Life cycle assessment in the steel industry
ABSTRACT 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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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 01/2014; · 3.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chemical and allied industries have shown interest in reducing pollution by implementing cleaner technologies or processes that use, or generate, lower amounts of or less harmful pollutants. However, abatement processes are still required at many plants to reduce the discharge of pollutants at the end-of-the-pipe. It has been observed many times that efforts made to optimise the abatement process reduce the quality and/or quantity of waste discharge at the end-of-the-pipe, but increase the total environmental burden and impact. Therefore, it is very important to consider the environmental burden and adverse impacts caused due to any change or modification in the process and allied facilities for the complete system (up- and downstream of the process). Moreover, these measures have generally been taken only after fully fledged design of the process or at the operating stage, thus making the preventive/abatement measure a costly affair. Therefore, there is great need for a design process (applicable to the early design and decision-making stages) that not only considers economy and technology as the basic input for the design, but also considers environmental soundness as one of the important parameters.This paper proposes a systematic methodology for process design that considers the assessment and minimisation of the environmental impacts of the complete process system (including upstream processes). It incorporates life cycle analysis (LCA) principles within a formal design process and optimisation framework. This proposed process design methodology with minimum environmental impact extends to a complete description of the environmental impact of the process and its associated activities. It has good real-life application potential, as it includes environmental objectives together with technology and economics at the design stage so as to determine a cost-efficient solution. Further, by employing process modelling and optimisation techniques, it yields optimal design/operating conditions with minimum environmental impact.The applicability of the proposed methodology has been demonstrated through a real case study. The most interesting observation made in the case study is that the total cost of the optimised operation is minimum when the process is designed and optimised considering the global boundary (the “cradle to the grave” approach) in contrast to the conventional boundary (process boundary).Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 01/2001; · 1.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Life Cycle Inventory Analysis (LCIA) is a part of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and is a thorough procedure accounting for the environmental loads during the product's life cycle. LCA is an approach to analyze the environmental implications of product and service systems. An indigenous adsorbent is prepared in the laboratory from sawdust using chemical-thermal treatment mechanism. A close analysis of the several activities involved in the process revealed that, the raw material, i.e., sawdust is being converted into an adsorbent, i.e., product. In other words, conversion of a material from one form into another is taking place. Simultaneously, a useful product is being obtained that is used in another activity. LCIA based on material balance approach is applied for the primary data generated in the laboratory for the preparation of the adsorbent using sawdust. Few suggestions are floated for minimizing the waste generated in the process. It is found that the LCIA can be successfully applied in the adsorption studies to assess the material flow changes and identify the options for minimizing the waste emissions and for reducing the load on natural resources.