New technologies carry both the promise of improvement of human welfare and the threat of undesired environmental consequences. Applying life cycle assessment (LCA) early in the development of technologies – when still at lab or pilot scale – provides valuable insights about how to prioritize research activities and to potentially avoid damage to the environment.
Existing LCA methods, standards, and guidelines, however, focus on the evaluation of products or processes that are already commercially established.
Life Cycle Assessment for Emerging Technologies, a special issue of Yale's Journal of Industrial Ecology, addresses this gap with cutting edge research that advances methods, tests new approaches against emerging technologies, and assesses novel technologies for transportation, infrastructure, energy and materials.
Articles are freely downloadable at http://bit.ly/JIE-LCA-tech