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  • The University Of Southern Queensland

    Faculty of Engineering and Surveying

    Life Cycle Assessment of the Production of Raw Milk

    A dissertation submitted by

    Simon Thomas Charles ORPHANT

    In fulfilment of the requirements of

    Courses ENG4111 and ENG4112 Research Project

    Towards the degree of

    Bachelor of Engineering (Agricultural)

    Submitted: October, 2004

  • I

    Abstract

    The environmental impacts and the sustainable development of agricultural activities

    have been identified as a significant national issue. This has led to many techniques in

    quantifying the impact of agricultural activities on the surrounding environment. One

    such technique used is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This project presents an initial

    assessment of the life cycle environmental impacts of a simple dairy farm in Southeast

    Queensland, Australia, using the most appropriate software (SimaPro5.1).

    Recently, the perception of environmental management has shifted away from the

    prescriptive approach of fixing a problem after it has occurred. This change in attitude

    has led to the development of the preventative approach. This involves stoping the

    system before it causes impact. LCA has been created for the specific application of

    testing and comparing systems to find the best outcome for the environment. The

    methodology involves four steps: Defining the Goal and Scope of the Assessment, Life

    Cycle Inventory Analysis, Life Cycle Impact Assessment and Life Cycle Interpretation.

    PRé Consultants based in the Netherlands produced the Life Cycle Assessment software

    SimaPro5.1. The assessment program was originally used for assessing and comparing

    industrial systems. In the late 90’s SimaPro was adapted for the use on agricultural

    systems. This has led to much research into the agricultural industries in Australia.

    Most research has found the need for updated Australian databases in the program so

    that results are quantified with respect to Australia.

    The scope of this project was only looking at the effects of the agricultural system.

    Thus, the model was setup to show the effects of producing one litre of milk at the farm

    gate. Results have indicated that the major impacts to the environment occur during the

    pasture production phase. The impact during the pasture production phase is largely

    due to the usage of fertilizers and the irrigation pump being driven by electricity. Other

    substantial impacts in the system were the environmental impact to climate change

    produced by methane outputs from the cow.

  • II

    University of Southern Queensland

    Faculty of Engineering and Surveying

    ENG4111 & ENG4112 Research Project

    Limitations of Use The Council of the University of Southern Queensland, its Faculty of Engineering and Surveying, and the staff of the University of Southern Queensland, do not accept any responsibility for the truth, accuracy or completeness of material contained within or associated with this dissertation. Persons using all or any part of this material do so at their own risk, and not at the risk of the Council of the University of Southern Queensland, its Faculty of Engineering and Surveying or the staff of the University of Southern Queensland. This dissertation reports an educational exercise and has no purpose or validity beyond this exercise. The sole purpose of the course pair entitled "Research Project" is to contribute to the overall education within the student’s chosen degree program. This document, the associated hardware, software, drawings, and other material set out in the associated appendices should not be used for any other purpose: if they are so used, it is entirely at the risk of the user. Prof G Baker Dean Faculty of Engineering and Surveying

  • III

    Certification I certify that the ideas, designs and experimental work, results, analyses and conclusions

    set out in this dissertation are entirely my own effort, except where otherwise indicated

    and acknowledged.

    I further certify that the work is original and has not been previously submitted for

    assessment in any other course or institution, except where specifically stated.

    Simon Thomas Charles ORPHANT

    Student Number: q11215630

    ____________________________ Signature ____________________________ Date

  • IV

    Acknowledgements

    I would like to thank Dr. Guangnan Chen for his assistance, guidance, encouragement

    and especially his enthusiasm in the topic through to completion of this project.

    I would also like to acknowledge the support and assistance in gathering data of the

    Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries Mutdapily Research Station that has been

    tremendous throughout this project. The particular assistance from Sarah Kenman and

    Robert Chataway has been greatly appreciated.

    I would also like to acknowledge the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying of the

    University of Southern Queensland. The faculties help with acquiring an extended

    licence for the Life Cycle Assessment software has been greatly appreciated.

