LCA for Steel Products: Understanding the Base Scenario

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In today’s rapidly changing environmental landscape, understanding the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of steel products is more crucial than ever. By assessing the potential environmental impacts of steel, we can develop strategies to reduce its carbon footprint and move towards sustainable steel production. Here, we delve deep into the base scenario for the LCA of a steel product, exploring every stage from its inception to recycling.

Defining the Base Scenario

The base scenario serves as the foundational framework for the LCA of steel products. At its core, it aims to assess the potential environmental impacts of 1000 kg of steel throughout its lifetime. This scenario, depicted in Figure 32, is grounded on standard methodologies and contemporary technologies that pertain to all steel products.

To clarify, the life cycle encompasses all the processes specified in Figure 32. However, it excludes the construction and utilization phases. The nuances of steel production (from modules A1 to A3) and processes post-demolition (spanning Modules C1 to D) have been detailed in earlier sections.

Post-Demolition Steel Recycling

In this defined scenario, we assume that post-demolition, the steel scrap, termed as RR, undergoes recycling. The recycled steel subsequently finds application in the construction of modern steel structures. This recycling process affords credits towards the fabrication of new steel. Module D, with its value-corrected value, handles the allocation process to depict the differences between the two functional equivalents. For this scenario, the correction factor (Cf) is set to 1.

As per the guidelines set out in EN15804, Module D strictly allocates net credits. A crucial point to consider during steel product manufacture is the incorporation of scrap (labeled S). Therefore, credits extend only to the net scrap arising from the system (calculated as RR – S). Should the scrap volume introduced (S) fall below the recycled steel amount (RR), credits are allocated to the net scrap (RR – S). Conversely, if the scrap volume surpasses RR, a burden takes its place.

Yield Factor in Module D

Module D introduces a pivotal component: the yield factor (Y). This metric illuminates the efficiency of the recycling operation. Represented as the proportion of steel output to scrap input, the yield factor often falls below unity. This implies that the production of 1 kg of steel necessitates more than 1 kg of scrap. The scrap allocation, thus, undergoes adjustments to account for this efficiency.

Model for LCA of Steel Products

A visual representation, Figure 32 elucidates the model for the LCA of steel products. Breaking it down further, we examine two foundational scenarios:

  • The LCA for steel reinforcement
  • The LCA for steel sections.

By delving into these scenarios, we not only deepen our understanding of steel’s life cycle but also elucidate avenues for enhancing sustainability in steel production.


Understanding the LCA for steel products offers a profound insight into its environmental impact, guiding industries towards sustainable practices. Through the base scenario, we have a structured approach to assess and strategize for a sustainable future in steel manufacturing.

Categories: LCA