Application of Monte Carlo Analysis to Life Cycle Assessment
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is commonly used to measure the environmental and economic impacts of engineering projects and/or products. However, there is some uncertainty associated with any LCA study. The LCA inventory analysis generally relies on imperfect data in addition to further uncertainties created by the assessment process itself. It is necessary to measure the effects that data and process uncertainty have on the LCA result and to communicate the level of uncertainty to those making decisions based on the LCA. To accomplish this, a systematic and rigorous means to assess the overall uncertainty in LCA results is required. This paper demonstrates the use of Monte Carlo Analysis to track and measure the propagation of uncertainty in LCA studies. The Monte Carlo technique basically consists of running repeated assessments using random input values chosen from a specified probable range.