Latchmi Singh - Design constraints for environmental sustainability: assessing the 'real potential' of technical innovations that transform carbon dioxide into useful materials

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      Publication Details (including relevant citation   information):

      Singh, L.C. (2010). Design constraints for   environmental sustainability: assessing the 'real potential' of   technical innovations that transform carbon dioxide into useful   materials. Poster presented at the Gordon Research Seminar   and Conference in Industrial Ecology, 10-16 July 2010.   Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, USA.

      Abstract:

      In light of both its dwindling resources and its role as the   largest anthropogenic greenhouse gas contributor, the need for   industrial innovation away from traditional petroleum-based   energy and feedstock sources has shifted focus to the possible   utilization of carbon dioxide – a wasted resource – as a   C1 source within the chemical industry. Many reactions   that transform carbon dioxide into useful materials have been   proposed, and a few even have been commercialized. Usually   however, the real values of such projects do not consider the   total impact that project implementation might impose over all   other aspects of its life cycle; stages such as raw material   acquisition and/or after-life handling are often overlooked.

           In this paper, the potential to be   derived from transforming carbon dioxide into useful materials is   re-evaluated to include the total impacts – positive and negative   – that might be exerted upon society. Using a combination of life   cycle assessment (LCA) and impact assessment (IA) therefore, the   ‘real potential’ of   these innovations will be presented as a sum of both the private   benefits to be had from their implementation as well as the   actual impacts that they might have on the environment and its   sustainability. It is expected that only after such an evaluation   can the true value of a project, and hence its opportunity costs   of implementation, be determined.

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