Application of Life Cycle Assessment for Sustainability Evaluation of Transportation Fuels
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Sustainability of alternative fuels for vehicles is increasingly becoming more and more important due to an extensive use of fossil fuels, depletion of natural resources, and environmental degradation. Consequently, the producers and suppliers of goods are under increased pressure to ensure that their products are sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. However, most of the research in the field of alternative fuels has been focussed primarily on environmental life cycle assessment (ELCA) although some researchers have also studied the life cycle cost (LCC) implications. The social aspect of alternative fuels appeared to be the least addressed aspect when viewed in the context of sustainability performance of these fuels. Life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) approach which evaluates triple bottom line (TBL) objectives of sustainability is considered as an effective approach to evaluate the environmental, social and economic performance of a product or service. This study is aimed at reviewing the literature on the environmental, social and economic performance and assessment of alternative fuels. The primary objective is to develop a knowledgebase for future research and development on the application of the LCSA and TBL to assess sustainability of alternative fuels. The study also highlights the need for a holistic sustainability assessment framework that incorporates the ELCA, social life cycle assessment (SLCA) and LCC. The impact and significance of region specific frameworks that take into account local policies, socio-economic factors and climatic conditions have also been highlighted.
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