Prospective life cycle assessment for biorefinery concept development
Other conference contribution, 2021

One of the factors that the successful development of a bio-based economy depends on, is the development of novel biorefinery process concepts and technologies for the production of chemicals and materials. Besides being economically profitable, these concepts and technologies should also be environmentally benign. However, they are oftentimes still in the early phase of their development. Prospective life cycle assessment (LCA) aims at evaluating the future (or prospective) environmental performance of a product, process concept or technology during this phase of development, and methodological choices need to be made to achieve this.

First, this presentation discusses several examples of LCAs with prospective elements related to biorefinery process development for the production of fuel, chemcials and materials. Next, a more general overview of recent advances in the field of prospective LCA, specifically with regards to the goal and scope definition and life cycle inventory steps, is given. For example, the generation of future foreground and background inventory data is discussed. Finally, a new approach is presented to incorporate future scenario development into prospective LCA. The goal of this approach is to, based on relevant parameters related to both the foreground and background systems, identify scenarios that represent a plausible future for a biorefinery process concept or technology. The outcomes of the assessments of these scenarios can then be used as a decision aid for further development. A prospective LCA on the production of carbon fibre will be used to exemplfy this approach.


Mathias Janssen

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Frida Hermansson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Magdalena Svanström

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference 2021
Montreal, Canada,

Materials INnovative TEchnologies Assessment (MIN-TEA)

EIT RawMaterials (18231), 2019-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering

Environmental Management

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