Parametric Life Cycle Assessment for the Design of Aircraft 2013-01-2277
Current methods of life cycle assessment (LCA) include input-output (IO) models and process-based LCA. These methods either require excessive effort and time to reach a conclusion (process LCA) or do not adequately model how a change in a product's design will affect the environmental footprint (IO LCA).
A variation of process-based LCA developed specifically for aircraft is presented in this study. A tool implementing this LCA, “qUWick,” is rapid and easily applicable to multi-disciplinary design optimization of aircraft. Models developed for the material production, manufacturing, usage, and end-of-life of an aircraft are examined. Outputs of qUWick are discussed for future air vehicles.
When compared to process LCAs with similar boundaries, qUWick gives similar results, however qUWick models several stages of an aircraft's life cycle more accurately than other aircraft process-based LCAs. Comparison to IO LCAs suggests an underestimation of supply chain as well as maintenance impacts and points towards areas of future improvements for the qUWick LCA tool.