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Design of railway bridges considering life-cycle assessment
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Structural Engineering and Bridges.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Structural Engineering and Bridges.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Structural Engineering and Bridges.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5447-2068
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Bridge Engineering, ISSN 1478-4629, E-ISSN 1751-7680, Vol. 166, no 4, 240-251 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The world is currently confronted with the challenge of preventing environmental degradation and resource depletion. To compare the environmental performance of two railway bridge designs, an Excel-based model was developed with implementing a simplified quantitative life-cycle assessment. The model covers the entire life cycle of the bridge, from raw material extraction to construction materials recycling and disposal. Various assumptions are made for selecting the relevant emissions and environmental impacts. A streamlined approach is applied to compare the environmental burden throughout the life cycle of the Banafjäl Railway Bridge. The bridge is a simply supported composite structure carrying one railway track. Two track alternatives are investigated: ballasted track and fixed track. The results show that the environmental impacts of the fixed track alternative are lower than those of the ballasted track alternative. From a sustainable development perspective, it appears that fixed track has a significant advantage as the overall environmental impact is reduced by up to 77%. The raw material phase is found to be decisive in the life cycle of both alternatives. The frequency of track replacement is identified as a key environmental parameter, because the extra environmental burden of traffic delay during bridge closure nearly overwhelmed the other life-cycle stages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 166, no 4, 240-251 p.
Keyword [en]
Life cycle assessment, LCA, sustainable construction, sustainable bridge, Environment, Global warming, Climate change
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Järnvägsgruppen - Infrastruktur
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-58619DOI: 10.1680/bren.10.00054Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84893098626OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-58619DiVA: diva2:473442
Note

QC 20130709. Updated from accepted to published.

Available from: 2012-01-06 Created: 2012-01-06 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards Sustainable Construction: Life Cycle Assessment of Railway Bridges
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards Sustainable Construction: Life Cycle Assessment of Railway Bridges
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since last few decades, the increased pressure from the environmental issues of natural resource depletion, global warming and air pollution have posed a great challenge worldwide. Among all the industrial fields, bridge infrastructures and their belonged construction sector contribute to a wide range of energy and raw materials consumptions, which is responsible for the most significant pollutions. However, current bridges are mainly designed by the criterion of economic, technique, and safety standards, while their correlated environmental burdens have unfortunately rarely been considered. The life cycle assessment (LCA) method has been verified as a systematic tool, which enables the fully assessment and complete comparison for the environmental impact among different bridge options through a life cycle manner. The study presented in this thesis is focused on railway bridges, as the LCA implementation is under great expectations to set a new design criterion, to optimize the structural design towards the environmental sustainability, and to assist the decision-making among design proposals.

This thesis consists of two parts: an extended summary and three appended papers. Part one gives an overview introduction that serves as a supplementary description for this research work. It outlines the background theory, current development status, the LCA implementation into the railway bridges, as well as the developed excel-based LCA tool. Part two, includes three appended papers which provides a more detailed theoretical review of the current literatures and knowledge associated with bridge LCA, by highlighting the great challenging issues. A systematic flowchart is presented both in Paper I and Paper II for how to model and assess the bridge life cycle, together by coping with the structural components and associated emissions. This flowchart is further illustrated on a case study of the Banafjäl Bridge in Sweden, which has been extensively analyzed by two LCA methods: CML 2001 method and streamlined quantitative approach. The obtained results can be contributed as an analytical reference for other similar bridges.

Based on the theoretical review and analytical results from case studies, it has been found that the environmental profile of a bridge is dominated by the selected structural type, which affects the life cycle scenarios holistically and thus further influences the environmental performance. However, the environmental profile of the structure is though very case specific; one cannot draw a general conclusion for a certain type of bridge without performing the LCA study. The case study has found that the impact of material manufacture phase is mostly identified significant among the whole life cycle. The availability of the inventory data and project information are appeared as the major problem in the bridge LCA study. Moreover, lack of standardized guideline, criteria and input information is another key issue. A criterion is needed to illustrate what are the qualified limits of a bridge to fulfill the environmental requirements. Therefore, the development of LCA for railway bridges still needs further collaborative efforts from government, industry and research institutes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. x, 38 p.
Series
Trita-BKN. Bulletin, ISSN 1103-4270 ; 112
Keyword
Life cycle assessment, LCA, Environment, Railway Bridge, Sustainability
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Järnvägsgruppen - Infrastruktur
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-90077 (URN)
Presentation
2012-03-16, M108, Brinellvägen 23, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20120227Available from: 2012-02-27 Created: 2012-02-17 Last updated: 2012-02-27Bibliographically approved
2. Life cycle assessment of bridges, model development and case studies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Life cycle assessment of bridges, model development and case studies
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In recent decades, the environmental issues from the construction sector have attracted increasing attention from both the public and authorities. Notably, the bridge construction is responsible for considerable amount of energy and raw material consumptions. However, the current bridges are still mainly designed from the economic, technical, and safety perspective, while considerations of their environmental performance are rarely integrated into the decision making process. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a comprehensive, standardized and internationally recognized approach for quantifying all emissions, resource consumption and related environmental and health impacts linked to a service, asset or product. LCA has the potential to provide reliable environmental profiles of the bridges, and thus help the decision-makers to select the most environmentally optimal designs. However, due to the complexity of the environmental problems and the diversity of bridge structures, robust environmental evaluation of bridges is far from straightforward. The LCA has rarely been studied on bridges till now.

The overall aim of this research is to implement LCA on bridge, thus eventually integrate it into the decision-making process to mitigate the environmental burden at an early stage. Specific objectives are to: i) provide up-to-date knowledge to practitioners; ii) identify associated obstacles and clarify key operational issues; iii) establish a holistic framework and develop computational tool for bridge LCA; and iv) explore the feasibility of combining LCA with life cycle cost (LCC). The developed tool (called GreenBridge) enables the simultaneous comparison and analysis of 10 feasible bridges at any detail level, and the framework has been utilized on real cases in Sweden. The studied bridge types include: railway bridge with ballast or fix-slab track, road bridges of steel box-girder composite bridge, steel I-girder composite bridge, post tensioned concrete box-girder bridge, balanced cantilever concrete box-girder bridge, steel-soil composite bridge and concrete slab-frame bridge. The assessments are detailed from cradle to grave phases, covering thousands of types of substances in the output, diverse mid-point environmental indicators, the Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) and monetary value weighting. Some analyses also investigated the impact from on-site construction scenarios, which have been overlooked in the current state-of-the-art.

The study identifies the major structural and life-cycle scenario contributors to the selected impact categories, and reveals the effects of varying the monetary weighting system, the steel recycling rate and the material types. The result shows that the environmental performance can be highly influenced by the choice of bridge design. The optimal solution is found to be governed by several variables. The analyses also imply that the selected indicators, structural components and life-cycle scenarios must be clearly specified to be applicable in a transparent procurement. This work may provide important references for evaluating similar bridge cases, and identification of the main sources of environmental burden. The outcome of this research may serve as recommendation for decision-makers to select the most LCA-feasible proposal and minimize environmental burdens. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. x, 36 p.
Series
TRITA-BKN. Bulletin, ISSN 1103-4270 ; 129
Keyword
Sustainable construction; Life cycle assessment; LCA; Global warming; Bridge LCA; CO2 emissions; Cumulative energy demand
National Category
Infrastructure Engineering
Research subject
Civil and Architectural Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-161196 (URN)
Public defence
2015-03-30, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150311

Available from: 2015-03-11 Created: 2015-03-09 Last updated: 2015-09-15Bibliographically approved

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