Temporally explicit abiotic depletion potential (TADP) for mineral resource use based on future demand projections

Springer Nature
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2022, 27, (7), pp. 932-943
Issue Date:
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PurposeAssessing the potential impacts (characterization) of mineral resource use in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) has long been debated. One of the most crucial challenges in the characterization models for mineral resource use is the consideration of the changing demand and availability of in-use stocks in the future, which is relevant to the global population and economy growth as well as the increasing low-carbon technologies. We propose an extended characterization model to assess the potential impacts for arbitrary time horizons, considering future demand changes and the availability of in-use stock: temporally explicit abiotic depletion potential (TADP).MethodsThe TADP was developed based on abiotic depletion potential (ADP), which is a widely used characterization model for mineral resource use. While the ADP assesses the potential impacts of mineral resource use based on a natural stock estimate and the current extraction rate, the TADP adopts an average extraction rate for arbitrary time horizons. The average extraction rate was estimated using material flow analysis considering future demand changes and recycling under the five shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). TADPs were calculated for six common metals: aluminum, copper, iron, lead, nickel, and zinc.Results and discussionAs a result of calculating TADPs for the term by 2050 (TADP2050), compared to iron, all other metals showed larger values of characterization factors for all SSPs than the original ADPs. The TADP2050 of copper exhibited the largest difference with ADP among the six metals (approximately 1.9 times), which is mainly attributed to future demand growth. On the other hand, for the longer time perspective, the TADP2100 of lead and zinc exhibited larger differences with ADP than copper (approximately 2.8 times for zinc), which is mainly due to a relatively shorter lifetime for lead and a lower recycling rate for zinc. This suggests that the relative significance of the characterizati
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