Sustainability analysis

Ecology – Life Cycle Assessment

Capturing CO2 and using it as an alternative carbon feedstock for chemicals, fuels and materials is a promising measure to address climate change and other environmental threats. The environmental benefits of CO2-based products, however, are not guaranteed: the CO2 capture and the activation of the inert CO2 molecule represent additional energy demands, and the integration of CO2 into products may lead to complex changes within the production and utilization chain. Thus, a comprehensive environmental assessment is needed to evaluate the environmental benefits of CO2 based products, and to credibly communicate them to future customers.

Expected results

  1. Showcase how CO2-based products could contribute to a more sustainable future
  2. Improve the environmental performance of CO2-based products and technologies throughout the entire design process, from early development stages to industrial production systems
  3. Analyse the environmental potential of CO2-based products in the market


What exactly is being done?

The aim of this project is to develop methods for a comprehensive environmental assessment based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Life cycle assessment is a commonly accepted method for evaluating the environmental impacts of products. LCA takes into account the entire life cycle of a product, from the production of raw materials to the recycling or final disposal of wastes. The methods developed in this project are particularly suitable to (1) compare the environmental impacts of CO2-based products with those of already existing products, and (2) to determine the environmental impact reduction potential of introducing CO2-based products to the market.


The contribution to developing a CO2 re-use market

Life cycle sustainability is a prerequisite of a growing CO2 re-use market as the climate benefit has to be proven product by product. The project will create the fundamentals of ecology assessment for materials made from CO2 and will thus be an indispensable contribution for the decision if a product will be brought to market or not.

” I want to work for a more sustainable future based on closed-material cycles. With CO2 re-use we take an important step towards this future.” – André Bardow

Project duration

10/2014 to 12/2017


Prof. Dr. André Bardow

Project Lead, Chair of Technical Thermodynamics at RWTH Aachen University

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