PRe Consultants bv

Amersfoort, Netherlands

PRe Consultants bv

Amersfoort, Netherlands

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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2008.3.3.2.1. | Award Amount: 6.33M | Year: 2009

The main goal of PROSUITE is to develop a framework methodology, operational methods and tools for the sustainability assessment of current and future technologies over their life cycle, applicable to different stages of maturity. The project will apply the methodology for four technology cases with close consultation of the stakeholders involved, which includes cases from biorefineries, nanotechnology, information technologies, and carbon storage and sequestration. PROSUITE will show (i) how to combine technology forecasting methods with life cycle approaches, and (ii) how to develop and possibly combine the economic, environmental and social sustainability dimensions in a standardized, comprehensive, and broadly accepted way. PROSUITE will create a solid research basis for technology characterization, including the identification of decisive technology features, basic engineering modules for estimations of material flows and energy use, and learning curves. For the economic assessment, methods for the assessment for economic and sectoral impacts of novel technologies will be developed and combined with background data for scenario-based life-cycle inventory modelling. For the environmental assessment, state-of-the-art environment indicators will be proposed together with targeted method development for the assessment of geographically explicit land and water use impacts, metal toxicity and outdoor nanoparticle exposure. For the social assessment, a set of quantitative and qualitative social indicators will be selected via participatory approaches, setting the standard for future assessments. The use of various multicriteria assessment methods will be explored to aggegrate across indicators. The methods developed will be part of a decision support system, which will be output as open source modular software.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2009.3.3.2.1 | Award Amount: 4.49M | Year: 2009

LC-IMPACT is a 3.5-year project and its main objective is the development and application of life cycle impact assessment methods, characterisation and normalisation factors. Impact from land use, water use, marine, mineral and fossil resource use, ecotoxicity and human toxicity, and a number of non-toxic emission-related impact categories will be considered in LC-IMPACT. First, new impact assessment methods will be developed for categories that are not (commonly) included in life cycle impact assessments and categories for which model uncertainties are very high, i.e. land use, water exploitation, resource use, and noise. Second, LC-IMPACT will provide spatially explicit characterisation factors based on global scale models for land use, water exploitation, toxicants, priority air pollutants, and nutrients. Thirdly, parameter uncertainty and value choices will be assessed for impact categories with high uncertainties involved, such as ecotoxicity and human toxicity. Fourthly, ready-to-use characterisation factors will be calculated and reported. Fifthly, normalisation factors for Europe and the world will be calculated for the impact categories included. Sixthly, the improved decision support of the new characterisation factors and normalisation factors will be demonstrated in the context of the following three case studies: i) food production (fish, tomatoes, margarine), ii) paper production and printing, and iii) automobile manufacturing and operation. Finally, verification and dissemination of the new life cycle impact assessment methods and factors will be done by a portfolio of actions, such as stakeholder consultation, a project website, workshops, course developments, and training of user groups. In short, LC-IMPACT will provide improved, globally applicable life cycle impact assessment methods, characterisation and normalisation factors, that can be readily used in the daily practice of life cycle assessment studies.


Hauschild M.Z.,Technical University of Denmark | Goedkoop M.,PRe Consultants B.V. | Guinee J.,Leiden University | Heijungs R.,Leiden University | And 10 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is a field of active development. The last decade has seen prolific publication of new impact assessment methods covering many different impact categories and providing characterization factors that often deviate from each other for the same substance and impact. The LCA standard ISO 14044 is rather general and unspecific in its requirements and offers little help to the LCA practitioner who needs to make a choice. With the aim to identify the best among existing characterization models and provide recommendations to the LCA practitioner, a study was performed for the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Methods: Existing LCIA methods were collected and their individual characterization models identified at both midpoint and endpoint levels and supplemented with other environmental models of potential use for LCIA. No new developments of characterization models or factors were done in the project. From a total of 156 models, 91 were short listed as possible candidates for a recommendation within their impact category. Criteria were developed for analyzing the models within each impact category. The criteria addressed both scientific qualities and stakeholder acceptance. The criteria were reviewed by external experts and stakeholders and applied in a comprehensive analysis of the short-listed characterization models (the total number of criteria varied between 35 and 50 per impact category). For each impact category, the analysis concluded with identification of the best among the existing characterization models. If the identified model was of sufficient quality, it was recommended by the JRC. Analysis and recommendation process involved hearing of both scientific experts and stakeholders. Results and recommendations: Recommendations were developed for 14 impact categories at midpoint level, and among these recommendations, three were classified as "satisfactory" while ten were "in need of some improvements" and one was so weak that it has "to be applied with caution." For some of the impact categories, the classification of the recommended model varied with the type of substance. At endpoint level, recommendations were only found relevant for three impact categories. For the rest, the quality of the existing methods was too weak, and the methods that came out best in the analysis were classified as "interim," i.e., not recommended by the JRC but suitable to provide an initial basis for further development. Discussion, conclusions, and outlook: The level of characterization modeling at midpoint level has improved considerably over the last decade and now also considers important aspects like geographical differentiation and combination of midpoint and endpoint characterization, although the latter is in clear need for further development. With the realization of the potential importance of geographical differentiation comes the need for characterization models that are able to produce characterization factors that are representative for different continents and still support aggregation of impact scores over the whole life cycle. For the impact categories human toxicity and ecotoxicity, we are now able to recommend a model, but the number of chemical substances in common use is so high that there is a need to address the substance data shortage and calculate characterization factors for many new substances. Another unresolved issue is the need for quantitative information about the uncertainties that accompany the characterization factors. This is still only adequately addressed for one or two impact categories at midpoint, and this should be a focus point in future research. The dynamic character of LCIA research means that what is best practice will change quickly in time. The characterization methods presented in this paper represent what was best practice in 2008-2009.© 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Vieira M.D.M.,PRe Consultants Bv | Goedkoop M.J.,PRe Consultants Bv | Storm P.,Kopparberg Mineral AB | Huijbregts M.A.J.,Radboud University Nijmegen
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2012

