A linear assignment based conceptual lifecycle assessment method for selecting optimal agri-industrial materials production pathway: A case study on Nigerian yam value chain
Mount Royal University, Faculty of Science & Technology, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary AB T3E 6K6, Canada
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Lifecycle assessment is a robust tool for comprehensive environmental impact assessment of products and processes. It provides users opportunities to identify the hotspots along the lifecycle of a system and thereby enable them to implement improvement opportunities as deemed appropriate. Production of agri-based industrial raw materials could be energy and water intensive. Such endeavour could take a heavy toll on the environment in terms of resource consumption and environmental pollution. The goal of this study was to develop an easy to use and less data intensive conceptual LCA methodology for selecting optimal pathway along a value-chain under two decision scenarios: the optimal techno-environmentally friendly pathway, and optimal sustainability pathway. This proposed Linear Assignment Method integrated LCA is a less data intensive conceptual LCA method that facilitates the selection of an optimal production and processing pathway for agri-industrial materials, minimizes resource consumption and reduction of potential climate change impact of agri-industrial materials value chain. The LCA ISO 14040s aligned conceptual LCA method will be found useful in identifying potential hotspots in a agri-industrial production process lifecycle, in selecting activity options that would result in minimum ecological footprint, and help in removing obstacles in implementing a scoping lifecycle analysis where cost, time and data availability are the impediments.