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Liming Wang1, Fangyi Li1*, Jianfeng Li1, Xiaowei Wang1,2 1. School of Mechanical Engineering, Shandong University, Jinan 250061,China 2. School of Electromechanical Engineering, Shandong Jianzhu University,Jinan 250101, China. ABSTRACT Life-cycle Assessment is an iterative procedure where the data to be included should be collected and validated repeatedly to achieve more accurate environment impacts. Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis are generally recommended to find out the key issues for further iterative procedure in a subsequent more detailed LCI. This paper is concerned with the iterative data, using multivariate regression analysis, to find the functional relationship between impact parameters and assessment results. The study about the contribution of parameters to the assessment results in regression analysis was carried out to identify the key sensitive parameters, Next it discussed the propagation of uncertainties through the former founded function so as to get how the impact parameters influence the assessment results. The level of uncertainty can be derived from the function by means of the partial derivatives. From these analyses, it offered a set of guidelines to improve the data quality. Finally, an example was given to illustrate the methodology. Key words: Sensitivity analysis; Uncertainty analysis; LCA; Multivariate Regression Analysis 1. Introduction Life-cycle assessment is widely used as a technique to evaluate the environmental influences associated with products, processes, or activities based on life cycle thinking. When an LCA project is carried out, it needs to collect the input data and output data in all the product life. Generally it was time-consuming. In most cases it is recommended to start simple and carry out a rough calculation in the first instance. Details can then be added and data can be revised or supplemented at a later stage. Therefore, it is important to identify the key data which should be collected in detail in the following steps. However, the results of LCA contain many uncertain sources that bring on inaccurate judgement. In order to assess the quality and meaningfulness of the LCA results, the influence of uncertainty must be checked and controlled by intensive sensitivity analysis [2,6,7,8]. 2. Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis 2.1 Uncertainty in LCA project 2.1.1 Data Uncertainty
In the LCI process, we need to measure a great deal of data such as emission, consumption of material and so on, which will ineluctably bring on measurement error that result in the uncertainty of input factors. The data from the LCA database are processed by statistic method, and this will relate to the data precision or probability distribution problems. In addition, because of advancement of technology or the change of environment, some of the data maybe out of date. If those data are still used in the inventory, inaccurate result maybe presented in the finial reports. 2.1.2 Assessment Model Uncertainty It is divided into two aspects: one is the product life cycle model (assumptions on life span, distribution of sales, scenario definition, end of life span, degree of refurbishment etc.) which is changing along with the variety of the system boundary. The unclear life model will result in the uncertain data for inputs, outputs and impacts on the working environment. The other is the assessment method, such as the equivalency factors, normalization references and weighting factors that will determine the resulting uncertainty in the final assessment. Furthermore, there are still some additional data uncertainties coming from the lack of experience of LCA practitioners. All of those will reduce the data quality and give mistake decision. Therefore, much attention should be paid to the uncertain factors, and Sensitivity Analysis (SA) provides an efficient way to solve the problem. In a LCA project they are both recommended in ISO14043 and SETAC’s ‘Code of practice’ . 2.2 Sensitivity analysis Sensitivity analysis (SA) is defined as systematic procedures for estimating the effects of the choices made regarding methods and data on the outcome of a study (ISO14044-2006). SA is usually used to deal with uncertain data and identify key issues for further analysis. Typically, in a sensitivity analysis, each model parameter is varied in turn by a small amount within the region of a best estimate or standard case . If a small relative change in the model parameter can have a strong influence on the results, then, we consider it as a sensitive parameter which should be managed preferentially. Many methods and tools are available for Sensitivity Analysis. In this article, they are classified as 3 types: 1. Traditional Methods Traditionally, LCA practitioners produce a group of scenarios by a range of parameters variation. For each scenario it only changes one parameter, and then we will get the sensitive parameter by calculating the result variation range. Some charts such as radar chart, tornado diagram and so on, are also very useful graphical tools to illuminate the sensitivity or influence of input parameters on the overall variability of the LCA model. However, those methods are not well adapted to evaluating complex LCA models with large numbers of impact parameters. 2. Statistical Methods This method relies on the calculation of the probability of input parameters to determine the mean and standard deviation of the output. It usually uses formula to get the result through an estimate of the individual variable’s mean or standard deviation. Generally ‘σ(X)/∆X’ are used to express the ‘relative sensitivity’, which tell
us how important the precision in the estimation of X is available, and σ(X) means the standard deviation of X. 3. Sampling Methods Sampling methods, usually called Monte Carlo methods, are class of computational algorithms that rely on repeated random sampling to model some sort of a process using probability distributions. The input parameters will be sampled according to the probability distribution and then produce a large number of scenarios. Through simulating the various sampling strategies, the effect of multiple uncertainties caused by the input parameters on cumulative results can be figured out. 3. Multivariate Regression Analysis in LCA Model Multivariate regression analysis is to learn more about the relationship between several independent or predictor variables and a dependent or criterion variable. The regression method is very widely applied in the social and natural sciences research. It can be used to predicate or control how one of the variables change according to the other variables change, and it also can give the precision of the predication. Saltelli and Marivoet had developed a method of sensitivity analysis using multivariate regression analysis in 1990. For a linear regression model, if we only care for the main effects of each parameter, it can be given:
(1) Where βi is regression coefficient, Xi is the input parameters and e is the error. The uncertainty of Y can be expressed based Eq.(1):
(2) Standardized regression coefficient in Eq. (3) and sum of squares of partial regression are often used to describe the relative importance and sensitivity of independent variables in multivariate regression analysis. The bigger the statistic value, the more sensitive the factor is.
