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Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11462-11483; doi:10.3390/su70911462

Assessing the Environmental Impact of Flax Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite from a Consequential Life Cycle Assessment Perspective

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
2
National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy, Shenhua NICE, Future Science & Technology Park, Changping District, Beijing 102209, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 3 August 2015 / Accepted: 5 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
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Abstract

The study implements the consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA) to provide a market based perspective on how overall environmental impact will change when shifting glass fibres to flax fibres as reinforcements in composite fabrication. With certain assumptions, the marginal flax fibre supply is identified to be a combination of Chinese flax fibre (70%) and French flax fibre (30%). Due to inferior cultivars and coal-fired electricity in Chinese flax cultivation, the CLCA study reveals that flax mat-PP has 0.8–2 times higher environmental impact values than the glass mat-PP in most environmental impact categories over the production and end-of-life (EoL) phases. For purpose of providing potential trajectories of marginal flax fibre supply, additional scenarios: the “all French fibre”, and “all Chinese fibre” are evaluated formulating the lower and upper boundaries in terms of environmental impact change, respectively. A “the attributional fibre supply mix” scenario is supplied as well. All of these scenarios are useful for policy analysis. View Full-Text
Keywords: flax fibre; glass fibre; composite; consequential life cycle assessment flax fibre; glass fibre; composite; consequential life cycle assessment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Deng, Y.; Tian, Y. Assessing the Environmental Impact of Flax Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite from a Consequential Life Cycle Assessment Perspective. Sustainability 2015, 7, 11462-11483.

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