MO.1.A || Life Cycle Approaches in the Raw Materials Sector

Penaherrera, Fernando; Pehlken, Alexandra; Koch, Bjoern

The pressure on critical raw materials in the economy has dramatically increased during the last century. There are several methodologies to assess the impact of material use and benefits of material recycling, such as Life Cycle Assessment or Material Flow Analysis. However, criticality is mainly overlooked in these assessments. In this presentation, we propose a set of indicators that incorporate material criticality, as per the EU definition, in assessing material resource consumption impacts. For developing the indicators, the values of Supply Risk and Economic Importance are combined with the specific indicators for Abiotic Depletion of Materials into “Criticality Weighted Abiotic Depletion of Materials”. As validation, Life Cycle Assessment is used to apply this set of indicators to calculate the use impact of use of critical materials of components in real life. The results of the indicators allow measuring which components have a high demand of critical materials for their production and show which of them have high potential for material recovery. Additionally, by normalizing the results, the indicators show equivalent criticality of the assessed product, a direct measure of critical material content intensity. The incorporation of this criticality indicator is limited by the amount of information required for their development, and by regional differences in the definitions and evaluation of criticality. The application of this indicator allows assessing the total resource consumption of critical materials in a system, comparing critical material consumption of products, analyzing potentials for recovery of critical material of products, and mapping the potential supply of secondary critical raw materials from EU stocks.