International Industrial Ecology Day 2022
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (PST) - 25 Years of Impact: Part II – Reflections of Journal of Industrial Ecology Authors (19:00 UTC)
Join the session by clicking the Zoom link here
Zoom meeting ID: 9829 9395 370
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Industrial Ecology, the JIE is publishing a virtual special issue containing 25 important articles published over the course of the journal’s history. Authors of several of the papers in the special issue will discuss the genesis of their article, its import, what sort of research evolved from the paper. and any impact it had. The presentation by the authors will be followed by a panel discussion about the articles, and the JIE more generally. The session and the panel will be moderated by Reid Lifset, Founding Editor of the JIE.
Organizers and session chair: This session is organized by Reid Lifset (Yale University, New Haven, USA) and Ned Gordon (ISIE). It is chaired by Reid Lifset.
Minute 0-5: Welcome by session chair and introduction to the topic
Minute 5-15: Reflections upon “The Industrial Ecology of Lead and Electric Vehicles“ (Valerie Thomas, Georgia Tech)
This presentation will reflect upon the genesis, import, research engendered, and impact of the publication of this article in the JIE. This is an abstract of the article: The lead battery has the potential to become one of the first examples of a hazardous product managed in an environmentally acceptable fashion. The tools of industrial ecology are helpful in identifying the key criteria that an ideal lead-battery recycling system must meet maximal recovery of batteries after use, minimal export of used batteries to countries where environmental controls are weak, minimal impact on the health of communities near lead-processing facilities, and maximal worker protection from lead exposure in these facilities. A well-known risk analysis of electric vehicles is misguided, because it treats lead batteries and lead additives in gasoline on the same footing and implies that the lead battery should be abandoned. The use of lead additives in gasoline is a dissipative use where emissions cannot be confined: the goal of management should be and has been to phase out this use. The use of lead in batteries is a recyclable use, because the lead remains confined during cycles of discharge and recharge. Here, the goal should be clean recycling. The likelihood that the lead battery will provide peaking power for several kinds of hybrid vehicles-a role only recently identified increases the importance of understanding the levels of performance achieved and achievable in battery recycling. A management system closely approaching clean recycling should be achievable. Article DOI: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1162/jiec.1922.214.171.124
Minute 15-25: Reflections upon “Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles“ (Troy Hawkins, Argonne National Laboratory)
This presentation will reflect upon the genesis, import, research engendered, and impact of the publication of this article in the JIE. This is an abstract of the article: Electric vehicles (EVs) coupled with low-carbon electricity sources offer the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and exposure to tailpipe emissions from personal transportation. In considering these benefits, it is important to address concerns of problem-shifting. In addition, while many studies have focused on the use phase in comparing transportation options, vehicle production is also significant when comparing conventional and EVs. We develop and provide a transparent life cycle inventory of conventional and electric vehicles and apply our inventory to assess conventional and EVs over a range of impact categories. We find that EVs powered by the present European electricity mix offer a 10% to 24% decrease in global warming potential (GWP) relative to conventional diesel or gasoline vehicles assuming lifetimes of 150,000 km. However, EVs exhibit the potential for significant increases in human toxicity, freshwater eco-toxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and metal depletion impacts, largely emanating from the vehicle supply chain. Results are sensitive to assumptions regarding electricity source, use phase energy consumption, vehicle lifetime, and battery replacement schedules. Because production impacts are more significant for EVs than conventional vehicles, assuming a vehicle lifetime of 200,000 km exaggerates the GWP benefits of EVs to 27% to 29% relative to gasoline vehicles or 17% to 20% relative to diesel. An assumption of 100,000 km decreases the benefit of EVs to 9% to 14% with respect to gasoline vehicles and results in impacts indistinguishable from those of a diesel vehicle. Improving the environmental profile of EVs requires engagement around reducing vehicle production supply chain impacts and promoting clean electricity sources in decision making regarding electricity infrastructure. Article DOI: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00532.x
Minute 25-35: Reflections upon “Life Cycle Assessment of Emerging Technologies: Evaluation Techniques at Different Stages of Market and Technical Maturity” (Joule Bergerson, University of Calgary)
This presentation will reflect upon the genesis, import, research engendered, and impact of the publication of this article in the JIE. This is an abstract of the article: Life cycle assessment (LCA) analysts are increasingly being asked to conduct life cycle-based systems level analysis at the earliest stages of technology development. While early assessments provide the greatest opportunity to influence design and ultimately environmental performance, it is the stage with the least available data, greatest uncertainty, and a paucity of analytic tools for addressing these challenges. While the fundamental approach to conducting an LCA of emerging technologies is akin to that of LCA of existing technologies, emerging technologies pose additional challenges. In this paper, we present a broad set of market and technology characteristics that typically influence an LCA of emerging technologies and identify questions that researchers must address to account for the most important aspects of the systems they are studying. The paper presents: (a) guidance to identify the specific technology characteristics and dynamic market context that are most relevant and unique to a particular study, (b) an overview of the challenges faced by early stage assessments that are unique because of these conditions, (c) questions that researchers should ask themselves for such a study to be conducted, and (d) illustrative examples from the transportation sector to demonstrate the factors to consider when conducting LCAs of emerging technologies. The paper is intended to be used as an organizing platform to synthesize existing methods, procedures and insights and guide researchers, analysts and technology developer to better recognize key study design elements and to manage expectations of study outcomes. Article DOI: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jiec.12954
Minute 35-45: Reflections upon “The Evolution of Consumer Electronic Waste in the United States” (Callie Babbitt, Rochester Institute of Technology)
This presentation will reflect upon the genesis, import, research engendered, and impact of the publication of this article in the JIE. This is an abstract of the article: Technological innovation has transformed the role of electronics in education, work, and society. However, rapid adoption and obsolescence of consumer electronics has also led to new concerns about resource consumption and waste management. Past research to address these sustainability challenges has been constrained by data that do not reflect nascent trends in product evolution and consumer adoption, thereby limiting the ability to create and assess proactive solutions. This study presents a dynamic analysis of electronic waste (e-waste) in the United States using material flow analysis and highly resolved electronic product sales and material composition data. Findings contradict expectations that e-waste is growing with mobile device proliferation, instead showing that the total mass of the e-waste stream is actually declining (10% decrease since the estimated peak in 2015) with phase-out of large, legacy products like cathode ray tube TVs. The evolving material profile of consumer electronics being purchased and disposed sees reduced risks of e-waste toxicity from hazards like lead and mercury, but greater risks from reliance on scarce metals and product designs that limit recycling. This study highlights concerns that extended producer responsibility regulations currently implemented in many U.S. states for e-waste management may become less effective if they continue to rely only on mass-based collection targets. Article DOI: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jiec.13074
Minute 45-60: Panel Discussion on 25 years of the JIE