Title: PhD position available in the field of Life Cycle Assessment and biomaterials.
Institution: IFP Energies Nouvelles
Location: Montpellier and Rueil-Malmaison Cedex - France
Deadline: September 5, 2016
Time dimension in the assessment of the environmental impacts of long life products
- Arnaud HELIAS, Thesis supervisor: LCA / Process engineering (Elsa - Montpellier SupAgro -INRA)
- Anthony BENOIST: LCA / Biomass & bioproducts / Process engineering (Elsa – CIRAD)
- Pierre COLLET: LCA / Process engineering (IFP Energies Nouvelles)
Industrial partner: Solvay (http://www.solvay.com/en/index.html)
Contact: Pierre COLLET: email@example.com - Tel : 00 33 4 37 70 32 14 / 00 33 1 47 52 81 14
- 70% in the ELSA research group in Montpellier (http://www1.montpellier.inra.fr/elsa/?lang=en)
- 30% at IFP Energies Nouvelles in Rueil-Malmaison (http://www.ifpenergiesnouvelles.com/)
Key words: Life Cycle Assessment; Biomass; Bioproducts; End of Life; Global warming; Water impact
We are looking for an enthusiastic, creative and communicative candidate with a degree in Process
Engineering, Agronomy or Green Chemistry. The candidate should have theoretical and practical
knowledge in LCA, and a strong interest in performing scientific research on sustainable biomaterials.
All applicants must send for selection a cover letter with their motivations and a CV.
Oral interview of selected candidates: 19th and 23rd of September 2016 in Montpellier
Beginning of the PhD: November 2016
Gross salary: 28 k€ / year
Temporal and/or spatial variations of commodity flows and emissions are in most cases ignored in current LCA practice although they are sometimes regarded as an important source of uncertainty. While the spatial dimension is becoming a key issue in LCA methodological developments, little attention has been given to temporal aspects of LCA, either in LCI or in LCIA. Nevertheless, dynamics have been identified as one of the main unresolved problems in LCA. For long life products, a static modelling can be even more problematic:
- The impacts corresponding to the end of life of processes are calculated on the same basis as those of the production phases, even though the associated emissions are delayed for decades;
- When comparing climate change impact of a bioproduct with a product containing fossil carbon, temporary storage of biogenic carbon during the use phases cannot be properly assessed;
- Natural environment can be modified strongly during the product life cycle, which is especially a key issue for water availability. This project aims at studying the relevance of taking into account dynamic aspects for materials and / or chemical intermediates, and at analyzing the means to consider such dynamics in order to better reflect the actual impacts on the environment of these materials. In the chemical sector, a further difficulty is that most LCAs are conducted at the factory gate (cradle to gate analysis). Within the context of chemical intermediates production, the high number of potential applications and end of life scenarios requires a particular consideration of how these products behave once they are placed on the market. Regarding these aspects, uses and end of life scenarios will be chosen in agreement with the industrial partner of the project (Solvay). Potential recycling and degradative uses will also be taken into account. Finally, prospective scenarios on the evolution of French electricity mix composition will be integrated in product systems modelling. These scenarios will allow the creation of LCIs with a temporal distribution of the emissions and consumptions all along the life cycle of the products. Recent work done by the supervising team on how to integrate time at the LCI level could also potentially be used in this project. These timedistributed LCI can therefore be coupled with dynamic LCIA methods in order to have a full dynamic LCA.
At the LCIA level, temporal dimension will be analyzed for two impacts: global warming and water impact. Concerning global warming, a special attention will be paid to the different existing approaches which assess the emissions and / or the sequestration of biogenic carbon. Recent publications make the inventory of these methodologies and underline the weakness to fully assess the contribution of biogenic carbon to climate change. This PhD work aims at developing new ways to integrate biogenic carbon flows, with a special attention on its assessment during the end of life of bioproducts (open loop recycling, close loop recycling, multiple recycling with or without degraded uses…).
On the side of water impact, temporal dimension of water availability (as a resource) and population’s use will be taken into account, as well as the composition of the “water supply mix”. At last, different projections of future increase in temperatures will be integrated to the calculation of water availability and water uses, in order to identify the major issues of this resource in a global warming context.