Bioenergy & Bioeconomy / Waste & Resources Management

Bioenergy & Bioeconomy

The Bioenergy and Bioeconomy group at the Centre for Environmental Policy makes extensive use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate conventional and novel bioenergy and advanced biomaterial supply chains (e.g. bioplastics, construction and bioenergy).  The group has helped develop integrated consequential and attributional LCA methodologies using whole systems modelling approach coupled to technology and pathway specific frameworks.  We apply this approach to both research and teaching at postgraduate level in the department and across faculties.  In our research, we lead in the use of LCA in a range of national, European and international research projects e.g. the European Calculator, Bioprocesses for the optimized, integrated production of butyl esters from sustainable resources (BESTER), BioSuccInnovate, BIOSKOH and for industry e.g. Shell, CLIMATE KIC affiliates, World Gold Council (WGC) etc. CEP also supports LCA research and teaching across college by providing access to industry standard LCA software and providing advice and guidance to students and researchers.

Waste & Resources Management

WASTE MANAGEMENT: European legislation has moved away from the rigid waste hierarchy and requires the assessment of alternative scenarios for managing waste. The Waste Framework Directive (European Commission, 2008) allows for a departure from the waste hierarchy where this is justified by life-cycle thinking on the overall impacts of the generation and management of waste. We have been using the WRATE LCA model to compare the environmental impacts of alternative waste treatment technologies and more recently to identify potential opportunities for reducing the UK waste sector’s GHG emissions. In response to the identified shortfall in achieving the UK’s 4th and 5th Carbon Budget targets (spanning 2023 to 2032), we have been using LCA (SimaPro 8) to assess reduction opportunities for all key emission sources in the waste sector.

RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: We have also just completed the environmental assessment of cigarette smoking using LCA as part of a project funded by the WHO FCTC and ASH UK. The work was initiated through an MSc project (Zafeiridou, 2018) and looked at tobacco’s carbon footprint across its global supply chain. The environmental impacts associated with global tobacco production and consumption were quantified across thirteen impact categories using SimaPro 8 and the Recipe Midpoint (H) methodology, covering climate change potential, resource depletion, and damage to ecosystem health.