University of Twente Student Theses


Harmonization of environmental databases for road pavement in EU

Putnaergle, Z. (2020) Harmonization of environmental databases for road pavement in EU.

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Abstract:Purpose Considering that the outcome of environmental impact analysis such as life cycle assessment (LCA) is very much dependent on the quality of the data used, it is crucial to choose an appropriate LCA database. However, the decision can be difficult due to the high number of databases available. A harmonized database could be a way to increase data reliability by having all the data in one place instead of scattered databases all over Europe. The paper investigates the main data harmonization challenges in databases and proposes a systematic approach to deal with these challenges. Methods: First, a literature study was done. To identify the main harmonization challenges, a database inventory and other harmonization attempts were investigated. Afterwards, based on the literature research and input from two experts with background in LCA harmonization, an Impact Effort matrix was drawn. As a final step, a procedure to data harmonization was developed and verified. Results and Discussion: There are 5 main problem areas that have to be solved to achieve data harmonization – data modelling, quality of the data, scope and access to the database, and environmental impact categories. According to the matrix, the hardest part, where the most attention should be payed, is data modelling (e.g. structure of the database and elementary flow lists). Since there are almost no similarities on these elements between the databases, and all the stakeholders (e.g. NRAs, LCA practitioners, commercial database managers) involved in the process, has distinct needs and wishes, reaching a consensus can be difficult and time consuming. Conclusions: Even though harmonization is difficult, it is not impossible. There are many occasions where harmonization has been done successfully, like ISO standards, national databases, initiatives taken by groups of stakeholders and many more. The matrix and roadmap created in the paper, can ease the whole process by steering it in the right direction. The matrix shows which issues are the most time and energy consuming and the roadmap provides clear steps towards data harmonization. The main steps are – establishing strong management team, arraging workshops where the main outline of the databse can be discussed and drawn, and creating a technical manual where the outlook of the database is established and described to ensure consistency between the datasets. Keywords Life cycle assessment; Databases; Harmonization; Road pavement.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Construction Management and Engineering MSc (60337)
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