Main content area

A bibliometric overview of Brazilian LCA research

Zanghelini, Guilherme M., de Souza Junior, Henrique R. A., Kulay, Luiz, Cherubini, Edivan, Ribeiro, Paulo T., Soares, Sebastião R.
The international journal of life cycle assessment 2016 v.21 no.12 pp. 1759-1775
biodiesel, bioethanol, computer software, ethanol, guidelines, life cycle assessment, sugarcane, surveys, Brazil
PURPOSE: We bibliometrically evaluated the scientific literature outlined around Brazilian life cycle assessment (LCA). Our aim is twofold: (1) Analyze the Brazilian scientific literature on LCA, forming a current view of how the LCA methodology is applied in the country; (2) within this view, trace the evolution of themes, characterize institution collaboration, and indicate major influences in Brazilian LCA community. METHODS: Data were outlined around academic production and publications, from 1993 to 2015, indexed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI- SCIE and SSCI) through a specific group of keywords. Initially, a temporal evolution and projection of papers, PhD and Master Theses, were performed. In sequence, indexed papers were analyzed through performance indicators (i.e., number of authors, impact factor, among others) and content evaluation (for instance, major addressed themes). Finally, a mapping of science was performed, with the aid of Cite Space software application, where coword (and evolution), cocollaboration (and evolution), and cocitation maps were created. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The survey identified 429 documents divided among international and national papers, PhD and Master Theses. From those documents, 165 were indexed. In terms of production and performance, the results indicate an undeniable evolution of the Brazilian LCA research, as affirmed by relations solidified through time. The main research field is “LCA application” with 84 % of papers, whereas “LCA methodology” completes the framework. In LCA applications, 25 % of publications are related to Biofuels—divided into bioethanol and biodiesel—which makes it the current dominant LCA research area in Brazil. The collaboration network demonstrates three main institution groups, whereas evolution through the years indicates that this situation may further improve. Influential authors are linked to LCA of biofuels, general LCA guidelines, and methodological LCA developments. CONCLUSIONS: Brazilian LCA research has been growing and more complex relations between themes and institutions denote that further developments can be expected. Cocollaboration indicates three main clusters, led by USP, Unicamp, and UFRJ. “Biofuels” is the main research area where sugarcane ethanol and biodiesel from different sources are the domain product systems. Cocitation analysis solidifies this statement, pointing to Isaias Macedo (and other biofuel researchers) as the main author in Brazilian LCA after ISO and Mark Goedkoop.