The Purpose of Life Cycle Analysis

Part of the work for Preview requires an assessment of the LCA impact on the new technologies being developed within the project but why are we doing LCA?

LCA is a tool that captures and measures the impact that a product has on the environment. It is able to set up limits, make comparisons, identify hot-spots, or just better understand the impacts on our surrounding natural world.

The life-cycle viewpoint means that we are looking into the whole life of the product: from raw material extraction, through production and usage, up to recycling or disposal – i.e. from cradle to grave. This helps us understand our supply chain and how a change on one side can affect the other.  It also provides assurance that reduction of the environmental impact on one stage in the life cycle does not come at the price of an increase of another stage.

LCA1Within a research project, this translates as a tool that can be used to help decision making in the development stage by comparing different solutions which are otherwise difficult to differentiate. This can also be used to highlight the benefits of the new product compared to existing state of the art and more generally speaking can also be a great communication tool if used correctly!