The benefits of life cycle inventory parametric models in streamlining data collection. A case study in the wooden pallet sector

Monia Niero, F. Di Felice, J. Ren, Alessandro Manzardo, Antonio Scipioni

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    LCA methodology is time and resource consuming particularly when it comes to data collection and handling, therefore companies, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), are inclined to use streamlined approaches to shorten the resource-consuming life cycle inventory (LCI) phase. An effective way for speeding up the LCI definition of products with similar characteristics is provided by parametric LCI models. A parametric LCI model uses a defined set of parameters to describe the inventory flows through formulas instead of computed numbers in unit process datasets. We present a case study of a SME in the wooden pallet sector, investigating to what extent the use of parametric LCI models can be beneficial both in evaluating the environmental impacts of similar products and in providing a preliminary assessment of the potential environmental impacts of new products. We developed an LCI parametric model describing the LCI of a range of wooden pallets and tested its effectiveness with a reference product, namely a non-reversible pallet with four-way blocks. The identified parameters refer to the technical characteristics of the product system, e.g. the number and dimension of elements constituting the wooden pallet, as well as aspects of the manufacturing process, which are information already available to every company. Apart from applicability, the use of an LCI parametric model has also the advantage of flexibility, since the value of the parameters can be easily modified to consider changes in the design of the wooden pallets. Based on the results of the application of the LCI parametric model to a selection of different wooden pallets, we further determined numerical correlations between the environmental impacts and the most significant inventory parameters, i.e. mass of wood and average distance for transport of wood. The definition of mathematical correlations between inventory data and environmental impacts can be used to inform product developers about the environmental performances of the product, therefore providing a streamlined approach to integrate LCA in the design process. This modelling approach can be replicated in other manufacturing sectors, provided the products being examined present similar characteristics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSETAC Europe 20th LCA Case Study Symposium. Abstracts
    Number of pages1
    PublisherSociety of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
    Publication date2014
    Pages52
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventSETAC Europe 20th LCA Case Study Symposium - Novi Sad, Serbia
    Duration: 24 Nov 201426 Nov 2014
    Conference number: 20

    Conference

    ConferenceSETAC Europe 20th LCA Case Study Symposium
    Number20
    CountrySerbia
    CityNovi Sad
    Period24/11/201426/11/2014

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'The benefits of life cycle inventory parametric models in streamlining data collection. A case study in the wooden pallet sector'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this