Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Environmental Engineering and Earth Science
In recent literature, prospective application of life cycle assessment (LCA) at low technology readiness levels (TRL) has gained immense interest for its potential to enable development of emerging technologies with improved environmental performances. However, limited data, uncertain functionality, scale-up issues and uncertainties make it very challenging for the standard LCA guidelines to evaluate emerging technologies and requires methodological advances in the current LCA framework. In this work, we describe major methodological challenges and analyzed key research efforts to resolve these issues with a focus on recent developments in five major areas: cross-study comparability, data availability and quality, scale-up issues, uncertainty and uncertainty communication, and assessment time. We develop a novel prospective LCA framework (LCA-ET) to evaluate emerging technologies at low technology readiness level. We demonstrate the application of this LCA-ET framework to evaluate two emerging technologies: (1) perovskite solar photovoltaic module and (2) anaerobic membrane bioreactor for domestic wastewater treatment. We also provide a number of recommendations for future research to support the evaluation of emerging technologies at low technology readiness level: (1) the development of a consistent framework and reporting methods for LCA of emerging technologies; (2) the integration of other tools with LCA, such as multicriteria decision analysis, risk analysis, techno-economic analysis; and (3) the development of a data repository for emerging materials, processes, and technologies.
Moni, Sheikh Moniruzzaman, "A Framework for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Emerging Technologies at Low Technology Readiness Levels" (2020). All Dissertations. 2641.