Laboratory for environmental analyses using LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) methods (level 2)

The primary aim of the laboratory project is to integrate the issue of the LCA method into the subconscious of our students and science staff, with the aim of involving them in scientific research activities and achieving an improvement in research and implementation of the LCA method.

At our LCA Centre at UCEU we work with SIMA Pro software for the purposes of processing environmental analyses. Sima Pro is software enabling the collection and analysis of environmental characteristics of products and services. Using this tool, the user can easily design and analyse the entire life cycle of a product in a systematic and transparent way:

Basic characteristics of LCA method

With consideration to the comprehensive approach to a product or process, LCA analysis is characterised as a cradle to the grave analysis. LCA gives a systematic framework for identification, analysis and planned reduction of negative environmental impacts in some phases of the product's life cycle. It is a very important tool for designing new products or innovations, or in improving existing products or production systems. LCA results may be significant for checking and improving production processes. The LCA method is regarded as a universal method that can be utilised for any organisation without regard to its nature or sphere of business, in terms of its objective assessment of product life cycle.

Currently the LCA method is experiencing a methodological expansion. This standardised scientific method recognised internationally is widely applied in scientific research, educational and innovative practical processes. Many European universities have included this method in their study programmes.
 
Current situation of LCA use in Slovakia.

•    The "life cycle thinking" approach, based on LCA, was mentioned under the conditions in the Slovak Republic in the Slovak waste management programme until 2005, but in the new programme up to 2010 there is no mention of this approach.
•    In the academic sphere, multiple research projects originated at universities in Košice, Zvolen, Bratislava and now also at UCEU.
•    There is at present an acute lack of information about LCA, and individual models for dealing with specific problems by using LCA in the scientific field in the Slovak Republic. The most serious one is the absence of quality data on inputs into production processes, and the quality of data on output (emissions, waste) is low.  

Situation in research on the LCA issue in Central Europe

•    In industrially developed and environmentally conscious countries, the LCA method is a commonly used tool in Management of the Environment, used to make creation and protection of the environment more efficient and to make production socially and economically acceptable.
•    Currently in Central European countries the LCA method does not have a sufficient scientific, pedagogical or awareness background developed in order for it to be utilised efficiently for environmental creation and protection and for making production cost-efficient, which is one of its main strategic targets.  
•    Our university's ambition is to contribute by this project to the intensification and development of the LCA method in the Slovak Republic.

Potential future utilisation of LCA method

•    The LCA method has a great future so it is rightly regarded as one of the most important tools for attaining sustainable development and as being the main tool of integrated product policy that is being formed. It is continuing to intensively develop with this aim; primarily further categories are being determined that it could be used for and the necessary parameters are being set for calculating negative impacts.
•    Procedures for its application are being specified, simplified and improved. Problems with the collection and processing of huge amounts of data are being dealt with. It can be expected that as the LCA method develops, its databases and the relevant software will become specified and made less expensive, so the overall efficiency of applying the method will increase quickly. Average LCA results for some materials will probably be freely available very soon.  

For more information please contact us:
 
doc. RNDr. Jozef Minďaš, PhD.
phone: +421 34 696 52 24
email: j.mindas@sevs.sk