Bw_timex unveiled at SETAC Europe annual meeting in Seville

7 June 2024

At the beginning of May, the tool bw_timex was introduced at The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe annual meeting in Seville, Spain. The event, under the theme Science-Based Solutions in Times of Crisis: Integrating Science and Policy for Environmental Challenges, featured ForestPaths members Guiseppe Cardellini and Amelie Müller, who addressed an audience of approximately 300 attendees, alongside a detailed poster by Timo Diepers from RWTH Aachen, highlighting bw_timex's innovative approach to time-explicit Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). 

Bw_timex is an open-source Python tool designed by ForestPaths partner VITO Remote sensing (Wet and Energy Transition) in collaboration with Timo Diepers from RWTH Aachen University, Arthur Jakobs from Paul Scherrer Institute and other researchers, to enhance the accuracy of environmental impact assessments by incorporating time-explicit data and impact assessment. It accounts for the timing of processes and emissions throughout the supply chain, such as end-of-life treatments that occur decades after a product's production, and accommodates variable and evolving technologies, such as an increasing share of renewable electricity over time. The ability to account for these temporal system dynamics, which are usually neglected in conventional LCA, yields more representative insights into the actual environmental impacts of systems. This is particularly beneficial for assessing long-lived products with evolving supply chains.

During the SETAC presentation, the audience learned how bw_timex builds on the open-source Brightway LCA framework and how to use it. Amelie Müller and Timo Diepers explained how users can specify temporal distributions for processes and emissions, which are then automatically propagated through the supply chain and mapped to corresponding time-explicit databases. This approach ensures that the resulting Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) reflects the current technology status within the production system at the actual time of each process, providing a more accurate representation of environmental impacts.

Image: Timo Diepers’ poster presented at SETAC Europe annual meeting. Find the full version in the project Library.

The successful presentation at SETAC Europe highlighted the potential of bw_timex to improve LCA practices by addressing the dynamic nature of supply chains and technologies, paving the way for more informed and sustainable decision-making in environmental management.

Find out more about bw_timex here