The purpose of this paper is to report on a life cycle assessment (LCA)-based ecodesign teaching practice via university-industry collaboration in an industrial engineering undergraduate course.
A new course was designed and taught in the Industrial Engineering undergraduate course of a Federal University in Brazil. The course comprised explanatory lectures and a practical project developed in a partnership between the university and an industry partner where students had to develop Ecodesign proposals based on LCA to improve the environmental profile of both solid and reticulated paint brushes. To that end, students used the LCA software tool Umberto NXT v.7.1.13 (educational version), where they modeled the life cycle of four plastic brushes and assessed it using the impact categories of climate change and resource consumption, and the Ecoinvent v.3.3 database. After course completion, students, professors and industry collaborators were asked to provide feedback on the project performance and expectations.
The course design used was welcomed by both students and the industry partner. Students found the novel approach intriguing and useful to their future careers. The results also exceeded the industry partner’s expectations, as students formulated valuable insights. Professors observed that learning was made easier, as content was put into practice and internalized more easily and solidly. The approach was found to be a win-win-win.
Students acquired a fair share of knowledge on sustainability issues and potential existing trade-offs, which is valuable to industrial practices. The industry noticed the valuable contributions that academia can provide. The university profited from providing students with a real case challenging traditional teaching methods.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the first case studies to show how LCA and ecodesign teaching practice can support sustainability learning in an industrial engineering undergraduate course.
The present paper aims to evaluate the past and future environmental performance of the electricity generation in Brazil in terms of Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Global Temperature Potential (GTP). To that end, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool was used to evaluate the system's environmental performance, based on ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, using the Ecoinvent v 3.3 database. This study provides data on global warming by the GWP and GTP 100 years impact category. The functional unit and reference flow is kWh. The model was applied to the electricity generation in Brazil for the years 2016-2026 using Umberto NXT Universal software. The results indicate that the greatest environmental impacts lie on generation sources such as oil, natural gas, hydropower and hard coal. Carbon dioxide was the main contributor to atmospheric emissions in the life cycle of the Brazilian electricity matrix in 2016 and 2026. The total potential impact (and per kWh) is expected to decrease until 2021. The Brazilian electricity matrix is expected to be less pollutant in terms of carbon footprint until 2021. The study can contribute to directing public policies, promoting development actions and encouraging different electricity matrices.
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