Session chair: Prospective assessment of emerging technologies and emerging product systems in a life cycle perspective

  • Nils Thonemann (Other)
  • Laurent, A. (Other)
  • Massimo Pizzol (Other)
  • Stefano Cucurachi (Other)
  • Bernhard Steubing (Other)

Activity: Other


Prospective life cycle assessment supports decision-makers in business and policy to anticipate, prevent, and minimize the environmental impact of emerging technologies and emerging product systems. It can as well support engineers along the entire development process of a technology. This technology development process begins with the conceptualization and pilot implementation at a low technology readiness level and ends with market penetration at a high technology readiness level. Moreover, the development of new technologies opens up new types of supply chains and - via competition and combination with incumbent and other competing and complementary emerging technologies, into the shaping of new systems of technologies that we can define as emerging product systems. Assessment-wise methodological challenges exist in each of the four ISO phases when conducting a prospective life cycle assessment due to the intrinsic and manifold sources of uncertainty. In this session, the main focus is addressing these challenges along with their potential solutions to enable the comprehensive and robust conduct of prospective life cycle assessment studies of emerging technologies and emerging product systems. While contributions should primarily focus on the development and testing of new methodological frameworks, approaches, and tools, case studies of novel emerging technologies and emerging product systems applying prospective life cycle assessments are also welcome. We invite contributions addressing issues related to the effective upscaling of life cycle inventories using simulations, learning curves, proxy technologies, or technology expert knowledge. As life cycle assessment is a data-intensive tool and in the early stages of process development data is scarce, procedures are needed to fill such data gaps. Contributions are welcome proposing new approaches and critically discussing existing ones that solve these issues, such as the use of best-case estimates, stoichiometric relationships, streamlining, simplifications, or assumptions. Additionally, we invite contributions demonstrating the integration of other assessment tools such as material or substance flow analysis, risk assessment, or neuronal networks within prospective life cycle assessment. In order to adequately address the temporal dimension in prospective life cycle assessments, defining the time horizon of the technology developments, handling technology readiness levels as well as considering background system transitions are all critical tasks. We thus invite contributions demonstrating new modeling approaches to model technological scenarios like the use of integrated assessment models in the background system, the modeling or stakeholder-based development of consistent future scenarios. Since the interpretation and communication of a prospective analysis and related uncertainties remain challenging tasks, we finally invite contributions on the application of statistical tools to better explore, understand, and present uncertainty such as and beyond global sensitivity analysis, stochastic simulation, and pedigree approaches.
Period19 May 2022
Event titleSETAC Europe 32nd Annual Meeting: Towards a Reduced Pollution
Event typeConference
Conference number32
LocationCopenhagen, DenmarkShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational