Research

overview_copy.pngThe Chemical Life Cycle Collaborative (CLiCC) tool being developed at UC Santa Barbara will be an open-access, online tool that will enable users to evaluate the life-cycle impacts of chemicals and materials at an early stage of the chemical product development process.

The tool will consist of different modules, including:

1) A chemical process design module that will estimate the range of material and energy inputs for chemical synthesis and separation, determine the theoretical maximum selectivity (conversion efficiency), and estimate the outputs of the process (including product, by-products, and waste streams).

2) A use and end-of-life module that will estimate chemical releases from various consumer applications into the air, water, wastewater and soil. The team will build and extend on existing chemical use databases, develop algorithms to predict likely consumer uses and environmental release routes, and estimate the range of released amounts for various chemical use scenarios.

3) A fate, transport and exposure module. The emission estimates generated in the two modules above will be translated into predicted concentrations using a multimedia fate and transport model.

4) A life cycle environmental impacts module. The estimated chemical concentrations in environmental media will be translated into potential dose of the chemicals to humans and biota through various exposure routes such as inhalation, ingestion, and absorption.   Toxic impacts of chemicals will be estimated using the predicted human and ecological toxicity, as well as the exposure doses. Other environmental impacts throughout the life-cycle of a chemical and associated chemicals, such as global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, etc. will also be assessed. The team will use relevant life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods to account for such impacts.    

The results from the four modules above will provide well-defined inputs which will enable the project team to build a parametric life cycle assessment (LCA) model for a particular chemical or material, from raw materials extraction to end-of-life management. The tool will allow users to test various design choices and estimate life-cycle impacts of a particular chemical or material at an early stage of product design. The development and integration of these modules, and the implementation of the tool, will be achieved through the nine themes.