Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 13

LCA Related Abstracts

13 Life Cycle Assessment of Bioethanol from Feedstocks in Thailand

Authors: Apichit Svang-Ariyaskul, Thanapat Chaireongsirikul

Abstract:

An analysis of mass balance, energy performance, and environmental impact assessment were performed to evaluate bioethanol production in Thailand. Thailand is an agricultural country. Thai government plans to increase the use of alternative energy to 20 percent by 2022. One of the primary campaigns is to promote a bioethanol production from abundant biomass resources such as bitter cassava, molasses and sugarcane. The bioethanol production is composed of three stages: cultivation, pretreatment, and bioethanol conversion. All of mass, material, fuel, and energy were calculated to determine the environmental impact of three types of bioethanol production: bioethanol production from cassava (CBP), bioethanol production from molasses (MBP), and bioethanol production from rice straw (RBP). The results showed that bioethanol production from cassava has the best environmental performance. CBP contributes less impact when compared to the other processes.

Keywords: Chemical Engineering, biofuel, bioethanol production, LCA

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12 LCA and LCC for the Evaluation of Sustainability of Rapeseed, Giant Reed, and Poplar Cultivation

Authors: Luigi Pari, Alessandro Suardi, Rodolfo Picchio, Domenico Coaloa, Maria Bonaventura Forleo, Nadia Palmieri

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The reconversion process of the Italian sugar supply chain to bio-energy supply chains, as a result of the 2006 Sugar CMO reform, have involved research to define the best logistics, the most adapted energy crops for the Italian territory and their sustainability. Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.), Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) and Poplar (Poplar ssp.) are energy crops considered strategic for the development of Italian energy supply-chains. This study analyzed the environmental and the economic impacts on the farm level of these three energy crops. The environmental assessment included six farming units, two per crop, which were extracted from a sample of 251 rapeseed farm units (2751 ha), 7 giant reed farm units (7.8 ha), and 91 poplar farm units (440 ha) using a statistical multivariate analysis. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research method has been used to evaluate and compare the sustainability of the agricultural phases of the crops studied. The impact analyses have been performed at mid-point and end-point levels. The results of the analysis shown that the fertilization, is the major source of environmental impact of the agricultural phase due to the production of the fertilizers and the soil emissions of GHG following the treatment. The perennial energy crops studied (Arundo donax L., Poplar ssp.) were environmentally more sustainable if compared with the annual crop (Brassica napus L.) for all the impact categories at mid-point and end-point levels analyzed. The most relevant impact category influenced by the agricultural process result the fossil depletion, mainly due to the fossil fuels consumed during the mineral fertilizers production (urea). Human health was the most affected damage category at the end point level. Poplar result the energy crop with the best environmental performance for the Italian territory, in the distribution areas most suitable for its cultivation.

Keywords: Energy Crops, LCA, rapeseed, giant reed, poplar

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11 Environmental Performance of Olive Oil Production in Greece

Authors: P. Tsarouhas, Ch. Achillas, D. Aidonis, D. Folinas, V. Maslis, N. Moussiopoulos

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Agricultural production is a sector with high socioeconomic significance and key implications on employment and nutritional security. However, the impacts of agrifood production and consumption patterns on the environment are considerable, mainly due to the demand of large inputs of resources. This paper presents a case study of olive oil production in Greece, an important agri-product especially for countries in the Mediterranean basin. Life Cycle Analysis has been used to quantify the environmental performance of olive oil production. All key parameters that are associated with the life cycle of olive oil production are studied and environmental “hotspots” are diagnosed.

