A design of experiments (DOE) approach to data uncertainty in LCA: Application to nanotechnology evaluation

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


A limitation of any reported environmental performance is the considerable uncertainties present in the analysis. A methodology based on design of experiments techniques, coupled with life cycle assessment, was implemented to investigate the influence of inventory uncertainties on the predicted environmental impact. A case study on nanomanufacturing is presented. Results showed that mass data variability does not have a significant effect on the predicted environmental impacts. Material profiles for input materials did have a highly significant effect on the overall impact. Energy consumption and material characterization were identified as two areas where additional research is needed in order to obtain more accurate and precise predictions of the overall impact of nanomaterials. The methodology facilitates impact assessment of material selection for life cycle assessment, allows the establishment of a predictive model, and makes possible the identification of significant process variables as well as their interdependency

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Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy