Simplified environmental study on innovative bridge structure.

Environmental science & technology

PubMedID: 19368215

Bouhaya L, Le Roy R, Feraille-Fresnet A. Simplified environmental study on innovative bridge structure. Environ Sci Technol. 2009;43(6):2066-71.
The aim of this paper is to present a simplified life cycle assessment on an innovative bridge structure, made of wood and ultra high performance concrete, which combines mechanical performance with minimum environmental impact. The environmental analysis was conducted from cradle to grave using the Life Cycle Assessment method. It was restricted to energy release and greenhouse gas emissions. Assumptions are detailed for each step of the analysis. For the wood end-of-life, three scenarios were proposed: dumping, burning, and recycling. Results show that the most energy needed is in the production phase, which represents 73.4% of the total amount. Analysis shows that the renewable energy is about 70% of the production energy. Wood, through its biomass CO2, contributes positively to the environmental impact. It was concluded that no scenario can be the winner on both impacts. Indeed, the end-of-life wood recycling gives the best impact on CO2 release, whereas burning wood, despite its remarkable energy impact is the worst. According to the emphasis given to each impact, designers will be able to choose one or the other.