Life Cycle Assessment


PROSUITE(Development and application of a standardized methodology for the PROspective SUstaInability assessment of Technologies)

ENV.2008. Sustainability Assessment of Technologies

PROSUITE is an EU-FP7 funded project that runs from 1 November 2009 to 30 October 2013. It is a pluridisciplinary EC-supported "integrating project" whose goal is to develop a coherent, scientifically sound, and broadly accepted methodology for the sustainability assessment of current and future technologies over their life cycle, applicable to different stages of maturity. With PROSUITE, the "hot spots" of sustainability assessment of technologies will be identified. Whereas many projects have broad and general aims, this project is proposed to be specific by delivering actual sustainability estimates for four technology cases with close consultation of the stakeholders involved. Essential to this is the ability to derive a standardized methodology to assess the sustainability of existing and especially new technologies. PROSUITE will show (i) how to combine technology forecasting methods with life cycle approaches, and (ii) how to develop and possibly combine the three sustainability dimensions in a standardized, comprehensive, and feasible way. The case studies focus on i) biorefineries and organic waste management, ii) nanotechnology, iii) multi-functional mobile devices and iv) carbon capture and storage.

Contact person: Rosalie van Zelm,

LC-IMPACT(Development and application of environmental Life Cycle Impact assessment Methods for improved sustAinability Characterisation of Technologies)

ENV.2009. Improved Life Cycle Impact Assessment methods (LCIA) for better sustainability assessment of technologies

LC-IMPACT is an EU-FP7 funded project that runs from 1 December 2009 to 31 May 2013. It focuses on the development and application of life cycle impact assessment methods, characterization and normalization factors. Three work packages focus on specific methodological developments for respectively impacts related to resource use (land, water, marine, mineral and fossil), emissions of toxic chemicals, and emissions of non-toxic pollutants (e.g. nutrients and noise). Spatial specification of characterisation factors and uncertainty assessment will be addressed in all three methodological work packages as cross cutting issues. The work package on the case studies practically applies the new methodological knowledge in an integrated way and compares the results with old and the newly developed life cycle impact assessment methods. Case studies addressed are Food (fish, fresh tomatoes and margarine), printed matter, and transport (car production and operation). One work package is fully devoted to dissemination of the project results via the website, workshops, courses, training,  and stakeholder consultation towards use groups, such as industry, government, NGOs, and academia. The consortium of 16 European partners is lead by Prof. dr. Mark Huijbregts from our department.

Contact person: Mark Huijbregts,

TOX-TRAIN (The implementation of a TOXicity assessment Tool for pRActical evaluation of life-cycle Impacts of technologies)

IAPP 2011 285286 TOX-TRAIN

TOX-TRAIN isan EU funded project that runs from 1 November 2011 to 31 October 2015. its main objective is the development and implementation of a tool box to assess toxicological impacts related to the life-cycle of technologies. The USEtox model, developed under UNEP-SETAC auspices, will be taken as a starting point. First, TOXTRAIN will develop and implement estimation tools for emissions and chemical properties to USEtox for a number of compound groups, including ionic and amphiphilic substances, persistent bioaccumulating chemicals or metabolites, pesticides and biocides, substituted musks/fragrances, and metals, with a specific focus on assessing various types of uncertainty in emissions and properties. The compound groups are selected on the basis of use volumes, fate pattern complexity and main emission route relevance. The tools will be developed as open-source software. Second, the USEtox model will be extended with an indoor compartment model for typical exposure situations in working place and household settings as well as direct consumer exposure through a product (e.g. a directly applied cosmetic product). Third, a number of case studies will be performed in close collaboration between the commercial and non-commercial partners of TOX-TRAIN to test the USEtox tool box in practice. Finally, dissemination of the tool box will be done by workshops, course developments, training of specific user groups, documentation material, and a user-friendly web-based implementation. TOX-TRAIN will provide a platform to enhance the transfer of knowledge between the commercial and noncommercial sector in the area of toxic life-cycle impact assessment of technologies. It is envisaged that the developed USEtox tool box has a great market potential as it can be directly used in the daily practice of life cycle assessment studies.

Contact person: Rosalie van Zelm,

DEvelopment of a System of Indicators for a Resource efficient Europe)

ENV.2012.6.3-3 Development of resource efficiency indicators

The main goal of DESIRE is to develop and apply an optimal set of indicators to monitor European progress towards resource-efficiency. A combination of time series of environmentally extended input output data (EE IO) and the Driving Forces-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework will be combined to construct the indicator set. Only this approach will use a single data set that allows for consistent construction of resource efficiency indicators capturing the EU, country, sector and product group level, and the production and consumption perspective including impacts outside the EU. The project will (i) improve data availability, particularly by creating EE IO time series and now-casted data using Eurostat data and data from research databases; (ii) improve calculation methods for indicators that currently still lack scientific robustness, most notably in the field of biodiversity/ecosystem services and critical materials; and (iii) explicitly address the problem of indicator proliferation, by selecting the smallest set of indicators giving mutually independent information, and show which shortcuts in (statistical) data inventory can be made without significant loss of quality.

Contact person: Mark Huijbregts,


Work performed on life cycle impact assessment by the department of environmental science was included in the LCIA methodology ReCiPe. The LCIA method ReCiPe 2008 provides a recipe to calculate life cycle impact category indicators. It allows for the implementation of an LCIA method that is harmonized in terms of modeling principles and choices, but which offers results at both the midpoint and endpoint level. The project concentrated on an analysis of the differences and similarities between two main approaches to an LCIA. In particular, the focus was on the first part of a LCIA when impact categories and category indicators are chosen and characterization models are selected or developed to convert LCI results into category indicator results. The two main approaches being build on were:

1. the method proposed as the baseline method for characterization in the Handbook on LCA(known as CML 2002) considered a midpoint approach;
2. the method known as the Eco-indicator 99 considered an endpoint approach.

The ReCiPe methodology as a whole provides generic information on the method, how to apply it, and on which principles it is based, and it provides detailed information on the models used for each impact category on midpoint as well as endpoint level to allow every researcher to analyze and potentially improve the models (Goedkoop et al. 2009).

Goedkoop M, Heijungs R, Huijbregts M, De Schryver A, Struijs J, Van Zelm R. 2009. ReCiPe 2008. A life cycle impact assessment method which comprises harmonised category indicators at the midpoint and the endpoint level. Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, The Netherlands. First edition. Report I: Characterisation.

Contact person: Mark Huijbregts,

Report ReCiPe2016: A harmonized life cycle impact assessment method at midpoint and endpoint level Report I: Characterization (pdf (pdf, 3,1 MB))

Meetbaar duurzaam
Meetbaar Duurzaam is a strategic internal project of the Dutch Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) aiming at providing a decision support tool for a broad range of sustainability questions. The tool will integrate existing tools and knowledge, such as ReCiPe, but will also develop some new indicators for e.g. chemical footprinting on several scales. RU will contribute as academic partner to this project.

Contact person: Mark Huijbregts,