In the life cycle assessment (LCA) of products, the increasing scarcity of metal resources is currently addressed in a preliminary way. Here, we propose a new method on the basis of global ore grade information to assess the importance of the extraction of metal resources in the life cycle of products. It is shown how characterization factors, reflecting the decrease in ore grade due to an increase in metal extraction, can be derived from cumulative ore grade-tonnage relationships. CFs were derived for three different types of copper deposits (porphyry, sediment-hosted, and volcanogenic massive sulfide). We tested the influence of the CF model (marginal vs average), mathematical distribution (loglogistic vs loglinear), and reserve estimate (ultimate reserve vs reserve base). For the marginal CFs, the statistical distribution choice and the estimate of the copper reserves introduce a difference of a factor of 1.0-5.0 and a factor of 1.2-1.7, respectively. For the average CFs, the differences are larger for these two choices, i.e. respectively a factor of 5.7-43 and a factor of 2.1-3.8. Comparing the marginal CFs with the average CFs, the differences are higher (a factor 1.7-94). This paper demonstrates that cumulative grade-tonnage relationships for metal extraction can be used in LCA to assess the relative importance of metal extractions. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Ryberg M.,Technical University of Denmark | Vieira M.D.M.,PRe Consultants Bv | Zgola M.,Quantis International | Bare J.,Sustainable Development Technology | Rosenbaum R.K.,Technical University of Denmark
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy | Year: 2014

When LCA practitioners perform LCAs, the interpretation of the results can be difficult without a reference point to benchmark the results. Hence, normalization factors are important for relating results to a common reference. The main purpose of this paper was to update the normalization factors for the US and US-Canadian regions. The normalization factors were used for highlighting the most contributing substances, thereby enabling practitioners to put more focus on important substances, when compiling the inventory, as well as providing them with normalization factors reflecting the actual situation. Normalization factors were calculated using characterization factors from the TRACI 2.1 LCIA model. The inventory was based on US databases on emissions of substances. The Canadian inventory was based on a previous inventory with 2005 as reference, in this inventory the most significant substances were updated to 2008 data. The results showed that impact categories were generally dominated by a small number of substances. The contribution analysis showed that the reporting of substance classes was highly significant for the environmental impacts, although in reality, these substances are nonspecific in composition, so the characterization factors which were selected to represent these categories may be significantly different from the actual identity of these aggregates. Furthermore the contribution highlighted the issue of carefully examining the effects of metals, even though the toxicity based categories have only interim characterization factors calculated with USEtox. A need for improved understanding of the wide range of uncertainties incorporated into studies with reported substance classes was indentified. This was especially important since aggregated substance classes are often used in LCA modeling when information on the particular substance is missing. Given the dominance of metals to the human and ecotoxicity categories, it is imperative to refine the CFs within USEtox. Some of the results within this paper indicate that soil emissions of metals are significantly higher than we expect in actuality. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Golsteijn L.,PRe Consultants bv | Menkveld R.,PRe Consultants bv | King H.,Unilever | Schneider C.,Henkel AG | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Sciences Europe | Year: 2015

