MO.3.B || Prospective Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Energy Technologies

Brand, Urte; Gomez Trillos, Juan Camilo; Lütkehaus, Hauke; Papantoni, Veatriki; Tippe, Mareike; Pade, Christian; Oswald, Matthias; Vogt, Thomas

This contribution is intended to serve as an impulse presentation for the session “Prospective Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Energy Technologies”, which we are co-chairing with Dr. Iribarren: The energy transition and associated objectives such as climate change mitigation, economic efficiency, social acceptance and security of supply require technologies that are sustainable. With the help of a Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA), such a holistic evaluation of energy technologies can be carried out. This in itself is very complex, since criteria of the different sustainability dimensions have to be collected and integrated to form an overall picture. However, LCSA often only considers the current development status of technologies and not their potential future developments. Particularly in the case of innovations that are still at the beginning of their market ramp-up, for example, possible improvements in energetic efficiency or costs due to economies of scale can be expected in the future. In addition, negative effects such as resource constraints can also intensify in the course of technology development, which can significantly change the initial LCSA results. An early consideration of future developments of technologies in the context of so-called prospective LCSAs is therefore highly relevant, but also of high complexity and associated with uncertainties. We evaluated how this complex topic of prospectivity has been dealt with in the LCSA community so far by conducting a literature review of more than 150 journal articles in the publication period from 1970 to 2020. Thus, we compiled the following results with focus on LCSA of energy technologies, which we would like to present in this contribution: – Various Understanding(s) of prospectivity in the context of LCSA – Commonly used prospective methods and types of data applied – Recommendations for the application of prospective LCSAs – Research gaps and potentials for further development