Jun 27, 2020
Cleveland Institution of Engineers
March 6th 2019
Chairman, IOM3 Sustainable Development Group
Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield
Life Cycle Assessment as a basis for Sustainability Thinking
Circular economy ?
How to make things better, not worse?
( but for who, and in what respect ?)
Life Cycle Thinking ?
The high level challenges for a better society …..
UN Sustainable Development Goals – Launched September 2015
Tata Steel Slide
Materials will be a major contributor to the goal of 9 Bn people ‘living well’
Tata Steel Slide
How to make things better without making things worse…..
• (2010 forecast) The number of middle class consumers will increase from 1 to 4 Bn in next 20 years
• More recent estimates at 3 to 6 Bn in next 10 yrs
• WBCSD aspiration is for 9 bn people ‘living well’ by 2050, without compromise for future generations
Conventional pathways to 9bn people ‘living well’ will put a strain on Resource Consumption and Climate Change so will require innovation and excellence in materials developments, and a rethink about material and product life cycles.
………The Circular Economy …….
Successful Businesses will position themselves to address this opportunity/threat
Usage / Share
Refurbish / Remanufacture / Recondition
Closed Loop Recycling
Open Loop Recycling / Cascading
Minimal resource loss / waste
Minimal & responsible virgin resource inputs
Direct & indirect value creation
through process & product / service
Life extension/ Service Support
Reuse / Redistribute /
Making the Economy More Circular with Value Optimisation
Life Cycle Thinking
…. Is increasingly important to consider the wider
consequences of strategies aimed at making
improvements, but it requires a methodological
Life Cycle Assessment
Indicates the scale of environmental and resource
impacts associated with an activity or function
from the extraction of raw materials, through to
‘end use’ impacts.
LCA has a Role in Understanding the Benefits of a Circular Economy
Is it better to build more robust products (higher LCI), for extended service life ?
Is it better to use more energy intensive materials (higher LCI), to gain the fuel efficiency benefit from use phase light-weighting ?
Should we compromise functional efficiency to make products more recyclable ?
All recycling processes (and transport) have impacts, so what is the value of recycling ? What does recycling/reuse actually offset/avoid ?
Is it better to design for end-of-life recycling and/or to source material from recycled sources.
Tata Steel Slide 10Bessemer Masterclass 2014
How do we carry out an LCA ?
Tata Steel Slide 11Bessemer Masterclass 2014
Set out the Goals/ Define the System
Clearly describe system function/ set out what is ‘in scope’ and define boundary
New data using questionnaires and the rest access existing LCA datasets.
Linking system datasets, make methodological choices. E.g. allocation for co- products.
Run the Model, analyse outputs, check and revise
Generate the Life Cycle Inventory of the system,
Take Inventory Data and group information to generate Impact datasets, such as ‘Global Warming Potential’
Understand sensitivity of results to data and methods. Check data, report conclusion.
Tata Steel Slide 12
Life Cycle Inventory : Lists mass inputs/outputs from Earth, and to the Earth
LCA begins with generating so called ‘Inventories’ or LCI’s
This LCI lists all inputs and outputs from earth associated with a defined system
The LCI list here is for ‘Global production of 1 kg steel product (at factory gate) via BF Route’
The highlights here included confirmation that 2.128 Kg of CO2 are emitted for 1 kg of steel product.
Major Articles* Units Average
Inputs: (r) Coal (in ground) kg 0.643398982
(r) Dolomite (CaCO3.MgCO3, in ground) kg 0.01626926
(r) Iron (Fe) kg 1.748361164
(r) Limestone (CaCO3, in ground) kg 0.011457251
(r) Natural Gas (in ground) kg 0.030582934
(r) Oil (in ground) kg 0.047137374
(r) Zinc (Zn) kg 2.15E-09
Ferrous Scrap (net) kg 1.45E-01
Water Used (total) litre 17.92589455
Outputs: (a) Cadmium (Cd) g 6.33E-05
(a) Carbon Dioxide (CO2) g 2128.117309
(a) Carbon Monoxide (CO) g 33.00088145
(a) Dioxins (unspecified, as TEq) g 3.60E-08
(a) Hydrogen Chloride (HCl) g 0.044157425
(a) Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) g 0.068293481
(a) Lead (Pb) g 3.69E-03
(a) Methane (CH4) g 0.527704385
(a) Nitrogen Oxides (NOx as NO2) g 2.973955418
(a) Nitrous Oxide (N2O) g 0.112232902
(a) Particulates (Total) g 1.74E+00
(a) Sulphur Oxides (SOx as SO2) g 2.582408291
(w) Chromium (Total) g 9.36E-05
(w) COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) g 0.331073716
(w) Iron (Fe++, Fe3+) g 0.030940552
(w) Lead (Pb++, Pb4+) g -4.88E-04
(w) Nickel (Ni++, Ni3+) g 2.16E-04
(w) Nitrogenous Matter (unspecified, as N) g 0.015650293
Non-allocated byproducts (See Table Below) kg 5.22E-02
Waste (total) kg 1.564155491
Bessemer Masterclass 2014 13
LCA and Impact Assessment
Airborne Emissions Carbon Dioxide, CO2
Carbon Tetrafluoride, CF4
Nitrous Oxide, N2O
Other Nitrogen Oxides, NOx
Sulphur Dioxide, SO2
Hydrogen Chloride, HCl
Hydrogen Fluoride, HF
Hydrogen Sulphide, H2S
Acidification Potential Photo- chemical Oxidation Potential
Global Warming Potential
Acidification Potential Acidification Potential Photo- chemical Oxidation Potential
Photo- chemical Oxidation Potential
Global Warming Potential
Tata Steel Slide 14Bessemer Masterclass 2014
2050 Scenarios for Global Steel Manufacture
….and focus on the product benefits
2.4 Bt Steel
1.2 Bt Steel
Tata Steel Slide 15
Life Cycle Assessment Profile for Steel Products
Use Phase Dominates
Vehicles / Buildings / Engineering
Use End of life
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Bessemer Masterclass 2014 18
Life Cycle Assessment of Railway Sleepers
• Wood – renewable resource
• Concrete – low energy material (per kg)
• Steel – recyclable
• Which is the more
sustainable of these
….and the importance of System
Definition in LCA
Bessemer Masterclass 2014 20
Installation End of lifeProduction
Bessemer Masterclass 2014 21
System Definition and Project Scope
• Product system:
• Steel/concrete/timber intensive rail systems
• BS113 rail
• Type 436 steel sleepers/F41 concrete sleepers
• Function: straight, mainline track