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Sustainable production of marine equipment in a circular economy: deepening in material and energy flows, best available techniques and toxicological impacts

Zapelloni, Gabriele, García Rellán, Adriana, Bello Bugallo, Pastora M.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.687 pp. 991-1010
anthropogenic activities, best available technology, case studies, circular economy, ecosystems, emissions, energy flow, equipment, humans, issues and policy, manufacturing, marine environment, microplastics, volatile organic compounds, wastes
Nowadays a radical revolution in the production field is possible thanks to policies to fight against the environmental crisis and the technological progress, like Circular Economy.Leisure activities at sea are anthropogenic activities that have a potential impact, not only on the marine environment in the use stage (e.g. microplastics) and the end-use stage (e.g. ocean plastic wastes), but also on the manufacturing stage of its life cycle. This last stage is also the most important to prevent and/or reduce the impacts by means, for example of eco-design.This work aims to analyse the marine equipment manufacturing sector using fibre reinforced polymers (that potentially emits VOC with the consequently toxicological impact) from the circular economy prospective to identify sustainable solutions for the manufacturing process stage. The selected case study is a marine equipment job-shop using a Fibre Reinforced Polymers. A methodology to identify sustainable industrial systems previously validated is modified, adapted and applied to this case. The methodology applies 3 tools: Material and Energy Flow Analysis to identify the Improvable Flows of the process, Best Available Techniques analysis, to propose the most appropriate techniques to improve those improvable flows, and the Impact Analysis to evaluate and compare the effects on humans and ecosystems, on both the case study scenario and the improved ones.Ten Improvable Flows have been identified for the process; consequently, fifteen candidates to Best Available Techniques have been proposed aiming to act upon these flows. The application of these techniques in an improved system, allows reducing the amount of material and emissions reducing the impact. The combination of those tools has confirmed to be a very good option for process evaluation considering sustainability criteria. The Impact Assessment has permitted to compare the base case scenario showing a reduction of the impacts by the selected Best Available Techniques.