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Life-Cycle Considerations for Environmental Management of the Swedish Railway Infrastructure
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technique and Management . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Syftet med den här avhandlingen är att förbättra möjligheter till miljöledning av järnvägens infrastruktur genom att utveckla en metod för att rikta in ansträngningar på att minska miljöpåverkan från infrastrukturens produkter. Metodens används i ett byggprojekt och dess robusthet blir testad. Den använder den materialrelaterade energianvändningen för att studera miljöpåverkan från infrastrukturen. Vidare studeras vilka förutsättningar och hinder det finns för att införa ett livscykelperspektiv i Banverkets organisation.

Först analyserades de miljömässiga försättningarna genom en jämförande studie med vägtransportsystemet. Fokus låg även på infrastrukturens del i miljöpåverkan i jämförelse med själva transporterna i de bägge systemen. Sedan presenterades metoden och analyserades med avseende på användbarhet och robusthet. I de senare testen gavs materialtransporternas del av miljöpåverkan samt energiindikatorns miljörelevans extra utrymme.Slutligen studerades de organisatoriska förutsättningarna för att introducera metoden och införa ett livscykelperspektiv vid materialhanteringen.

De organisatoriska förutsättningarna präglas mycket av Banverket miljöhistoria som främst handlar om miljögifter kopplade till lokala eller regionala miljöproblem. Dessutom finns det få miljörelaterade krav utifrån, vilket delvis kan förklara att livscykelperspektivet i mångt och mycket saknats inom organisationens materialhantering. Miljökraven på Banverkets inköp av produkter är oftast lagkrav, men eftersom de lagkrav som har anknytning till de globala miljöproblemen, vilka främst kan kopplas till uppströms produktframställning, inte är tillräckligt specifika, har organisationen svårt att översätta dessa till relevanta miljökrav vid upphandling. De avdelningar inom Banverket som är mest berörda av upphandlingen och arbetet med kravspecifikationer kräver mer stöd och kunskap för att kunna införa livscykelperspektivet i materialhanteringen.

De upplevda miljöfördelar som järnvägen tycks ha över vägtrafiken är inte helt självklara. Vikten av indirekt miljöpåverkan från infrastrukturen är större för järnvägstrafiken än för vägtrafiken och detta i kombination med att den materialrelaterade energianvändningen är nästan uteslutande fossilbaserad leder till att miljöförsprånget minskar jämfört med trafikens miljöpåverkan. Om vägtrafiken minskar sitt fossilberoende i användningsfasen så måste järnvägssektorn antingen minska energianvändningen eller fossilberoendet i produktionen av järnvägsprodukter för att fortfarande kunna sägas ha miljöfördelar. För att kunna göra det senare måste nya perspektiv introduceras i Banverkets organisation. Metoden som presenteras i denna avhandling kan användas för att introducera dessa nya livscykelperspektiv och bidra till att Banverkets ansträngningar fokuseras på att minska infrastrukturens miljöpåverkan. Denna nya kunskap kan användas vid design av nya järnvägsprodukter och vid upphandlingen av dessa. Dessutom visar avhandlingen på var utförligare miljöanalyser av produkter kan behövas. Metoden använder en energiindikator för att uppskatta miljöpåverkan från materialanvändningen. Denna indikator är lätt att använda för miljöanalysen vilket gör det möjligt att enkelt introducera och inrikta livscykeltänkandet i organisationens miljöledning. Något som annars kan ligga utanför dess expertis, budget och tidsresurser.

Metoden identifierar de tre produkter som är absolut viktigast att fokusera på om man vill minska miljöpåverkan från materialanvändningen i infrastrukturen. Dessa är räl, slipers och ballastmaterial där räl har överlägset störst användning av uppströms materialrelaterad energi. Genom att introducera miljökrav tidigt i designprocessen vid införande av dessa produkter kan stora miljövinster göras. Teknikavdelningarna samt upphandlarna behöver därför stöd för att introducera dessa starkare krav på uppströms miljöpåverkan.

Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis has been to develop an approach for the scoping of environmental aspects regarding material use in the Swedish railway infrastructure in order to contribute to strategic environmental management. This is done through the development of a method based on the concepts of embodied energy and material flows, which is then tested for its robustness. Furthermore, a study has been made on which preconditions for life-cycle considerations there are for the manager of the Swedish railway infrastructure and how this relates to the actual environmental pressures from the product. The study has used the Swedish National Rail Authority, Banverket, as a case.

First the environmental context was studied by an analysis of how the environmental pressure from material use compares to the operations phase and to other transport systems. Secondly, a scoping method for environmental pressure from material use in a large organization was developed and tests performed on its use and its robustness. Special focus was on the importance of materials transports and the environmental relevance of the energy indicator used. Finally, an organizational context was presented which showed the possibilities and hindrances to implementing life-cycle considerations in the environmental management of the Swedish railway infrastructure.

It seems difficult to incorporate life-cycle considerations in an organization whose history is characterized by its work on solving specific local environmental issues. In addition, there seem to be limited pressures either from outside or inside the organization to adopt life-cycle environmental management. There is a need for clearer and more specific policy instruments governing many of the global environmental issues pertaining to upstream environmental pressures in order to make it easier for organizations to translate these into something useful in their environmental management. The departments with the most capacity to influence the environmental pressures from material use are demanding support and more knowledge about life-cycle considerations in order to set more relevant environmental requirements on the products.

The perceived environmental advantage of the rail transport sector over road transports should not be taken for granted. The importance of the indirect environmental pressures for the rail infrastructure decreases this advantage, since its material-related energy use is almost entirely from non-renewable sources. Thus the rail transport sector needs to start decreasing the use of energy for production of railway infrastructure products or its reliance on nonrenewable energy sources for production.

