The life cycle Sustainability Assessment methods developed within PROSUITE were applied to four technology cases with close consultation of the stakeholders involved. The chosen cases are biorefineries, nanotechnology, information technologies, and carbon storage and sequestration. These four emergent technologies are potentially pervasive (can be implemented on a large scale), render products or services with medium to high value added, involve innovative industrial processes, and can greatly affect several economic sectors.
The purpose of applying the PROSUITE model development to these case studies was to provide a proof of concept, to give feedback to the methods developers and to provide decision support concerning the four technologies assessed.
For an overview of all four technology and associated case studies click on PROSUITE Case studies at a glance.
Find out about our four technology case studies and their final sustainability impact assessment by clicking on the active links (next to each picture).
Biorefineries aim at finding sustainable valorization pathways for biomass feedstock. Because of the rich nature of biomass however, the options of processing routes and of final markets are almost endless. Therefore sustainability assessments are key in the development of this sector.
Nanotechnology is considered a major means of assisting environmental protection, avoiding increasing health care expenses, improving medical treatments, as well as coping with energy and resource limitations. However, emissions of nanoparticles may also be associated with environmental risks and adverse health effects. Therefore, it has been suggested that prospective environmental assessments should be performed in order to evaluate the potential merits and shortcomings of nano-products in an early stage of their development.
Mobile communications devices are an interesting case study for sustainability. Introduced only a few years ago to the mass market, their sales are increasing at an accelerating rate. At the same time the technology is undergoing rapid development and the consumers are learning to use them through services and applications. The aim of this study was to study the possible sustainability issues of the emerging technology using the PROSUITE methodology. The study focused on smartphones and their associated products system (including devices, accessories, networks and internet data transfer.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is increasingly gaining attention as a strategy for the abatement of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CCS includes the capture of CO2 emissions from electricity generation plants and/or industrial processes, transport (by pipeline or ships) and sequestration in storage sites such as deep aquifers or depleted oil and gas fields. As a novel technology, CCS is an ideal case study for testing the Prosuite methodology.