A first year introduction to life cycle analysis

Stephanie Farrell, Eduardo J. Cavanagh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

At Rowan University, we have developed a module to introduce first year engineering students to life cycle assessment (LCA) through the comparison of the environmental impact of the combustion of two diesel fuels: petroleum diesel and biodiesel from waste vegetable oil (WVO). The purpose of this LCA module was to incorporate life cycle thinking into the engineering design process, to apply the four main steps of LCA (definition and scope, inventory analysis, impact assessment and improvement assessment), and to recognize modifications that would improve the environmental impact of the biodiesel combustion. Students compared the emissions generated in the combustion of laboratory-made biodiesel from waste vegetable oil and conventional diesel from petroleum by analyzing the exhaust gases from a generator. A fuel combustion life cycle inventory was developed using student data from the laboratory experiment, and life cycle analysis was then conducted using SimaPro®. The biodiesel fuel had been previously produced in the laboratory by the students and the production life cycle environmental impacts had been calculated as well. The assessment of learning outcomes indicates a significant increase in conceptual understanding of life cycle assessment in every category, and an average gain of over 60% in overall knowledge of life cycle assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 15th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2012
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Event2012 15th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2012 - Villach, Austria
Duration: Sep 26 2012Sep 28 2012

Other

Other2012 15th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2012
CountryAustria
CityVillach
Period9/26/129/28/12

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Education

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    Farrell, S., & Cavanagh, E. J. (2012). A first year introduction to life cycle analysis. In 2012 15th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2012 [6402038] https://doi.org/10.1109/ICL.2012.6402038