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Probabilistic LCA for infrastructure

Construction and utilization of transport infrastructure requires large amounts of resources and have significant impacts on the environment which can be calculated by using Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA). Consideration of uncertainties in LCA is crucial for making use of the results when comparing the climate impact of different solutions.

The original aim of the project was to develop a framework for how probabilistic methods can be implemented in life cycle assessments. The goal was to study the validity of results from these analyzes considering the given uncertainties by studying uncertainties in more detail and developing a methodology that is applicable to the Swedish Transport Administration's Klimatkalkyl.

After the initial literature study, it was found that the problem was somewhat different than originally assumed. Probabilistic methods have been applied in LCA to a greater extent in recent years than previously seen, which made the implementation i Klimatkalkyl easier. On the other hand, it seemed significantly more difficult to find relevant inputs for the consideration of uncertainties, and it was observed that previous methods often ignored important parameters or based solely on assumptions. A certain adjustment was therefore made in the project, where a new part was added, about the understanding the sources of uncertainties and how they could be handled/reduced, instead of collecting data.

The results of the project showed that it is possible to apply probabilistic methods within Klimatkalkyl, both Monte Carlo simulation and analytical methods. However, it is important to take into account uncertainties in all parameters, not just emission factors, which has not been done previously. Even different choices made in the calculations have a major impact on the results. There are many uncertainties related to LCA, thus it is very important to be aware of this and to know how they can affect the results.


Summary

Project name

proLCA

Status

Completed

RISE role in project

Forskningspartner

Project start

Duration

3 years

Total budget

3.1 MSEK

Partner

LTH, IVL, RISE

Funders

BBT, SBUF

The UN sustainable development goals

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
13. Climate action

Coordinators

Project members

External press

Daniel Honfi

Contact person

Daniel Honfi

Forskare

+46 10 516 51 12
daniel.honfi@ri.se

Read more about Daniel