“Our goal is to support a process development that leads to products and processes which cause as few negative social impacts as possible and which fit into a circular economy of the future” – Interview with NOVA-Institut
What is the role of NOVA in CATCO2NVERS?
Nova-Institut is one of two partners in the consortium that are in charge of sustainability assessments. nova is responsible for assessing social impacts and aspects of circularity. Our goal is to support a process development that leads to products and processes which cause as few negative social impacts as possible and which fit into a circular economy of the future. We do that by constantly conducting small hot-spot analyses of the different development steps and answer the question of what this development would mean with regards to social and circularity aspects. Finally, we also conduct a comprehensive analysis in order to validate the project developments from a sustainability point of view.
Why is it important to dedicate a specific work package for sustainability and circularity assessments?
Sustainability is one of the leading principles in most projects, also in CATCO2NVERS. But new processes or products are not per se more sustainable than traditional ones. There is a risk of only shifting the burdens of production to other parts of the value chain, other economic players, or other environmental compartments, instead of improving overall sustainability and reduce impacts.
Technology developers know a lot about production processes, materials, qualities, and monetary considerations, but in many cases, sustainability considerations are a bit lower on the agenda. Therefore, it is important to have one work package dedicated to sustainability.
What do sustainability assessments consist of?
There are plenty of different assessment methods available. The most recognized one for ecological aspects is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). For economic aspects, Techno-economic Assessment (TEA) or Life Cycle Costing can be used. For social impacts, there is Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) available, among others. Most of the available assessment methods start with modeling the whole life cycle of the analyzed product. That is from growth or extraction of resources to End-of-Life, covering manufacturing, transport, and the use phase. Based on all the derived material and energy flows, locations, and other measures of the so-called life cycle, the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the value chain will be assessed.