Matching Items (38)

California High Speed Resilience to Climate Change

Description

This LCA used data from a previous LCA done by Chester and Horvath (2012) on the proposed California High Speed Rail, and furthered the LCA to look into potential changes

This LCA used data from a previous LCA done by Chester and Horvath (2012) on the proposed California High Speed Rail, and furthered the LCA to look into potential changes that can be made to the proposed CAHSR to be more resilient to climate change. This LCA focused on the energy, cost, and GHG emissions associated with raising the track, adding fly ash to the concrete mixture in place of a percentage of cement, and running the HSR on solar electricity rather than the current electricity mix. Data was collected from a variety of sources including other LCAs, research studies, feasibility studies, and project information from companies, agencies, and researchers in order to determine what the cost, energy requirements, and associated GHG emissions would be for each of these changes. This data was then used to calculate results of cost, energy, and GHG emissions for the three different changes. The results show that the greatest source of cost is the raised track (Design/Construction Phase), and the greatest source of GHG emissions is the concrete (also Design/Construction Phase).

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-06-13

Methodology for Estimating Electricity Generation Vulnerability to Climate Change Using a Physically-based Modelling System

Description

In recent years, concerns have grown over the risks posed by climate change on the U.S. electricity grid. The availability of water resources is integral to the production of electric

In recent years, concerns have grown over the risks posed by climate change on the U.S. electricity grid. The availability of water resources is integral to the production of electric power, and droughts are expected to become more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting over the course of the twenty-first century. The American Southwest, in particular, is expected to experience large deficits in streamflow. Studies on the Colorado River anticipate streamflow declines of 20-45% by 2050. Other climactic shifts—such as higher water and air temperatures—may also adversely affect power generation. As extreme weather becomes more common, better methods are needed to assess the impact of climate change on power generation. This study uses a physically-based modeling system to assess the vulnerability of power infrastructure in the Southwestern United States at a policy-relevant scale.

Thermoelectric power—which satisfies a majority of U.S. electricity demand—is vulnerable to drought. Thermoelectric power represents the backbone of the U.S. power sector, accounting for roughly 91% of generation. Thermoelectric power also accounts for roughly 39% of all water withdrawals in the U.S.—roughly equivalent to the amount of water used for agriculture. Water use in power plants is primarily dictated by the needs of the cooling system. During the power generation process, thermoelectric power plants build up waste heat, which must be discharged in order for the generation process to continue. Traditionally, water is used for this purpose, because it is safe, plentiful, and can absorb a large amount of heat. However, when water availability is constrained, power generation may also be adversely affected. Thermoelectric power plants are particularly susceptible to changes in streamflow and water temperature. These vulnerabilities are exacerbated by environmental regulations, which govern both the amount of water withdrawn, and the temperatures of the water discharged. In 2003, extreme drought and heat impaired the generating capacity of more than 30 European nuclear power plants, which were unable to comply with environmental regulations governing discharge temperatures. Similarly, many large base-load thermoelectric facilities in the Southeastern United States were threatened by a prolonged drought in 2007 and 2008. During this period, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reduced generation at several facilities, and one major facility was shut down entirely. To meet demand, the TVA was forced to purchase electricity from the grid, causing electricity prices to rise.

Although thermoelectric power plants currently produce most of the electric power consumed in the United States, other sources of power are also vulnerable to changes in climate. Renewables are largely dependent on natural resources like rain, wind, and sunlight. As the quantity and distribution of these resources begins to change, renewable generation is also likely to be affected. Hydroelectric dams represent the largest source of renewable energy currently in use throughout the United States. Under drought conditions, when streamflow attenuates and reservoir levels drop, hydroelectric plants are unable to operate at normal capacity. In 2001, severe drought in California and the Pacific Northwest restricted hydroelectric power generation, causing a steep increase in electricity prices. Although blackouts and brownouts were largely avoided, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council estimated a regional economic impact of roughly $2.5 to $6 billion. In addition to hydroelectric power, it has also been theorized that solar energy resources may also be susceptible to predicted increases in surface temperature and atmospheric albedo. One study predicts that solar facilities in the Southwestern U.S. may suffer losses of 2-5%.

The aim of this study is to estimate the extent to which climate change may impact power generation in the Southwestern United States. This analysis will focus on the Western Interconnection, which comprises the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico and Texas. First, climactic and hydrologic parameters relevant to power generation are identified for five types of generation technologies. A series of functional relationships are developed such that impacts to power generation can be estimated directly from changes in certain meteorological and hydrological parameters. Next, climate forcings from the CMIP3 multi-model ensemble are used as inputs to a physically-based modeling system (consisting of a hydrological model, an offline routing model, and a one-dimensional stream temperature model). The modeling system is used to estimate changes in climactic and hydrologic parameters relevant to electricity generation for various generation technologies. Climactic and hydrologic parameters are then combined with the functional relationships developed in the first step to estimate impacts to power generation over the twenty-first century.

