Life cycle analysis and life cyle impact assessment methodologies: a state of the art
Menoufi, Karim Ali Ibrahim
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Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a comprehensive method for assessing the environmental impact of a product or an activity over its entire life cycle. The purpose of conducting LCA studies varies from one application to another. Different applications use LCA for different purposes. In general, the main aim of using LCA is to reduce the environmental impact of products through guiding the decision making process towards more sustainable solutions. The most critical phase in an LCA study is the Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) where the life cycle inventory (LCI) results of the considered substances related to the study of a certain system are transformed into understandable impact categories that represent the impact on the environment. In this research work, a general structure clarifying the steps that shall be followed ir order to conduct an LCA study effectively is presented. These steps are based on the ISO 14040 standard framework. In addition, a survey is done on the most widely used LCIA methodologies. Recommendations about possible developments and suggetions for further research work regarding the use of LCA and LCIA methodologies are discussed as well.