Lesson 7: Impact Categories in LCA – Acidification

Understanding Acidification’s Impact on the Environment


  • Acidification: an environmental impact category assessing acid deposition due to acidifying emissions.
  • Acid rain or dry deposition, caused by substances like sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), impacts ecosystems.


  • Emissions of acidic pollutants reacting with water and atmospheric compounds create acid rain or dry deposition.
  • Impacts on aquatic habitats, forests, soils, and sensitive organisms include soil acidification, nutrient imbalances, and harm to ecosystems.


  • Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Emissions: NOx from vehicle exhaust reacts with atmospheric components to form nitric acid. Nitric acid deposition can harm soil and water quality.
  • Road Salt Usage: In cold regions, road salt is used for de-icing. Runoff can introduce chloride ions into water bodies, increasing acidity and causing acidification.
  • Ammonia (NH3) Emissions: Certain vehicles emit ammonia. It can react with atmospheric components, leading to acid deposition and subsequent acidification when deposited on surfaces or in water bodies.
  • Battery Acid Leaks: Electric and hybrid vehicles may leak acid electrolytes from their batteries, posing a risk of localized acidification.
  • Acidic Cleaning Agents: Some vehicle maintenance cleaning agents contain acids that, if improperly disposed of or washed into water bodies, can increase acidity levels and contribute to acidification.


  • Implementing cleaner production technologies, proper chemical management, and waste disposal procedures.
  • Using renewable energy sources and minimizing the use of acidifying substances in vehicle manufacturing can help reduce the contribution to acidification.


  1. Acidification, caused by emissions of acidifying substances, affects ecosystems.
  2. Vehicles play a role in this issue.
  3. Sustainable practices and minimizing acidifying emissions can help mitigate the impact.
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