Environmental Assessment of Micro/Nano Production in a Life Cycle Perspective

Publication: Research - peer-reviewArticle in proceedings – Annual report year: 2006

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The concept of life cycle assessment (LCA) is build upon the object of assessment, namely the functional unit, i.e. all impacts etc. are related to a specific service or function in the society. In a LCA context, the assessment of emerging technologies like Nanotechnology is challenging due to a number of knowledge gaps. It may not be known exactly what is the function (or functional unit) or what the technology may substitute and production may still be at an experimental level, raising questions about technology or materials choice. For prospective LCA studies methodologies like “consequential LCA” may be useful because future changes are taken into account. However, it still does not suffice for emerging technologies. In a recent “Green Technology Foresight” project a methodology was developed based on five elements: Life-cycle thinking, systems approach, a broad dialogue based understanding of the environment, precaution as a principle and finally, prevention as preferred strategy. When assessing emerging technologies three levels should be considered. First order effects are connected directly to production, use and disposal. Second order are effects from interaction with other parts of the economy from more intelligent design and management of processes, products, services, product chains etc. and the effect on the stocks of products. An example could be dematerialisation. Rebound effects may be considered as third order effects, like when efficiency gains stimulate new demands, which balances or overcompensates the savings. In the Micro/Nano Production area a range of new possibilities arise both within applications, production technology and materials. The Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Management at The Technical University of Denmark has staked on a joint effort in manufacturing engineering and environmental assessment for eco efficiency improvement. A review of knowledge and studies on environmental assessments in the micro/nano technology area is performed and will be used to further detail the general framework for assessment outlined above to be more specific for micro/nano production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceeding : Life-Cycle Analysis Tools for "Green" Materials and Process Selection
Number of pages8
Volume895
PublisherMaterials Research Society
Publication date2006
ISBN (print)1-55899-850-0
StatePublished

Conference

ConferenceMaterials Research Society Fall meeting
CityBoston, MA, USA
Period01/01/05 → …
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