Hybrid life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from cement, concrete and geopolymer concrete in Australia

Figure F_Johnson

The paper ‘Hybrid life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from cement, concrete and geopolymer concrete in Australia’ written by Soo Huey Teh, Associate Professor Thomas Wiedmann, Associate Professor Arnaud Castel and Dr. James de Burgh was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production recently.

The carbon footprint intensities of Australian produced cement, concrete and geopolymer concrete have been examined using hybrid life cycle assessment for the first time. A problem with previous process-based life cycle assessments is that by setting a system boundary for the analysis, potentially significant amounts of emissions from upstream supply chain processes or capital requirements will be truncated. Another problem arises when country-specific data are lacking and data from other countries or regions have to be used in lieu, making the analysis less accurate and relevant. Data from this study feeds into the CRC Low Carbon Living Integrated Carbon Metrics project to produce a comprehensive database of embodied carbon life cycle inventory data for Australian building products and materials.

Compared to process-based life cycle assessment studies, the hybrid life cycle assessment resulted in higher greenhouse gas emissions for ordinary Portland cement and all types of concrete in the study because the method incorporates an economy-wide system boundary, which includes the emissions from upstream processes. The findings from this study are likely to inform the development of strategies and policies aimed at greenhouse gas reduction in the cement and concrete industries.

Teh, S. H., Wiedmann, T., Castel, A.,  de Burgh, J., Hybrid life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from cement, concrete and geopolymer concrete in Australia. Journal of Cleaner Production. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.03.122