1998-02-23

Can a Universal Screening Methodology be Devised for LCAs of Complex Products? 980476

Some products contain a large number of components (made of various materials) that are assembled into a final product. The number of components can range from less than a dozen up to thousands. Conducting a complete LCI including all of the components may be prohibitively expensive, and not even possible because of the difficulty in obtaining data.
A recent study concluded that a reliable methodology for streamlining, or screening, is to conduct approximate LCIs using a generic database. This paper reports on a case study of 10 hypothetical products assembled from fifteen materials using the FAL generic database to conduct a series of approximate LCIs.
Once the LCIs are completed, a decision process begins. In this case study a methodology is illustrated that uses an LCI interpretation strategy to set thresholds for retention or exclusion of product components. The methodology uses a “streamlined impact assessment.” The implications of choosing various thresholds is illustrated.

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