Methodology for systematic analysis and improvement of manufacturing unit process life-cycle inventory (UPLCI)—CO2PE! initiative (cooperative effort on process emissions in manufacturing). Part 1: Methodology description

Karel Kellens, Wim Dewulf, Michael Overcash, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Joost R. Duflou

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This report proposes a life-cycle analysis (LCA)-oriented methodology for systematic inventory analysis of the use phase of manufacturing unit processes providing unit process datasets to be used in life-cycle inventory (LCI) databases and libraries. The methodology has been developed in the framework of the CO2PE! collaborative research programme (CO2PE! 2011a) and comprises two approaches with different levels of detail, respectively referred to as the screening approach and the in-depth approach.The screening approach relies on representative, publicly available data and engineering calculations for energy use, material loss, and identification of variables for improvement, while the in-depth approach is subdivided into four modules, including a time study, a power consumption study, a consumables study and an emissions study, in which all relevant process in- and outputs are measured and analysed in detail. The screening approach provides the first insight in the unit process and results in a set of approximate LCI data, which also serve to guide the more detailed and complete in-depth approach leading to more accurate LCI data as well as the identification of potential for energy and resource efficiency improvements of the manufacturing unit process. To ensure optimal reproducibility and applicability, documentation guidelines for data and metadata are included in both approaches. Guidance on definition of functional unit and reference flow as well as on determination of system boundaries specifies the generic goal and scope definition requirements according to ISO 14040 (2006) and ISO 14044 (2006).The proposed methodology aims at ensuring solid foundations for the provision of high-quality LCI data for the use phase of manufacturing unit processes. Envisaged usage encompasses the provision of high-quality data for LCA studies of products using these unit process datasets for the manufacturing processes, as well as the in-depth analysis of individual manufacturing unit processes.In addition, the accruing availability of data for a range of similar machines (same process, different suppliers and machine capacities) will allow the establishment of parametric emission and resource use estimation models for a more streamlined LCA of products including reliable manufacturing process data. Both approaches have already provided useful results in some initial case studies (Kellens et al. 2009; Duflou et al. (Int J Sustain Manufacturing 2:80–98, 2010); Santos et al. (J Clean Prod 19:356–364, 2011); UPLCI 2011; Kellens et al. 2011a) and the use will be illustrated by two case studies in Part 2 of this paper (Kellens et al. 2011b).
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)69-78
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Energy and resource efficiency
    • Unit process life-cycle inventory (UPLCI)
    • Methodology;
    • Process emission
    • Manufacturing process impact
    • CO2PE!


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