Keywords: Environmental Impact, Greece, Case study, LCA, olive oil production

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10 Life-Cycle Assessment of Residential Buildings: Addressing the Influence of Commuting

Authors: J. Bastos, P. Marques, S. Batterman, F. Freire

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Due to demands of a growing urban population, it is crucial to manage urban development and its associated environmental impacts. While most of the environmental analyses have addressed buildings and transportation separately, both the design and location of a building affect environmental performance and focusing on one or the other can shift impacts and overlook improvement opportunities for more sustainable urban development. Recently, several life-cycle (LC) studies of residential buildings have integrated user transportation, focusing exclusively on primary energy demand and/or greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, most papers considered only private transportation (mainly car). Although it is likely to have the largest share both in terms of use and associated impacts, exploring the variability associated with mode choice is relevant for comprehensive assessments and, eventually, for supporting decision-makers. This paper presents a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of a residential building in Lisbon (Portugal), addressing building construction, use and user transportation (commuting with private and public transportation). Five environmental indicators or categories are considered: (i) non-renewable primary energy (NRE), (ii) greenhouse gas intensity (GHG), (iii) eutrophication (EUT), (iv) acidification (ACID), and (v) ozone layer depletion (OLD). In a first stage, the analysis addresses the overall life-cycle considering the statistical model mix for commuting in the residence location. Then, a comparative analysis compares different available transportation modes to address the influence mode choice variability has on the results. The results highlight the large contribution of transportation to the overall LC results in all categories. NRE and GHG show strong correlation, as the three LC phases contribute with similar shares to both of them: building construction accounts for 6-9%, building use for 44-45%, and user transportation for 48% of the overall results. However, for other impact categories there is a large variation in the relative contribution of each phase. Transport is the most significant phase in OLD (60%); however, in EUT and ACID building use has the largest contribution to the overall LC (55% and 64%, respectively). In these categories, transportation accounts for 31-38%. A comparative analysis was also performed for four alternative transport modes for the household commuting: car, bus, motorcycle, and company/school collective transport. The car has the largest results in all impact categories. When compared to the overall LC with commuting by car, mode choice accounts for a variability of about 35% in NRE, GHG and OLD (the categories where transportation accounted for the largest share of the LC), 24% in EUT and 16% in ACID. NRE and GHG show a strong correlation because all modes have internal combustion engines. The second largest results for NRE, GHG and OLD are associated with commuting by motorcycle; however, for ACID and EUT this mode has better performance than bus and company/school transport. No single transportation mode performed best in all impact categories. Integrated assessments of buildings are needed to avoid shifts of impacts between life-cycle phases and environmental categories, and ultimately to support decision-makers.

Keywords: Transport, Environmental Impacts, Lisbon, LCA

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9 A Strategic Sustainability Analysis of Electric Vehicles in EU Today and Towards 2050

Authors: Sven Borén, Henrik Ny

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Ambitions within the EU for moving towards sustainable transport include major emission reductions for fossil fuel road vehicles, especially for buses, trucks, and cars. The electric driveline seems to be an attractive solution for such development. This study first applied the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development to compare sustainability effects of today’s fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles that have batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. The study then addressed a scenario were electric vehicles might be in majority in Europe by 2050. The methodology called Strategic Lifecycle Assessment was first used, were each life cycle phase was assessed for violations against sustainability principles. This indicates where further analysis could be done in order to quantify the magnitude of each violation, and later to create alternative strategies and actions that lead towards sustainability. A Life Cycle Assessment of combustion engine cars, plug-in hybrid cars, battery electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars was then conducted to compare and quantify environmental impacts. The authors found major violations of sustainability principles like use of fossil fuels, which contribute to the increase of emission related impacts such as climate change, acidification, eutrophication, ozone depletion, and particulate matters. Other violations were found, such as use of scarce materials for batteries and fuel cells, and also for most life cycle phases for all vehicles when using fossil fuel vehicles for mining, production and transport. Still, the studied current battery and hydrogen fuel cell cars have less severe violations than fossil fuel cars. The life cycle assessment revealed that fossil fuel cars have overall considerably higher environmental impacts compared to electric cars as long as the latter are powered by renewable electricity. By 2050, there will likely be even more sustainable alternatives than the studied electric vehicles when the EU electricity mix mainly should stem from renewable sources, batteries should be recycled, fuel cells should be a mature technology for use in vehicles (containing no scarce materials), and electric drivelines should have replaced combustion engines in other sectors. An uncertainty for fuel cells in 2050 is whether the production of hydrogen will have had time to switch to renewable resources. If so, that would contribute even more to a sustainable development. Except for being adopted in the GreenCharge roadmap, the authors suggest that the results can contribute to planning in the upcoming decades for a sustainable increase of EVs in Europe, and potentially serve as an inspiration for other smaller or larger regions. Further studies could map the environmental effects in LCA further, and include other road vehicles to get a more precise perception of how much they could affect sustainable development.

