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Multi-perspective application selection: a method to identify sustainable applications for new materials using the example of cellulose nanofiber reinforced composites


Piccinno, Fabiano; Hischier, Roland; Saba, Andrew; Mitrano, Denise; Seeger, Stefan; Som, Claudia (2016). Multi-perspective application selection: a method to identify sustainable applications for new materials using the example of cellulose nanofiber reinforced composites. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112(1):1199-1210.

Abstract

To date, technical and economic criteria have become the main benchmarks used in assessing the substitution potential of new materials. Sustainable product design uses multi-criteria decision methods to select the best material or process from a set of alternatives, requiring that the target product is already known. This paper follows a contrary approach by introducing the Multi-Perspective Application Selection, a method to support researchers and industrial practitioners alike in identifying and choosing the most promising and sustainable applications for new materials under development. This is achieved through combining and assessing technical, economic and environmental criteria covering the entire life cycle of an application. With this method, numerous possible applications can be screened during the early stages of material development when little information is available. The results help to narrow the selection of feasible products by excluding unpromising applications. The first step involves identifying and segmenting potential markets. In the second step, technical and economic aspects are assessed by employing user acceptance criteria. Finally, simplified life cycle assessment calculations are implemented in the third step to cover environmental considerations. Using an example of cellulose nanofiber reinforced composites, the authors illustrate the procedure whereby luxury consumer goods, specialty vehicles, industrial processing and furniture result as the most promising applications identified from this new method. The results give the researchers a more holistic understanding of their material and help to establish the requirements that the material must fulfill for the selected application. With that knowledge, the method can help enact development pathways in applied materials research.

Abstract

To date, technical and economic criteria have become the main benchmarks used in assessing the substitution potential of new materials. Sustainable product design uses multi-criteria decision methods to select the best material or process from a set of alternatives, requiring that the target product is already known. This paper follows a contrary approach by introducing the Multi-Perspective Application Selection, a method to support researchers and industrial practitioners alike in identifying and choosing the most promising and sustainable applications for new materials under development. This is achieved through combining and assessing technical, economic and environmental criteria covering the entire life cycle of an application. With this method, numerous possible applications can be screened during the early stages of material development when little information is available. The results help to narrow the selection of feasible products by excluding unpromising applications. The first step involves identifying and segmenting potential markets. In the second step, technical and economic aspects are assessed by employing user acceptance criteria. Finally, simplified life cycle assessment calculations are implemented in the third step to cover environmental considerations. Using an example of cellulose nanofiber reinforced composites, the authors illustrate the procedure whereby luxury consumer goods, specialty vehicles, industrial processing and furniture result as the most promising applications identified from this new method. The results give the researchers a more holistic understanding of their material and help to establish the requirements that the material must fulfill for the selected application. With that knowledge, the method can help enact development pathways in applied materials research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Language:English
Date:20 January 2016
Deposited On:25 Jan 2017 09:39
Last Modified:29 Jan 2017 06:34
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0959-6526
Funders:European Union
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.06.105

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