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Life cycle analysis software and databases

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Abstract[edit]

The purpose of this chart is to compare life cycle analysis software and databases with the specific goal of using them to perform a Life cycle analysis of distributed polymer recycling. Some programs are solely databases with related information on embodied energy and materials processes, while others include a modeling program as well. Much of this information is taken from company websites. The chart will be an ongoing project - please add resources that are missing.

Life Cycle Analysis Software/Databases[edit]

Compilation of LCA Software
Name Cost/Open Source Basic Description Abilities Outputs
PlasticsEurope eco profiles [1] Free of Charge/Open Source The eco profiles are a set of databases comprised of material and energy flowcharts for various polymers, made by the Association of Plastics Manufacturing in Europe. They are a compilation of energy and material inputs as well as environmental releases. The flowchart shows materials flow for the production of polymers, and intermediates. By selecting a specific polymer from a menu or the interactive flowchart, the user is able to see solely the parts of the flowchart that apply to the given plastic. Once a plastic is selected, data from plants is downloaded. This database presents materials flow, energy flow, and polymers processing data.
The Boustead Model [2] unknown The Boustead Model is a computer modeling tool developed by Boustead Consulting with the purpose of analyzing life cycle analysis information. The files are divided into top data, program files, and core data. Program files are where the user interacts with the model, and outputs the data. Core data contains databases of fuel production, emission data, and materials processing operations. Top data is created by the user using known information and and core data. The Boustead Model uses a database of unit operations to analyze complex, non linear, systems without using approximations. It is able to do this with a high degree of accuracy. When the fuels/energies and raw materials are put into the system the outputs of The Boustead Model are waste heat, air emissions, water emissions, solid wastes, and the products. It also produces an analysis of the data.
GaBi 4 [3] Free version available GaBi packages the analysis and modeling software with a Life Cycle Inventory database which fits the user's requirements best. The databases include embedded data documentation and a process recording tool. The modeling software makes process flow models. It uses parameter functionality for scenario analysis of the user's models. GaBi outputs the percentage contribution of each process or flow. The software includes a graphing program to add in analyzing data. It also includes calculations for environmental and social impacts.
G.E.M.I.S. [4] Free of Charge/Open Source Global Emissions Model for Integrated Systems (GEMIS), made by Öko-Institut, compares and assesses environment effects of energy using a modeling software and a collection of databases. The databases have information on energy sources (fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear, biomass, etc.), electric processes, raw materials, and transportation energy. It includes total life cycle in its analysis. The software is also capable of analyzing costs GEMIS outputs an analysis on the energy and material usage for given processes.
SimaPro [5] $1250 acad. 1 year - $13k+ pro multiyear SimaPro, made by SustainMetrics, is a popular standardized LCA software that uses the ecoinvent database and modeling capabilities. The software has a guided method of helping the user perform a LCA. It has various impact assment methods and modeling tools to choose from. In additon is has "Weak Point Analysis" to determine where potential flaws are in the LCA. There is an analysis of waste processing systems and complex recycling scenarios. SimaPro outputs an interactive analysis of the process's LCA. It is possible to make graphs, charts, and error analyses as well.
Umberto [6] unknown Umberto uses modeling software and the ecoinvent database to collect data and optimize expenses and materials for a given process. The software models energy and materials flow, carbon footprint, and work flow. It creates visual representations of the system tailored to the situation. In addition, it helps the user optimize costs, materials, and LCAs. The ouputs are a model of the system being evaluated, and the desired graphs/visuals. In addition, Umberto can output analyses of different scenarios using the Monte Carlo simulation program.

References[edit]

  1. http://www.plasticseurope.org/plastics-sustainability/life-cycle-thinking.aspx
  2. http://www.boustead-consulting.co.uk/products.htm
  3. http://www.gabi-software.com/america/software/gabi-4/
  4. http://www.oeko.de/service/gemis/en/index.htm
  5. http://www.sustainmetrics.com/index.html
  6. http://www.umberto.de/en/