Keywords: Electric Vehicles, Sustainability, Strategic, LCA

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8 Comparative Techno-Economic Assessment and LCA of Selected Integrated Sugarcane-Based Biorefineries

Authors: Edgard Gnansounoua, Pavel Vaskan, Elia Ruiz Pachón

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This work addresses the economic and environmental performance of integrated biorefineries based on sugarcane juice and residues in the context of Brazil. We have considered four multiproduct scenarios; two from existing Brazilian sugar mills and the others from ethanol autonomous distilleries. They are integrated biorefineries producing first (1G) and second (2G) generation ethanol, sugar, molasses (for animal feed) and electricity. We show the results for the analysis and comparison of the different scenarios using a techno-economic value-based approach and LCA methodology. We have found that all the analysed scenarios show positive values of Climate change and Fossil depletion reduction as compared to the reference systems. However the scenario producing only ethanol shows less efficiency in Human toxicity, Freshwater ecotoxicity and Freshwater eutrophication impacts. The best economic configuration is provided by the scenario with the largest ethanol production. On the other hand, the best environmental performance is presented by the scenario with full integration sugar – 1G2G ethanol production. The integration of 2G based residues in a 1G ethanol production plant leads to positive environmental impacts compared to the conventional 1G industrial plant but proves to be more expensive.

Keywords: Biorefinery, sugarcane, Brazil, LCA

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7 LCA/CFD Studies of Artisanal Brick Manufacture in Mexico

Authors: H. A. Lopez-Aguilar, E. A. Huerta-Reynoso, J. A. Gomez, J. A. Duarte-Moller, A. Perez-Hernandez

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Environmental performance of artisanal brick manufacture was studied by Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) methodology and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis in Mexico. The main objective of this paper is to evaluate the environmental impact during artisanal brick manufacture. LCA cradle-to-gate approach was complemented with CFD analysis to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The lifecycle includes the stages of extraction, baking and transportation to the gate. The functional unit of this study was the production of a single brick in Chihuahua, Mexico and the impact categories studied were carcinogens, respiratory organics and inorganics, climate change radiation, ozone layer depletion, ecotoxicity, acidification/ eutrophication, land use, mineral use and fossil fuels. Laboratory techniques for fuel characterization, gas measurements in situ, and AP42 emission factors were employed in order to calculate gas emissions for inventory data. The results revealed that the categories with greater impacts are ecotoxicity and carcinogens. The CFD analysis is helpful in predicting the thermal diffusion and contaminants from a defined source. LCA-CFD synergy complemented the EIA and allowed us to identify the problem of thermal efficiency within the system.

Keywords: CFD, LCA, brick, artisanal

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6 Long-Term Economic-Ecological Assessment of Optimal Local Heat-Generating Technologies for the German Unrefurbished Residential Building Stock on the Quarter Level

