Sessions Descriptions 2018-08-16T11:44:20+00:00

Sessions Descriptions

A substantial proportion of the environmental impacts attributed to food, feed, fibre or agro-fuels is directly related to the agricultural production systems they originate from. In this session, LCA-relevant aspects of agricultural inputs (i.e. fertilizers, pesticides) and specific agricultural practices are covered. This is complemented by contributions about methodological aspects of indicator choice and a comprehensive decision support system.

Information on uncertainty and variability is often not included in LCA case studies although their importance is unquestioned. Reasons for this reach from lack of generally agreed on guidelines and missing data to higher efforts for the individual assessor of a case study. In this session, the main drivers for uncertainty and variability in footprints for a wide range of product types (including energy, shampoo, cement, crops or wood) will be presented. Approaches for how to deal with uncertainty and variability and how these affect the interpretation of results are discussed.

The production and provision of food products may have several significant environmental impacts. Some of these impacts, such as the toxicity, the eutrophication and the acidification potential, the impacts of livestock on the global warming potential or the effects of land use and land use change, are primarily determined by agricultural production. Consequently, most contributions in the sessions Foods and food products I and II deal with several environmental impact indicators in a LCA context. Aspects covered include methodological innovations and application cases for plant-based (apples, rapeseed, oil palm, wheat or vine) as well as animal-related food products (swine, poultry, fish, milk). Other contributions address food waste recycling or food-related climate taxes.

Life cycle assessment has become an important tool to assess processes, products and services in various disciplines. Databases are already well established for many disciplines, however, new datasets need to be built up for emerging fields of application. In order to increase the quality of datasets and furthermore results, the LCA method is dependent on progressive development. This session is going to address today’s challenges and new approaches in life cycle assessment methodology. Different methodological issues such as allocation of by-products, temporal and regional differences, the complexity of carbon capture and storage, development of new guidelines and others will be discussed.

Novel technologies and materials are important contributors to reducing environmental impacts and moving society towards a more circular economy. This session explores on the one hand the impact of novel materials and technologies, and on the other hand the impact of production systems and changes to them, respectively.

Covered will be different technologies to recover resources from waste water, followed by case studies on the use of nanomaterials in car batteries and capacitors. Fuel emission factors petroleum products derived from the European refining industry are presented and compared with those of other data sources and feedstocks. Continuing on energy, the last presentation will explore the effect of future energy mixes and likely process heat sources for the production of a biobased chemical.

Collecting relevant and up-to-date life-cycle inventory data can be a daunting task, and the interpretation of LCA results for effective decision support can be equally complex, especially for non-experts. This session will deliver new insights into life-cycle inventories and impact modelling of resources such as oil and metals. It will highlight innovative ways to frame LCA results in combination with circularity and multicriteria approaches. Finally, the session will also demonstrate exciting solutions to improve and simplify data collection and LCA results presentation, both by addressing specific processes and industries such as bioplastics, biorefineries and packaging, and by presenting broad new software solutions for maximum user benefit.

The European Union’s objective on a sustainable and steady development of its economic area, explicitly takes into account wellbeing and social needs as well as environmental protection and restoration. As trade acts as a pivotal point between the production and consumption of goods and services it is worth dedicating a whole session on the assessment of its potential environmental impacts. The perspectives for the assessments and approaches of applying LCA are thereby multifold:  From global trade over national consumption patterns to local product supply optimization. The common goal of the session’s contributions is building knowledge to increase resource efficiency by understanding consumption patterns in terms of societal demand and environmental pressure.

The vision of a bio-economy supports the use of renewable raw materials instead of fossil-based materials towards a sustainable growth. Life Cycle Assessment is a prerequisite to assess and quantify the potential environmental impacts associated with the use of renewable materials. From agricultural raw materials, bio-based chemicals and biofuels to bio-based products for automotive and aircraft industries: this session focusses on various LCA case studies on new and innovative renewable materials and their applications.

The building and construction sector is linked with major material and energy flows and has long-term impacts on future generations. Therefore, this sector plays a crucial role to reach the sustainable development goals. This session covers case studies with new methodical approaches for LCA of buildings and their practical use as decision support and planning tools. Also, LCA of future-oriented construction materials and building concepts are presented.

Energy production is a key contributor to global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), NOx and SO2and their related environmental impact. Moreover, the energy sector is one of the most important contributors to environmental burdens on different scales. Therefore, it is necessary to find more efficient technologies and materials with less environmental impact. Current trends in this sector focus, for example, on the promotion of biogas systems, hydrogen production, lignite-based power plants and residual forest biomass gasification. LCAs have also been performed for selected energy production systems like community-scale PV, tidal turbines, zero energy distribution networks, solar and hydro power plants. Finally, case studies in Czech Republic, Spain, Indonesia, Austria, Brazil, United States and Tunisia were focusing on specific questions of energy supply in their countries but their solutions can be transferred also to other regions.

At least since the implementation of the circular economy package, adopted by the European Commission in 2015, efforts are increased to close the loop of product lifecycles and to support circular economy in each step of the value chain – from production to consumption, repair and manufacturing, waste management and secondary raw materials that are fed back into the economy. The wider benefits of the circular economy shall also help to lower energy consumption and especially, to avoid carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, circular economy is seen as important instrument for securing resources and protecting the climate. In terms of LCA circular economy comes along with major challenges. Instead of modelling a traditional linear economy of make, use and dispose one has to deal with the fact that resources are kept in use for as long as possible and additionally recovery and regeneration of materials and products has to be taken into account at the end of life stage. This Session aims to provide a platform for exchange of experiences of modelling product lifecycles in closed loops against the background of circular economy.