We are often being asked whether we have best-practice examples for LCA studies in openLCA. We do! Two of our colleagues recently worked on LCA case studies in openLCA which we would like to share with the openLCA community.

*Contact gd@nullgreendelta.com if you created an LCA study in openLCA which you would like to share with the openLCA community too.

Comparative assessment of conventional truck transportation and Longer and Heavier Vehicles (LAHV) for freight transport

Longer and Heavier Vehicles (LHVs) are considered a promising solution within the freight transport sector. The assessment of the environmental impacts of LHVs is new and has been partially addressed by existing literature. This case study aims to comprehensively evaluate the impact of introducing LHVs to the German transport context using ISO14040-compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). To this purpose, a four-layer approach is defined: (i) initially, the life cycles of a LHV and a normal truck are compared; (ii) secondly, the two technologies are compared adding the impacts  due to road construction, maintenance and end of life phase into the model; (iii) thirdly, different situations of LHV shares in the road transport modal share for freight transport are compared, (iv) followed with identifying the effects of increase in the overall market share for freight transport. The findings emerging from this case study suggest that while the impacts of LHV are significantly lower than that of a conventional truck, the benefits of introducing LHVs (where LHVs form 40% of the road transport modal share) would be negated if there is more than 30% increase in the demand for freight transport. This result is subject to change based on the modal share of the different mode of transportation. The LCA allows to assess the environmental impacts caused by the different transportation modal shares, eventually supporting the design of the optimal modal share under and environmental perspective.

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Comparative assessment of reusable ceramic cups and disposable paper cups

The study applies Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for a comparative analysis of the environmental impacts of conventional reusable ceramic mugs with and without a lid and a disposable paper cup with a lid. For both ceramic mugs, the production, transport, use (including cleaning either by hand or with a dishwasher) and the end of life are considered. For the disposable paper cup, the production, use and end of life are assessed. The study is based on ecoinvent 3.4 and the LCIA method ILCD Midpoint+ (2016). Based on the results of the study, the use of a conventional ceramic cup with lid is strongly discouraged. A conventional ceramic cup without lid may be a greener option than disposable paper cups if used for a long period of time and washed either with a dishwasher or by hand with cold water. However, to enjoy an occasional Coffee-to-go, disposable paper cups actually pose the greenest solution.

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Comparative assessment of copper mine operations with and without a water balance management system

This comparative LCA study was performed within the EIT Raw Materials SERENE project. SERENE foresees an innovative water balance management system (WBMS) to achieve a dynamic, predictive water balance control capability, reduce water related risks, and increase water recycling. The life cycle model is referred to a generic copper mine operation (open pit) in a water positive area (location set to Finland for the foreground model) for the production of copper concentrate. The functional unit is 1 ton of Cu eq. in concentrate given a Cu concentrate grade of 27.3%. The model includes the following foreground processes: ore mining, waste rock management, comminution, flotation, filtration, tailings management and waste-water treatment. Three product systems are available: (1) a product system reflecting the current status on site without WBMS; (2) a product system reflecting the status on site with WBMS, including parameters to address the changes in consumption of flows such as electricity, chemicals, raw water, and also costs if compared to the status without WBMS; (3) a product system reflecting the status on site with WBMS technologies and used to perform a sensitivity analysis. All data used for the model are taken from literature and technological providers of the WBMS. The whole model is parametrized. This enables the user to easily change input and output data and to perform sensitivity analysis. The model uses ecoinvent 3.5 APOS as background database, hence a valid ecoinvent license is required to access the copper model. If you are interested in this study, please contact us at gd@nullgreendelta.com.

Get the openLCA models!

Request a LCA Collaboration Server user account via gd@nullgreendelta.com (please note: we can only grant access to the studies above to users with a respective valid ecoinvent license). Upon receiving your credentials, follow the steps below:

1) Enable the collaboration feature in openLCA and enter your credentials as explained in section 2.2.1 of the LCA Collaboration Server manual.

2) Right-click into your openLCA navigation page and create an empty database.

3) Fetch the repository into your empty database as explained in section 3.3 of the LCA Collaboration Server manual. The repository paths are CaseStudies/LHVs and CaseStudies/cups for the respective study.