Photo by Alina Grubnyak / Unsplash


Work Oct 20, 2022

Life cycle assessment (LCA) quantifies the environmental impacts of a product or process in an effort to improve its environmental sustainability. LCA is easiest to implement on established industrial systems with available data; however, the systems that may benefit most from an LCA are emerging, uncertain, and difficult to quantify with traditional LCA methods. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this project develops a spatially-explicit agent-based LCA (ABLCA) framework to improve the standard LCA modeling technique by overcoming the issues involved with analyzing emerging technologies with dynamic and evolving supply chains. This improved LCA modeling framework is also applied to the U.S. switchgrass bioenergy system (biofuels and biomass electricity) to examine the supply chain dynamics and evolution and evaluate the associated life cycle environmental impacts.