On Friday 22 April, academic and industry delegates from across Europe came together for the Materials Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Workshop; a one day event to discuss current and future trends of LCA, and how it can aid decision making to achieve resource efficiency and sustainability.
Held at The University of Sheffield, the event was organised jointly between the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) and the EPSRC funded projects “Designing Alloys for Resource Efficiency” (DARE) and “Substitution and Sustainability in Functional Materials and Devices” (SUbST), and included discussions on major materials innovation projects and real industry cases.
Louis Brimacombe, Head of Environmental Technology at Tata Steel, gave the keynote presentation explaining the role LCA has in understanding the benefits of a circular economy, where not only environmental considerations but also the social and economic performance of a material are crucial for making sustainable decisions.
He said “Life cycle assessment is core in achieving sustainability across supply chains. LCA not only helps industry make informed decisions, but identifies where we can improve resource efficiency, sustainability and circular economy.”
The afternoon session focused on group discussions to determine key issues surrounding LCA and potential new concepts to take forward, including: why current materials life cycle is not sustainable; how science and research can help to make it more sustainable in the future; the stakeholders who should be involved and the support and resources required to achieve this.
Professor Lenny Koh, AREC and event organiser said: “This event has shown the evidence on the important role and influence of supply chain LCA in resource efficiency and sustainability of materials supply chains in flagship projects including DARE, SUBST and SIMULIFE. LCA must be designed into any new materials or new products / services development stage to search for the most sustainable option before scale up. For existing materials and products / services, their life cycle must be continuously assessed through LCA.”