How many models do you need to get the complete picture?
Doing LCA of a product is a well-known concept. If you want to see which improvement opportunities there are for your product and its life cycle, you do an LCA. Sometimes, though, the situation can be more complex than that. In the case of the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, they started the ‘Paths to a sustainable food sector’ project to find opportunities in not just one product, but six. And in not just one scenario per product, but four, to include a variety of potential goals and a reference. And in not just one system model, but two – a product model and a region model.
That resulted in the need to calculate not one, but 48 LCA models, each with a variety of parameters and interactions. This is the kind of approach that is necessary to generate a high-level view that takes a substantial part of an industry sector into account.
The project was presented by the Institute at the LCM 215 conference in Bordeaux, and published in the International Journal of LCA*. And of course, even with 48 models, the picture is far from complete.
Keeping track of a large amount of data in SimaPro
SP used SimaPro to create the models for this large project, with data supplied from Excel through external links. SimaPro’s functionality helped simplify modelling, creating models that are easy to verify, trust and analyse. Parameterised models ensure that this project can be a foundation for future work, and the many improvement suggestions that were identified will soon be tested in real life.