Life Cycle Assessment in the Steel Industry

The Washington Institute, Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
Environmental Progress (Impact Factor: 1.31). 01/2007; 17(2):92 - 95. DOI: 10.1002/ep.670170215


Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a means to analyze the environmental implications of product and service systems. As defined by international standards, the framework of LCA includes four distinct elements. The elements are goal and scope definition, life cycle inventory analysis, life cycle impact assessment, and life cycle interpretation. Although the LCA elements are at different stages of development, increased interest in the use of LCA will help fuel advancement of the science.The steel industry is gaining valuable experience in the use of LCA. The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), with members a LCA program in 1994. The program centers on training and education, conducting studies of steel products, participating in LCA projects which include steel, and promoting the development of LCA.The LCA program at AISI has proven to be successful. Over ten AISI member companies are directly participating in the effort, with even more companies represented at training and education events. LCA Projects in which AISI is active include an international steel industry study, a North American auto-mobile industry benchmark study, and application of LCA to waste management activities.

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    • "Arguably, though, it is not just steel companies that need to change mindsets and approaches, but also their supply chain, designers, constructors and, ultimately, their customers. Taking this wider system and network view, life cycle assessment and industrial ecology have important roles to play (see Chubbs and Steiner, 1998; Sagar and Frosch, 1997). "
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    ABSTRACT: When reconfigured into a cohesive system, a series of existing digital technologies may facilitate disassembly, take back and reuse of structural steel components, thereby improving resource efficiency and opening up new business paradigms. The paper examines whether Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology coupled with Building Information Modelling (BIM) may enable components and/or assemblies to be tracked and imported into virtual models for new buildings at the design stage. The addition of stress sensors to components, which provides the capability of quantifying the stress properties of steel over its working life, may also support best practice reuse of resources. The potential to improve resource efficiency in many areas of production and consumption, emerging from a novel combination of such technologies, is highlighted using a theoretical case study scenario. In addition, a case analysis of the demolition/deconstruction of a former industrial building is conducted to illustrate potential savings in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) from reuse when compared with recycling. The paper outlines the reasoning behind the combination of the discussed technologies and alludes to some possible applications and new business models. For example, a company that currently manufactures and 'sells' steel, or a third party, could find new business opportunities by becoming a 'reseller' of reused steel and providing a 'steel service'. This could be facilitated by its ownership of the database that enables it to know the whereabouts of the steel and to be able to warrant its properties and appropriateness for reuse in certain applications.
    Journal of Cleaner Production 09/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.08.055 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    • "It is a stage-wise approach employed to analyse the environmental impact of using a raw material and service system to produce a desired product (Aelion et al., 1995; Curran, 1995; Chubbs and Stainer, 1998). Furthermore, it involves thorough procedures, Life Cycle Inventory Analysis (LCIA), which account for the environmental impact emanating from the processing of a product from raw material to finished stage (Chubbs and Stainer, 1998). This analysis has been used in waste management such as solid waste management and wastewater treatment (Barton and Patel, 1996; Finnveden, 1998; Suh and Rousseaux, 2001; Consonni et al., 2005; Björklund and Finnveden, 2007; Bilitewski and Winkler, 2007; Gheewala and Liamsanguan, 2008; Manfredi and Christensen, 2009; and Khoo, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Life Cycle Assessment was successfully carried out on activated carbons produced from milk bush kernel shell (MB), flamboyant pod back (FB) and rice husk (RH) in order to determine their environmental burden and to assess the potential health impacts. The analysis covered the whole processes involved in producing activated carbon from the raw agricultural wastes. In this work the carbonaceous part of the agricultural wastes were carefully obtained, washed, with distilled water, dried in the oven, to remove moisture before being carbonized at 300 - 600 0 C. The carbonized chars were further activated with H3PO 4 , dried in the oven, washed with distilled water to remove the acid and finally dried in the oven. The solid pollutants generated in the production of activated carbon from MB, FB and RH ranged from 40.21 to 41.65%, 36.31 to 36.92%, and 15.34 to 21.55%, respectively, while the air pollutants generated in the production ranged from 11.85 to 12.15%, 11.83 to 11.94%, and 18.39 to 19.12%, respectively. Similarly, the liquid pollutants generated in the production activated carbon from MB, FB and RH ranged from 46.50 to 46.88%, 51.25 to 51.75%, 60.06 to 64.82%, respectively. Generally the order of the waste generated in the process was liquid > solid > air pollutants except for rice husk which produced more air pollutants than solid pollutants. The analysis of the solid pollutants showed that they can be recycled as fuel, thus leaving little quantity of solid wastes after process. Similarly the air and liquid pollutants generated were well contained within the acceptable environmental practice.
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    • "The LCA has been used for both corporate and public decision-making. Some of the more recent examples of LCA applications in corporate decision-making include; energy [7], transportation [8], chemical [9], nuclear [10], metallurgy [11], polymer [12], paper and forestry [13], textile and leather [14], electronic [15] and other industries . For more details, see Azapagic [2]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an important technique in the successful implementation of a process or product development in the context of environmental sustainability. Attempts have been made to incorporate LCA in public and corporate processes and product related decision-making. The European Union’s eco-labeling schemes and the United Kingdom’s Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive have tried to integrate life cycle thinking with policy making. However, these efforts still have not made LCA an integral part of process and product selection and design. The absence of an easy to use tool for rapid reconnaissance is a basic limitation of the LCA application.A new life cycle indexing system — LInX — is proposed, which will facilitate the LCA application in process and product evaluation and decision-making. The LInX is comprised of four important sub-indices or attributes — environment, health and safety (EHS), cost, technical feasibility, and socio-political factors. Further, each attribute contains a number of basic parameters, e.g. EHS consists of 11 parameters. Quantification of each basic parameter is performed for the complete life cycle of a proposed process or product. An analytical hierarchy process is used to compute the weights for each basic parameter and sub-indices. A composite process is used to determine the final overall index. This paper explains the methodology for computation of the new indexing system and demonstrates it with an application.
    Journal of Cleaner Production 02/2004; 12(1-12):59-76. DOI:10.1016/S0959-6526(02)00194-4 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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