information provided in your proposal and providing new new information. Note that your "critical review" includes feedback from the instructor on interim and final reports as well as feedback provided by the class during the oral presentations. You must also include a brief description of the LCA methodology and a review of existing related LCAs as may have been included in your proposal. All citations should be complete as described at http://libguides.hsl.washington.edu/apa
Part 2. Inventory analysis.
Follow the structure described in the ISO Standards. Your technology and intervention matrices, demand vector, scaling vector, and result vector must be included in an appendix and must be referred to in the text. All data sources must be cited, and formatted as described at http://libguides.hsl.washington.edu/apa
Your final report must combine all interim reports and add 3 final parts:
Part 3. Impact assessment.
Your impact assessment must include characterization and normalization and may also include valuation.
Part 4. Interpretation.
The findings from your inventory analysis and impact assessment should be evaluated on the basis of completeness, sensitivity, consistency, and quality of the data.
Part 5. Recommendations.
The conclusion of your report should support recommendations for resource conservation and pollution prevention.
Your final project report must not exceed 25 pages of text, figures, and tables (not including appendices). Text should be 12-point and text in tables and figures should not be smaller than 10-point. Figures and tables should be integrated within the text of the description unless they are clearly part of an appendix. All citations should be complete as described at http://libguides.hsl.washington.edu/apa
Example Class Project
(noting the the project requirements may have been different than yours)