(3) where σ() means the estimate of standard deviation. Stepwise regression is one of several computer-based iterative variable-selection procedures which can give the best regression function like Eq. (1) from a number of possible models. At each step we first determine whether any of the factors (already included in the model) can be removed. The input factors will be analyzed one by one. Finally, the more important and sensitive ones are included. Although the procedures are complex, it is easy to be made with the existing statistic software such as SPSS.
Therefore, Multivariate regression method can be used to analyse the sensitivities and uncertainties of LCA Model parameters. The procedure can be summarized in 4 steps: 1. Specify the uncertain input parameters in LCA process and get the probability distribution of those parameters. 2. Select values for the parameters randomly from the probability distribution to produce a group of scenarios and calculate the impact results. 3. Get the function relation between the results and the input parameters by stepwise regression analysis, all the statistic results should be analysed by Tsignificance or F-significance level test. 4. The included parameters after stepwise regression analysis will be regard as important and sensitive. The sums of squares of partial regression standard and regression coefficients are two important indexes to the contribution of uncertainty of the parameters. The multivariate regression method does not require many data (unlike Monte Carlo analysis), and it is easy to operate with the mathematic software. Moreover, it can be used to discuss the propagation of uncertainties through the founded function to predict how the impact parameters influence the assessment results. 4. A simple case A simple example analysis of a motor has been described to illustrate the use of multivariate regression in uncertainty and sensitivity analysis of LCA project. It defines a process tree for the life cycle of a motor is illustrated in Fig.1.The purpose of the calculation is to establish priorities, and get the sensitive and uncertain parameters. The functional unit is one motor with ten years life-span. A simplified model of a motor is used in which only the parts production, spray-paint, the consumption of fuel in assembly and transport and the electricity in the motor use are included. The amounts of materials and the processing process are looked up and measured to make up of the inventory. In this example, Eco-indicator99 method is used to get one single score for the final result which will be easily operated in the regression analysis.
Figure 1: Example of a simplified process tree for the life cycle of a motor Sixteen factors are selected as the uncertain influence parameters in Table 1. The damage indicator as the final result is a dependent variable in the regression analysis. Two points should be explained in this table:
1. In energy factors it has two electricity factors. Electiricity1 is the consumption of electricity in the motor production phase, Electiricity2 is in the use phase. 2. There are three weighting factors: W1 is the human heath weight, W2 is ecosystem quality weight, and W3 is resources weight. Obviously, those factors belong to the assessment model uncertain that was caused by assessment method. Besides, the range of uncertainty of all the factors was measured and listed in the table. In order to have a simple data processing, the example builds on the assumption that all the factors have uniform distribution. Table 1 List of uncertain factors in the motor LCA process Factor of the Model Symbol Factor Unit Range of value Uncertainty Material Steel X1 18.2 Kg ±10% Aluminium X2 0.36 Kg ±5% Copper X3 0.28 Kg ±5% Water X4 1.02 ton ±10% Cutting fluid X5 0.24 Kg ±5% Paint X6 0.05 Kg ±10% Energy Electricity1 X7 7.48 Kw ±5% Electricity2 X8 770 Kw ±15% Fuel X9 2.3 Kg ±5% Waste Dust of Aluminium X10 0.7 mg/m3 ±6% Dust of cast iron X11 5 mg/m3 ±8% Noise X12 85 DB ±10% Life-span X13 10 Year ±20% Weighting W1 X14 0.4 ±10% factors W2` X15 0.4 ±10% W3 X16 0.5 ±10% The damage indicator Y 276.8 Unknown In the following, a group of data for the factors from the uniform probability distribution are generated easily using the software Excel ‘rand’ function. We take the first factor steel coded X1 as an example: The X1’s data will be got by the formula ‘18.2+(rand()*3.64-1.82)’. After coping these formula n times in the Excel, a group data will be produced. Actually, it is a computer simulation process. The simulation will be run 100 times for each factor to produce enough data for the regression analysis. A stepwise regression is made based on the above produced data using the statistic software SPSS. Table 2 shows the final regression result. We also get the regression equation with the significance level α=0.05: (3) And the coefficient of determination R2=0.982, F=722.525>Sig=3.973. All the statistic information indicates that the regression model is significant. Table 2 The stepwise regression result
