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Life-Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Highway Winter Maintenance Operations (Phase 1)

Started: September, 2014 Ended: December, 2017 Project ID #4W5194 Status: Completed

Objective

The objective of the proposed research is to develop a systemic life-cycle framework to enable comprehensive assessment of environmental sustainability of winter highway operations (e.g., anti-icing, deicing, and sanding/plowing).

Abstract

Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is an important tool for evaluating the environmental impacts of products or processes over the entire life-cycle, from resource extraction to end of life treatment . In the context of winter road treatment, a LCA framework would help obtain a full picture of the impacts of each step in the use of a chloride-based ice control product, from raw material extraction, manufacturing or processing, storage, distribution, application, to eventual disposal or recycling in the environment. Such a compiling and evaluating process could provide aid for transportation agencies to account for the environmental footprint of road-treatment life-cycle. In particular, the use of process-level LCA enables quantitative measurements of potential environmental impacts associated with identified inputs and releases. This method would be very useful for DOTs, chemical suppliers, and environmental scientists seeking improvements in winter road treatment processes.   The objective of the proposed research is to develop a systemic life-cycle framework to enable comprehensive assessment of environmental sustainability of winter highway operations (e.g., anti-icing, deicing, and sanding/plowing). The dimensions to consider for environmental assessment will include: energy consumption, impacts on water quality/air quality/vegetation/wildlife/human health, detrimental effects on asphalt and concrete infrastructure (e.g., pavements and bridge decks); corrosive effects on steel bridges and motor vehicles. The comprehensive life-cycle sustainability assessment framework will:
  • provide the ability to evaluate the sustainability of chloride-based treatment through its entire life-cycle,
  • correlate winter maintenance sustainability to chloride-based ice control product type, treatment life-cycle, environmental impacts and social-economic costs and benefits, and
  • ideally, provide reference and guidance for further sustainable winter maintenance exploration.

Contacts

  • Na Cui - PI

  • Jenny Liu - Main External Contact

Sponsors & Partners

  • University of Alaska - Fairbanks Sponsor

Part of: Winter Maintenance and Effects, UTC, UAF-CESTiCC

Project Tagged In: winter maintenance, snow and ice control, enviornmental sustainability

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