Value Chain LCA
LCA study covers the whole life cycle of products, from raw materials acquisition to end use, recycling, or disposal. LCA provides information to support decision-making in product and technology development projects. LCA based information is applied in eco-labelling and the production of environmental product declarations. An LCA approach can also be applied in the evaluation of eco-efficiency, material- and energy-efficiency, and eco-design and life cycle design.
LCA modellers encounter quite often a problem where different value chain partners related to certain product do not want to provide company specific data. However, they would also benefit on the view to an overall LCA model over the whole value chain.
Modelling Factory’s idea in this case is to hide the partner specific data from the other value chain partners, but provide a view to the overall LCA model. The overall model would be maintained and developed by one trusted body.
ICME Materials Databases
M&S driven materials design based on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) is arising as an approach to discover and deploy performance tailored novel material solutions meeting specific functionality profiles. Use of ICME in systematically seeking material solutions comprising of available raw materials incorporating constraints of substitution and the circular economy.
ICME involves multiscale modelling and the use of computationally demanding high performance computing (HPC) resources to derive databases consisting of material processing, structure, property and performance information to be exploited by materials engineers. The HPC results can arise from various sources – first principles computations, mesoscale models, phase fields, thermodynamic and kinetic modelling etc.
HPC computing cannot be carried out in the modelling factory on demand.
The idea of use case 2 is to provide materials engineers computationally generated databases for further processing, statistical analysis and mining for the ultimate purpose of using available raw materials in novel material solutions with product specific functionality requirements.
The Online LCA Model will provide a framework for LCA-calculations based on industrial process data and will serve as a show-case on how real-time LCA-calculations can benefit industrial production planning and operation.
Industrial processes use vast amounts of resources such as energy and raw material. Process modelling is a well-known tool to increase the process efficiency and reduce the process resource consumption, while keeping the processed product within the given specifications. Further knowledge can be added to these process models by adding LCA-calculations for the model domain giving the production planner and operator information on environmental impact during planning or in real-time during production.
When considering raw material use, there is often a trade-off between environmentally preferable materials and economic cost, therefore the possibility to link raw material real-time prices to the model could give even more relevant information from a production planning point of view.
Taking this concept even further would be to use the process models in an optimisation algorithm to minimize environmental impact during production, constrained by quality specifications and process parameter boundaries.