Unstandardized Standardized T Sig coefficient coefficient X1 0.995 0.031 1.990 0.050 X5 237.423 0.276 17.605 2.033 X8 0.333 0.223 14.305 7.073 X13 -31.666 -0.529 -34.247 5.959 X14 429.684 0.698 44.711 7.351 X15 72.549 0.044 2.788 1.452 Constant 63.009 1.996 0.007 There are seven factors are included in this model : X1, X5, X8, X13, X14, X15, and those are regard as more sensitive factors than others. An order of sensitivity of those factors can be given by comparing the standardized coefficient in Table 2 and the sum of squares of partial regression in Table 3. It is obvious to get the sensitivity order: X14>X13>X 5>X8>X15>X1. Table 3 Sum of squares of partial regression of the coefficient FactorsSum of squares of partial regressionContribution to the regression X1 1743.2 0.1% X15 7965.9 0.21% X8 1196.9 4.65% X5 23092.6 5.05% X13 300785.2 30.21% X14 529005.6 59.78% In the regression result, X14, X15 are assessment method parameters, and they make up of nearly of 60% of the contribution to the regression. Therefore, the assessment method uncertainty will influence the assessment result seriously. X13 is also a more important negative factor which means that increasing the life-span of the motor can reduce the finial result. This is consistent with the known facts. The other sensitive factors are the cutting fluid in the parts production, the consumption of electricity in use phase and the consumption of steel. Therefore, much attention should be paid to those factors in the following data collection. Mathematicians have established a general formula to express the propagation of uncertainties. We have got the functional relationship in Eq. (3), and the propagation can be expressed by the absolute errors: (4) It is easy to use Eq. (4) calculate the estimate of the uncertainty of the final result, while the input factors are changing. 5. Discussion This paper has presented an optional method for the uncertainty and sensitivity analysis in LCA project using multivariate regression analysis. It has been tested to be available in the above case study. However, an important point to note is that, it’s better to select the uncertain factors that are independent of each other. Otherwise, the collinearity
would happen, which may result in missing the sensitive factors. In the propagation of uncertainties, we still have other choice with respect to the definition of uncertainty, such as the variance and the standard deviation. Both of them can be deduced based on the regression function in the same way as Eq. (2). Finally, this method is a combination of statistic and sampling method, and it gives a sequence of more important sensitive factors to guide the following data collection or the improvement of product. Reference 1. Saltelli A., Marivoet J. (1990) Non-parametric statistics in sensitivity analysis for model output : A comparison of selected techniques. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, VoL.28, pp.229-253. 2. SETAC, Guidelines for Life-cycle Assessment, A Code of Practice, Proceedings from the SETAC workshop held in Sesimbra, Portugal, 31 March-3 April 1993. 3. Reinout, H. (1996) Identification of key issues for further investigation in improving the reliability of life-cycle assessment. Cleaner Production. VoL. 4 NO. 3-4, pp. 159-166. 4. Bengt, S. (1997) On uncertainty and sensitivity of LCA-based priority setting. Cleaner Production. VoL. 5, NO. 1, pp. 224-262. 5. Martin, D. (1998) Sensitivity analysis of complex models. Biological conservation. VoL. 86, pp. 401-412. 6. B. von Bahr, B. Stten. (2004) Reducing epistemological uncertainty in life cycle inventory. Journal of Cleaner Production. VoL. 12, pp. 369-388. 7. ISO. (2006) Environmental Management-Life cycle assessment-Principles and framework, ISO/DIS 14040, 2006. 8. Fulvio A., Marco B., Maurizio C. etc.(2008) Building energy performance: A LCA case study of kenaf-fibres insulation board. Energy and Buildings. VoL. 40, pp 1-10
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