Authors: M. A. Spielmann, L. Schebek

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In order to reach the long-term national climate goals of the German government for the building sector, substantial energetic measures have to be executed. Historically, those measures were primarily energetic efficiency measures at the buildings’ shells. Advanced technologies for the on-site generation of heat (or other types of energy) often are not feasible at this small spatial scale of a single building. Therefore, the present approach uses the spatially larger dimension of a quarter. The main focus of the present paper is the long-term economic-ecological assessment of available decentralized heat-generating (CHP power plants and electrical heat pumps) technologies at the quarter level for the German unrefurbished residential buildings. Three distinct terms have to be described methodologically: i) Quarter approach, ii) Economic assessment, iii) Ecological assessment. The quarter approach is used to enable synergies and scaling effects over a single-building. For the present study, generic quarters that are differentiated according to significant parameters concerning their heat demand are used. The core differentiation of those quarters is made by the construction time period of the buildings. The economic assessment as the second crucial parameter is executed with the following structure: Full costs are quantized for each technology combination and quarter. The investment costs are analyzed on an annual basis and are modeled with the acquisition of debt. Annuity loans are assumed. Consequently, for each generic quarter, an optimal technology combination for decentralized heat generation is provided in each year of the temporal boundaries (2016-2050). The ecological assessment elaborates for each technology combination and each quarter a Life Cycle assessment. The measured impact category hereby is GWP 100. The technology combinations for heat production can be therefore compared against each other concerning their long-term climatic impacts. Core results of the approach can be differentiated to an economic and ecological dimension. With an annual resolution, the investment and running costs of different energetic technology combinations are quantified. For each quarter an optimal technology combination for local heat supply and/or energetic refurbishment of the buildings within the quarter is provided. Coherently to the economic assessment, the climatic impacts of the technology combinations are quantized and compared against each other.

Keywords: Heat, LCA, building sector, economic-ecological assessment, quarter level

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5 Environmental Impacts Assessment of Power Generation via Biomass Gasification Systems: Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Approach for Tars Release

Authors: Grâce Chidikofan, François Pinta, A. Benoist, G. Volle, J. Valette

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Statement of the Problem: biomass gasification systems may be relevant for decentralized power generation from recoverable agricultural and wood residues available in rural areas. In recent years, many systems have been implemented in all over the world as especially in Cambodgia, India. Although they have many positive effects, these systems can also affect the environment and human health. Indeed, during the process of biomass gasification, black wastewater containing tars are produced and generally discharged in the local environment either into the rivers or on soil. However, in most environmental assessment studies of biomass gasification systems, the impact of these releases are underestimated, due to the difficulty of identification of their chemical substances. This work deal with the analysis of the environmental impacts of tars from wood gasification in terms of human toxicity cancer effect, human toxicity non-cancer effect, and freshwater ecotoxicity. Methodology: A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach was adopted. The inventory of tars chemicals substances was based on experimental data from a downdraft gasification system. The composition of six samples from two batches of raw materials: one batch made of tree wood species (oak+ plane tree +pine) at 25 % moisture content and the second batch made of oak at 11% moisture content. The tests were carried out for different gasifier load rates, respectively in the range 50-75% and 50-100%. To choose the environmental impacts assessment method, we compared the methods available in SIMAPRO tool (8.2.0) which are taking into account most of the chemical substances. The environmental impacts for 1kg of tars discharged were characterized by ILCD 2011+ method (V.1.08). Findings Experimental results revealed 38 important chemical substances in varying proportion from one test to another. Only 30 are characterized by ILCD 2011+ method, which is one of the best performing methods. The results show that wood species or moisture content have no significant impact on human toxicity noncancer effect (HTNCE) and freshwater ecotoxicity (FWE) for water release. For human toxicity cancer effect (HTCE), a small gap is observed between impact factors of the two batches, either 3.08E-7 CTUh/kg against 6.58E-7 CTUh/kg. On the other hand, it was found that the risk of negative effects is higher in case of tar release into water than on soil for all impact categories. Indeed, considering the set of samples, the average impact factor obtained for HTNCE varies respectively from 1.64 E-7 to 1.60E-8 CTUh/kg. For HTCE, the impact factor varies between 4.83E-07 CTUh/kg and 2.43E-08 CTUh/kg. The variability of those impact factors is relatively low for these two impact categories. Concerning FWE, the variability of impact factor is very high. It is 1.3E+03 CTUe/kg for tars release into water against 2.01E+01 CTUe/kg for tars release on soil. Statement concluding: The results of this study show that the environmental impacts of tars emission of biomass gasification systems can be consequent and it is important to investigate the ways to reduce them. For environmental research, these results represent an important step of a global environmental assessment of the studied systems. It could be used to better manage the wastewater containing tars to reduce as possible the impacts of numerous still running systems all over the world.

