Carbon Calculations over the Life Cycle of Industrial Activities (CCaLC)


April 2008 to March 2010

PSI researchers:

Roger Salmons

Background, summary and aims

Background and Aims

The main aim of the project is to develop a life cycle methodology for an integrated environmental and economic analysis of carbon intensity of different industrial sectors along complete supply chains. The project is led by the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at The University of Manchester , in collaboration with PSI and a number of industrial partners.

The specific objectives and the deliverables of the project are:

  • Development of a general life cycle methodology and decision-support tools for
    • calculating environmental and economic impacts of life-cycle carbon inventories; including ‘carbon added’ and ‘value added’ along the whole supply chains
    • optimising on environmental and economic objectives to identify a range of low-carbon options;
  • development of a standard data acquisition methodology and databases for use in carbon inventory calculations;
  • development of a generalmodelling frameworkand a software package for calculating carbon inventories, with a suite of tools designed for specific sectors but embodying interconnections with the background economy; and
  • application of the methodology, models and tools in case studies of different industrial sectors to examine different business, political and economic scenarios for carbon management and reduction,, and estimate the environmental and economic implications of low-carbon materials, products, processes and services.

Project Design

The project will use a whole systems approach to develop a methodology for an integrated environmental and economic analysis of carbon intensity of different industrial systems. As such, it will be carried out in the following three interrelated (and in some instances parallel) phases:

Methodology and software development will include consolidation of the existing work, development of an integrated life cycle methodology (covering both environmental and economic aspects) and decision support tools, together with software packages.

Methodology testing will focus on application of the methodology on four industrial sectors, which are chemicals and related products, food and drink, bio-feedstocks, and biofuels.

Project synthesis and outputs is the last stage of the project where the final report and related documentation, including a software manual, will be completed.

Importance of Research

The methodology and tools developed in this work will enable identification of materials, products, technologies and services with a potential for significant reductions in carbon emissions. A particular feature of this work is that it will consider not only environmental but also economic consequences of the switch to low-carbon options. Also, the wide-ranging involvement of key stakeholders in the project will assure its relevance to a number of players, from industry to local authorities to policy makers. For example, companies could use the tools developed in the project to identify low-cost, low-carbon options for the future or to plan for future carbon trading schemes. Local authorities could benefit through a better understanding of carbon flows in their area to help them meet local targets for carbon reductions. Policy makers could use the tools to help them examine the consequences of different policy options.

Further information

Project website