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Phoenix Medical Waste Disposal LCA

Description

This study aims to quantify the environmental impacts of a hospital’s daily BMW disposal in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The sole option to dispose of BMW in Arizona is to

This study aims to quantify the environmental impacts of a hospital’s daily BMW disposal in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The sole option to dispose of BMW in Arizona is to sterilize the waste by sending it through an autoclave, and then dispose the sterilized waste in a landfill. This study used a Phoenix area hospital to create a start point for the waste and a general estimation of how much BMW the hospital disposes of. The system boundary for the LCA includes BMW generated at the Phoenix-area Hospital as it is travels to Stericycle, where it is autoclaved, and then transported to a landfill for disposal. The results of this retrospective, end-of-life LCA using this boundary enables hospital employees and policy makers to understand the environmental impact of placing items in the biohazardous waste bin.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-06-13

A Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Wastewater Treatment Processes at Forward Operation Bases (FOBs)

Description

The objective of this work is to perform LCAs three wastewater treatement alternatives at battalion-sized (500 soldier) FOBs. Three systems will be explored: traditional wastewater treatment of combined blackwater and

The objective of this work is to perform LCAs three wastewater treatement alternatives at battalion-sized (500 soldier) FOBs. Three systems will be explored: traditional wastewater treatment of combined blackwater and graywater streams using activated sludge and anaerobic digestion (the status quo); MXC treatment of blackwater to produce H2O2 for disinfection of blackwater and graywater; a hybrid system of blackwater treatments with MXCs to produce electricity with graywater disinfection using H2O2 produced offsite. Environmental impacts are assessed using Impact 2002+ midpoint and endpoint categories, primarily reported for human health and environmental impacts. Uncertainity analysis is performed using two techniques. First, a pedigree matrix is developed to identify the highest areas of uncertainties in data. Second, a sensitivity analysis is used to explore the effects on endpoint categories from varying transportation distance, the percentage of wastewater that is reused as nonpotable water, and coagulant doses.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-06-13

A Life Cycle Assessment of Phosphorous

Description

Here I plan to use CLCA to evaluate the environmental impact (and economy by using MFA??) by changing traditional crop to AVP1 GM crop. In this study I will compare

Here I plan to use CLCA to evaluate the environmental impact (and economy by using MFA??) by changing traditional crop to AVP1 GM crop. In this study I will compare wild type (WT) and AVP1 transgenic romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. conquistador). This is a study of P fertilizer being applied on romaine lettuce from gate to grave and making a comparison between WT and AVP1 romaine lettuce. The system boundary would be commercial P fertilizers applied on all lettuce in the U.S. The lettuce includes head lettuce, leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce. The amount of P fertilizers such as inorganic, organic, and imported, will be identified and quantified. The amount of nitrogen and potassium fertilizers will also be quantified along with P fertilizer. The amount of water will be compared between the two different lettuces as the AVP1 lettuce grows faster and the amount of days of watering would be fewer. Eutrophication will be assessed as well as N2O emission. As AVP1 lettuce has a bigger root system, I will try to quantify the extra amount of CO2 fixed into the soil via AVP1 lettuce. I will also try to project the impact of AVP1 lettuce on market price. The functional unit of LCA portion is kg usage of N and P2O5 per ton of lettuce and the functional unit of MFA is kg/ha.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-06-13

Life Cycle Assessment of Pre-Cast Concrete vs. Cast-in-Place Concrete

Description

This research study presents a life cycle assessment comparing the potential environmental impacts of two concrete construction methods used for building construction projects: Pre-cast and Cast-in-place concrete. The objective of

This research study presents a life cycle assessment comparing the potential environmental impacts of two concrete construction methods used for building construction projects: Pre-cast and Cast-in-place concrete. The objective of the study was to provide a beneficial assessment of the potential environmental impacts by quantifying global warming potential, acidification and eutrophication associated with the two construction methods. Data for the two construction methods came from numerous industry reports and relatively recent journal article publications on the subject, although a majority of the data came from the Portland Cement Association’s Annual U.S. and Canadian Labor Energy Input Survey.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-06-13

The Water, Energy, & Infrastructure Co-Benefits of Smart Growth Planning in Phoenix

Description

Phoenix is the sixth most populated city in the United States and the 12th largest metropolitan area by population, with about 4.4 million people. As the region continues to grow,

Phoenix is the sixth most populated city in the United States and the 12th largest metropolitan area by population, with about 4.4 million people. As the region continues to grow, the demand for housing and jobs within the metropolitan area is projected to rise under uncertain climate conditions.

