Life Cycle Assessment
Our core capabilities
Our research takes a systems-based approach to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to address key questions underpinning the development of sustainable production and consumption systems for agricultural and horticultural commodities. Some areas of our expertise are as follows:
- Quantification of resource use and environmental emissions arising from agricultural and horticultural commodity production in Life Cycle Inventories (LCI). This includes fossil energy use and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the so-called "carbon footprint", but agriculture really has a carbon-nitrogen footprint.
- Production of system models that enable alternative production options to be compared.
- Delivery of accessible models that enable the models and results to be examined in detail.
- Adrian Williams: life cycle assessment (LCA), greenhouse gases, agriculture, food, environment, systems, analysis, carbon footprint.
- Eric Audsley: mathematical modelling, operational research, agriculture, environment, systems, analysis, land-use.
- Daniel Sandars: agriculture, environment, modelling, operational research, policy analysis, decision analysis, linear programming, LCA
- Kerry Pearn: mathematical modelling, operational research, agriculture, environment, systems, analysis, land-use.
- Julia Chatterton: LCA, mathematical modelling, agriculture, environment, water footprint, uncertainty, land use/change, food, systems, analysis.
The Agricultural Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Research Platform seeks to improve the accuracy and resolution of our GHG Inventory reporting system with better emission factors and data on changing farming practices in the UK. Cranfield’s focus is in system modelling and fulfilling the role of science director.
David Parsons, Julia Chatteron
A project to measure the value of university research in reducing the carbon footprint of others.
A methodology for assessing the environmental, economic and social characteristics of (organic and non-organic) farming systems, OF0386: 2009 - 2012
This project extends the role of LCA by supplementing the analyses with additional ecosystem service, economic and social indicators. The Cranfield systems-LCA is at the core of the modelling.
The environmental burdens of importing or home producing seven crop and animal commodities were compared using LCA. Any remaining illusions about the validity of the “Food Miles” concept were vanquished.
An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system and the scope for reduction by 2050. Quantifying current GHG emissions from UK food systems, taking into account emissions from land use change and exploring a range of scenarios for achieving a 70% cut in food related greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy use and GHG emissions from roses imported to the UK were compared and found larger from the relatively nearby, but artificially heated and lit Dutch ones. Production system rather than distance determine the difference.
Determining the environmental burdens and resource use in the production of agricultural and horticultural commodities, using a model-based LCI approach to accurately predict the effect of alternative systems of production.
This Concerted Action was set up to investigate how LCA may be applied to agricultural production and to harmonise the approaches of a number of EU groups using three alternative methods of growing wheat as case studies. Click the title or here to download further information and reports. NOTE: The pdf was created in 2003 but is identical to the printed report produced in 1997.
- Agriculture and forestry systems modelling
- Economics and Policy
- Ecosystem services and well-being
- Evidence and uncertainty
- Emerging technologies
- Horizon scanning and futures
- Life cycle assessment
- Integrated landscape management
- Reliability engineering
- Strategic risk appraisal