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PRRE6005: Life Cycle Management – Cleaner Production – Environmental Management Systems – Engineering Assessment Answer

Internal Code: 1AFBFC

PRRE6005: Engineering Assignment Answer

Task: q

Cleaner Production Assessment

Select a factory or a refinery or a chemical processing plant producing a certain product. Once you have selected this case study, then perform the following tasks:

Mass balance

  1. Draw a detailed process flow chart showing how the main feedstock is converted to a product through a number of chemical processes. The flow chart will show a schematic diagram consisting of all components in symbolic forms (e.g. reactor, separator, generator, heat exchanger, distiller, precipitator etc.) which are required for the production of a product. 
  2.  Estimate the amount of chemicals, energy and water associated with the production of a certain amount of product. This certain amount of product is known as functional unit, which is required for conducting the mass balance. For example, one million dollar equivalent amount of iron ore transported to China is a functional unit. Accordingly you need to work out the amount of inputs in the form of chemicals, energy and water associated with the production of one million dollar equivalent of iron ore transported China. 
  3. In addition to inputs, estimate the amount of outputs in the form of waste and emissions generated in different processes due to conversion of feedstock into a product. 
  4. You will draw a similar type of flow chart as given below. Please provide units for all inputs and outputs correctly.
  5. Identification of environmental improvement opportunities
  6. Cost-effective mitigation strategies

Task: 2

Increasingly, industries are currently required to assess their carbon footprint[1] to participate in the future carbon trading scheme. As a result, Jim & Bim Vegetable Oil Co. has decided to determine the carbon footprints of their product. This company not only produces vegetable oil, but also produces biodiesel from canola oil. They approached Cleaner Production Consulting Pty Ltd. (CPCP) to determine the carbon footprint of their product.

CPCP appointed you to carry out this LCA analysis. Upon which, you contacted Jim & Bim Vegetable Co enquiring about the preferred functional objective (FU). This is because the FU determines the purpose of this LCA work. They replied saying that they want to know the life cycle global warming emissions of the production and combustion of 1 GJ of biodiesel. Accordingly, you have determined the following three stages:

– Pre-farm: emissions from the production and transportation of inputs. e.g. fertiliser, pesticides and diesel

– On-farm: farm machinery operations, N2O emissions from N-fertiliser application

– Post-farm: emissions from conversion of canola seed to canola oil, canola oil to biodiesel, combustion of biodiesel

Please note that transportation is involved for carrying inputs to the paddock for canola seed production and also for carrying canola seeds to Jim and Bim Vegetable Co.

Once you have added up the GHG emissions generated from the pre-farm, on-farm and post-farm stages, you will be able to determine the total GHG emissions.

You are collaborating with the University of Sustainable Farming Practices (USFP) in order to get the field information on inputs for canola seeds production, N2O emissions from paddock and yield of canola seeds. After one year of their experimental research, USFP provided you with the following information to carry out their life cycle analysis. Table 1 shows the inputs required to produce 1.5 tonne of canola seeds in a hectare of land. USFP used gas chromatography to measure N2O emissions due to the application of urea from the canola paddock. The lorry which they used to bring inputs to paddock consumes 15 litres of diesel to bring inputs to paddock. GHGs emissions from the production of farm machinery will not be considered as it has been found previously to be insignificant. Please note that the calorific value of diesel is 45 MJ/kg, which means that 1 kg of diesel has 45 MJ or 45 x 10-3 GJ of energy. The information in Table 1 would enable you to calculate GHG emission from pre-farm and on farm stages.

Task 1:

Define a functional unit for this abridged LCA, goal and scope. 

Task 2:

Conduct the Life Cycle Inventory Analysis for the production and combustion of 1 GJ of biodiesel, resulting in a listing of all inputs over the different stages of the product life cycle.[please note that you need to draw a flow diagram consisting of 3 stages as stated above. For each stage, you need to calculate the inputs, which are required to produce the main output (e.g. canola oil) of this stage. Inputs are in the form of energy (e.g. electricity) and material (e.g. chemicals). The main output from the previous stage is an input for the following stage. The last stage is the stage that produces and combust biodiesel and so the final output is biodiesel. [Please include transportation in between stages, where appropriate.] 

Task 3:

Calculate the life cycle global warming impact of 1 GJ of biodiesel combustion. [Firstly, you need to multiply the amount of inputs in the inventory by the emission factors. There are three types of greenhouse gases, including CO2, CH4 and N2O. Therefore you will have up to three emission factors for each input. Table 2 shows the emission factors for all inputs mentioned in this problem. Once you have calculated CO2, CH4 and N2O for all inputs, then convert CH4 and N2O to the equivalent amount of CO2 (i.e. kg CO2 e-) by multiplying the amount of CH4 by 28 and N2O by 265. For example, 2 kg of CH4 means 42 kg CO2 e- and 1.5 kg of N2O means 465 kg CO2 e-. Finally, you calculate all CO2s to find the life cycle GHG emissions due to production and combustion of 1GJ of biodiesel.] 

Task 4:

Determine GHG emissions separately for the three stages and draw a bar diagram showing which stage is the hotspot (causing the most GHG emissions). Thereafter, draw a pie diagram, showing the percentage contribution of inputs and outputs to GHG emissions during the life cycle of 1 GJ of diesel combustion. 6 Marks

Task 5

Rank the inputs and outputs in terms of their contribution to GHG emissions. The inputs and outputs causing the most significant emissions are considered as ‘hotspots’. Review the literature to highlight some mitigation strategies that can potentially be applied to these hotspots to further reduce the overall GHG emissions from biodiesel production. The emission factors for the mitigation strategies need to be obtained from currently available literature in order to do a follow up LCA to estimate the revised GHG emissions . 8 Marks

[1] Global warming impact expressed in kg CO2 –e. CO2, CH4 and N2O are some greenhouse gases (GHGs) causing global warming impacts.

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