Lesson 5: Impact categories in LCA – Climate Change or Global Warming Potential
Understanding the Role of Global Warming Potential (GWP) in Life Cycle Assessment
- Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a critical impact category in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
- GWP quantifies the relative contribution of greenhouse gas emissions to global warming.
- It measures the heat-trapping capacity of gases like CO2, CH4, and N2O, enabling comparisons by converting emissions into CO2 equivalents.
GWP IN Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA)
- GWP assessment in LCIA identifies the climate change impact of products and processes.
- It guides efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate global warming effects, and promote sustainable practices.
- Let’s explore the impact of GWP in different aspects of the automotive industry:
- The use phase of vehicles, particularly fuel combustion, releases CO2, a potent greenhouse gas, contributing to GWP.
- This emphasizes the importance of fuel efficiency and alternative fuels to reduce emissions.
Air Conditioning Refrigerants
- Some vehicle air conditioning systems use HFC refrigerants with high GWP.
- Leaks or improper disposal of these refrigerants during the use phase can contribute to GWP.
- Implementing environmentally friendly refrigerants is essential.
Tire Wear and Rolling Resistance
- During vehicle use, tire rolling resistance increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
- Additionally, the manufacturing and disposal of tires have associated emissions contributing to GWP.
- Opting for low-resistance tires and proper tire maintenance can help reduce this impact.
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance, such as engine tuning or malfunctioning emission control systems, can result in higher greenhouse gas emissions during the use phase, contributing to GWP.
- Regular maintenance and emission control are crucial for minimizing this impact.
- Poor aerodynamics, like roof racks or open windows, increase air resistance during vehicle use.
- This leads to higher fuel consumption and emissions, contributing to GWP.
- Streamlining vehicle design and reducing drag-inducing accessories can mitigate this impact.
- GWP plays a pivotal role in assessing the climate change impact of products and processes.
- The automotive industry must prioritize fuel efficiency, emissions reduction, and the use of low-GWP refrigerants.
- Minimizing GWP in vehicle maintenance, tire wear, and addressing aerodynamic drag is essential for sustainable practices and mitigating global warming effects.
- Comprehensive LCA helps in identifying and addressing GWP-related issues for more sustainable and eco-friendly vehicles.
- Among the most serious impacts are those with negative effects on humans, water, and soil.