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Life cycle environmental impacts of graphene production

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6 October 2022
  • Online
  • 6 October 2022

Life cycle environmental impacts of graphene production

This online presentation will discuss the knowledge gained to date and the methodological issues that must be overcome to obtain representative life cycle environmental impact data that captures the functionality of graphene-based materials, giving enhanced understanding of the main hot spots and opportunities for improvement.

Dr Rosa M. Cuéllar-Franca

Invited Speaker

Dr Rosa M. Cuéllar-Franca is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester. She is an expert in life cycle assessment (LCA), carbon footprinting, and life cycle costing. Her research focuses on the sustainability assessment of novel products and processes on a life cycle basis, to identify areas of improvement and optimum trade-offs between impacts.


6 October 2022 14:00 - 14:45


The discovery of graphene has opened significant innovation possibilities across numerous fields including electronics, healthcare, composite materials, and renewable energy.  

Whilst these innovations can bring meaningful improvements to our quality of life and help us address major societal challenges we currently face, there is a need to ensure that solutions are developed in a sustainable way to avoid burden shifting, i.e. tackling one problem at the expense of others.  

To achieve this, we must adopt what is known as a life cycle thinking approach, where every aspect of the life cycle of graphene-based materials is assessed using suitable metrics, i.e. from the extraction of the carbon source and preparation methods, to the application of these materials and their fate at their end-of-life.  

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an environmental management tool that quantifies and translates environmental burdens into potential impacts, e.g. greenhouse gas emissions into global warming potential, and is widely used in the environmental sustainability assessment of products, processes or activities throughout their life cycle.  

Although several LCA studies of graphene-based materials can be found in the literature, which have looked at the global warming potential and primary energy demand of main production processes and few applications, none of these studies have considered specific waste management options for graphene.  

Moreover, these studies have mostly relied on experimental data at the laboratory scale or generic data and assumptions due to the lack of access to industrial scale data, which can be attributed to the relative novelty of these processes (among other factors).

More about our invited speaker:

Prior to her appointment as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Manchester, Dr Rosa M. Cuéllar-Franca held a postdoctoral research position at the same institution for 2.5 years, working on the EPSRC funded programme grant “A coordinated comprehensive approach to carbon capture and utilisation.” She received her PhD in Sustainable Chemical Engineering from The University of Manchester in 2013.  

She is an expert in life cycle assessment (LCA), carbon footprinting, and life cycle costing. Her work has consistently demonstrated the importance of adopting a life cycle thinking approach at the early stages of process engineering design. Findings from her most recent work on carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) were used to inform the European Commission’s policy on CCU, as well as initiatives for the standardisation of CCU LCA guidelines in Europe and the US, led by the Department of Energy and NETL.  

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