University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 8305-8309
ISBN: 978-84-09-37758-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.2115
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Even if the term “Life Cycle Engineering” (LCE) still sounds new and the need for developing a sustainable industrial production is still at development stage, it was initially coined more than 30 years ago [1]. Since then, and powered by the International Academy for Production Engineering, non-stop efforts are being done trying to redefine the engineering activities to focus on sustainable production in environmental and social concerns as well as encouraging economic progress. During this time, several methodologies have been developed to face the mentioned challenges, under a life cycle philosophy and a circular economy. So, once the basis has been established, it is time for the higher education institutions (HEI) to include this content in the engineering studies curricula in order to give an integral formation to the future engineers. The field of renewable energies has evolved a lot during last decades aiming to offer a sustainable, diversified and delocalized source of energy production. Many benefits are associated to green and renewable energies, related to greenhouse gases emissions and carbon print reduction, among others. Bioenergy, that is energy obtained from biomass resources, is particularly interesting due to the availability, versatility and carbon compensation capability of this feedstock. Nevertheless, bad practices, such as transportation of the biomass for long distances, could reduce or even more, cancel the benefits of using these resources in comparison with fossil fuels. Thus, an integral knowledge of the whole energy production process and an optimized design of the required technologies is compulsory to succeed in the previously mentioned terms.

In this work, a specific activity designed to evaluate the sustainability of the integral process of lignocellulosic biomass processing for energy and materials generation has been designed as a part of the learning content of a subject of the Renewable Energies Engineering Bachelor Degree of the University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU. The environmental, social and economic impact of the processing chain was integrally evaluated trying to improve the students’ formation in Life Cycle Engineering. As a result, the inclusion of core content related to sustainability in the engineering field has been achieved which entails a more comprehensive education for engineers from the beginning of the university studies.

[1] L.K. Keys, 1990. System life cycle engineering and DF‘‘X”. IEEE Trans. Components, Hybrids, Manuf. 13, 83-93.
Sustainability, renewable energies, engineering.