In a life cycle assessment (LCA), the impacts on resources are evaluated at the area of protection (AoP) with the same name, through life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods. There are different LCIA methods available in literature that assesses abiotic resources, and the goal of this study was to propose recommendations for that impact category. We evaluated 19 different LCIA methods, through two criteria (scientific robustness and scope), divided into three assessment levels, i.e.,
resource accounting methods (RAM), midpoint, and endpoint. In order to support the assessment, we applied some LCIA methods to a case study of ethylene production. For RAM, the most suitable LCIA method was CEENE (Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment) (but SED (Solar Energy Demand) and ICEC (Industrial Cumulative Exergy Consumption)/ECEC (Ecological Cumulative Exergy Consumption) may also be recommended), while the midpoint level was ADP (Abiotic Depletion Potential), and the endpoint level was both the Recipe Endpoint and EPS2000 (Environmental Priority Strategies). We could notice that the assessment for the AoP Resources is not yet well established in the LCA community, since new LCIA methods (with different approaches) and assessment frameworks are showing up, and this trend may continue in the future.
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