PIRE Life Cycle Assessment Workshop

Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 9:00am - 12:15pm

Life Cycle Assessment for Sustainable Energy Systems
Tinkham Veale University Center, Senior Classroom
Callie Babbitt, PhD
Asst Professor, RIT
Golisano Institute for Sustainability

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a powerful tool for exploring the environmental tradeoffs across a product's life – from extraction of raw materials, to manufacturing, packaging, transportation, use, and ultimately end–of–life management. LCA is particularly relevant for ensuring a sustainable energy supply, as many emerging renewable energy technologies may have attendant environmental consequences, including demand for scarce minerals, increased manufacturing inputs, or creation of new waste streams. This two-part workshop will provide a comprehensive overview on the utility of LCA methods for holistic evaluation of energy systems.

Introduction: 9 – 9:30 am
Audience introductions, research involvement, familiarity with LCA

Lecture 1: 9:30 – 10:45 am
Application of Life Cycle Thinking to Energy Systems

Lecture 2: 11 am – 12:15 pm
Introduction to LCA Methods

Lecture 1 will focus on the application of life cycle thinking to energy systems, with particular emphasis on case studies that illustrate how life cycle approaches have changed our understanding of specific sustainability issues associated with renewable energy technologies. Key topics to be covered include an overview of LCA, development and current state of the field, use of LCA in research, development, and design of sustainable energy systems, and limitations of the methodology, particularly when applied to emerging technologies.

Lecture 2 will delve into LCA methodology to demonstrate the process by which this technique can be applied to enhance and complement sustainable energy systems research. Key topics to be covered include how to develop an appropriate LCA scope, methods for creating an inventory of life cycle input (energy, raw materials, water) and output (emissions and waste) flows, how to link these flows with their resultant environmental and human health impact potentials, and the interpretation of LCA results to meet research goals. As LCA is an extremely complex method, the goal of this workshop is not to fully train participants on all aspects of its implementation, but to provide an appreciation for the method, the necessary tools for beginning an investigation, and an overall appreciation of a life cycle perspective when developing renewable energy technologies.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please register here.