Sangwon Suh

Sangwon Suh
University of California, Santa Barbara | UCSB · Bren School of Environmental Science and Management

Ph.D.

About

190
Publications
101,971
Reads
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18,871
Citations
Citations since 2017
33 Research Items
10573 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500
201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500
Additional affiliations
September 2005 - January 2010
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2005 - January 2010
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
June 2004 - August 2005
Carnegie Mellon University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (190)
Preprint
The rapid growth of plastics production exacerbated the triple planetary crisis of habitat loss, waste pollution, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Circular strategies have been proposed for plastics to achieve net-zero GHG emissions. However, the implications of such circular strategies on absolute sustainability at planetary scale have not been...
Article
Full-text available
The costs and benefits of climate change mitigation are known to be distributed unevenly across time and space, while their intergenerational distribution across nations has not been evaluated. Here, we analyze the lifetime costs and benefits of climate change mitigation by age cohorts across countries under the Paris Agreement. Our results show th...
Article
Reducing net emission The great majority of plastics in current use are sourced from fossil fuels, with additional fossil fuels combusted to power their manufacture. Substantial research is focused on finding more sustainable building blocks for next-generation polymers. Meys et al . report a series of life cycle analyses suggesting that even the c...
Article
Full-text available
Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD) is a key metric for understanding the potential ecotoxicological impacts of chemicals. However, SSDs have been developed to estimate for only handful of chemicals due to the scarcity of experimental toxicity data. Here we present a novel approach to expand the chemical coverage of SSDs using Artificial Neural...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Understanding uncertainty is essential in using life cycle assessment (LCA) to support decisions. Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) is widely used to characterize the variability in LCA results, be them life cycle inventory (LCI), category indicator results, normalized results, or weighted results. In this study, we present a new method to decom...
Article
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Typical applications of LCA assume that the magnitude of life-cycle impact grows proportionally to the volume of demand, while in reality the additional impact due to marginal increase in demand may differ from the average impact. In the literature, the calculation of marginal life-cycle impacts often involves the use of optimization models, where...
Article
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Pesticide usage in the U.S. has more than doubled since 1960, raising concerns on its human and ecological health implications. The literature indicates that pesticide application rates for the same crop vary widely across geographies, while the magnitude of variation and its underlying drivers are poorly understood. Here, we present a new dataset...
Article
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Processes that govern environmental mechanisms including fate, transport, and exposure are generally non-linear. Characterization models in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), however, often linearize such processes, while the implications of linearizing non-linear processes have not been fully understood. Recently, non-linear models have been inc...
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Full-text available
Purpose Uncertainty analyses in life cycle assessment (LCA) literature have focused primarily on the life cycle inventory (LCI) phase, but LCA experts generally agree that the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase is likely to contribute even more to the overall uncertainty of an LCA result. The magnitude of perceived uncertainties in character...
Article
As the share of variable renewable energy (VRE) grows in the electric grid, so does the risk of curtailment. While energy storage and hydrogen production have been proposed as solutions to the curtailment problem, they often pose technological and economic challenges. Here, we analyze the potential of data center load migration for mitigating curta...
Article
Capturing and utilizing CO2 as carbon feedstock for chemicals, fuels, or polymers is frequently discussed to replace fossil carbon and thereby help mitigate climate change. Emission reductions by Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) depend strongly on the choice of the CO2 source because CO2 sources differ in CO2 concentration and the resulting ene...
Article
Significance Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) drives climate change when released to the atmosphere. Alternatively, CO 2 could be captured and utilized as carbon source for chemicals. Here, we provide a global assessment of the technical climate change mitigation potential of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) in the chemical industry. We develop an engine...
Article
Increasingly diverse chemicals are used in consumer products, while our understanding of their exposure pathways and associated human health risks still lags behind. This paper aims to identify the dominant patterns of exposure pathways and associated health risks of chemicals used in consumer products reported in the peer-reviewed literature. We a...
