With the help of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), products and processes or entire services are evaluated with regard to their environmental impact. The environmental impacts are assessed in a holistic system approach along the entire life cycle. The life cycle assessment refers to the potential impacts of raw material extraction, production, application, waste treatment, recycling up to final disposal or reuse. The focus here is on influences on the media water, air and soil. The process and product-oriented life cycle assessment is carried out in accordance with the current DIN EN ISO14040/ 44 standards.
Thanks to their experience in the ecological evaluation of new technologies and the optimization of existing processes, the researchers at Fraunhofer IWKS are able to analyze the customers' decision alternatives at an early stage of development, identify hotspots and thus point out environment-related potentials and risks. This provides customers with decision-making aids to increase sustainably and improve processes even before market entry. The research focus is on providing an up-to-date and uniform database. A specifically developed database for certain technology focal points creates strategic market advantages through information advantage. Topics include solar cells and the recycling of batteries and magnetic materials.
For the preparation of life cycle assessments we mainly work with the software openLCA as well as with various databases such as ecoinvent, ELCD, ProBas, USDA or NEEEDS. The special expertise of the research team at Fraunhofer IWKS lies in LCA of recycling systems and new (material) technologies.