Undergraduate and graduate students from Engineering, Sustainability, and Urban Planning in ASU’s Urban Infrastructure Anatomy and Sustainable Development course evaluated the water, energy, and infrastructure changes that result from smart growth in Phoenix, Arizona. The Maricopa Association of Government's Sustainable Transportation and Land Use Integration Study identified a market for 485,000 residential dwelling units in the urban core. Household water and energy use changes, changes in infrastructure needs, and financial and economic savings are assessed along with associated energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The course project has produced data on sustainable development in Phoenix and the findings will be made available through ASU’s Urban Sustainability Lab.

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Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of San Francisco Bay Area Muni Light Rail and Rapid Transit with Wholesale and Renewable Electricity

Description

Results are available here

The environmental life cycle assessment of electric rail public transit modes requires an assessment of electricity generation mixes. The provision of electricity to a

Results are available here

The environmental life cycle assessment of electric rail public transit modes requires an assessment of electricity generation mixes. The provision of electricity to a region does not usually adhere to geopolitical boundaries. Electricity is governed based on lowest cost marginal dispatch and reliability principles. Additionally, there are times when a public transit agency may purchase wholesale electricity from a particular service provider. Such is the case with electric rail modes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

An environmental life cycle assessment of San Francisco Bay Area public transit systems was developed by Chester and Horvath (2009) and includes vehicle manufacturing/maintenance, infrastructure construction/operation/maintenance, energy production, and supply chains, in addition to vehicle propulsion. For electric rail modes, vehicle propulsion was based on an average electricity mix for the region. Since 2009, new electricity contract information and renewable electricity goals have been established. As such, updated life cycle results should be produced.

Using recent wholesale electricity mix and renewable electricity goal data from the transit agencies, updated electricity precombustion, generation, transmission, and distribution environmental impacts of vehicle propulsion are estimated. In summary, SFMTA Muni light rail is currently purchasing 100% hydro electricity from the Hetch Hetchy region of California and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system is purchasing 22% natural gas, 9% coal, 2% nuclear, 66% hydro, and 1% other renewables from the Pacific Northwest . Furthermore, the BART system has set a goal of 20% renewables by 2016. Using the GREET1 2012 electricity pathway, a life cycle assessment of wholesale and renewable electricity generation for these systems is calculated.

Chester and Horvath (2009)

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Vulnerability Assessment of Southwest Infrastructure to Increased Heat Using a Life Cycle Approach

Description

As average temperatures and occurrences of extreme heat events increase in the Southwest, the water infrastructure that was designed to operate under historical temperature ranges may become increasingly vulnerable to

As average temperatures and occurrences of extreme heat events increase in the Southwest, the water infrastructure that was designed to operate under historical temperature ranges may become increasingly vulnerable to component and operational failures. For each major component along the life cycle of water in an urban water infrastructural system, potential failure events and their semi-quantitative probabilities of occurrence were estimated from interview responses of water industry professionals. These failure events were used to populate event trees to determine the potential pathways to cascading failures in the system. The probabilities of the cascading failure scenarios under future conditions were then calculated and compared to the probabilities of scenarios under current conditions to assess the increased vulnerability of the system. We find that extreme heat events can increase the vulnerability of water systems significantly and that there are ways for water infrastructure managers to proactively mitigate these vulnerabilities before problems occur.

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Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Reused Versus Disposable Dental Burs

Description

Healthcare infection control has led to increased utilization of disposable medical devices, which has subsequently led to increased adverse environmental effects attributed to healthcare and its supply chain. In dental

Healthcare infection control has led to increased utilization of disposable medical devices, which has subsequently led to increased adverse environmental effects attributed to healthcare and its supply chain. In dental practice, the dental bur is a commonly used instrument that can either be reused or used once and then disposed. To evaluate the disparities in environmental impacts of disposable and reusable dental burs, a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed. The comparative LCA evaluated a reusable dental bur (specifically, a 2.00mm Internal Irrigation Pilot Drill) reused 30 instances versus 30 identical burs used as disposables.

The LCA methodology was performed using framework described by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14040 series. Sensitivity analyses were performed with respect to ultrasonic and autoclave loading. Findings from this research showed that when the ultrasonic and autoclave are loaded optimally, reusable burs had 40% less of an environmental impact than burs used on a disposable basis. When the ultrasonic and autoclave were loaded to 66% capacity, there was an environmental breakeven point between disposable and reusable burs. Eutrophication, carcinogenic impacts, non-carcinogenic impacts, and acidification were limited when cleaning equipment (i.e., ultrasonic and autoclave) were optimally loaded. Additionally, the bur’s packaging materials contributed more negative environmental impacts than the production and use of the bur itself. Therefore, less materially-intensive packaging should be used. Specifically, the glass fiber reinforced plastic casing should be substituted for a material with a reduced environmental footprint.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05