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  • Advanced LCA Research Group

    Advanced LCA Research Group

    Kenichiro Tsukahara
    Group Leader:Kenichiro Tsukahara

    5 Researchers:
     Keiichiro Sakurai, Kotaro Kawajiri, Yoon-Young Chun, Kiyotaka Tahara

    13 Contract Employees

    Outline

    The method for assessing environmental impact by surveying and aggregating data on materials and energy used from raw material extraction to final disposal is called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Based on the application of LCA techniques and life cycle thinking, the Advanced LCA Research Group conducts research on development of assessment methods for analyzing influences and ripple effects on both the environment and the socio-economic systems as well as the application of those methods for technology assessment and design of social systems for realizing a sustainable society. Since an inventory database plays an important role in conducting LCA, we are conducting research in collaboration with Research Laboratory for IDEA.

    Research Highlights

    Analysis of Asian Consumers’ Behavior for circular consumption

    Smartphones are purchased and replaced often but have considerable residual values for reuse to different consumer groups, representing a rich potential for refurbishment*.

    *Refurbishment: a circular solution that enables the prolonged use of products that have already been used but were kept in good condition through one (or all) of the following processes; cleaning, replacing defective components, and upgrading appearance.

    Refurbished smartphone acceptance model for the Asian region
    (Japan, Singapore, & Indonesia)

    We are developing and testing a model that investigates the effect of consumer characteristics on refurbished smartphone acceptance for Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia.

    LCA for renewable energy generation

    Using IDEA, we predict the reduction potential of CO2 emission per 1kWh of renewable energy power generation (solar, wind, wave, tidal, OTEC) resulting from changes in future power supply composition.

    The reduction ratio of CO2 emissions from electric power generation was 50% in 2030 and 94% in 2050, compared to 2013. The uses of silicon in PV and titanium in OTEC had large effects on CO2 reduction potential due to a large portion of electricity embedded in their related processes.

    Evaluation of Technologies for Utilization of Biomass

    We are evaluating how the changes anticipated if manufacture of “bio-based” products using woody biomass is widely introduced in society might ripple out to the industry while understanding the environmental and socio-economic influences from the aspect of sustainability.

    Life cycle analysis of innovative biomass utilization technologies

    Lifecycle assessment of emerging technology

    We develop a methodology to evaluate the cost/environmental impacts of emerging technology under R&D phase based on the process data from laboratory with considering scale effect.

    Our methodology can make it possible to compare the cost/environmental impacts of emerging technology with those of conventional technologies manufactured by large facilities.

    Also, it can reveal the future research issue of emerging technology to reduce the cost/environmental impacts for large scale production.

    GHG impact of thin-film SOFC electrolytes
    (K. Kawajiri, T. Inoue, J. Cleaner Production, 2016, pp. 4065-4070.)

    Innovative Design of Experiment

    An objective of engineering research is usually to explore the optimum operating conditions (inputs) for the multiple-objectives such as quality or cost of products. The innovative design of experiment is developed by combining a framework of design of experiment and multiple methods of artificial intelligence to optimize such a multiple-inputs and multiple-objective system using minimum experimental dataset easily.

    Optimization of design of artificial heart (mechanical circulatory support devices)
    (Modified from Fig. 2 on page 98 in the proceedings of the 122th Symposium of the Japanese Society for Quality Control)

    Identifying the roadblocks toward a decarbonized future

    The transition to a decarbonized society not only requires development of the technologies (cf. Thermal insulation of buildings, Renewables, EV, etc.), but also the techniques and know-hows, for quicker and smoother deployment. We are helping the identification of the roadblocks such as misinformation, lack of human resources/financing, for realizing wider acceptance and bigger benefits for communities and societies.

    With the electrification of various sectors such as transport and industrial sectors, the share of PV power in the global energy consumption can be vastly extended, allowing for smoother and quicker decarbonization.