Single-Course English 10 ECTS

Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Systems

Overall Course Objectives

Participants will acquire a thorough understanding of Life cycle assessment (LCA) as a method and tool for analysing the environmental impacts of products and technical systems. They will obtain the concrete skills and master the methodologies and tools to perform an LCA and to critically analyse LCA results produced by others. They will know the most frequent uses of LCA in industry and government and be able to identify LCA main strengths and weaknesses.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of life cycle thinking in the analysis and management of technological systems
  • Plan and execute a life cycle assessment of a product or a technological system in co-operation with a company or other type of organisation, including:
  • Define a relevant functional unit for a product or a system
  • Ensure equivalency of products or systems through system expansion or allocation
  • Model an inventory using a dedicated LCA tool
  • Perform a life cycle impact assessment including midpoint and damage characterisation, normalisation and weighting
  • Perform sensitivity analysis and interpret the results of the LCA in accordance with the outcome
  • Identify the life cycle stages, processes and inventory flows that affect most category specific environmental impacts
  • Interpret the LCA results of an individual product in a sustainable consumption and absolute sustainability context
  • Report in accordance with the capabilities of the company partner
  • Interpret and use life cycle assessments performed by others and perform a critical review of an LCA study
  • Explain the most important industrial and regulatory applications of LCA and describe the tools of the Integrated Product Policy, IPP.

Course Content

Introduction of the life cycle concept and the history of environmental life cycle assessment (LCA). Introduction to the practical applications of LCA (eco-labelling, environmental management, product development, policy development etc.) in industry and public organisations. Presentation of methodological foundation of LCA step by step from goal and scope definition, life cycle inventory, life cycle impact assessment, interpretation and sensitivity analysis. Positioning of individual products in a sustainable consumption and absolute sustainability context. Introduction of software tools supporting the practical performance of LCA. In parallel to the theoretical introduction the participants work in project teams applying the theory in practice in a life cycle assessment of a product or system, in collaboration with an external company. The course ends with the presentation of own LCA report and the critical review of the LCA report from one of the other groups.

Recommended prerequisites

12240/12740/41416, Similar qualifications to the aforementioned courses and be able to perform spreadsheet calculations

Teaching Method

Lectures with exercises. Case study in project teams in collaboration with external company



Active involvement and in-person participation to the case study project is key for assimilation of the course material and LCA methods and skills.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 12772
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Mon 8-12, Thurs 13-17

15.000,00 DKK