The project uses a whole systems approach to develop a life cycle methodology for integrated environmental and economic analysis of carbon intensity of different industrial systems. This involves both environmental and economic aspects of carbon footprints and embodied carbon, enabling estimation of 'carbon added' and 'valued added' at each stage of the supply chain.
A general LCA database and modelling framework has been developed for use by industry as well as by policy makers. Although the emphasis of the project is on carbon-equivalent estimations, the methodological developments are not limited to carbon alone but also enable estimations of other environmental impacts. This is particularly important when assessing different options to ensure that carbon inventory is not reduced at the expense of other environmental impacts.
The methodology for estimating the economic impacts along the supply chains entails assigning values to the flows of materials and energy along the supply chain, both as a result of investment and operating costs. This enables the identification of low and high-value adding activities and processes and their relation to environmental impacts.
The methodology also incorporates suitable optimisation techniques to enable identification of optimum low-carbon material, product and technological options. To enable this, the CCaLC software tool has been developed, allowing simple as well as sophisticated modelling and estimations, depending on the end-user needs and application.