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Sometimes LCA impact categories, such as those shown in Table Common Impact Categories and Their References , overlap in the sense that the same pollutant may contribute to more than one category. For instance, if a given assessment comes up with high scores for both aquatic toxicity and human toxicity from, say, pesticide use then one might be justified in using both of these categories to draw conclusions and make choices based on LCA results. However, more typically elevated scores are found for categories that are not directly comparable. For instance, the extraction, refining, and use of petroleum generate a high score for global warming (due to GHG release), while the product chain for the biofuel ethanol has a high score for eutrophication (due to nitrogen release during the farming stage). Which problem is worse – climate change or coastal hypoxia? Society may well choose a course of action that favors one direction over another, but in this case the main value of the LCA is to identify the tradeoffs and inform us of the consequences, not tell us which course is “correct.”

Risk evaluation and regulation

One of the inherent limits to LCA is its use for assessing risk. Risk assessment and management, as described in the Modules The Evolution of Environmental Policy in the United States and Modern Environmental Management , is a formal process that quantifies risks for a known population in a specific location exposed to a specific chemical for a defined period of time. It generates risk values in terms of the probability of a known consequence due to a sequence of events that are directly comparable, and upon which decisions on water, land, and air quality standards and their violation can be and are made. LCA is a method for evaluating the impacts of wastes on human health and the environment from the point of view of the product/service chain rather than a particular population. It can be used to identify the sources of contamination and general impacts on the environment – a sort of “where to look” guide for regulation, but its direct use in the environmental regulatory process has been, to date, rather limited. One application for LCA that has been suggested for regulatory use is for assessing the impacts of biofuel mandates on land use practices, in the United States and other regions, however no regulatory standards for land use have yet been proposed.

Tools for conducting lca

Fortunately a number of databases and tools, in the form of computer software, are available to assist in carrying out LCAs. This is an active area of development; in this section a few of the more well-known and widely used tools are described.

The greenhouse gases, regulated emissions, and energy use in transportation model (greet)

GREET is a spreadsheet-based database developed by Argonne National Laboratory that links energy use to emissions on a life cycle basis. Early versions were limited to greenhouse gases, but as the model has been refined many other types of contaminants have been added. Although it has been widely used for comparing transportation and fuel options (hence its title), GREET has been used for many other applications that have a significant energy component, including agriculture, material and product development, and strategies for recycling.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Practice Key Terms 8

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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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