An Improved Environmental Footprint Methodology for Life Cycle Assessment
École Polytechnique de Montréal
In Canada, Alcoa Foundation is supporting research on life cycle assessment. This research initiative is led by the École Polytechnique de Montréal.
A critical step in society's movement towards sustainability is to be able to accurately model the links between consumption, production, emissions and potential environmental impacts. Accurate modeling of these links will result in a better understanding of the relationships between human activities and the environment. Life Cycle Assessment is a methodology to study the environmental burdens of a product, process, activity or service throughout the entire life cycle from "cradle to grave."
Though Life Cycle Assessment is a powerful tool, several industries are not well characterized because of the methodology's constraints. These include regional specificities and poor environmental modeling within existing impact evaluation methods. The aluminum industry needs better models and methods to be able to assess the environmental footprint of its activities. Existing models are weak in evaluating the impact of metals in the environment and taking into account regionalization of emissions. Part of École Polytechnique de Montréal's research program is focused on participating and leading the development of a novel Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methodology called IMPACT World+. By surpassing the limits of current regional modeling capabilities, this new system will allow for analysis on a global level.