Interview with Daniel Grau, Biobased Products and Bioenergy Engineer at University of Hohenheim and leader of the Process Assessment for PERFORM
How is an environmental life cycle assessment performed and why is it relevant for the project?
Society is becoming more aware of the importance of environmental protection and the environmental impacts associated with the production and use of products. This sparked interest in the development of methods that take these effects into account and contribute to understanding. The most important technique developed for this purpose is the four-phased life cycle assessment (LCA), a method standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14040/44 standards.
The LCA is characterized by a large number of applications. The study can be used to identify opportunities that lead to the improvement of the environmental performance of products in the various phases of their life cycle. Furthermore, the LCA can help to inform decision-makers in industrial, governmental, or non-governmental organizations. This can influence decision making, e. g. in strategic planning, prioritization, and product or process design. The LCA is advantageous for the selection of relevant indicators of environmental properties including the associated measurement methods. Besides, the LCA can serve as a marketing tool, e. g., by implementing an environmental label or producing an environmental declaration for a product.
Within technical Projects such as the PERFORM project, an LCA can provide decision support along the course of the project to verify and, if necessary, to apply corrections to the process in order to achieve more positive impact environmental indicators.