Keywords: Environmental Impact, life cycle analysis, Biomass Gasification, LCA, tars

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4 The Potential in the Use of Building Information Modelling and Life-Cycle Assessment for Retrofitting Buildings: A Study Based on Interviews with Experts in Both Fields

Authors: Alex Gonzalez Caceres, Jan Karlshøj, Tor Arvid Vik

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Life cycle of residential buildings are expected to be several decades, 40% of European residential buildings have inefficient energy conservation measure. The existing building represents 20-40% of the energy use and the CO₂ emission. Since net zero energy buildings are a short-term goal, (should be achieved by EU countries after 2020), is necessary to plan the next logical step, which is to prepare the existing outdated stack of building to retrofit them into an energy efficiency buildings. In order to accomplish this, two specialize and widespread tool can be used Building Information Modelling (BIM) and life-cycle assessment (LCA). BIM and LCA are tools used by a variety of disciplines; both are able to represent and analyze the constructions in different stages. The combination of these technologies could improve greatly the retrofitting techniques. The incorporation of the carbon footprint, introducing a single database source for different material analysis. To this is added the possibility of considering different analysis approaches such as costs and energy saving. Is expected with these measures, enrich the decision-making. The methodology is based on two main activities; the first task involved the collection of data this is accomplished by literature review and interview with experts in the retrofitting field and BIM technologies. The results of this task are presented as an evaluation checklist of BIM ability to manage data and improve decision-making in retrofitting projects. The last activity involves an evaluation using the results of the previous tasks, to check how far the IFC format can support the requirements by each specialist, and its uses by third party software. The result indicates that BIM/LCA have a great potential to improve the retrofitting process in existing buildings, but some modification must be done in order to meet the requirements of the specialists for both, retrofitting and LCA evaluators.

Keywords: Energy Efficiency, bim, retrofitting, LCA

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3 Probabilistic Life Cycle Assessment of the Nano Membrane Toilet

Authors: M. Collins, A. Anastasopoulou, A. Kolios, T. Somorin, A. Sowale, Y. Jiang, B. Fidalgo, A. Parker, L. Williams, E. J. McAdam, S. Tyrrel

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Developing countries are nowadays confronted with great challenges related to domestic sanitation services in view of the imminent water scarcity. Contemporary sanitation technologies established in these countries are likely to pose health risks unless waste management standards are followed properly. This paper provides a solution to sustainable sanitation with the development of an innovative toilet system, called Nano Membrane Toilet (NMT), which has been developed by Cranfield University and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The particular technology converts human faeces into energy through gasification and provides treated wastewater from urine through membrane filtration. In order to evaluate the environmental profile of the NMT system, a deterministic life cycle assessment (LCA) has been conducted in SimaPro software employing the Ecoinvent v3.3 database. The particular study has determined the most contributory factors to the environmental footprint of the NMT system. However, as sensitivity analysis has identified certain critical operating parameters for the robustness of the LCA results, adopting a stochastic approach to the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) will comprehensively capture the input data uncertainty and enhance the credibility of the LCA outcome. For that purpose, Monte Carlo simulations, in combination with an artificial neural network (ANN) model, have been conducted for the input parameters of raw material, produced electricity, NOX emissions, amount of ash and transportation of fertilizer. The given analysis has provided the distribution and the confidence intervals of the selected impact categories and, in turn, more credible conclusions are drawn on the respective LCIA (Life Cycle Impact Assessment) profile of NMT system. Last but not least, the specific study will also yield essential insights into the methodological framework that can be adopted in the environmental impact assessment of other complex engineering systems subject to a high level of input data uncertainty.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Network, Monte Carlo simulations, LCA, sanitation systems, nano-membrane toilet, stochastic uncertainty analysis

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2 Dynamic Environmental Impact Study during the Construction of the French Nuclear Power Plants

