Environmental Assessment of Future Technologies: How to trim LCA to fit this goal
Discussion forum on Life Cycle Assessment
June 19, 2009, Zurich, ETH Central Building, 09h15, GEP Pavilion
We kindly invite you to the 38th discussion forum on Life Cycle Assessment
This event will be held in English
New and innovative technologies have to compete with well-established and mature technologies. Even though new and innovative technologies may claim substantial efficiency gains in the future, they are assessed based on their current performance, measured in the lab or in pilot plants.
Thus, the environmental assessment of such future technologies faces several challenges. Firstly, the performance and efficiency of operational scale technologies will differ from those of laboratory or pilot scale equipment or from performance and efficiency figures gained with process modeling. Secondly, the basic economic, environmental and social conditions will change with time and thus will differ from the basic conditions of our current economy, environment and society. Neglecting such expected changes in the environmental assessment of future technologies may lead to a severe impediment for the market entrance and growth of promising future technologies. Thirdly, the predictions of technological, societal, economical and environmental developments are inherently uncertain and therefore subjected to dispute.
Within the recently accomplished NEEDS project (New Energy Externality Developments for Su-stainability, 6th framework program of the European Commission) on the improvement of the assess-ment of external costs of electricity supply, experiences were gained in the field of long-term environmental technology assessment with the help of life cycle assessment. The discussion forum will on one hand shed light on the main drivers and principles that ensure a sensible and fair assessment of far future technologies. We will listen to representatives from national and international companies, who tell us their approach in long-term strategic planning and the potential role of LCA. On the other hand, the most recent European developments in the identification of specific external damage costs per kg resource extracted and pollutant emitted will be touched upon.
The DF 38 will especially discuss the following questions:
- Is there a role for LCA in far future technology development?
- If yes, how to trim LCA to fit to this role?
- How does industry assess future trends in consumer needs and product development?
We look forward to meeting you in Zürich!
Rolf Frischknecht & Wolfram Krewitt
Final Program (updated June 19, 2009)