The evaluation of the environmental impact of an innovative material at an early stage of development is of fundamental importance during the design phase of a product. In this regard, a full-fledged Life Cycle Assessment presents some major limitations: it can be performed mainly as an ex-post analysis, and it does not account for the intrinsic properties of the material. The growing need to compare the properties of new materials with those of industrially optimized ones poses further issues. For example, production at the lab/pilot scale cannot be directly compared to industrial systems, primarily due to the large discrepancy in the yields of the processes involved. In the present work, an ex-ante Life Cycle Assessment approach is proposed to forecast the environmental impact of a new material, overcoming the aforementioned issues. The most relevant added value of the proposed methodology lies in the use of primary data collected on lab/pilot scale systems alongside data simulated from thermo-chemical considerations. A scale-up protocol is thus detailed and then applied to the case of polybutylene succinate, a biopolymer that is gaining attention particularly as a replacement for polyolefins, and is obtained from bio-based succinic acid. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis is used to evaluate and compare different renewable sources and chemical routes available for the production of bio-based succinic acid. Monte Carlo simulation is used to process the uncertainty data for all of the assessments. The case study of polybutylene succinate highlights the advantages of the adopted scale-up methodology with particular reference to the ease of implementation and consistency of results.
|Titolo:||Ex-ante Life Cycle Assessment approach developed for a case study on bio-based polybutylene succinate|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.07.090|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|