Comparison of Different Chemical Processes from a Life Cycle Perspective
Chemical Engineering Transactions
Life Cycle Assessment methodology was applied to the industrial sector, with the aim to evaluate the environmental sustainability of different chemical processes. In particular, the ammoxidation reaction to produce acrylonitrile was chosen as a case study, comparing the environmental loads of the traditional process (SOHIO) with the alternative routes starting from propane on the base of the same amount of acrylonitrile produced (1 kg). Information reported on patents, and data collected on
... ta collected on Ecoinvent 2.2 database were used to create each ammoxidation scenario in SimaPro 7.3.3 software. The system boundaries of the study include the main production stages on industrial scale: reaction flows, heat exchange, raw materials for catalyst manufacture, the main plant emissions and transportation phase. The comparison was carried out using ReCiPe 2008 method, expressing results in terms of midpoint impact categories, as: climate change (both damage on human health and on ecosystem), particulate matter formation, fossil fuel depletion and metal depletion. Results show how the alternative routes starting from propane seem to have higher potential impact than the traditional SOHIO process, due to the lower catalysts activity. Also, to quantify the environmental load of ammoxidation processes a comparison with other common chemical industrial productions was done. This simplified approach is able to show the environmental impacts of the ammoxidation scenarios in a broader industrial context.