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InLCA Session III C - Product & Process Development & Design I
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Dematerialisation using IT, and synergism by integrating process development with other activities

Presenter: Elin Eriksson

Elin Eriksson
CIT Ekologik
Chalmers Industriteknik
Chalmers Teknikpark
SE-412 88 Göteborg
Phone: +46 31 772 43 26
FAX: +46 31 82 74 21

Three life cycle assessments (LCAs) of IT services have been carried through at Telia from 1997 to 1999, under the management of Chalmers Industriteknik (CIT). The results are meant to increase Telia's knowledge of the environmental effects associated with a different IT-services and to serve as a basis for communicating these effects outside the company. They are also meant to show which part of the systems that should be given priority in order to obtain considerable environmental improvements. The assessments have been made according to the international standard ISO-standard EN ISO 14040:1997, and the report has critically reviewed by an external LCA-expert. Two of the studies included comparisons of the IT-service with performance of the service using a more traditional technique. One of the studies compared a voice mail service with a voice mail machine. The results showed that the amount of energy used per functional unit as well as the potential contribution to global warming and the other studied environmental impacts decreased by a factor of 200 when using the service instead of the voice mail machine. The amount of material used per functional unit was reduced by a factor of 20 or more. One conclusion from the studies is that future product development should consider the possibilities and challenges of IT services in order to design for the environment. An increased utilisation of these possibilities will probably mean that peoples behaviour will need to continue to change.

Environmental concern in process development can be achieved in projects integrated with projects initiated for marketing purposes. One example is shown, where Arla, the biggest dairy company in Sweden, together with CIT Ekologik, has carried out an LCA of collection of milk and distribution of dairy products in order to get a certified Type III environmental declaration. The process of communication in order to collect and interpret data have contributed to a more long term work at Arla, which aims for a better environmental performance of the transportation services. The study results have given the drivers and managers an overview of the relative importance of different aspects of transportation and maintenance. Arla received a certified EPD in December 1999 for the service dairy transports.

Arla's EPD includes quantitative environmental data for the transportation of milk from the farms to the dairies and for the distribution of dairy products. Besides transportation, the systems investigated include production of fuels, maintenance of the vehicles and production of products used for maintenance, cleaning of the vehicles and use of refrigerating machines. As a the results of the study, attention has been given the emissions of zinc, copper and lead from brake pads, and a dialogue with truck producers have started. Another conclusion is that the most efficient actions are the ones focused on decreasing fuel consumption and emissions at collection and distribution; e.g. improving the route planning, improving the driving technique and renewing the truck park.

The transportation processes are clearly dominant as regards the use of energy and the contributions to global warming, acidification and eutrophication. The distribution of dairy products to retailers requires more energy and contributes more to the environmental impacts included in the LCA than the transportation of milk from the farms to the dairies.


Integrating the Life Cycle Concept in the Product Development of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: 2 Tools that Support this Integration

Presenter: An Vercalsteren
(slides in pdf)

An Vercalsteren

Vito (Flemish Institute for Technological Research)
Boeretang 200
B-2400 Mol
Belgium (Europe)
Phone: +32-14-33 58 55
FAX: +32-14-32 11 85

In Belgium, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are not very much aware of the possibility to integrate the life cycle concept in the development of products. "Ecodesign" is particularly a topic of interest for larger companies. In this context, a demonstration project was performed in 1997, to check whether SMEs are capable of taking account of the environmental aspects of their products over the entire life cycle and creating more environment-friendly products. The results of this demonstration project were fairly positive, however it showed that not every company has potential to integrate the life cycle thinking in the product development process. Secondly, it could be concluded that a very important success factor for an ecodesign project is the tool the company applies to analyse the environmental impacts of the product (or product concept) over the entire life cycle.

In order to anticipate these aspects and to support SMEs with the implementation of ecodesign, Vito developed 2 tools: the "Quick Scan" and a "selection scheme". The Quick Scan is a tool to screen the ecodesign potential of a company. It examines not only the company itself, but also the surroundings (suppliers, customers, etc.) and the entire product gamut of the company. In addition to this Quick Scan, Vito developed a selection scheme that allows a company to select the most appropriate tool for the environmental analysis of its products, based on a number of criteria. Since a lot of useful instruments already exist, it was the intention to give an inventory of these instruments and to offer a tool that guides companies with the selection of the for them best-fit instrument. The instruments considered in this selection scheme vary from a detailed life cycle assessment over abridged-LCA tools to simple checklists. The selection scheme only covers basic formats, no specific software programs are inventoried.

Both instruments are already applied in earlier projects and will be further elaborated during a second large-scale demonstration project that is recently started.