  • V

    Table of Contents

    Abstract I

    Disclaimer II

    Certification III

    Acknowledgements IV

    Table of Contents V

    List of Appendices VII

    List of Figures VII

    List of Tables VIII

    List of Plates VIII

    1. Introduction………………………………………………………. 1

    2. Background……………………………………………………….. 4

    2.1. Milk Industry 5

    2.2. Life Cycle Assessment 9

    2.3. Literature Review 12

    2.3.1. Benefits of LCA 12

    2.3.2. Current Research 14

    2.3.3. Current Research Gaps 15

    3. Research Methodology…………………………………………… 17

    3.1. Objectives & Methodology 18

    3.2. Life Cycle Assessment Methodology 19

    3.2.1. Goal & Scope Definition 20

  • VI

    3.2.2. Life Cycle Inventory 21

    3.2.3. Life Cycle Impact Assessment 22

    3.2.4. Life Cycle Interpretation 25

    4. Life Cycle Analysis……………………………………………….. 27

    4.1. Goal & Scope Definition 28

    4.2. Life Cycle Inventory 31

    5. Life Cycle Impact Assessment…………………………………… 36

    5.1. Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Pasture Production 38

    5.2. Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Cow 41

    5.3. Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Raw Milk 44

    6. Life Cycle Interpretation and Recommendations……………… 49

    6.1. Life Cycle Interpretation of Pasture Production 50

    6.2. Life Cycle Interpretation of the Cow 52

    6.3. Life Cycle Interpretation of Raw Milk Production 52

    6.4. Sensitivity Analysis 54

    6.5. Recommendations 55

    7. Conclusions……………………………………………………….. 58

    7.1. Conclusions 59

    7.2. Future Work 61

    8. List of References………………………………………………… 63

  • VII

    List of Appendices

    Appendix A – Project Specification 65

    Appendix B – Timeline for Project Completion 67

    Appendix C – Simon’s Tips to Learn SimaPro5.1 69

    Appendix D – Data Given and Manipulations Required 73

    Appendix E – LCIA of Pasture Production 76

    Appendix F – LCIA of the Cow “Pasture to Milk” 82

    Appendix G – LCIA of Raw Milk Production 87

    Appendix H – Sensitivity Analysis 95

    List of Figures

    Figure 2.1: The Digestive System of a Dairy Cow 6

    Figure 2.2: Concentrations of Dairy Farms in Australia 8

    Figure 2.3: Life Cycle Assessment Methodology 11

    Figure 2.4: Assessment of Milk Powder Production 15

    Figure 3.1: Modified LCA structure from ISO 1997a 20

    Figure 3.2: Structure of the Life Cycle Impact Assessment 23

    Figure 5.1: Flowchart of LCA of Raw Milk Production 37

    Figure 5.2: Flowchart of Pasture Production 39

    Figure 5.3: Single Score of Pasture Production 40

    Figure 5.4: Normalisation of Pasture Production 40

    Figure 5.5: Characterisation of Pasture Production 41

    Figure 5.6: Single Score of Cow Phase 42

    Figure 5.7: Normalisation of Cow Phase 43

    Figure 5.8: Characterisation of Cow Phase 43

    Figure 5.9: Single Score of Raw Milk Production 44

  • VIII

    Figure 5.10: Normalisation of Raw Milk Production 45

    Figure 5.11: Characterisation of Raw Milk Production 46

    Figure 5.12: Raw Milk Production Single Score Process Contribution 47

    Figure 5.13: Raw Milk Production Fossil Fuels Process Contribution 47

    Figure 5.14: Raw Milk Production Climate Change Process Contribution 48

    Figure 6.1: Single Score of Pasture Production using Different 54

    Electricity Source

    Figure 6.2: Characterisation of Pasture Production using Different 55

    Electricity Source

    List of Tables

    Table 2.1: Figures on the Dairy