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LiSET: A framework for early-stage life cycle screening of emerging technologies

Christine Roxanne Hung, Linda Ager-Wick Ellingsen, Guillaume Majeau-Bettez

Article (2020)

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Abstract

While life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool often used to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and technologies, the amount of data required to perform such studies make the evaluation of emerging technologies using the conventional LCA approach challenging. The development paradox is such that the inputs from a comprehensive environmental assessment has the greatest effect early in the development phase, and yet the data required to perform such an assessment are generally lacking until it is too late. Previous attempts to formalize strategies for performing streamlined or screening LCAs were made in the late 1990s and early 2000s, mostly to rapidly compare the environmental performance of product design candidates. These strategies lack the transparency and consistency required for the environmental screening of large numbers of early‐development candidates, for which data are even sparser. We propose the Lifecycle Screening of Emerging Technologies method (LiSET). LiSET is an adaptable screening‐to‐LCA method that uses the available data to systematically and transparently evaluate the environmental performance of technologies at low readiness levels. Iterations follow technological development and allow a progression to a full LCA if desired. In early iterations, LiSET presents results in a matrix structure combined with a “traffic light” color grading system. This format inherently communicates the high uncertainty of analysis at this stage and presents numerous environmental aspects assessed. LiSET takes advantage of a decomposition analysis and data not traditionally used in LCAs to gain insight to the life cycle impacts and ensure that the most environmentally sustainable technologies are adopted.

Uncontrolled Keywords

emerging technology; environmental screening; Life Cycle Screening of Emerging Technologies; LiSET; matrix LCA; streamlined LCA

Subjects: 1500 Environmental engineering > 1500 Environmental engineering
1800 Chemical engineering > 1800 Chemical engineering
Department: Department of Chemical Engineering
Research Center: CIRAIG - International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/3553/
Journal Title: Journal of Industrial Ecology (vol. 24, no. 1)
Publisher: Wiley & Yale University
DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12807
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12807
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 11:06
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2022 05:25
Cite in APA 7: Hung, C. R., Ellingsen, L. A.-W., & Majeau-Bettez, G. (2020). LiSET: A framework for early-stage life cycle screening of emerging technologies. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 24(1), 26-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12807

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