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SET-LCA - Streamlined Ecodesign Tools based on Life Cycle Assessment incorporating uncertainty


Title: SET-LCA - Streamlined Ecodesign Tools based on Life Cycle Assessment incorporating uncertainty


Coordinators at INESCC: Carlos Henggeler

Dates start/end:


Ecodesign promotes optimization of the environmental performance of products (while maintaining their functional qualities) and promotes new business opportunities for manufacturers and greener consumption, balancing environmental and economic needs through an efficient design of products.

The SET-LCA project proposes a novel framework to support ecodesign by integrating streamlined life-cycle (LC) environmental and cost assessment with Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). The framework accommodates varying amounts (and quality) of information and provides estimates and associated uncertainty for environmental and economic performance using statistical methods, such as Monte Carlo simulation. Product-specific ecodesign tools will be developed based on the framework for selected mass-produced components from the automotive, packaging and prefabricated construction industries, addressing novel manufacture strategies incorporating biomaterials and recycled materials (displacing fossil materials) towards a circular economy.

The main objectives of the project are: i) To develop an integrated (environmental and cost) streamlined LC ecodesign framework to support early-stage decisions; ii) To implement the framework in tools for various mass-produced components: automobile, packaging and prefabricated building industries, validating these tools with real-world applications in Portugal and Brazil; iii) To identify key drivers of environmental and cost impacts of the selected products, the most efficient ecodesign strategies, and to provide recommendations for industry and policy-makers; iv) To implement the tools as spreadsheet-based software prototypes, which may later be developed into a commercial products; and v) To disseminate these tools through stakeholders (industry, R&D, designers, others), promoting more efficient, eco-friendly and competitive products.

This project will advance methodological frameworks by developing a novel ecodesign tool that combines a streamlined LC approach incorporating uncertainty with MCDA that provides insights and recommendations for current industrial design practice of mass-produced components. The project will also be relevant for the international scientific community, as the framework developed here can be adapted to other products/systems.

In order to carry out the SET-LCA project, we gathered a multidisciplinary team composed of researchers with complementary expertise and solid track records from two Portuguese Research Units (CIE-ADAI and INESCC), which will collaborate with the Brazilian Embrapa team. The team has significant experience in LC modeling incorporating uncertainty of various systems, including preliminary work on ecodesign of automotive components (CIE-ADAI), a strong experience in uncertainty analysis, statistically-based models and MCDA (INESCC), as well as extensive experience in developing and characterizing biomaterials and on LC approaches for bioproduct development (Embrapa).