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Combining life cycle assessment and qualitative risk assessment: The case study of alumina nanofluid production

TitleCombining life cycle assessment and qualitative risk assessment: The case study of alumina nanofluid production
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBarberio, Grazia, Scalbi S., Buttol P., Masoni Paolo, and Righi S.
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Keywordsacidification, aluminum oxide, article, carcinogen, Chemical industry, Conservation of Natural Resources, ecotoxicity, Environmental impact, Environmental monitoring, environmental protection, Eutrophication, greenhouse effect, Ionizing radiation, Land use, life cycle assessment, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Nano-alumina, Nanofabrication, nanofluid, Nanofluids, Nanomaterial, nanopowder, Nanostructured materials, Nanotoxicology, Nitrification, occupational exposure, occupational hazard, ozone depletion, photooxidation, procedures, Qualitative risk assessment, Risk assessment, unclassified drug

In this paper the authors propose a framework for combining life cycle assessment (LCA) and Risk Assessment (RA) to support the sustainability assessment of emerging technologies. This proposal includes four steps of analysis: technological system definition; data collection; risk evaluation and impacts quantification; results interpretation. This scheme has been applied to a case study of nanofluid alumina production in two different pilot lines, "single-stage" and "two-stage". The study has been developed in the NanoHex project (enhanced nano-fluid heat exchange). Goals of the study were analyzing the hotspots and highlighting possible trade-off between the results of LCA, which identifies the processes having the best environmental performance, and the results of RA, which identifies the scenarios having the highest risk for workers. Indeed, due to lack of data about exposure limits, exposure-dose relationships and toxicity of alumina nanopowders (NPs) and nanofluids (NF), the workplace exposure has been evaluated by means of qualitative risk assessment, using Stoffenmanager Nano. Though having different aims, LCA and RA have a complementary role in the description of impacts of products/substances/technologies. Their combined use can overcome limits of each of them and allows a wider vision of the problems to better support the decision making process. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


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Citation KeyBarberio2014122