Life Cycle Assessment in Production

In many countries, companies already have to comply with regulations and standards that limit the impact of production processes on the climate and environment. Numerous industries have also made corresponding voluntary commitments. A life cycle assessment (LCA) can help companies to identify the need for action and to plan and implement their production in accordance with the relevant regulations.

With our in-depth understanding of processes in almost all areas of industrial production, we not only consider the ecological added value, but also the economic benefits – so that the green transformation of your company does not remain an empty phrase, but can sustainably strengthen your competitiveness. Our technological expertise enables us not only to review the sustainability of your existing production processes, but also to weigh up the practicability of technological alternatives based on comprehensive key figures.

A closer look at the life cycle reveals the sustainability of existing production processes

We use the life cycle assessment methodology to examine the entire manufacturing process of a product or component. We take a close look at the production process and identify weak points, from material procurement and material consumption to individual production processes that can lead to unnecessary energy consumption, waste of resources or environmental pollution.

Uncover technological alternatives with a life cycle assessment

An LCA can be used to evaluate alternative manufacturing processes, production technologies and product variants. We analyze and compare different scenarios for a product or component in order to select those that best reconcile ecological and economic factors based on specific production data.

Systematic approach to climate and environment: key figures for evaluating production

The pressure is increasing. Internationally applicable requirements such as the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Climate Agreement, national climate protection laws, financial market requirements such as ESG criteria and, last but not least, corporate goals make it necessary to get informed: Which measures in production really have the desired effects? How can I produce in a more economically viable and environmentally friendly way, better meet societal and social standards and remain true to the principles of responsible corporate governance? A systematic approach in four steps in accordance with DIN ISO 14040, which provides valid key figures, ensures that you remain in control of the green transformation.

Step 1: Define goal and scope

Defining the system boundaries and functional units of an LCA can be complex. This is why we first work with our industry partners to determine the objective, the scope of the investigation and the reference units with regard to a standardized methodology for life cycle assessment. Categories such as global warming potential or raw material consumption are included in the assessment. We realistically estimate the limits and uncertainties based on many years of experience in almost all areas of production technology. This gives us a common understanding of the validity and complexity of the analysis.

Step 2: Create a database

Depending on the objective, an LCA requires a lot of accurate and reliable data. With our fully digital data infrastructure, we access databases that provide background information. Software such as OpenLCA and GABI supports the analyses.

Step 3: Consider interdependencies

An LCA makes complex interdependencies clear: changes in one phase of production can have an impact on all other processes. We model the interactions using LCA software and key figures from industrial production.

Step 4: Derive measures

We prepare the complex interdependencies and key figures in an understandable way and visualize the effects of possible changes. We define optimization potential and derive measures that help to exploit this potential.

LCA implemented: Methodologies and results of a life cycle assessment

Up to 95 percent GWP savings

Sustainability intelligence and quality management in the automotive industry

In the "SustainIQ" project, researchers at the Fraunhofer IPT have investigated the environmental impact of a new production process for manufacturing a component of the battery management system for electric vehicles. A new production process can substantially reduce environmental impacts - for example, the global warming potential (GWP) by up to 95 percent. Using the LCA and a comparison of the environmental impact between the new production process and the previous standard process, we measured and analyzed the life cycle assessment.


  • Definition of the process boundaries and the functional unit
  • Definition of impact categories for the evaluation
  • Measurement of material and energy consumption of an exemplary process sequence
  • Creating an exemplary process chain for the traditional process as a reference


  • A significant reduction in environmental impact is possible:
    • Up to 95 percent of GWP (kg CO2 eq.) can be saved.
    • Water consumption and ecological toxicity can be substantially reduced.

Ecological footprint reduced by 50 percent

Quantifying the environmental impact of alternative manufacturing processes in the aviation industry

In the EU project "Clean Sky 2", researchers at the Fraunhofer IPT applied the LCA to engine components for aviation and thus determined the resource and energy consumption in various phases of the product life cycle. Sustainability indicators for production and process chains make it possible to quantify the impact of alternative manufacturing processes, determine their efficiency and evaluate the use of green materials. Based on the choice of materials and tools as well as the machining strategy, up to 50 percent of the ecological footprint can be saved in the milling process.


  • Definition of alternative process chains for engine components such as integral compressor rotors ("blisks")
  • Collection of data on energy and resource consumption along the process chain
  • Impact assessment of alternative products and process routes


  • Reduction of the ecological footprint, including the carbon footprint, by 30 to 50 percent for milling processes based on material selection, machining strategies and tool selection

Transparently assess emissions from 5G applications

In the EU project "TARGET-X", the Fraunhofer IPT and partners from industry and research are investigating the use and further development of the 5G communication standard in order to accelerate the digital transformation of the key industries of energy, construction, automotive and production. 

One of the project objectives is a methodological assessment framework that enables the evaluation of 5G-based use cases from both a technical-economic and an ecological perspective. This creates an evaluation basis for the economic and sustainable use of 5G in industry.

For the evaluation of 5G use cases from an ecological perspective, the life cycle assessment method is used, among other things: environmental impacts such as CO2 emissions from the energy consumption of 5G use cases can be estimated.

TARGET-X is one of four European testbed projects and aims to secure the leading role of industry in Europe in 5G and 6G technologies and their applications.



  • Definition of process boundaries and functional units for 5G use cases
  • Definition of KPIs and impact categories for evaluation, identification and collection of the required data
  • Transmission of collected data via the 5G network
  • Data validation to ensure accurate calculation results
  • Development of a data model for sustainability analysis
  • Measurement of material and energy consumption for 5G use cases

Project objective

  • An assessment framework for more emissions transparency in industrial 5G use cases

to the project website