Life cycle sustainability assessment in the energy sector

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Environmental assessment based upon the principle of life cycle thinking is well established, encompassing the impacts of a product or process from “cradle-to-gate” or “cradle-to-grave.” However, life cycle assessment (LCA) only assesses environmental impacts, while sustainability is a holistic concept spanning the environment, economy, and society. An increasing body of research tackles this via the more comprehensive approach of life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) which typically incorporates the use of techniques methodologically similar to LCA, such as social life cycle assessment (SLCA) and life cycle costing (LCC).

These techniques have already been deployed widely in the energy sector at the technology level and the national level, in the present day and within future scenario analysis. This chapter uses a range of examples to illustrate the application of LCSA in the energy sector, its benefits and limitations, and how it can provide valuable insight for policy makers, industry, and the public.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiofuels for a more sustainable future
Subtitle of host publicationlife cycle sustainability assessment and multi-criteria decision making
EditorsJingzheng Ren, Antonio Scipioni, Alessandro Manzardo, Hanwei Liang
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages49
ISBN (Electronic)9780128155820
ISBN (Print)9780128155813
Publication statusPublished - 2020