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I have a simple example system which includes the following processes:

  • Fuel production
  • Electricity production
  • Lamp production
  • Lamp use
  • Lamp disposal

I'm trying to simulate what happens when:

  • 5 lamps are produced
  • 2 years of lamp use
  • 1 lamp disposal

I have created a Product System for Lamp disposal which includes all upstream processes, however I can't get more than 1 Reference Flow. Is there a way to select multiple Reference Flows with differing Target Amounts? 

in openLCA by (140 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
by (114k points)
Interesting questions, yes we foresee always one reference flow for a product system, in line with the "functional unit" concept of ISO 14040.

Lamp disposal is of course not really a benefit thus typically also not a functional unit. If you want to address the full life cycle, you could create one process that has as output: 1 life cycle lamp xyz, with inputs from production, use, disposal.

I don't understand though why you are producing 5 lamps but disposing only 1?
by (670 points)
As per my understanding, you can do whatever (mathematically) you want in an LCA study with different number of amounts as input (if not as reference flow). The important point is that all interlinks among flows/processes for providing the functional unit must make a logical sense.

In you case, the functional unit could probably be ' providing lighting service in a house for two years' and you can give 5 lamps as input, 2 years of electricity usage, and treatment by disposal for 1 lamp.

I agree with Dr. Andreas Ciroth that the production/disposal quantities of lamps seem un-intuitive, you can still get some results mathematically.