WE.3.C || Benefits of Retaining Materials and Their Quality in a Circular Economy – Case studies

Muñoz Marín, Encarnación; Cascajo, Jose Maria; Rapf, Matthias

Sustainability has become the core of the strategic policies in the EU. Eco-innovation is therefore necessary to tackle with the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable society. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has emerged as an useful methodology to assess the environmental impacts related to all stages of a product’s life, facilitating the identification of opportunities for eco-innovations. The implementation of LCA methodology relies on databases on the entire production chain of most products and services, which on the one hand is a strength because of its representativeness and reliability for most relevant processes, but on the other hand is a drawback for cutting-edge technologies due to absence of evidence-based information. So, a life cycle perspective within the innovation development process should be enriched with methodological approaches to assess Life Cycle consequences and to consider additional impact categories to those usually included in LCA databases of greatest international prestige. A strong research effort is being dedicated to decarbonisation and resource-efficient economy, and The Earth might well be at a turning point in the transition to Climate Neutral and Circular Economy. Synergies among emerging technologies, and how they create knock-on impacts elsewhere, represent a major challenge to be considered in the assessment of future scenarios, requiring to keep up with trends and emerging solutions, including disruptive energy technologies. Research on LCA novel methodological approaches for innovative projects will be complemented with its application the FlashPhos process, a R&D project granted under Horizon 2020 program with the aim to recover the Critical Raw Material white phosphorus from sewage sludge while at the same time producing renewable gaseous fuels and climate-friendly alternative cement binder as well as preventing waste generation by the recovery of iron and heavy metals concentrate.