The Inventory Phase2

The various steps of the inventory phase are shown in Fig. 15.2. The aim of the in­ventory phase is to comprehensively identify and quantify flows between the tech­nical product system and the environment, i. e., emissions and resources. An example of an inventory of a product system is shown in Fig. 15.3 and Table 15.1.

The Inventory Phase2

FIGURE 15.2 Steps of the inventory Phase.

The Inventory Phase2

FIGURE 15.3 Example of a product system, production and use of steel sheet metal, for life cycle inven­tory analysis.

TABLE 15.1 Calculation of Total Elementary Flows from the Steel-Sheet Product System of Fig. 15.3

Unit process

Dust emission per unit process reference flow, D (kg/ton or kg/MJ)

Unit process reference flow per product system reference flow, F (ton/ton or Mj/ton)

Dust emission per product system reference flow, DxF (kg/ton steel-sheet)

1. Coke oven

0.25

0.50

0.12.5

2. Mining of iron ore

1.00

2.10

2.1

3. Mining of limestone

1.00

0.30

0.3

4. Crushing grinding

0.15

2.10

0.315

5. Transport

0.01

2.10

0.021

6. Sintering

5.31

2.10

11.151

7. Blast furnace

0.16

1.13

0.1808

8. Steel furnace

1.00

1.10

1.1

9. Steel molding

0.00

1.10

10. Transport

0.01

1.10

0.011

:! 1. Cutting, shaping

0.00

1.0

0

12. Use

0.00

1.0

()

13. Waste handling

0.02

1.0

0.02

14. Landfill

0.03

1.0

0.03

15. Production of electricity

0.0002

2000 MJ/ton

0.4

The whole product system

Sum

.15.75

Note: Figures are fictitious, but not unrealistic

The boxes in Fig. 15.3 represent so-called unit processes. Each one can consist of several actual processes, which for practical purposes are treated together as unit processes.

A unit process is defined as the smallest unit for which flows are specified. For each one of the unit processes, there may be mass and energy flows to and from

• other unit processes (intermediate product flows),

• the environment (elementary flows), and

• product systems outside the system boundaries (product flows).

For each unit process, a reference flow may be defined, and the inputs and outputs to the unit process calculated in relation to the reference flow. For in­stance, the reference flow for mining of iron ore is the mass of iron ore mined per year, and the emissions to the air may be expressed as kg dust per metric ton of ore.

Reference flow and the functional unit are defined for the entire product system, and the elementary flows are calculated in relation to these. The flow figures are normally aggregated, and the total flow of each substance recorded and used for impact assessment.

Inventory calculations can be made in several ways. An example oi one method of calculating is shown in Table 15.1. The calculation process is simi ­lar for other emissions and resources.

In practical product design, a full LCA is seldom performed. The unit op­erations represent whole systems, which are used as building blocks. Typical examples include elementary flows determined for the “manufacture of 1 m2 1 — mm sheet metal of galvanized steel,” “incineration of 1 kg of polyethylene.” or “production and distribution of 1 MJ electricity.”

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