The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (INT J LIFE CYCLE ASS)
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (Int J LCA) is the first journal devoted entirely to LCA. LCA has become a recognized instrument to assess the ecological burdens and impacts connected with products and systems, or, more generally, with human activities. The LCA-Journal - which has been expanded by a section on Life Cycle Management (LCM) - is a forum for: Scientists developing LCA and LCM; LCA and LCM practitioners; Managers concerned with environmental aspects of products; Governmental environmental agencies responsible for product quality; Scientific and industrial societies involved in LCA development; Ecological institutions and bodies.
Journal Impact: 3.71*
Journal impact history
|2016 Journal impact||Available summer 2017|
|2015 Journal impact||3.71|
|2014 Journal impact||4.11|
|2013 Journal impact||3.18|
|2012 Journal impact||3.97|
|2011 Journal impact||3.51|
|2010 Journal impact||3.18|
|2009 Journal impact||2.70|
|2008 Journal impact||1.73|
|2007 Journal impact||1.22|
|2006 Journal impact||0.94|
|2005 Journal impact||1.03|
|2004 Journal impact||1.05|
|2003 Journal impact||0.84|
|2002 Journal impact||0.83|
|2001 Journal impact||0.72|
|2000 Journal impact||0.68|
Journal impact over time
|Website||International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment website|
|Other titles||International journal of life cycle assessment (Online)|
|Material type||Document, Periodical, Internet resource|
|Document type||Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper|
Publications in this journal
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeThe study aims to develop a methodological framework to estimate life cycle energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to pavement design and management decisions. Another objective is to apply the framework to the design and management of flexible highway pavement in Hong Kong. Traditionally, pavement design and management decisions are solely based on economic considerations. This study quantifies the relationships between such decisions and the environmental impacts, thereby helping highway agencies understand the environmental implications of their decisions and make more balanced decisions to improve highway sustainability. Methods(1) A methodological framework is developed by integrating the mechanistic-empirical pavement design guide (ME-PDG) and life cycle assessment (LCA) methods. (2) The calculation processes for the detailed components in the framework are proposed by synthesizing existing models, data, and tools. (3) In applying the framework to pavement design and management in Hong Kong, a large number of simulations are conducted to generate pavement performance data at different combinations of pavement thickness, roughness trigger value, and traffic levels. (4) GHG emissions and energy consumption are calculated for each simulation scenario, and the results are used to build statistical regression models. (5) The simulation and calculation results are also analyzed to gain additional insights on the environmental impacts of pavement design and management decisions. Results and conclusions(1) The developed framework that integrates ME-PDG and LCA methods is useful to assess pavement-related life cycle energy consumption and GHG emissions. (2) The developed regression models can well capture the trends of life cycle energy consumption and GHG emissions at different traffic levels, using asphalt concrete (AC) layer thickness and roughness trigger value as independent variables. (3) Material production, road use, and congestion due to road closure dominate pavement-related life cycle energy use and GHG emissions. (4) Optimum pavement thickness and international roughness index (IRI) trigger values exist, and they vary with traffic levels.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeAlthough the funeral market is propagating new ‘green’ alternatives and exploring innovative techniques like resomation, very little is known about the environmental impact of funerals. This research aimed to develop a benchmark of funerals, by quantifying the environmental impacts of the most common funeral techniques, i.e. burial and cremation, by identifying where the main impacts originate from and by comparing these impacts to impacts of other activities during a person’s life. Methods The environmental impacts of funerals were analysed by means of a life cycle assessment (LCA), based on Dutch company information, literature and expert judgements. The results were analysed per impact category but also on an aggregated level by means of shadow prices. Two sensitivity analyses were performed: one examined the high impact of cotton in funeral coffins; the other checked the results by means of another weighting method. Results and discussionThe results showed no significant difference between the two funeral techniques in five impact categories. Burial has the lowest impact in more than half of the categories, but its impact is many times higher in the two most differing categories than for cremation. The total shadow price of burial is about 30 % higher than the shadow price of cremation, but the main cause for this difference is a highly debated category, namely land use. If