88387 - Environmental Impact, LCA and Urban Mining

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to learn, understand and employ assessment tools with regard to the cycles of chemical substances and material (MFA, Material Flow Analysis) in the ecosphere and technosphere; to interpret and use sustainability indicators; to know methodologies for the evaluation of the territorial environmental impacts generated by industrial plants, from preliminary study to monitoring; to learn and apply LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) methodology to estimate the environmental effects associated to products, manufacturing systems and services, with a specific focus on chemical processes; to be acquainted with the technologies for the recovery of inorganic and metallic resources and secondary raw materials, and with systems and processes for the optimization of critical raw-materials cycle closure.

Course contents

Introduction to the policy (particularly in Europe) concerning environmental impact assessment and prevention. Definition of Environmental Management System and environmental policy. Procedures and types of environmental certification: ISO 14001 and EMAS, analogies and differences. Other Environmental Claims (Ecolabel, EPD, PEF, OEF). IPPC and IED approaches to industrial emission control. Best Available Techniques. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Risk assessment applied to environmental pollution.

Description of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. Steps of LCA methodology. Case studies of LCA application to chemical processes and products and to environmental technologies. Nexus among different resources exploitation and related impacts. Exercises on LCA methodology.

Definition of basic methodology for material and energy flow accounting. Introduction of the basic principles of dynamic MFA and the main data sources. Definition of approaches to solve mathematical models of MFA systems. Computation exercises for MFA application.


O. Jolliet, M. Saadé-Sbeih, S. Shaked, A. Jolliet, P. Crettaz, "Environmental Life Cycle Assessment", CRC Press, 2016

Paul H. Brunner and Helmut Rechberger, "Practical Handbook of Material Flow Analysis", CRC Press, 2004.

ISO Standards 14040:2006, 14044:2006/A1:2018

Teaching methods

The course will be held with theoretical lectures, exercises and presentation of case studies. Furthermore, seminars by experts on specific fields will possibly be held. Laboratory experiences will be performed using ICT tools aimed at practicing calculation software and querying database.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] on Health and Safety online

Assessment methods

The exam will start with an oral discussion on a written report (about 10 pages) focussing on a topic, that could be chosen according to own personal interest, concerning the course. It could consider a case study of environmental assessment and/or of LCA or MFA application and/or of urban mining, etc., or a methodological discussion about the assessment techniques, reported in literature (consulting one or more papers, which may be cited explicitly).

The references should be critically commented, giving personal remarks on the assumptions and the interpretations made by the authors.

The ability of performing a critical analysis of a research based on bibliographic sources found by the students will be verified, assessing the degree of investigation of the course contents.

The exam is aimed at verifying that the students have learnt how to go inside the problems of environmental pollution and resource flows, to understand the environmental impacts related to industrial activities, to know how to take a thoughtful decision in the view of a higher environmental sustainability. Oral discussion will then concern some topics covered in the course, to assess the general preparation of the candidate.

Before the end of the course, frequently problems associated to environmental pollution are generally recalled, discussing together on the possible solutions.

In order to sit for the examination, it is necessary to enter one's name in the list through AlmaEsami. Those who are not able to register themselves in time, must tell it to the teachers, who however have the faculty of admitting them to the exam.

Teaching tools

The course will be taught with the aid of computer support for the projection of text and images. The slides will be left available to the students, usually uploaded on the Unibo platform https://virtuale.unibo.it/. ICT tools will be employed to introduce the use of calculation software and database.

Office hours

See the website of Fabrizio Passarini

See the website of Luca Ciacci

See the website of Daniele Cespi