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Assessing Chemical Process Sustainability with GREENSCOPE

The Gauging Reaction Effectiveness for the ENvironmental Sustainability of Chemistries with a Multi-Objective Process Evaluator (GREENSCOPE) is a sustainability assessment tool used to evaluate and assist in the design of chemical processes.

Increasingly, the chemical industry is incorporating sustainability approaches in process design. The goal is to minimize resource use, prevent or reduce releases, and increase the economic feasibility of a chemical process. New chemical process or modifications to existing process are often proposed. These processes need to be assessed to determine whether they become more or less sustainable. EPA developed GREENSCOPE to help fill this need.

The GREENSCOPE tool allows for quantifying process sustainability and Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) generation by employing 139 performance indicators in four main areas:

  • Material Efficiency (26)
  • Energy (14)
  • Economics (33)
  • Environment (66)

Indicators are summary measures that provide information on the state of, or change in, the system that is being measured. In GREENSCOPE, these indicators are capable of translating the following information into a sustainability measurement scale:

  • process performance,
  • feedstocks,
  • utilities,
  • equipment, and
  • output information

GREENSCOPE is designed to directly provide process specific data into the U.S. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Commons Database for conducting LCAs.

GREENSCOPE’s target audience is the engineering community in academia, industry and Government. This includes engineering practitioners and research and development scientists who want to incorporate a gate-to-gate sustainability assessment and LCI into their work.

GREENSCOPE can be applied to equipment or process units as well as to the entire process or bench scale. This allows for a direct comparison between several processes that manufacture the same product but employ different raw materials, reaction processes and separation technologies; and produce different byproducts. In addition, the designer or the researcher can implement this methodology to evaluate the sustainability performance after making process modifications and at the end generate a manufacturing stage LCI for life cycle assessment (LCA) applications. This sustainability assessment describes how well the system under consideration makes use of mass and energy inputs to manufacture a valuable product, but meets social and environmental needs, all the while maximizing its economic benefits.

GREENSCOPE CAPE-OPEN

Computer Aided Process Engineering - Open simulation Environment (CAPE-OPEN) is a set of interoperability standards for chemical process simulation software used to design chemical manufacturing facilities. EPA is helping develop CAPE-OPEN standards that provide external applications with access to process data including:

  • material flow,
  • energy requirements, and
  • chemical properties.

This tool allows users to obtain process data required for GREENSCOPE evaluation and LCI directly from the simulation of the manufacturing process.

Access to GREENSCOPE

GREENSCOPE is a web-based, beta version tool that can be accessed via a non-EPA development server for review and testing. To access, contact the EPA GREENSCOPE Tool Team.

Users Guide

To learn more about GREENSCOPE, how to use it, and how to interpret its output, see GREENSCOPE Technical User’s Guide, Version Beta.

Publications

Methodology

Ruiz-Mercado GJ, Smith RL, and Gonzalez, MA (2012) “Sustainability Indicators for Chemical Processes: II. Data Needs,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 51, 2329-2353.

Ruiz-Mercado GJ, Smith RL, and Gonzalez, MA (2012) “Sustainability Indicators for Chemical Processes: I. Taxonomy” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 51, 2309-2328.

Gonzalez MA, and Smith RL (2003) “A Methodology for the Evaluation of Process Sustainability,” Env. Prog., 22(4), 269-276.

Case Studies

Ruiz-Mercado GJ, Gonzalez MA, and Smith RL (2013) “Sustainability Indicators for Chemical Processes: III. Biodiesel Case Study,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 52, 6747-6760. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie302804x

Additional Applications

Smith RL, and Ruiz-Mercado GJ (2014) “A Method for Decision Making using Sustainability Metrics,” Clean Tech. Env. Policy, 16, 749-755. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10098-013-0684-5

Ruiz-Mercado GJ, Gonzalez MA, and Smith RL (2014) "Expanding GREENSCOPE beyond the Gate: A Green Chemistry and Life Cycle Perspective," Clean Tech. Env. Policy, 16, 703-717. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10098-012-0533-y

Technical Contact

EPA GREENSCOPE Tool Team
Gerardo J Ruiz-Mercado
E-mail: greenscope@epa.gov
Phone: 513-569-7030
Fax: 513-569-7111

EPA CAPE-OPEN:
William Barrett
E-mail: barrett.williamm@epa.gov
Phone: 513-569-7220