University of Michigan

Life Cycle Assessment

This course is part of Healthy and Sustainable Foods and Products Specialization

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

Olivier Jolliet

Instructor: Olivier Jolliet

5,185 already enrolled

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Course

Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

3.9

(20 reviews)

Intermediate level
Some related experience required
35 hours (approximately)
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Calculate the environmental impact of systems and products

  • Assess impact across the entire product life cycle

  • Utilize the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology

Details to know

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Assessments

32 quizzes

Course

Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

3.9

(20 reviews)

Intermediate level
Some related experience required
35 hours (approximately)
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

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This course is part of the Healthy and Sustainable Foods and Products Specialization
When you enroll in this course, you'll also be enrolled in this Specialization.
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There are 6 modules in this course

This week we take a look at the sustainability performance of products over their entire life cycle, from cradle to cradle. After analyzing the large number of products-chemicals we are in daily contact with, we identify the need for LCA, learn about the motivations to conduct LCAs versus other environmental tools. The goals and system definition step defines the goal and scope of the study, including the product function, functional unit, and the product system and its boundaries

What's included

12 videos6 readings4 quizzes2 discussion prompts

This week we take a look at the sustainability performance of products over their entire life cycle, from cradle to cradle. After analyzing the large number of products-chemicals we are in daily contact with, we identify the need for LCA, learn about the motivations to conduct LCAs versus other environmental tools. The goals and system definition step defines the goal and scope of the study, including the product function, functional unit, and the product system and its boundaries

What's included

12 videos6 readings5 quizzes1 app item3 discussion prompts

The Life Cycle Inventory, the second LCA phase, quantifies the inventory of the various elementary flows of resource extractions and substance emissions crossing the system boundary. We first learn how to build the life cycle inventory and determine aggregated elementary flows from cradle to gate. We then establish the energy and CO2 balance for several products, identifying the dominant stages in the life cycle. This module then provide an overview of existing databases, describes in further detail the widespread ecoinvent database, illustrating the inventory via a simple car example.

What's included

9 videos5 readings5 quizzes3 discussion prompts

The chapter finally introduces us to two special topics of importance: the allocation of emission between co-products and the possibilities offered by Input-output allocation to complement the process LCA approach developed in detail in this chapter.

What's included

9 videos3 readings6 quizzes1 peer review3 discussion prompts

The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is the third phase of an LCA. It use the inventory data to determine their environmental impacts and compare different types of impacts. The impact assessment methods are simple to apply, though their development can be relatively complex. After an introduction to LCIA and various environmental impacts, we first present the LCIA principles and framework. The module then details and illustrates using the Impact World+ method each LCIA step, i.e. a) the classification of emissions into different impact categories, b) the characterization of midpoint impacts, c) the damage (end point) characterization and the optional d) normalization and e) weighting steps. The module finishes by an overview of the existing LCIA methods and the present research efforts to arrive to a global consensus method.

What's included

16 videos1 reading5 quizzes2 discussion prompts1 plugin

This chapter aims to guide you in the interpretation of results, in the implementation of an LCA in the SIMAPRO software and in the environmental classification of products. After describing the main interpretation principles, we illustrate the interpretation steps using an example of desktop versus laptop computers. We then discuss strategies to check LCA results, and identify and discuss the main uncertainties in life cycle impact assessment results and illustrate it with the hands drying example. We then perform a SIMAPRO tutorial exercise, implementing the hand drying example in SIMAPRO. We finally discuss a simplified product classification and provide rules for sustainable design of products, also looking at reuse,recycling and (e-)waste strategies.

What's included

14 videos4 readings7 quizzes1 peer review1 discussion prompt

Instructor

Instructor ratings
5.0 (7 ratings)
Olivier Jolliet
University of Michigan
4 Courses7,926 learners

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Reviewed on Dec 18, 2023

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