Life Cycle Assessment

This resource contains a presentation and a worksheet that will introduce the concepts of a life cycle assessment. It also considers how a Chemical Engineer would look to cut emissions and increase process sustainability. With the world facing a climate crisis it is key to be able to understand how to quantify and reduce emissions.

Key Specification Points Covered:

AQA GCSE Chemistry – 4.10.21 Life Cycle Assessment

  • Life cycle assessments (LCAs) are carried out to assess the environmental impact of products in each
    of these stages:
    • Extracting and processing raw materials
    • Manufacturing and packaging
    • Use and operation during its lifetime
    • Disposal at the end of its useful life, including transport and distribution at each stage.
  • Use of water, resources, energy sources and production of some wastes can be fairly easily quantified.
  • Allocating numerical values to pollutant effects is less straightforward and requires value judgements,
    so LCA is not a purely objective process.
  • Selective or abbreviated LCAs can be devised to evaluate a product but these can be misused to
    reach pre-determined conclusions, eg in support of claims for advertising purposes.
  • Students should be able to carry out simple comparative LCAs for shopping bags made from plastic
    and paper.
Creative Commons Licence
EngBAM by University of Birmingham School of Chemical Engineering is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at