Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Life Cycle Assessment and Beyond
Academic Year
Distance Learning
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Interactive Task  (Minimum 1200 words)  20%
Semester Assessment Digital Story  (3 minute summative assessment)  10%
Semester Assessment Case Study  (2500 words summative assessment)  40%
Semester Assessment Essay  (2000 words summative assessment)  30%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Explain the current and future challenges to be solved by LCA and CVORR methodology.

2. Quantitatively describe the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental burdens arising from the manufacture, and disposal of a biobased product.

3. Describe the rationale behind life cycle assessment show knowledge of the main available tools.

4. Show a critical understanding of the application and role of LCA in the improvement of sustainability understanding and efficiency of a biobased product.

5. Explain the current and future challenges facing LCA methodology.

6. Show a critical understanding of the application and role of CVORR in ensuring the full environmental and economic burdens are quantified.

Brief description

This module is part of the Bioinnovation Wales suite of modules.

Life cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely used method to measure and verify the environmental impacts and support claims associated with developing biobased products. The results of these methodologies are so valuable that for some biobased products, such as biobased plastics, LCA is an essential requirement for bioproduct commercialisation. There are however, limitations associated with LCA, such as the boundaries used, and ignorance associated to the value of resource recovery following disposal, and as such, may not reflect the true life-cycle of a product. With this in mind, LCA may be complemented with a methodology that accounts for the social, environmental, economic and technical value associated to a product recovery from waste. This methodology is called Complex Value Optimisation for Resource Recovery (CVORR).

This module is designed to provide a core knowledge and understanding of LCA and CVORR for professionals concerned with assessing the sustainable credentials of a biobased product or those working with waste.


  • ​Introduction to the breadth and scope of LCA and CVORR
  • ​The key components of the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas fluxes associated with a biobased product
  • ​The importance of feedstock choice, conversion process, transport and energy consumption, and end of life disposal options, with a focus on fluxes of CH4 and N2O as well as CO2 along with economic, social and technical metrics.
  • ​The range of international protocols for performing LCA and the challenge of determining appropriate emissions factors will also be reviewed.
  • ​How LCA can steer policy
  • ​Environmental product declarations
  • CVORR theory and framework
  • ​The assessment of other key ecosystem services including regulation of water and air pollutants. Particular attention will be paid to the methods of assessment of the impacts of land use change and how this may dictate policy and labelling claims such as the EU Ecolabel.
  • ​A range of product case studies including biofuels and bioplastics.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Numeracy will be demonstrated in the assessed case study task using published and datasets to determine economic viability of a process.
Communication Students will be expected to communicate complex research outputs to their peers in the online forums and also through written assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Detailed feedback will be given for assignment work. This will be assessed through the feedback providing general guidance towards the student’s next assignment.
Information Technology Students will be required to source information from a variety of scientific publication data bases and to use Blackboard for all aspects of the module. Creation of their digital story assessment requires the use of technology.
Personal Development and Career planning ​This module will provide the students with the latest research with sustainable accreditation of a bioproduct of process to help them to develop their business or provide the most up-to-date information/advice to their colleagues/clients in the food and agricultural Industry.
Problem solving Problem based learning challenges alongside online forum posts will be used throughout the module to help develop and improve student’s problem-solving skills.
Research skills Students will be required to undergo directed self-study, so will develop their literature research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Subject specific concepts relating to LCA and CVORR will be developed and assessed throughout the module.
Team work Online assessments will require students to debate among themselves to develop a consensus of opinion.


This module is at CQFW Level 7