Design of railway bridges considering LCA
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Environmental awareness has strongly increased these last years, especially in the developed countries where societies have become increasingly preoccupied by the natural resource depletion and environmental degradation. At the same time, the increasing mass transportation demand throughout the European Union requires the development of new infrastructures. Life Cycle Assessment is increasingly used to provide environmental information for decision-makers, when a choice is to be made about the transportation mode to be implemented on a given route. In a life-cycle perspective, not only the environmental pressure of the operation of vehicles but also the burden from the infrastructure, in particular bridges as key links of the road and railway networks, has to be assessed when comparing transportation modes.
Based on an extensive literature review, a simplified quantitative LCA is implemented in order to compare the environmental performance of two railway bridge designs. It is meant to be useful at an early stage in the design process, when no detailed information about the bridge is available, and when rough environmental estimations are needed. The Excel based model covers the entire life-cycle of the bridge, from raw material extraction to construction materials recycling and disposal. Various assumptions and omissions are made to narrow the scope of the analysis. For instance, processes that are found insignificant in the literature are omitted, and only a limited set of relevant emissions and impacts to the environment is considered. The model provides fully transparent results at the inventory and impact assessment level.
The streamlined approach is tested by comparing the environmental burden throughout the life-cycle of a steel-concrete composite railway bridge on a single span, equipped with either a ballasted or a fixed concrete single track. The results show that the environmental impacts of the fixed track alternative are lower than that of the ballasted track alternative, for every impact categories. In a sustainable development perspective, it would thus have been preferable to install a fixed track over the bridge to reduce its overall impact on the environment by about 77%. The raw material phase is found decisive in the life-cycle of both alternatives. The frequency of the replacement of the track is identified as a key environmental parameter, since the road traffic emissions during bridge closure nearly overwhelmed the other life-cycle stages.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 158 p.
Trita-BKN-Examensarbete, ISSN 1103-4297 ; 305
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), streamlined approach, Railway bridges, ballasted track, fixed concrete track, steel-concrete composite bridges, Bothnia Line
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-36362ISRN: KTH/BKN/EX-305-SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-36362DiVA: diva2:430662
Subject / course
Structural Design and Bridges
Master of Science in Engineering - Urban Management
Karoumi, Raid, Tekn.Dr