In order to start working with the environmental management of the railway products there is a need to adopt and introduce new perspectives. The approach developed in this thesis can be used to introduce these new perspectives, such as upstream environmental pressures, to the organization’s environmental management. It can also be employed to identify hot spots in the organization’s material use. Consequently, this new knowledge can be used in the design of new products, to set environmental demands in purchasing, and to focus further environmental analyses of the hot spots. It can also be used to broaden the perspectives in, for instance, environmental impact assessments, strategic environmental assessments and environmental reviews. The relative ease with which this indicator is collected and calculated can make it possible for the organization to include new environmental dimensions in their environmental management, which could otherwise be outside their expertise, budget or time frame.

The scoping of environmental pressures, by using the approach presented in the thesis, pointed to three important railway infrastructure products. These are the products that Banverket needs to focus on first. One of the most important tasks in incorporating life-cycle considerations for products is to set environmental requirements when introducing new products to the material supply process. The requirements should already be present in the design phase of the products. Thus it is essential that the product developers get the support needed in finding relevant environmental criteria for the new product. One way to accomplish this is to employ an environmental coordinator with sufficient knowledge in the technical departments to work together with the design teams as an integral part of the design process.

The overall environmental pressures from the railway transport system depend substantially on the upstream environmental pressures generated by the production of the infrastructure products. These pressures are totally dominated by three products. There is a large improvement potential in focusing the environmental management on these products by posing environmental requirements on their suppliers, in order to decrease the overall environmental pressures generated by the railway transport system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling , 2006. , 66 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1064
Keyword [en]
Enviornmental management, railways, life cycle perspective, environmental pressures, material use
Keyword [sv]
Miljöledning, järnvägar, livscykelperspektiv, miljöpåverkan, materialhantering
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-8875ISBN: 91-85643-27-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-8875DiVA: diva2:23593
Public defence
2006-12-15, A2, Hus A, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22 Last updated: 2010-01-14
List of papers
1. Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions From the Rail and Road Transport Systems: the Importance of Infrastructure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions From the Rail and Road Transport Systems: the Importance of Infrastructure
2006 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The indirect environmental pressures from the material use of the transport infrastructure are often excluded in analysis of the transport sector. In this paper we analyze the energy and CO2 emissions from the rail and road transport sectors from both the traffic and the infrastructure. The analysis uses a cradle-to-gate methodology to calculate the environmental pressures and allocate them to different rail and road vehicles. The railway infrastructure is more energy intensive. Passenger buses use the least amount of energy among the passenger vehicles, but since the electrified trains in Sweden mostly use hydropower for electricity production, the latter has less CO2 emissions. Electrified freight trains are both more energy efficient and emit less CO2 compared to long-distance trucks. It is also interesting to note what would happen if the traffic in the road transport system were fuelled by renewable energy carriers instead of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide emissions from road transport would thereby decrease, making it reasonable to question the environmental advantage of the railway.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14491 (URN)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22 Last updated: 2013-11-29
2. Screening of environmental pressure from products in the Swedish railway infrastructure: Implications for Strategic Environmental Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Screening of environmental pressure from products in the Swedish railway infrastructure: Implications for Strategic Environmental Management
2007 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 52, no 2, 248-265 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper proposes a method to be used in environmental reviews as an initial tool for estimating upstream environmental pressures from material use in organisations dealing mostly with construction materials. Upstream environmental pressures are often omitted in environmental reviews from organisations and instead tend to be site specific, with a limited life-cycle perspective. This paper uses the Swedish National Rail Authority as a case to present the approach. An energy indicator is used to estimate the environmental pressure of material use.

In the studied building project, a small set of products contribute to a major part of the material use and the material-related energy use. The energy use is almost exclusively of nonrenewable energy carriers. The three most important products are all homogenous and non-complex, which makes the energy indicator well suited for the analysis. The organisation can use the results to focus on the most important products and also to see which parts of the organisation contribute to the material-related energy use. Rail traffic in Sweden is almost exclusively from non-fossil-based energy carriers. This highlights the importance of the infrastructure to the overall environmental pressure of the railway. Consequently, if road transport were to shift away from fossil fuels, railways earlier environmental advantages would diminish, since research suggests that railway infrastructure is more energy intensive than road infrastructure.

Keyword
Railway, Infrastructure, Material use, Environmental pressure, Screening
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14492 (URN)10.1016/j.resconrec.2007.03.006 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22 Last updated: 2017-12-13
3. Environmental Relevance and Use of Energy Indicators in Environmental Management and Research.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Relevance and Use of Energy Indicators in Environmental Management and Research.
2006 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 14, no 2, 134-145 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Energy use as a single indicator or in a set of few indicators is often used in applied research in the building, transportation and energy sectors. However, the environmental relevance of energy indicators is seldom questioned. The relation between environmental relevance and energy indicators might seem obvious. Nevertheless, how this is obvious has not been thoroughly discussed. The aim of this paper is to investigate the environmental relevance of the energy indicator and discuss implications for its use. The approach is to express environmental pressure in different environmental impact categories and determine the contribution to these from energy use. Because not all impact categories are closely linked to energy indicators, the aim and context in which it is used must be apparent.

Keyword
Energy indicator; Environmental pressure; Environmental assessment; Energy system; Environmental management
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14493 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2005.01.004 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22 Last updated: 2013-11-29
4. The environmental importance of materials transports in developing infrastructure: Case of the Swedish Railway System
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The environmental importance of materials transports in developing infrastructure: Case of the Swedish Railway System
2006 (English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14494 (URN)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22
5. Life-cycle considerations for environmental management of an infrastructure manager
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Life-cycle considerations for environmental management of an infrastructure manager
2006 (English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14495 (URN)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22

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