the results would be considered without the shadow prices of land impact categories, burial would score 25 % lower than cremation. These results are representing average practise and may deviate on certain aspects for other countries, but as a starting point for further studies, this benchmark is well applicable. Conclusions and recommendationsThis study delivered an environmental benchmark of funerals and insights in the impacts of the individual processes, which can be used in further assessment of ’green’ funeral options. The benchmark results show that the environmental impact of funerals is largely determined by secondary processes and that the total impact can be quite small in comparison to other human activities. Besides these environmental insights, it is important to take into account social, cultural, climatic, local, economical and ethical arguments before changing policies or giving recommendations.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeClimate-change impacts can be mitigated through greater use of bioenergy, but the extent to which specific options actually reduce overall impacts needs to be assessed. Most bioenergy assessments have used proxy measures for assessing its merits. Here, a new approach is presented, whereby the contribution of bioenergy use is assessed through quantifying marginal changes in climate-change impacts that result from the implementation of a bioenergy option. Methods Marginal climate-change impacts were calculated for one specific example of a bioenergy option, conversion of an unutilised mature forest into a production forest harvested repeatedly for bioenergy over successive 25-year rotations. The overall benefit of the option was assessed by including stand-level carbon dynamics, global carbon-cycle feedback, progressively changing radiative efficiency and marginal impact sensitivity of warming. It also includes a differentiated assessment of three kinds of climatic impacts: direct-warming, rate-of-warming and cumulative-warming impacts. Marginal impacts were calculated and summed over 100 years to assess the overall marginal impact of this bioenergy option. Results and discussionBioenergy use in this specific example led to a large initial loss of biomass carbon followed by an ongoing and accumulating benefit through fossil-fuel substitution. This caused adverse climatic impacts over the first two rotations as the effects of the on-site carbon loss dominated the overall impact, but the option became increasingly beneficial over longer time frames as the benefit of fossil-fuel substitution accrued and eventually dominated. Summed over 100 years, the bioenergy option reduced direct-temperature and rate-of-warming impacts whilst increasing cumulative-warming impacts. The average of the three kinds of impacts showed a slight mitigation benefit by reducing overall impacts. In the particular example, bioenergy use was assessed to have a more beneficial effect if the analysis was carried out under the assumption of higher-emission concentrations pathways, or if it assumed a steeper relationship between climate perturbations and impacts. Conclusions The usefulness of any climate-change mitigation option ultimately relates to the marginal climate-change impacts it can avert. It is shown here that marginal impacts can be calculated in routine operation and that they can provide an objective and methodologically consistent assessment of the mitigation potential of bioenergy use.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to present a new model and tool to calculate life cycle inventories (LCIs) of chemicals discharged down the drain. Exchanges with the technosphere and the environment are attributed for based on the predicted behaviour of individual chemicals in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and following discharge to the aquatic environment, either through the treated effluent or directly when there is no connection to WWTP. The described model is programmed in a stand-alone spreadsheet, WW LCI.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeLife cycle assessment (LCA) has become a standard for assessing what impacts do products and/or services have throughout their entire life cycle. Since the inception of LCA technique, studies have been conducted in different parts of the world, including Tanzania. This study describes the current status of LCA, capacities, and networking in Tanzania. The study has identified what has already been done and potential research gaps that could be explored in future LCA studies. MethodsA state-of-the-art review was conducted on published articles, reports, and other materials on LCA in Tanzania (covering a time frame of 1990–2015) which were searched on databases of scientific research and the general internet using a combination of keywords: “life cycle assessment and Tanzania,” “LCA and Tanzania,” and “life cycle assessment and LCA and Tanzania.” Reviews were on current status, research gaps, and the need for future research. Information related to education or training activities and networking were also gathered and reviewed. Results and discussionLiterature review has revealed that in Tanzania the first LCA study was published in 2007. Few articles and reports were identified in which LCA technique was used mainly for academic