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Svanes E.,Ostfold Research | Aronsson A.K.S.,Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: Bananas are one of the highest selling fruits worldwide, and for several countries, bananas are an important export commodity. However, very little is known about banana's contribution to global warming. The aims of this work were to study the greenhouse gas emissions of bananas from cradle to retail and cradle to grave and to assess the potential of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along the value chain. Methods: Carbon footprint methodology based on ISO-DIS 14067 was used to assess GHG emissions from 1 kg of bananas produced at two plantations in Costa Rica including transport by cargo ship to Norway. Several methodological issues are not clearly addressed in ISO 14067 or the LCA standards 14040 and ISO 14044 underpinning 14067. Examples are allocation, allocation in recycling, representativity and system borders. Methodological choices in this study have been made based on other standards, such as the GHG Protocol Products Standard. Results and discussion: The results indicate that bananas had a carbon footprint (CF) on the same level as other tropical fruits and that the contribution from the primary production stage was low. However, the methodology used in this study and the other comparative studies was not necessarily identical; hence, no definitive conclusions can be drawn. Overseas transport and primary production were the main contributors to the total GHG emissions. Including the consumer stage resulted in a 34 % rise in CF, mainly due to high wastage. The main potential reductions of GHG emissions were identified at the primary production, within the overseas transport stage and at the consumer. Conclusions: The carbon footprint of bananas from cradle to retail was 1.37 kg CO2 per kilogram banana. GHG emissions from transport and primary production could be significantly reduced, which could theoretically give a reduction of as much as 44 % of the total cradle-to-retail CF. The methodology was important for the end result. The choice of system boundaries gives very different results depending on which life cycle stages and which unit processes are included. Allocation issues were also important, both in recycling and in other processes such as transport and storage. The main uncertainties of the CF result are connected to N2O emissions from agriculture, methane emissions from landfills, use of secondary data and variability in the primary production data. Thus, there is a need for an internationally agreed calculation method for bananas and other food products if CFs are to be used for comparative purposes. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Modahl I.S.,Ostfold Research | Raadal H.L.,Energy and Climate Change Consultant | Gagnon L.,Energy and Climate Change Consultant | Bakken T.H.,Sintef
Energy Policy | Year: 2013

The aim of this paper is to improve the basis for the comparison of energy products. The paper will discuss important methodological issues with regard to various energy indicators and it will, by means of a few selected energy indicators, show examples of results for hydropower, wind power and electricity from biomass, gas and coal. Lastly it will suggest methods to achieve results which are more consistent when comparing electricity production technologies. In general, methodological issues can affect the results of life cycle assessments. In this paper, the authors have focused on the effect of system boundaries for energy indicators and found that the internal ranking of cases within one electricity generation technology is dependent on the indicator used. These variations do not, however, alter the general ranking of the major technologies studied. The authors suggest that future assessments should focus on a smaller set of indicators: the Cumulative Energy Demand (CED), which is the most "universal" indicator, Energy Payback Ratio (EPR) for assessment of upstream activities, and a suggested "Cumulative Fossil Energy Demand" (CFED) for resource depletion assessments. There is also a need for stricter standardisation and increased transparency in the assessment of energy products. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Askham C.,Ostfold Research
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2012

Purpose: This paper discusses issues associated with the research question: What are the similarities and differences between the REACH and life cycle assessment (LCA) approaches, and how can synergies between these two approaches be exploited to achieve environmental improvements in a holistic perspective? Methods: The Innochem project (Hanssen 2010) has been the vehicle for examining two different approaches for product improvement: REACH and LCA. Product LCAs and REACH assessments were performed on several products from each of the two main company participants, i.e. Jotun and HÅG. These companies are downstream users, according to the REACH definition: Jotun producing mixtures and HÅG manufacturing articles. Knowledge of the REACH and LCA aspects associated with these two types of products existed in the project team and was used in the project period (2006-2011) to compare the two approaches. Results: This paper presents similarities and differences between REACH and LCA approaches as related to reducing impacts on the environment. As an illustrative example, the REACH registration dossier is compared to USEtox data for benzene. Conclusions: Combining aspects of LCA with REACH can give companies a competitive edge and benefit society. The greater availability of toxicity data that will result from REACH can strenghten LCA toxicity assessments and methods. The functional life cycle approach and potential synergies from LCA are important when implementing REACH in companies in order to avoid suboptimal solutions and exploit the potential for achieving innovative improvements. Many companies will use both approaches, which may lead to results pointing in the same direction, or contradictory results. Using both approaches and exploiting concurrence and synergies between them will ensure that decision makers are aware of potential conflicts during the product development process and can thus be able to seek solutions that will avoid these conflicts of interest. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source


Askham C.,Ostfold Research
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2011

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to document and assess the environmental impacts associated with two competing powder coating solutions using current life cycle assessment (LCA) methods and available data and to check whether there is a conflict between environmental performance and occupational health issues. Materials and methods: Data have been gathered for the manufacture and application of the two different powder coatings. The case study is a cradle-to-gate study, using retrospective data. The data were entered into the SimaPro 7.2.4 LCA software and environmental impacts calculated using IPPC 2007, CML-IA and USEtox™ classification and characterisation methods. The USEtox methods were used both with and without interim factors, and this distinction was very important for the ranking of the alternatives. The study was performed using the functional unit: Surface treatment of the "foot-cross" of one H05 5300 office chair for 15 years (the lifetime of the chair), where the reference flow was 172 g of powder coating to fulfil this function. Literature about the known health effects associated with chemicals in the two solutions was also consulted in order to assess whether the main concerns driving the desire to replace the epoxy-based powder coating have been addressed and improved through using the polyester-based alternative. Results and discussion: The life cycle environmental impacts evaluated show improvements in the potential environmental impacts analysed due to the substitute polyester-based coating. The results for human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity potentials are dependent on the inclusion of interim characterisation factors. Literature sources provide evidence of irritation and sensitisation effects associated with epoxy resin, but not for the polyester resin alternative. Conclusions: Substitution of the epoxy-based coating by a polyester-based alternative reduces the occupational health risk for workers coming into contact with the powder coating. The results show that this substitution has also led to reduced potential environmental impacts: global warming, ozone depletion, photochemical oxidant creation, acidification, eutrophication, human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity, when the interim factors for some metals and organics are included in the USEtox calculations. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source


Askham C.,Ostfold Research | Gade A.L.,Jotun A S | Hanssen O.J.,Ostfold Research
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2013

This paper presents a prototype model developed for a case study linking chemical risk information with a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to product development. Standard LCA software was used to develop a tool combining LCA and Risk Phrase information for health and environmental hazards encompassed by new European chemicals directives. Real product development cases are used based on Ostfold Research's collaboration with industry - specifically a coatings company. The principal objective of the work was to investigate the degree to which hazardous risk information could be combined with elements of LCA methodology to better inform product development. The work also shows how the tool equips product developers to move beyond the limited insight provided by the pure hazardous risk information approach, to also consider health and environmental hazard aspects in a functional perspective typical of LCA. This allows the identification of differences in product development priorities resulting from the two approaches. Some results from testing the prototype tool are presented and its application in product development within the coatings company and for other companies is discussed. The work presented in this paper falls short of the aim of including the full life cycle perspective, but represents an important first step towards achieving this. The work demonstrates that some integration of hazardous risk and LCA approaches is practicable, and indicates that such integration gives rise to changes in product development priorities. Combining hazardous risk information with LCA is valuable for decision makers, including product designers. The tool presented in this paper makes it possible for decision makers to combine LCA functional unit information with hazardous risk information, enabling designers to reduce a product's hazardous risk. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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