Background: A.I.S.E., the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products, launched the ‘A.I.S.E. Charter for Sustainable Cleaning’ in Europe in 2005 to promote sustainability in the cleaning and maintenance products industry. This Charter is a proactive programme for translating the concept of sustainable innovation into reality and actions. Per product category, life cycle assessments (LCA) are used to set sustainability criteria that are ambitious, but also achievable by all market players. Results: This paper presents and discusses LCAs of six household detergent product categories conducted for the Charter, i.e.: manual dishwashing detergents, powder and tablet laundry detergents, window glass trigger spray cleaners, bathroom trigger spray cleaners, acid toilet cleaners, and bleach toilet cleaners. Relevant impact categories are identified, as well as the life cycle stages with the largest contribution to the environmental impact. Conclusions: It was concluded that the variables that mainly drive the results (i.e. the environmental hotspots) for manual dishwashing detergents and laundry detergents were the water temperature, water consumption (for manual dishwashing detergents), product dosage (for laundry detergents), and the choice and amount of surfactant. By contrast, for bathroom trigger sprays, acid and bleach toilet cleaners, the driving factors were plastic packaging, transportation to retailer, and specific ingredients. Additionally, the type of surfactant was important for bleach toilet cleaners. For window glass trigger sprays, the driving factors were the plastic packaging and the type of surfactant, and the other ingredients were of less importance. A.I.S.E. used the results of the studies to establish sustainability criteria, the so-called ‘Charter Advanced Sustainability Profiles’, which led to improvements in the marketplace. © 2015, Golsteijn et al.


Simas M.S.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Golsteijn L.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Golsteijn L.,PRe Consultants bv | Huijbregts M.A.J.,Radboud University Nijmegen | And 2 more authors.
Sustainability (Switzerland) | Year: 2014

The extent to what bad labor conditions across the globe are associated with international trade is unknown. Here, we quantify the bad labor conditions associated with consumption in seven world regions, the "bad labor" footprint. In particular, we analyze how much occupational health damage, vulnerable employment, gender inequality, share of unskilled workers, child labor, and forced labor is associated with the production of internationally traded goods. Our results show that (i) as expected, there is a net flow of bad labor conditions from developing to developed regions; (ii) the production of exported goods in lower income regions contributes to more than half of the bad labor footprints caused by the wealthy lifestyles of affluent regions; (iii) exports from Asia constitute the largest global trade flow measured in the amount bad labor, while exports from Africa carry the largest burden of bad labor conditions per unit value traded and per unit of total labor required; and (IV) the trade of food products stands out in both volume and intensity of bad labor conditions. © 2014 by the authors.


PubMed | PRe Consultants bv
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2012

In the life cycle assessment (LCA) of products, the increasing scarcity of metal resources is currently addressed in a preliminary way. Here, we propose a new method on the basis of global ore grade information to assess the importance of the extraction of metal resources in the life cycle of products. It is shown how characterization factors, reflecting the decrease in ore grade due to an increase in metal extraction, can be derived from cumulative ore grade-tonnage relationships. CFs were derived for three different types of copper deposits (porphyry, sediment-hosted, and volcanogenic massive sulfide). We tested the influence of the CF model (marginal vs average), mathematical distribution (loglogistic vs loglinear), and reserve estimate (ultimate reserve vs reserve base). For the marginal CFs, the statistical distribution choice and the estimate of the copper reserves introduce a difference of a factor of 1.0-5.0 and a factor of 1.2-1.7, respectively. For the average CFs, the differences are larger for these two choices, i.e. respectively a factor of 5.7-43 and a factor of 2.1-3.8. Comparing the marginal CFs with the average CFs, the differences are higher (a factor 1.7-94). This paper demonstrates that cumulative grade-tonnage relationships for metal extraction can be used in LCA to assess the relative importance of metal extractions.


Ponsioen T.C.,PRe Consultants BV | Vieira M.D.M.,PRe Consultants BV | Goedkoop M.J.,PRe Consultants BV
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2014

Purpose: In life cycle impact assessment, various proposals have been made on how to characterise fossil resource scarcity, but they lack appropriateness or completeness. In this paper, we propose a method to assess fossil resource scarcity based on surplus cost, which is the global future cost increase due to marginal fossil resource used in the life cycle of products. Methods: The marginal cost increase (MCI in US dollars in the year 2008 per kilogram per kilogram produced) is calculated as an intermediate parameter for crude oil, natural gas and coal separately. Its calculations are based on production cost and cumulative future production per production technique or country. The surplus cost (SC in US dollars in the year 2008 per kilogram) is calculated as an indicator for fossil resource scarcity. The SC follows three different societal perspectives used to differentiate the subjective choices regarding discounting and future production scenarios. Results and discussion: The hierarchist perspective SCs of crude oil, natural gas, and coal are 2.9, 1.5, and 0.033 US2008/GJ, respectively. The ratios between the indicators of the different types of fossil resources (crude oil/natural gas/coal) are rather constant, except in the egalitarian perspective, where contrastingly no discounting is applied (egalitarian 100:47:21; hierarchist 100:53:1.1; individualist 100:34:0.6). The ratio of the MCIs (100:48:1.0) are similar to the individualist and hierarchist SC ratios. Conclusions: In all perspectives, coal has a much lower resource scarcity impact factor per gigajoule and crude oil has the highest. In absolute terms of costs per heating value (US dollars in the year 2008 per gigajoule), there are large differences between the SCs for each perspective (egalitarian > hierarchist > individualist). © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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