Article
Full-text available
In life cycle assessment (LCA), performing Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) using fully dependent sampling typically involves repeated inversion of a technology matrix for a sufficiently large number of times. As the dimension of technology matrices for life cycle inventory (LCI) databases grows, MCS using fully dependent sampling is becoming a computa...
Data
Results of 10,000 random pairs of elementary flows and 10,000 random pairs of elementary flows within the processes that produce electricity from ecoinvent. (XLSX)
Article
We developed a model (nanoBio) to simulate long-term kinetic bioaccumulation of metallic engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) across trophic levels within a freshwater aquatic ecosystem based on current understanding of environmental and biological fate. Seven species were chosen to understand exposure pathways, accumulation through trophic levels, and...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Regionalization in life cycle assessment (LCA) has focused on spatially differentiated environmental variables for regional impact assessment models. Relatively less attention has been paid to spatial disparities in intermediate flows for life cycle inventory (LCI). Methods: First, we compiled state-specific LCIs for four major crops in...
Article
Chemicals in consumer products have become the focus of recent regulatory developments including California's Safer Consumer Products Act. However, quantifying the amount of chemicals released during the use and post-use phases of consumer products is challenging, limiting the ability to understand their impacts. Here we present a comprehensive fra...
Article
Full-text available
As cities grow, their environmental and natural resource footprints also tend to grow to keep up with the increasing demand on essential urban services such as passenger transportation, commercial space, and thermal comfort. The urban infrastructure systems, or socio-technical systems providing these services are the major conduits through which na...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Building stakeholders need practical metrics, data, and tools to support decisions related to sustainable building designs, technologies, standards, and codes. The Engineering Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has addressed this high priority national need by extending its metrics and tools for sustainable buil...
Article
Most existing life-cycle release models for engineered nanomaterials (ENM) are static, ignoring the dynamics of stock and flows of ENMs. Our model, nanoRelease, estimates the annual releases of ENMs from manufacturing, use, and disposal of a product explicitly taking stock and flow dynamics into account. Given the variabilities in key parameters (e...
Article
Full-text available
Life cycle assessment is used during the developmental stages of products and technologies. In the case of emerging technologies such as engineered nanomaterials there are limitations in using life cycle assessment to evaluate the direct environmental and human health impacts from emissions of nanomaterials themselves. This is due to the limited li...
Article
Full-text available
PurposeLife cycle inventory (LCI) results are often assumed to follow a lognormal distribution, while a systematic study that identifies the distribution function that best describes LCIs has been lacking. This paper aims to find the distribution function that best describes LCIs using Ecoinvent v3.1 database using a statistical approach, called ov...
Article
We developed a dynamic multimedia fate and transport model (nanoFate) to predict the time-dependent accumulation of metallic engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) across environmental media. nanoFate considers a wider range of processes and environmental sub-compartments than most previous models and considers ENM releases to compartments (e.g. urban, ag...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This scientific assessment report on resource efficiency has been produced by the UN Environment’s International Resource Panel in response to a commission in June 2015 by the German Government, as an outcome of the G7 Summit meeting in Schloss Elmau. The report is based on the core work of the International Resource Panel, and of other internation...
Article
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This study seeks to understand the role of primary processing, i.e. the first post-mining stage, in supply risk, by means of a case study on three critical metals (neodymium, cobalt, and platinum) in the context of Japan. Applying the ‘footprint’ concept with a multiregional input–output model, we have quantified the direct and indirect vulnerabili...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Building stakeholders need practical metrics, data, and tools to support decisions related to sustainable building designs, technologies, standards, and codes. The Engineering Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has addressed this high priority national need by extending its metrics and tools for sustainable buil...
Article
The sustainable development goals (SDGs) launched by the United Nations (UN) set a new direction for development covering the environmental, economic and social pillars. Given the complex and interdependent nature of the socio-economic and environmental systems, however, understanding the cause-effect relationships between policy actions and their...
