LCA: A Step by Step Process

Normally LCA is performed in iterations: in the first round a simplified approach is used focusing only on the most important processes and resulting in a basic model. Then the following iterations gradually create a more advanced system that is closer to reality. This is illustrated in the life cycle assessment framework figure as defined by the standard.

The four phases of a Life Cycle Assessment as defined by ISO 14040:

LCA1
The LCA includes four phases, starting with defining the goal and scope. This phase is followed by inventory analysis and impact assessment. Interpretation is the final step in the process.

The goal is to understand where the environmental impact arises, especially for these impact categories: climate change, mineral resource depletion and human toxicity.

For WALiD, the functional unit is similar to any power generation plant and the system boundaries allow us to target our analysis on the wind blade.
1 kWh delivered to the grid with an operational lifetime of 25 years.

System boundaries for the WALiD LCA:

LCA2

Like the rest of the process, the scope definition can be subject to updates in line with the evolving technical implications of the outcomes of the research and development activities of the project.

WALiD LC’s current phase: Inventory analysis

A first basic model was presented to the partners with early data and will be improved on in the coming months. The goal and scope definitions were reviewed and confirmed so the next stage is to develop the inventory analysis.

The inventory analysis means creating an inventory of flows to and from nature within a product system. This is currently underway and will allow us to obtain a complete map of all the inputs and outputs of a WALiD wind blade.