research in agriculture, electricity generation, charcoal, biodiesel production from jatropha oil, bioethanol production from sugarcane molasses, production of biofuels from pyrolysis of wood, and production of charcoal from sawmill residues. The very small number of LCA studies conducted in the country could be due to the lack of skilled personnel, lack of local data, and lack of research funds. Tanzania Life Cycle Assessment Network was created to link LCA practitioners and to promote and support further development of LCA in the country. Also, LCA potential is huge yet to be fully explored. Conclusions This state-of-the-art review is the first of its kind that summarizes and puts together all LCA studies in Tanzania. Most studies faced the challenge of lack of local data, which resulted to the use of secondary data from the literature. In LCA, the use of data from different geographical conditions could cause bias of the results and consequently could affect the decision made or to be made from the study. In this regard, the study recommends the establishment of national LCI database to solve this problem. Also, most studies covered only few impact categories prompting for full LCA studies in future studies. The study also found that there is a need to establish regular LCA training and courses for capacity development.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeFired bricks are an essential construction material in Thailand where the majority of fired brick kilns use rice husk as feedstock. Given the increasing demand of rice husk from other industries, alternative feedstocks are needed for future fired brick production. This life cycle assessment (LCA) study investigates the environmental burden of Thai brick production using different biomass types. Methods Three biomass fuels for fired brick production were compared: cane leaves, rice straw, and rice husk. Both the attributional and consequential modeling approaches were applied. Separated inventories were compiled using different databases: ecoinvent v. 3 and the Thai National Life Cycle Inventory (TH-LCI). Overall, this study includes a total of nine scenarios, for which characterized results were calculated using the Stepwise method. Differences in biomass scenario, modeling approach, and database used were tested via analysis of variance using four distinct fired brick production plants as replications. Results and discussionOverall, using cane leaves and rice straw gives lower impacts than using rice husk. The largest burden for cane leaves and rice straw scenarios comes from the burning process, while using electricity and using fertilizers for rice cultivation were the most contributors for rice husk scenario. However, different modeling approaches yield mostly significantly different results and the consequential results were lower than the attributional ones. Regarding database choice in attributional modeling approach, results were lower when using TH-LCI compared with ecoinvent. Conclusions Using cane leaves and rice straw as fuels in fired brick production are better scenarios than using rice husk. Nevertheless, factors related to season, size, and collection effort should be considered in the large-scale use of these biomasses. For database choice, ecoinvent is currently recommended over TH-LCI despite the higher geographical representativeness of the latter.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeAs one of largest energy consumers, the transport sector (TS) has significant impacts on the environment. Shenzhen, a developed megacity in South China, plays a leadership role in promoting the development of energy efficient vehicles in China. Methods This paper aims to assess the carbon footprint (CF) of the TS in Shenzhen via a Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment method. Consequently, the current environmental performance of the TS is evaluated and improvement potentials are examined. Results and discussionThe results show that CF has gained rapid growth over the past decade at an annual rate of 15.3 %, closely corresponding with the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (18.9 %) in Shenzhen. The total CF in 2013 was estimated as 50.7 million tons (ranging from 41.7 to 59.9). Road based freight transport accounts for the largest share of the TS’ emissions. The most significant contributors in this sector are: light duty trucks, urban public transport bus service, and passenger air transport. Meanwhile, this study took new energy vehicles into consideration in order to explore the range of CF mitigation potential in Shenzhen. The potential carbon abatement is not significant in comparison with the impact growth derived from the increasing freight and passenger transport based on the assumption that the transport intensity and its annual growth rate maintain at the current levels. Conclusions This study offers a useful approach to evaluate the available options for sustainable transport system planning in Shenzhen. For carbon emissions reductions from the TS, policies and technological innovations are essential to facilitate the transition to a low carbon TS. In addition, the methodology developed in this study could be used for assessing CF in other sectors.