Integrated assessment of the indirect environmental consequences of increasing materials circularity in multi-regional industrial symbioses
- PhD candidate : Jean-Martin Lessard, CPI, M. Sc. A. -
Friday, 2023.11.24 9:30AM
Local C1-3114, Faculty of Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
This thesis presents a novel method for integrated economic-environmental assessment, allowing for the anticipation of the spatial and temporal trajectories of indirect environmental consequences of material circularity strategies.
This method combines consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA), a time-series, multi-regional and multi-industry economic optimization Material-Product chain model, and a Monte Carlo simulation module for global sensitivity analyses based on variance. Its application to circular transitions in the cement industry in North America and the glass industry in Quebec reveals significantly unequal marginal environmental impacts among regions. Winners and losers emerge due to the uneven distribution of secondary materials, market dynamics, and significant disruptions in trade.
This research contributes to enhancing the reliability and validity of ex-ante environmental assessments based on CLCA in the context of the transition to a large-scale circular economy.
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Graduate program : Civil Engineering
This research project aims to:
Comprehensively and robustly study the indirect environmental consequences over space and time of circular transitions, specifically in the cement industry in North America and the glass industry in Quebec.
Develop an integrated economic-environmental assessment method, combining consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA), a time-series, multi-regional and multi-industry economic optimization Material-Product chain model, and a Monte Carlo simulation module for global sensitivity analyses.
Formulate guidelines to enhance the reliability of CLCA by conducting global sensitivity analyses in the integrated model.
Results of this research project:
Reveal significantly unintended positive and negative marginal environmental consequences among regions caused by the increase in material circularity on a large scale. This is due to the uneven distribution of secondary materials according to the regional contexts concerned, and to the significant reorganization of the multilateral supply and demand for raw and secondary materials.
Underscore the importance of understanding market dynamics to anticipate regional trade-offs, maximize the benefits of material circularity within industrial symbioses, and reduce negative externalities.
Highlight the substantial influence of uncertainties on the variables and assumptions determining levels of supply and demand for raw and secondary materials, as well as horizontal competition within multi-regional industrial symbioses.
Pr. William WILSON, Dept. of Civil and Building Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, CA
Pr. Guillaume MAJEAU-BETTEZ, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal, CA
Martin VACHON, R&D Director, MAPEI Canada, CA
Pr. Ben AMOR, Dept. of Civil and Building Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, CA
Pr. Arezki TAGNIT-HAMOU, Dept. of Civil and Building Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, CA
Pr. Guillaume HABERT, Dept. of Civil, Env. and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zürich, Suisse
Acknowledgments are extended to the organizations and institutions that provided funding for this research. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is thanked for its essential financial support through the project [ESD3-504496-2017]. The SAQ Chair in Glass Valorization in Materials (CVVM) and LIRIDE are also appreciated for their financial contributions.