Article
Heijungs et al. (Int J Life Cycle Assess 22(3):461, 2017) argued that (1) dependent sampling is required when analyzing uncertainties using Monte Carlo simulation in a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) and that (2) using pre-calculated geometric standard deviations (GSDs) will lead to a “large overestimation” of the uncertainty of the results...
Article
Total mortality attributable to PM2.5 is highest in the Asian domain, estimated as 2.3 million deaths annually. We apply consumption-based accounting to identify the key sectors responsible for primary carbonaceous PM2.5 mortality. The study combines an input–output model with an atmospheric transport model and fully links consumer demand to final...
Article
Discussions on Consequential Life Cycle Assessment (CLCA) have relied largely on partial or general equilibrium models. Such models are useful for integrating market effects into CLCA, but also have well-recognized limitations such as the poor granularity of the sectoral definition and the assumption of perfect oversight by all economic agents. Bui...
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In a globalized economy, the use of natural resources is determined by the demand of modern production and consumption systems, and by infrastructure development. Sustainable natural resource use will require good governance and management based on sound scientific information, data and indicators. There is a rich literature on natural resource man...
Article
Accounting for technological changes and innovation is important when assessing the implications of rapidly-developing greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation technologies. Technological learning curves have been commonly used as a tool to understand technological change as a function of cumulative production. Traditional learning curve approaches, however...
Article
The effect of changes in trade patterns, particularly increasing international sourcing, on global CO2-emissions growth has yet to be clearly understood. In this paper, we estimate the emission cost of sourcing (ECS), which originates from replacing domestic products by imports from countries with more CO2-intensive technologies. Using a structural...
Article
Tom et al. (Environ Syst Decis 1–12, 2015) compared the energy requirements, water footprint, and greenhouse gas emissions of diet regimens recently recommended by the US Department of Agriculture. This editorial comments on a number of challenges related to the use of the results of life-cycle assessment studies to quantify the environmental impac...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the study of the environmental impact of products taking into account their entire life-span and production chain. This requires gathering data from a variety of heterogeneous sources into a Life Cycle Inventory (LCI). LCI preparation involves the integration of observations and engineering models with reference data...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental impact of a product through its entire life cycle, from material extraction to final disposal or recycling. The environmental impacts of an activity depend on both the ac-tivity's direct emissions to the environment as well as indirect emissions caused by activities elsewhere in the supply cha...
Article
Artificial lighting is a major source of electricity demand globally. As the demand for lighting services grows over the next 40 years, especially in developing countries, efficient light-source technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can reduce the energy consumed for lighting services and therefore its environmental impacts. LED technol...
Article
Full-text available
As with life cycle assessment (LCA) studies in general, agricultural LCAs often rely on static and outdated inventory data, but literature suggests that agricultural systems may be highly dynamic. Here, we applied life cycle impact assessment methods to investigate the trends and underlying drivers of changes in non-global environmental impacts of...
Article
Climate change mitigation demands large-scale technological change on a global level and, if successful, will significantly affect how products and services are produced and consumed. In order to anticipate the life cycle environmental impacts of products under climate mitigation scenarios, we present the modelling framework of an integrated hybrid...
Article
The environmental costs and benefits of introducing a new technology depend not only on the technology itself, but also on the responses of the market where substitution or displacement of competing technologies may occur. An internationally accepted method taking both technological and market-mediated effects into account, however, is still lackin...
Article
Purpose Thermal emissions from electric power generation plants can lead to environmental impacts. However, such emissions have neither been comprehensively integrated in life cycle assessment (LCA), a method to quantify environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of a product, nor in water footprinting. This study presents a spatially explicit...
Article
Production and consumption of goods and services are interlinked through complex global supply-chain networks; so are the greenhouse gas emissions associated with them. Using a model that represents global supply-chain networks, we identified supply-chain clusters with high CO2 emissions within more than 300 million individual supply chains. We dis...
Article
Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are a relatively new strain of materials for which little is understood about their impacts. A species sensitivity distribution (SSDs) is a cumulative probability distribution of a chemical's toxicity measurements obtained from single-species bioassays of various species that can be used to estimate the ecotoxicologi...
