3 years ago

Implementing a Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment Methodology with a Case Study on Domestic Hot Water Production

Didier Beloin-Saint-Pierre, Manuele Margni, Annie Levasseur, Isabelle Blanc
This work contributes to the development of a dynamic life cycle assessment (DLCA) methodology by providing a methodological framework to link a dynamic system modeling method with a time-dependent impact assessment method. This three-step methodology starts by modeling systems where flows are described by temporal distributions. Then, a temporally differentiated life cycle inventory (TDLCI) is calculated to present the environmental exchanges through time. Finally, time-dependent characterization factors are applied to the TDLCI to evaluate climate-change impacts through time. The implementation of this new framework is illustrated by comparing systems producing domestic hot water (DHW) over an 80-year period. Electricity is used to heat water in the first system, whereas the second system uses a combination of solar energy and gas to heat an equivalent amount of DHW at the same temperature. This comparison shows that using a different temporal precision (i.e., monthly vs. annual) to describe process flows can reverse conclusions regarding which case has the best environmental performance. Results also show that considering the timing of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduces the absolute values of carbon footprint in the short-term when compared with results from the static life cycle assessment. This pragmatic framework for the implementation of time in DLCA studies is proposed to help in the development of the methodology. It is not yet a fully operational scheme, and efforts are still required before DLCA can become state of practice.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12499

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