Progress update Action B3 – Comprehensive analysis of environmental impact (LCA) of the best available technologies

The aim of this action is to determine the environmental impact of the different Durable Water and Oil Repellent (DWOR) substances using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology and the results obtained from the industrial validation (Action B1).

With the purpose of advancing in the development of this environmental assessment, and aiming to address different aspects that must be defined at early stages of the activity, a draft version of the LCA has been developed. This initial LCA has been built using the results from the previous Preparatory Actions (A1 & A2) and specific data from the Ecoinvent database and technical references.

This work has enabled to set the boundaries of study of the LCA, and also to develop a reference textile finishing process and the production process of the two DWORs used in this draft-LCA, one short-chain fluorocarbon and one silicon based.

Two main conclusions can be drawn from this initial LCA that will be relevant for the further development of the final version of the LCA carried out in this Action:

  • It is necessary to limit the scope of the LCA only to the textile finishing process (thus, omitting fabric production, garment use or raw matters involved out from the finishing process). This approach, called “gate to gate”, allows a better study of the environmental footprint of the finishing process, skipping all those that which are common for every DWOR.
  • It is necessary to modify the methodology used to calculate the environmental impact of DWORs in order to reflect properly the impact of perfluorochemical substances (PFCs), as their contribution to the different Impact Categories is not taken into account with conventional LCA methods.

All these issues will be addressed within the next months, while starting to work in the final version of the LCA as the results from the validation become available. Also in the next months all the information required to build the Life Cycle Inventory will be collected among MIDWOR partners.

This action is led by CETIM, started on March 2016 and will continue until the end of the project in August 2018.