Article
Full-text available
Meeting the 2-degree global warming target requires wide adoption of low-carbon energy technologies. Many such technologies rely on the use of precious metals, however, increasing the dependence of national economies on these resources. Among such metals, those with supply security concerns are referred to as critical metals. Using the Policy Poten...
Article
Full-text available
As with life cycle assessment (LCA) studies in general, agricultural LCAs often rely on static and outdated inventory data, but literature suggests that agricultural systems may be highly dynamic. Here, we applied life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods to investigate the trends and underlying drivers of changes in non-global environmental impa...
Chapter
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used for the comprehensive environmental assessment of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) and ENM-enabled products. A complete LCA can highlight a possible shifting of burden where reduction of environmental impacts at one stage may come at the expense of another. The objective of this chapter is to familiarize the reade...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Life-cycle assessments commonly used to analyze the environmental costs and benefits of climate-mitigation options are usually static in nature and address individual power plants. Our paper presents, to our knowledge, the first life-cycle assessment of the large-scale implementation of climate-mitigation technologies, addressing the f...
Article
Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been applied for assessing emerging technologies, where large-scale production data are generally lacking. This study introduces a standardized scheme for technology and manufacturing readiness levels to contextualize a technology's development stage. We applied the scheme to a carbon nanotube (CNT) LCA and found tha...
Article
Thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technologies have improved significantly recently and similar improvements are projected into the future, warranting re-evaluation of the environmental implications of PV to update and inform policy decisions. By conducting a hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) using the most recent manufacturing data and technology roadm...
Article
Bioenergy deployment offers significant potential for climate change mitigation, but also carries considerable risks. In this review, we bring together perspectives of various communities involved in the research and regulation of bioenergy deployment in the context of climate change mitigation: Land-use and energy experts, land-use and integrated...
Article
Purpose: Plevin et al. (2014) reviewed relevant life cycle assessment (LCA) studies for biofuels and argued that the use of attributional LCA (ALCA) for estimating the benefits of biofuel policy is misleading. While we agree with the authors on many points, we found that some of the arguments by the authors were not presented fairly and that a numb...
Article
Full-text available
SynopsisModern societies generate and mobilize chemicals of enormous diversity and quantity. However, our understanding of the life cycle environmental impacts of chemicals and materials has not kept pace with new discoveries or with the production scale of chemicals. Development of a rapid, early stage tool to evaluate life cycle impacts has a bro...
Article
Purpose Employing representative data is necessary for producing a credible LCA informing decision making process. When the data is available from multiple sources, and in incompatible formats such as point estimates, intervals, approximations, and may even be conflicting in nature, it is important to synthesize it with minimal loss of information...
Article
Purpose: Previous estimates of carbon payback time (CPT) of corn ethanol expansion assumed that marginal yields of newly converted lands are the same as the average corn yield, whereas reported marginal yields are generally lower than the average yield (47–83 % of average yield). Furthermore, these estimates assumed that the productivity of corn et...
Article
Purpose Rising corn prices in the USA due partly to increasing ethanol demands have led to a significant expansion of corn areas displacing natural vegetation and crops including cotton. From 2005 to 2009, cotton area harvested in the USA nearly halved with a reduction of 2.5 million hectares, while that of corn increased by 1.8 million hectares. H...
Article
We examined the potential life-cycle environmental impact reduction of three green building code and certification (GBCC) systems: LEED®, ASHRAE 189.1, and IgCC. A recently completed whole-building life cycle assessment (LCA) database of NIST was applied to a prototype building model specification by NREL. TRACI 2.0 of EPA was used for life cycle i...
Article
Full-text available
This study, encompassing 231 countries and regions, quantifies the global transfer of three critical metals (neodymium, cobalt and platinum) considered vital for low-carbon technologies by means of material flow analysis (MFA), using trade data (BACI) and the metal contents of trade commodities, resolving the optimization problem to ensure the mate...