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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Life Cycle Assessment and Decarbonisation
Module Code MM322
School School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Greg McNamara
Semester 2: Greg McNamara
Autumn: Greg McNamara
Module TeachersLorna Fitzsimons
Greg McNamara
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is widely accepted as the gold standard of holistic environmental impact analysis tools. The LCA methodology was developed to assess the impact that industrial practices have on ecological and biological systems by measuring lithospheric (terrestrial toxicity), hydrospheric (freshwater and marine toxicity, eutrophication), and atmospheric (global warming, acidification, ozone depletion) emissions from a given product system. Within the scope and framework of LCA practice, is the identification of carbon-intensive unit processes, or ‘hotspots’ within a system, and the potential for decarbonisation innovation. This forms a natural synergy between the LCA methodology and decarbonisation initiatives. The objective of this module is firstly to educate students on the concept of “the lifecycle” as it pertains to a product, system, or service. The students will then develop the knowledge and skills required to carry out Carbon Footprinting as part of a full LCA study of a product system. The students will become familiar with, and learn to interpret the ISO 14040 series of LCA standards. Students will develop LCA models for a given product system using LCA software, present their results and make recommendations.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the concept of life cycle thinking and its application to engineering
2. Understand and apply the LCA framework as defined by the ISO 14040 series of LCA standards
3. Compile life cycle inventories for a range of engineering product systems
4. Conduct life cycle impact assessments with suitable impact assessment methodologies
5. Conduct carbon footprinting on a range of product systems and services
6. Identify and develop decarbonisation opportunities in industrial applications
7. Apply chemical exergy analysis to quantify resource use

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture242 hour lecture per week
Laboratory24Tutorial/computer lab sessions 2 hour per week
Group work24Group work for assignment completion
Independent Study53No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Data management
Assessment of required data and quality; conducting a literature search/review; sourcing primary and secondary data; data normalisation; evaluation of LCA datasets

System modelling
Use of LCA software for development of product system models

LCA report compilation

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment50% Examination Weight50%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ProjectStudent are required to conduct an LCA and carbon footprint of a selected unit process50%Week 12
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Olivier Jolliet,Myriam Saade,Shanna Shaked,Alexandre Jolliet: 2015, Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, CRC Press, 9781439887660
  • Peter Newton,Deo Prasad,Alistair Sproul,Stephen White: 2020, Decarbonising the Built Environment, Palgrave Macmillan, 9789811379420
  • Walter Klöpffer,Birgit Grahl: 2014, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), John Wiley & Sons, 3527655646
  • Aiduan Borrion,Mairi J Black,Onesmus Mwabonje: 2021, Life Cycle Assessment: A Metric for the Circular Economy, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1839161361
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
SSEBEng in Mechanical & Sustainability Eng
SSEIBEng in Mechanical & Sustainability Eng

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