The life cycle analysis (LCA) provides an effective and systematic way to assess the environmental impacts of a product, a department, a business, or a process.
The fundamental purpose, following the logic of life cycle thinking, is to know and be able to compare the pressure of a product on the resources and the environment throughout its life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials up its end of life treatment (landfill, recycling,…)
- a procedure, that is to say a series of standardized stages;
- a model of mathematical transformations to transform flow potential environmental impacts.
To write a good research paper on life cycle analysis it s important t understand positioning in terms of sustainability analysis. LCA is a method of analysis for complete knowledge of the sustainability of the system studied. It does not include the economic factors or social elements. The systems studied are considered normal operation, accidents are excluded. Impacts surveyed places in the biosphere and not in the techno-sphere. What happens in the production environment is not developed.
These aforementioned elements not included in the LCA are the objects of other studies as the ERA – environmental risk assessment, or studies incorporating the framework of the LCA, the LCC – life cycle cost, SLCA – social life cycle analysis.
First methodologies for assessing environmental impacts as the LCA, date back to 1992, twenty years after the first report of the Club of Rome (with EPS, “Environmental Priority Strategies” based on an oriented modeling damage expressed in monetary terms, the Swiss model Ecoscarcity Ecopoints based on the principle of the distance to the target and method of 92 CML with an orientation “problem.”
According to the logic of the LCA, the flux component of a product decomposes in two dimensions, two spheres:
- Technosphere represents all human activities and products (production, processing, consumption)
- The ecosphere is mainly the natural environment. In a way the ecosphere includes technosphere and is therefore the source of all raw materials and waste receptacle all the technosphere.
To achieve a LCA, any system is decomposed into elementary processes and each elementary process receives and transmits a flow. Like the two spheres (eco and techno), there are two types of flows:
- Elementary flows that originate (resources) or are to (waste) of the ecosphere
- Economic flows that originate (input) or are destination (output / product) of the technosphere
Economically unattached reformulation means ideally that only elementary streams should enter and exit the system, the economic flows should be used only to join the elementary processes between them (except the final product that is an economic flow that leaves the system). However this would require taking into account too many subsystems like everything that was used to produce the electricity needed for an elementary process.
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