Ensuring the Sustainability of Domestic Refrigerators - An Approach Using LCA

Presenter: C. Ciantar

C. Ciantar and M. Hadfield

Tribology Design Research Unit
School of Design, Engineering and Computing
Bournemouth University
Studland House
12 Christchurch Road
Bournemouth BH1 3NA
United Kingdom
Phone: ++(44) (0) 1202 503762
FAX: ++(44) (0) 1202 503751

The removal of chlorine from refrigerating systems has led to a reduction in the direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Experimental observations have shown that this change in the working fluid has tribological effects on domestic refrigerating compressors. The life cycle consequences of this product design constraint need to be investigated to ensure that the indirect CO2 emissions, primarily resulting from an increase in energy consumption or product replacement, are not augmented as a result of enhanced friction and wear. Experimental work, using a variety of refrigerant/lubricant combinations to study the ensuing energy consumption in the compressor use phase as well as the compressor durability, is presented. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to evaluate new environmental considerations in an attempt to highlight the impact an environmental benign measure could have on the product life cycle.

One of the difficulties facing this research work is product data acquisition. In view of this, published LCA results have been adopted to determine what the environmental influence of the hermetic compressor is as compared to the other components making up the product system. Since this research work focuses on the compressor to ameliorate the performance of the domestic refrigerator, the findings were of primal significance. Furthermore, data is also acquired from experimental bench tests. These are being carried out on actual hermetic compressors identical to the one mounted on the domestic refrigerator for which the LCA study was carried out. In this way, the environmental consequences resulting from the type of refrigerant/lubricant combination, characterised by viscosity, will be obtained from an energy consumption and product durability viewpoint. This study is seen as an opportunity to develop sustainable solutions by ensuring that a potential environmental benefit does not become a shift in environmental pollution.


How to Integrate LCA into Product Development

Presenter: A. Atik

A. Atik and H. Schulz

Darmstadt University of Technology
Institute for Production Engineering and Machine Tools (PTW)
Petersenstr. 30
D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany
Phone:++49 6151 166550
FAX:++49 6151 163356

The use of existing methods and instruments for the ecological assessment of products during the daily design work appears insufficient. Full Scale Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) are costly, time intensive and can only be applied for subsequent evaluations in most cases. Prospective ecological studies, which are integrated into the design process can hardly be carried out. Thus, from the designer's point of view, proper methods and software systems are needed, which allow performing design-integrated LCAs with minimized cost and time and provide still reliable decision supporting results.

To close the gap between LCA and product development within the research program "Development of Environmentally Sound Products" an ecological assessment method, based on the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) methodology was elaborated. Hereby the methodology was adapted to the requirements of the designer. E.g. it was necessary to extend the possibilities of data aggregation, especially regarding the toxicity of occurring substance flows. This developed method transfers individual results in comprehensive index scores, which represent an important decision support pointing into the right direction. By providing the possibility to analyze, how the results were achieved, the transparency of the assessment and aggregation of results is assured.

In a further step a software system for the design integrated LCA of products was developed. This "assessment system" works as an integrative part of the design environment, i.e. is able to exchange data and system functionality with other applications within the design environment, such as CAD- or PDM-System. The necessary product and process related data for the assessment is determined by a parallel modeling of the product shape, such as material and geometry (CAD-System) and the process chains (life cycle modeling system). The information required for the LCA is transmitted through the object oriented database system into the assessment system. In this way, the designer is able to perform an LCA efficiently. Using Fuzzy Set Theory the data in the assessment system can be expressed by fuzzy sets. This allows the presentation of existing uncertainties in the data and the assessment results. The realized assessment system enables a comparative ecological assessment of design alternatives. Proceeding from the potential environmental impact the alternatives can be analyzed systematically to determine the main responsible substances respectively product life cycle stages. The continuation towards causal processes and parts deliver the designer concretely key issues to optimize the design solution. With a prototype of the described assessment system the basic methodology and its applicability have been demonstrated.

Keywords: Design for Environment (DfE), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), design environment, CAD-System

Design for the Environment Computer Display Project: Life-Cycle Assessment/Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment of Desktop Display Technologies

Presenter: Dipti Singh

Dipti Singh

The U.S. EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Computer Display Project (CDP) has formed a cooperative partnership with industry, academia, and other interested parties to evaluate the environmental life-cycle impacts, performance, and cost of cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) technologies for desktop computers. The approach combines environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) and Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment (CTSA) techniques and is intended to provide the electronics industry with information on environmentally preferable technologies, materials, and processes and on environmental challenges that could be addressed in the future. The results of the study will be provided to the original equipment, display, and component manufacturers to allow them to conduct an improvement assessment and make environmentally-informed decisions regarding technologies, materials, and processes used in manufacturing their electronic displays and components. University of Tennessee (UT) Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies is conducting the LCA, with contributions and oversight from numerous project partners.

The LCA is evaluating the full life-cycle of the products. The life-cycle inventory data (material inputs and outputs) for the manufacturing and end-of-life phase was collected from companies in the United States and Asia. The inventory data are being used to characterize impacts in the life-cycle impact assessment phase. Some of the LCA impact categories being evaluated include: resource consumption, energy/water/landfill space use, global warming, ozone depletion, and photochemical smog formation. In addition, selected product materials, such as lead in CRTs, and mercury and liquid crystals in LCDs, are being assessed in a streamlined CTSA, to characterize potential human health and environmental toxicity impacts associated with the use of these product systems.

This paper will present the LCA/CTSA approach used for the CDP, the status of the project, and a summary of life-cycle inventory data.

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