December 15th, 2021
By William Whitford, Sade Mokuolu, Magali Barbaroux, Mitchell Snyder, Mark Petrich, Megan Baillie, Brian Horowski and Don Young
For original article by BPI visit bioprocessintl.com
The world desires a more sustainable economy in which resources can be saved, products can be profitably used, and at the end of their useful life, component materials can be recycled into other useful products. The bioprocessing industry has made efforts to meet those goals and has learned a great deal about the role of plastic components in sustainable manufacturing. The most important lesson might be that a science-based approach is required to provide an accurate benchmark of manufacturingʼs environmental burdens. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has revealed that, in general, processes using single-use technologies (SUTs) often have smaller environmental footprints than processes based on durable systems (1, 2).
A proper final assessment of either intermediate values or strategic conclusions would include consideration of uncertainty factors. Researchers can attempt to quantify those factors in a risk assessment by pursuing scenario analyses. Some uncertainty factors can be evaluated by integrating scenario analyses as part of life cycle and quantitative risk assessments, if the probabilities of scenario occurrence (and of other future events and their consequences) are incorporated. Modern modeling approaches can examine all possible pathways as a single product system containing well defined, but uncertain processes. Based on the probability evaluated by a model, individual processes then can be selected to evaluate variability in the targeted outcome. Uncertainty analyses then can provide a probability distribution for each impact score, accounting for all known sources of uncertainty (3).