(662b) Applying Emission Estimations, Pollution Controls, and Sustainability Evaluations for Generating Chemical Life Cycle Inventories

Authors: 
Ruiz-Mercado, G. J., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Smith, R. L., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Gonzalez, M. A., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Meyer, D. E., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Li, S., West Virginia University
Lima, F. V., West Virginia University
This presentation will provide a description of an integrated approach to guide, collect, and estimate life cycle inventory (LCI) data for the application of sustainability evaluation and life cycle assessment (LCA) in the design and manufacturing of more sustainable chemicals. Chemical process design and simulation are employed to generate a process flow diagram, energy and material flows, utility demand, and equipment sizing of the chemical manufacturing system. Additional techniques developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with West Virginia University for estimating uncontrolled [1], [2] and controlled [3] emissions from chemical processing equipment are applied to obtain a detailed emission profile for the process.

Moreover, the GREENSCOPE (Gauging Reaction Effectiveness for the Environmental Sustainability of Chemistries with a multi-Objective Process Evaluator) tool is implemented for executing a sustainability assessment when designing and evaluating a chemical manufacturing stage. The GREENSCOPE sustainability evaluation employs environmental, economics, energy, and efficiency indicators. In addition, as one of the main features of GREENSCOPE, a LCI for the chemical synthesis route is obtained. This LCI is an important step in developing life cycle assessments, which determine environmental, economic, and social effects throughout a product’s life cycle stages.

The developed methodologies are then applied to a case study of a bio-based chemical production and energy recovery process. The results show improvements in the sustainability evaluation and LCI quantification when compared to commonly used process simulator results. Therefore, the inclusion of inputs, controlled, and uncontrolled emission models enhance the quantitative sustainability evaluation and LCI results, and the subsequent LCAs of chemicals during their manufacturing life cycle stages.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.




[1] Cashman et al. (2016). “Mining Available Data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to Support Rapid Life Cycle Inventory Modeling of Chemical Manufacturing,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 50, 9013-9025.

[2] Smith et al. (2017). “Coupling Computer-Aided Process Simulation and Estimations of Emissions and Land Use for Rapid Life Cycle Inventory Modeling,” ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. (Accepted).

[3] Li et al. (2017). “Process and pollution control for sustainability and LCI: application to a bio-based gasification system,” Clean Technol. Envir. (to be submitted).