Book Chapter

Funamentals of Life Cycle Assessment and Specificity of Biorefineries

The use of methods to assess environmental performances of industrial products became popular in the sixties with the growing environment concerns. The life cycle assessment (LCA) emerged in the 1990s as a response to the need of a more structured methodology and inherited from the REPA – Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis. From the beginning LCA was supported by strong efforts of standardization led by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and the International Organization for standardization (ISO). This chapter introduces LCA methodology based on the four-stage approach popularized by ISO. Its theoretical background is presented as well. The strengths and weaknesses of the methodology are discussed and a new allocation approach is proposed. Extension of environmental Life cycle assessment to social, economic and organizational LCA is outlined. Finally, the chapter concludes with a presentation of the perspectives of LCA development towards an integrated Life cycle sustainability.


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