Consideration of uncertainties in LCA for infrastructure using probabilistic methods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The construction and usage of transport infrastructure are major causes of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. The effects of resource consumption and pollutant emissions are often quantified through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models. All decisions made in infrastructure projects during the whole life cycle are afflicted by uncertainty, e.g. physical properties of materials or amount of pollutants emitted by certain processes. The pervasive role of uncertainty is reflected in LCA models, which therefore should consider uncertainty from various sources and provide a sound quantification of their effects. The aim of the work presented in this paper is to give an overview of different sources of uncertainty in LCA of infrastructure projects and to describe systematic methods to evaluate their influence on the results. The possibility of including uncertainty in a LCA-tool for infrastructure is presented, studying the sensitivity of the model output to the input parameters and two alternative approaches for propagation of uncertainty using two case studies. It is shown that, besides the influence of uncertainty in emission factors, other inputs such as material amounts and service life could contribute significantly to the variability of model output and has to be considered if reliable results are sought.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
  • IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infrastructure Engineering

Keywords

  • bridges, Life cycle assessment, Monte Carlo simulations, tunnels, uncertainty, variation mode and effect analysis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-724
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Volume15
Issue number6
Early online date2019 Feb 27
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Related projects

Oskar Larsson Ivanov, Daniel Honfi & Håkan Stripple

Swedish Transport Administration

2015/08/012017/09/30

Project: Research

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