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeCultural indicators, although present in S-LCA subcategories, are fairly limited and are not compulsory; performing an S-LCA does not guarantee the inclusion of cultural values. This paper explores the potential to distinctly represent and include cultural aspects within Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) (alongside economic, social and environmental aspects). As such, it demonstrates LCSA’s capability to communicate results along a quadruple bottom line. MethodsA participatory LCSA case study was undertaken using a mixed methods approach. Research was carried out working in close collaboration with three key members of an indigenous community in New Zealand—the Māori tribe of Ngāti Porou. A series of semi-structured interviews with the three participants was undertaken in order to investigate alternative forestry options for Ngāti Porou land. The research involved (1) understanding the decision-making process of Ngāti Porou, (2) recognising Ngāti Porou aspirations and goals, (3) determining a range of forestry land use and product options to be reviewed within the LCSA case study, (4) selection of meaningful (to Ngāti Porou) economic, social and environmental indicators, (5) developing a bespoke cultural indicator and (6) collaboratively reviewing and discussing the results. Results and discussionThe results of the participatory LCSA represented culture in two ways. Firstly, a bespoke cultural indicator (Cultural Indicator Matrix) was created to distinctly represent culture in LCSA. The indicator subjectively measures the perceived impact that a forestry process or product has upon a range of Ngāti Porou aspirations, and the results can be viewed alongside other LCSA indicators. Secondly, the participatory research approach made the LCSA process more culturally-inclusive. Overall, the results of the culturally-inclusive LCSA gave the participants ‘validation’ and ‘direction’ and justified their desire to pursue alternative forestry options for their land. Conclusions This first use of the Cultural Indicator Matrix was experienced by the participants as an effective mechanism for gathering community-based impressions of how forestry life cycle processes affect their cultural aspirations. They felt the participatory aspect was important, and considered that the ongoing communication between themselves and the LCSA practitioner provided them with more control, access to information and understanding of the LCSA process and led to higher acceptance of the final results. Thus, this research suggests that there is a place for culture in LCSA, and that distinctive representation of culture (separately from S-LCA) may be beneficial, particularly if the end-users have explicit cultural needs or concerns.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeIn agricultural life cycle assessment (LCA), the allocation method chosen to divide impacts among co-products is an important issue, since it may change conclusions about a product’s impacts. We developed a biophysical allocation method to assign upstream environmental burdens and the use of raw materials at farm gate to the livestock co-products at the slaughterhouse based on their metabolic energy requirements. Methods Biophysical allocation is designed to build a relationship between co-products of a meat-production system and their associated net metabolic energy requirements. A metabolic growth model (Gompertz function) was combined with an energy calculation model to estimate metabolic energy requirements for the growth of an animal from birth to slaughter age. Allocation factors were calculated based on the energy required to maintain and produce body tissues (excluding waste), as a function of their chemical (protein and lipid) and physiological properties. This method was applied for an average beef cow and then compared to other allocation methods (e.g., mass, dry matter, protein, and economic). Results and discussionAt slaughter age, carcass tissues required the most energy (44 %) due to their high quantity of protein; the gastrointestinal tract and liver required about 28 and 5 %, respectively, of total metabolic energy requirements due to their roles in body metabolism. Biophysical allocation considers the energy cost of building and maintaining the tissues, regardless of their final uses. It reflects physical relationships among co-products as well as other allocation methods do. It also reveals the cause-effect relationship between tissues according to the energy required to maintain physiological functions. Once the growing time until slaughter is set, biophysical allocation factors are not influenced over time, unlike those of economic allocation, which is highly influenced by price variability. Conclusions This study provides a generic and robust biophysical allocation method for estimating environmental burdens of co-products, in accordance with ISO allocation rules. The method can be considered an original contribution to international debates on allocation methods applied to livestock products in LCA. In this paper, it is applied to cattle-related product, but it is generic and the principles can be adapted to any kind of livestock species. It should be considered and discussed by stakeholders in livestock production industries.
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