Authors: A. Er-Raki, D. Hartmann, J. P. Belaud, S. Negny

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This paper has a double purpose: firstly, a literature review of the life cycle analysis (LCA) and secondly a comparison between conventional (static) LCA and multi-level dynamic LCA on the following items: (i) inventories evolution with time (ii) temporal evolution of the databases. The first part of the paper summarizes the state of the art of the static LCA approach. The different static LCA limits have been identified and especially the non-consideration of the spatial and temporal evolution in the inventory, for the characterization factors (FCs) and into the databases. Then a description of the different levels of integration of the notion of temporality in life cycle analysis studies was made. In the second part, the dynamic inventory has been evaluated firstly for a single nuclear plant and secondly for the entire French nuclear power fleet by taking into account the construction durations of all the plants. In addition, the databases have been adapted by integrating the temporal variability of the French energy mix. Several iterations were used to converge towards the real environmental impact of the energy mix. Another adaptation of the databases to take into account the temporal evolution of the market data of the raw material was made. An identification of the energy mix of the time studied was based on an extrapolation of the production reference values of each means of production. An application to the construction of the French nuclear power plants from 1971 to 2000 has been performed, in which a dynamic inventory of raw material has been evaluated. Then the impacts were characterized by the ILCD 2011 characterization method. In order to compare with a purely static approach, a static impact assessment was made with the V 3.4 Ecoinvent data sheets without adaptation and a static inventory considering that all the power stations would have been built at the same time. Finally, a comparison between static and dynamic LCA approaches was set up to determine the gap between them for each of the two levels of integration. The results were analyzed to identify the contribution of the evolving nuclear power fleet construction to the total environmental impacts of the French energy mix during the same period. An equivalent strategy using a dynamic approach will further be applied to identify the environmental impacts that different scenarios of the energy transition could bring, allowing to choose the best energy mix from an environmental viewpoint.

Keywords: Nuclear Energy, Construction, Dynamic, Inventory, Energy Transition, Energy Mix, Static, LCA

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1 Life Cycle Assessment Applied to Supermarket Refrigeration System: Effects of Location and Choice of Architecture

Authors: Anthony Delahaye, Laurence Fournaison, Yasmine Salehy, Yann Leroy, Francois Cluzel, Hong-Minh Hoang, Bernard Yannou

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Taking into consideration all the life cycle of a product is now an important step in the eco-design of a product or a technology. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a standard tool to evaluate the environmental impacts of a system or a process. Despite the improvement in refrigerant regulation through protocols, the environmental damage of refrigeration systems remains important and needs to be improved. In this paper, the environmental impacts of refrigeration systems in a typical supermarket are compared using the LCA methodology under different conditions. The system is used to provide cold at two levels of temperature: medium and low temperature during a life period of 15 years. The most commonly used architectures of supermarket cold production systems are investigated: centralized direct expansion systems and indirect systems using a secondary loop to transport the cold. The variation of power needed during seasonal changes and during the daily opening/closure periods of the supermarket are considered. R134a as the primary refrigerant fluid and two types of secondary fluids are considered. The composition of each system and the leakage rate of the refrigerant through its life cycle are taken from the literature and industrial data. Twelve scenarios are examined. They are based on the variation of three parameters, 1. location: France (Paris), Spain (Toledo) and Sweden (Stockholm), 2. different sources of electric consumption: photovoltaic panels and low voltage electric network and 3. architecture: direct and indirect refrigeration systems. OpenLCA, SimaPro softwares, and different impact assessment methods were compared; CML method is used to evaluate the midpoint environmental indicators. This study highlights the significant contribution of electric consumption in environmental damages compared to the impacts of refrigerant leakage. The secondary loop allows lowering the refrigerant amount in the primary loop which results in a decrease in the climate change indicators compared to the centralized direct systems. However, an exhaustive cost evaluation (CAPEX and OPEX) of both systems shows more important costs related to the indirect systems. A significant difference between the countries has been noticed, mostly due to the difference in electric production. In Spain, using photovoltaic panels helps to reduce efficiently the environmental impacts and the related costs. This scenario is the best alternative compared to the other scenarios. Sweden is a country with less environmental impacts. For both France and Sweden, the use of photovoltaic panels does not bring a significant difference, due to a less sunlight exposition than in Spain. Alternative solutions exist to reduce the impact of refrigerating systems, and a brief introduction is presented.

Keywords: Industrial Engineering, eco-design, LCA, refrigeration system

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