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July 1, 2022

Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment: A Review of Research for Temporal Variations in Life Cycle Assessment Studies

Su, Shu; Li, Xiaodong; Zhu, Chen; Lu, Yujie; Lee, Hyun Woo. (2021). Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment: A Review of Research for Temporal Variations in Life Cycle Assessment Studies. Environmental Engineering Science, 38(11), 1013 – 1026.

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Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a comprehensive and important environmental management tool around the world. However, lacking temporal information has been a major challenge. In the past decade, dynamic LCA (DLCA), which incorporates temporal variations into assessment, has been an emerging research topic with increasing publications. A timely comprehensive review is needed to present current progress and discuss future directions. This article reviews 144 DLCA articles quantitatively and qualitatively. A bibliometric approach is adopted to conduct co-occurrence analysis and cluster analysis of DLCA studies. The research progress, approaches, and limitations of three temporal variation types (i.e., dynamic life cycle inventory, dynamic characterization factors, and dynamic weighting factors) in DLCA studies are systematically analyzed and discussed. It is concluded that: (1) dynamic inventory analysis is usually conducted by collecting time-differentiated data at each time step. Field monitoring, simulation, scenario analysis, and prediction based on historical data are common approaches. (2) Dynamic characterization studies primarily focus on two impact categories: global warming and toxicity. More studies are in need. (3) Various methods and indicators (i.e., dynamic pollution damage cost, temporal environmental policy targets, and discount rates) are used to solve the dynamic weighting issue, and they have specific limitations. Finally, three interesting topics are discussed: comparison between dynamic and static results, the large data amount issue, and the trend of tools development. This review offers a holistic view on temporal variations in DLCA studies and provides reference and directions for future dynamic studies.


Literature Reviews; Cluster Analysis (statistics); Global Warming; Environmental Management; Discount Prices; Emission Inventories; Dynamic Characterization; Dynamic Inventory Analysis; Dynamic Weighting; Environmental Impact; Life Cycle Assessment; Temporal Variation; Cluster Analysis; Life Cycle; 'current; Dynamic Inventory Analyse; Dynamic Lca; Environmental Management Tool; Inventory Analysis; Research Topics; Temporal Information; Dependent Climate Impact; Greenhouse-gas Emission; Biogenic Carbon; Assessment Framework; Fresh-water; Electricity-generation; Energy Efficiency; Wheat Production; Embodied Energy; Time